The Real Deal New York

Home staging has little impact on sale price: study

December 27, 2013 12:40PM


Michael Seiler and a home rendering in study

Home staging may affect prospective homebuyers’ initial perception of a house, but it won’t persuade them to pay more, according to a new study from three business professors.

The authors — Michael Seiler of the College of William & Mary, Vicky Seiler of Johns Hopkins University and Mark Lane of Old Dominion University — led hundreds of would-be homebuyers through six virtual house tours last year in an effort to conduct research. 

The study looked at staging’s impact of the sale price of a home, not the speed at which it sells, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The houses differed in furniture quality and paint choices. Buyers expressed interest in spending $204,000 on average for each of the houses – unrelated to the colors or furniture. But when it came to other buyers, they said their competition would likely adjust their offers based on how the home was staged, the study showed.

“We were able to parse out what you consciously believe and subconsciously believe,” Michael Seiler told the Journal. “Beforehand, everyone thinks poor staging is going to be a problem. But when we actually did the experiment, we found it doesn’t matter.”

The Journal of Housing Research plans to publish the study, “The Impact of Staging Conditions on Residential Real Estate Demand,” next year. [WSJ]Mark Maurer

  • GoldStar Properties

    There is a big difference between staging and virtual staging

  • Andy Garcia

    When I was a kid I let my virtual dog die a couple of times because I didn’t virtually feed him. Researchers must now conclude anyone who let their Tamagotchi will kill their real dog.

  • BravoTVsavedMyLife

    I have seen first hand how a property worth $9M sat on the market for nearly a year until it was staged and immediately had 2 offers on it. So I disagree with this study from the ground.

    • Trixie

      Agree with Bravo. . We all know staging versus price is irrelevant. It’s how quickly it sells. My experience is the same. Any property we staged sold immediately.

  • luxeFLrealtor

    Proper staging (including paint, furnishings, accessories, etc.) of a vacant, stripped bare home to appear as a fresh, viable option having an aire of a “lived in” appeal will without question regain buyer interest & additional buyer traffic to a forgotten listing. A home’s new “image” & new professional pictures of a property staged correctly shows the above-average percentage of people in today’s society who are not entirely “visual” and shows the potential a home has. A virtual tour is just that…virtual. Being able to affect all the human senses, not just sight within a space is what sells a home. Virtual tours get them in the door. Proper staging helps turn “for sale” into “sold” quicker.

  • msmetropolitan

    I think it is apples to oranges here. Yes 204k properties exist, but when you are selling 7 figure homes in NYC you better make it look desirable. I think if you can buy something at 204k you are in a very different psychological state from someone buying in the NYC market. Competition is fierce here and buyers want to be impressed.

  • MovingMountains

    This is a flawed study. They showed potential home buyers photos of 6 VIRTUAL home tours. Virtual home tours are created with computer generated photos of rooms with computer generated photos of furniture pasted in. They are not photos of actual rooms in actual homes with actual furniture. The full study also mentioned that the furniture in the well staged home was chosen to “appeal to the greatest number of buyers”. Who made the furniture selection? Was an experienced professional stager involved? Or was it a VIRTUAL home stager? In my opinion, this “study” shows that VIRTUAL home staging has limited value when selling a home. It says nothing about “real” home staging where a buyer walks through a “real” home that has been professionally staged, not just some computer generated images (that always look fake to me). I’d like to know who paid for this “study”.

  • Pia Lyotier

    I think that any study/or statistics can say one thing or another, but the real statistics have proof that real staging does make a difference. Staging gets offers faster, and when there is a lack of inventory it stands out big time with value. Virtual staging is not the same as real staging, and placement of different types of furniture does not mean staging.

  • Melissa Sehmer Marro

    Funny. The study states that it only concluded what the buyer would pay for the home but not how long it took for the home to sell. I am a REALTOR and I can guarantee that the length of time on the market will in fact be reflected in the amount a buyer pays for the home. If a home sells in 3 days it will sell for more than if it take 30 days, or 300 days. I also agree with everyone else who said that Virtual staging is NOT actual staging. Apples to oranges.

  • Mary Abella

    A home had been on the market with Realtor 1. No offers. Contract up. Realtor 2 comes in, tells the sellers to do what I (the home stager) said–like repaint, repair the wall above the washer and dryer, take down the overgrowing ivy that was coming in a garage window, etc. They had the work done, and a week later, I staged it to appeal to a younger couple starting out. It sold in six weeks–in the middle of December!

    Another home was cleaned, not painted or re-carpeted. I worked with the eggplant colored walls in the spare bedroom–brought in lime greens, whites, and a touch of red. We staged the home to appeal to a couple who wanted to live downtown but not pay the high price of downtown real estate. Kind of funky but not over the top. It sold in 1 week, at full price. Staging does work!

    If the Realtor sets the price at a reasonable number, buyers will choose the staged home over another one of the same price almost every time. They become emotionally connected to the staged home, and emotion, ultimately, is what sells houses.