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We would love to get your opinion on if we should or shouldn’t stage our house while it’s up for sale. Our plan right now is to be completely moved out before our house goes on the market. We have seen all the shows on getting your home staged to sell and we’ve recently started to question if we are making the right decision.

We’ve heard that houses that are not staged get lower offers than houses that are. Should we change our plans to completely move all our belongings before selling the house? Is staging a house really worth it?

Shawn and Kathy, Fruita

Shawn and Kathy,

Great question with many options and angles, so let’s get right to it. I have said it before, but I will say it again, I love to watch HGTV and the DIY Network, but unfortunately it is not “reality” television. Sure, their intent is to inform, but their primary goal is to entertain! I think it would be a good life practice to not assume or expect real life to reflect what you see on television! A little more real life and a little less entertainment might actually be more helpful and enjoyable in the long run, but I digress and am starting to really show my age…

Ugh, you know when you get that “I’m becoming just like my Mom/Dad moment? Well I just had it! Okay, back to the task at hand, does a house show better furnished or unfurnished?

It has been my experience that 80% of the time I recommend to homeowners that their home will show better furnished, however this answer is somewhat dictated by your furnishings! The furnishing knife cuts both ways. I have sold houses where the furniture is so nice that it is actually a distraction to buyers. They can come away from the showing loving the house, but saying “my furniture is not that nice and the house will never look that good when we move in!” The buyers assume, and in some cases rightly so, that the cost to get it to look that good again will be too significant. On the other hand, when the furnishings are meager, old, worn out, super personalized or just plain ugly and out-dated, the buyer often can’t see past them and they distract from the positive features of the home. Many times in this instance, the house can take on the personality/condition of the furniture and leave a bad or less than desired impression. Being somewhere in the middle or on the nicer side is the place to be.

When you make the decision to show it furnished or empty, go with one or the other…don’t hedge and try to live in both camps. Generally I am not a fan of half staging, with the exception of when you have a difficult layout and furniture placement is not easily identified or you are staging a brand new home. A half furnished home brings a bevy of questions that have everything to do with the situation of the seller and little to do with the house. If the only furnishings in the house are a blow up bed, kitchen table, futon and 65 inch TV and Xbox it will invite lower offers than if the house was empty…half furnished homes show poorly and give off the vibe of a family or home in-flux! A situation in-flux can give the impression of desperation, even if desperation doesn’t reside there! The smell of desperation to a buyer is like the scent of blood to a shark…get ready to welcome lower offers and the longer an empty home is on the market, the stronger the scent becomes!

A fully furnished and lived in home will typically provide no indication of motivation and the same can be said with an empty home! With an empty home, the buyers may make assumptions, but any good real estate agent can quickly dispel any of the buyers’ preconceived notions of assumed motivation and get things back on a level playing field. I personally think empty homes provide the opportunity for buyers to envision where they will place their own furniture! If they start placing furniture in their minds, you are getting closer to setting the hook.

Focus on the basics but either stay in your home until you get a contract or completely move out! There are always one off situations where you just have to punt, but in most cases those are your best two options. Hope that helps!

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team



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