Staging Your Flip: Is it Worth It?

Small grey house with wooden deck. Front yard with flower bed and lawn.

As a real estate investor, you understand time really is money when soft costs: interest, utilities, and insurance continue to accrue after you have paid all your vendors and contractors thereby cutting into your profit margin. It becomes incumbent to sell resonabilty quickly. Don’t under price your project but find the way to to move on to the next project quickly.

In the 2021 “Profile of Home Staging” by National Association of Realtors, 47% of buyers’ agents  found that a staging had a positive affect on on how buyers viewed a property and helped them visualize it as a future home. Twenty three percent also said that a staged home increased the dollar value offered (1 – 5%) compared to similar homes in the same market that were not staged. But did this decrease the time spent on the market? Twenty-two percent of sellers’ agents stated that there were slight decreases in the time on the market when the home is staged. That said,  you can not just leave it up to the agent to rep your home. Be proactive and aggressive. Having photos, virtual tours, and videos available will remain critical from this point onward (post-Covid) and for the connecting to the milliena croud.

But home-staging can be expensive. From, real estate professional Crystal Leigh Hemphill, states “As a general rule of thumb, the average cost for most stagers is $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and $500 to $600 per month per staged room. Therefore, staging a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $2,000 to $2,400 a month.” Some home-stagers even require a 3 month minimum.

Is staging you flip worth it? Depends on the market and neighborhood. For a middle income neighborhood, the price to stage a home might not add to the value of the home vs the sales price. Focus only on three main areas – the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom by adding add a few personal touches throughout with artwork or lighting, and a few basics for those three areas. Keep all palettes neutral and clean everywhere, like you’ve never cleaned before. Make the outside attractive and inviting with fresh paint and landscaping. The entrance should be impeccable to make that first good impression.

High-end property will require staging. Find out how similar properties in your area are being presented. In addition to the suggestions above, you can save money your high-end flip by paying for a consultation and do the work yourself.  That means providing the furniture yourself. And storing it afterward. So if you do decide this route, look for furniture at yard sales in upscale neighborhoods, shop Salvation Army, and discount houses. For post-pandemic considerations make the outside inviting with a seating or entertaining area, and inside create an office or study space,  Stage the three key areas (master bedroom, bath and kitchen) and add decorative touches throughout the house. Provide a virtual tour with more complete virtual home staging. Help your potential buyer see themselves in your flip.