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Getting Ready for Market: To Pay or Not to Pay for Staging

Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a home or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to hamptons@curbed.com.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and since most people start their home search online nowadays, it better be a damn good picture. There are many companies in the area that “stage” homes for sellers and real estate brokers, meaning that they bring in furniture and accessories to make an apartment feel more like a home, and therefore appeal to a wider range of buyers. It also helps focus on the best features of the listing by neutralizing a palette and using furniture and accessories that give each room a purpose and work with the room's dimensions. “An overwhelming majority of buyers cannot visualize how the home will work for their furniture and needs when they first walk into a property,” says Kathryn Swift of Swift Solutions Home. This can apply to different sized couches, tables, and most importantly, knowing if you’ll be sweetly dreaming in a queen or king sized bed, which can be hard to see without that representation already there.

So why stage? “Homes that are staged sell more quickly and for more money than empty properties,” says Swift, “And many agents agree that the investment for staging is less than the cost of the first price reduction.” Though you might consider yourself an amateur designer, it might be difficult to separate yourself from your home. “When it's your home, you place things where they make sense for you. When you're selling your home, furniture may need to be rearranged or replaced to allow buyers to walk through easily and to get a sense of flow and space,” says Swift.

Any cons? It’s definitely an extra cost which grows depending on the size of your home. Also, if you’re staging, it means you have to live with this neutralized home while your place is on the market. If you have another place to crash, it usually makes it easier on everyone. Knowing the basics of how staging works will hopefully give you a better perspective on whether it’s right for you when selling your home.

· Curbed University [Curbed Hamptons]