The Great Debate: Should You Stage a Home or Leave it Empty?

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

Selling your home? Big decision ahead: do you stage it to look picture-perfect or just let it be and sell it as it is? On one side, leaving it empty super easy. You save time, effort, and some cash. But what if that means you don’t get the best price for your home?

On the flip side, giving your home a little makeover could make buyers see its charm and maybe, just maybe, get you a sweeter deal. It’s a head-scratcher, right?

Big Question: Is staging a house better than leaving it empty? Staging a home is better than leaving it empty in most instances. According to a the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Home Staging Profile Report, 44% of sellers’ agents believe that staging boosts a property’s value—sometimes by as much as 20%! More than half, 53% to be exact, feel a staged home will sell faster.

However, deciding whether to stage your home or not isn’t that straightforward. While a staged home paints a picture of an ideal life inside, an empty house is like an open book, ready for a story to be written.

So before making a choice, it’s wise to weigh the pros and cons – which is exactly what we’ll explore in this post. Let’s dive in!

Good Things About Staging

1. Painting a Picture

The Magic of Visualization: A staged home isn’t just about furniture and decor—it’s about crafting a vision. For instance, a dining table adorned with a bottle of wine, some plates, and soft candlelight instantly conjures up images of intimate dinners and family get-togethers. Buyers can see themselves in these scenarios, making the house more appealing.

I’ve met a homeowner once struggled to sell a large open space in their home. By simply placing a rug, a cozy sofa, a few books, and a coffee table, buyers could see it as a family room. Suddenly, what was once an awkward space became the home’s selling point!

2. Showing Off Cool Spaces

Maximizing Potential: Every home has unique spots—corners, alcoves, or even under-stair spaces. Without staging, these could look like ‘wasted areas’ to potential buyers. With the right touch, though, they become standout features.

Imagine a home with a modest-sized balcony. If left empty, it might seem unremarkable. But stage it with a bistro set, some potted plants, and a soft throw, and it transforms into a perfect morning coffee spot or evening retreat.

3. Making Memories

Creating Stickiness: Ever heard the saying “First impressions last”? A well-staged home makes a strong first impression, ensuring it stays on the buyer’s mind long after they’ve seen it. When buyers reminisce about the homes they’ve visited, a staged one often stands out, nudging them closer to a purchase decision.

A sales agent once told me that there were two homes on the same street, similar in design, were up for sale. One was empty, the other staged. But most viewers only remembered the staged home for its warm, inviting kids’ room, complete with colorful beddings and some toys.

That’s because it wasn’t just a room—it was a glimpse into a lifestyle.

4. Spotting the Imperfections (or Not!)

When it comes to a staged home, there’s another interesting perk—distraction. Now, we don’t mean this in a sneaky way! A beautifully staged room can draw attention towards its best features and away from its minor flaws.

Think of it like attending a grand play; you’re so taken in by the compelling acting and gorgeous sets that you hardly notice a small smudge on a backdrop.

Similarly, in a well-decorated living space, the eyes of potential buyers are more likely to be drawn to a chic coffee table arrangement or a plush sofa than a tiny screw hole in the wall or a few subtle scratches on the floor.

By creating focal points and weaving a narrative, staging ensures that minor blemishes often fade into the background, helping the property shine in its best light.

Staging Savvy Quiz: Do You Have the Eye of a Home Stager?(**)

The Beauty of Empty Rooms

1) The Blank Canvas Appeal

Freedom to Imagine: An empty room is like a blank canvas, offering boundless possibilities. Without pre-set furnishings or decorations, potential buyers have the creative freedom to envision the space tailored to their tastes and lifestyle. It’s like looking at an open field and imagining your dream house right there.

A potential homebuyer once walked into an empty space and got excited. They immediately started planning where their bookshelf and reading nook would go. For them, that space was suddenly more than just a room; it became a personal library.

2) Transparency and Trust

Seeing Every Detail: With an empty house, everything is out in the open. Buyers can inspect every nook and cranny, from the quality of the floorboards to the condition of the walls. This transparency can build trust between the buyer and seller.

I once heard from a dedicated collector who appreciated empty rooms because they could precisely plan wall displays without any hindrances.

3) Flexibility for Virtual Augmentation

Tech to the Forefront: In today’s digital era, an empty room is a prime candidate for virtual staging tools. Buyers can use augmented reality apps on their phones to virtually place furniture and see how it fits and looks. It’s like a real-life, interactive home decoration game!

A tech-enthusiast on a home tour mentioned how they loved using an AR app. The empty space allowed them to virtually experiment with different themes until they found the perfect fit for their vision.

Check out: AI Virtual Staging an Entire House in Under 10 Minutes

4) Cost Savings for the Seller

No Need for Extra Expenses: Staging can be effective, but it also comes with its price tag. By presenting empty rooms, sellers can save on these costs, allowing them to potentially invest elsewhere, whether in home touch-ups or toward their next property’s down payment.

A couple who were selling their property to relocate shared that the money saved by not staging went into upgrading their new home, making it just how they dreamt it to be.

As part of the requirement to stay in good standing with the Licensing Commission, you must complete the required Continuing Education. The Colibri is an online school that I like and received excellent feedback from its students. You may check out their CE courses here. (**)

So Staging or Empty?

Alright, let’s break it down simply. Helping homeowners decide whether to doll up their house with staging or leave it as-is can be a tightrope walk.

For you agents out there, it’s all about getting into your clients’ shoes. First, there’s the money talk: is staging going to be worth the extra bucks? Dive into what’s happening locally, check out how similar homes are doing, and hey, maybe your agency’s got some nifty stats to help out.

But, and here’s the real deal, numbers aren’t everything. Some folks just want a hassle-free sale. “Let’s get this done and dusted,” they might say. Others?

They might be game for some touch-ups if it means getting a better price. So, when you’re out there advising, remember it’s not just about price tags. It’s about listening, understanding, and making sure your clients feel good about their choices.

Every homeowner’s journey is different, and it’s up to us to help them find the best path.

Your Turn! Got a story about selling a home? Maybe a time when an empty room stole the show or when staging just didn’t click? Share in the comments. Let’s chat and learn from each other’s experiences!

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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. Some of the posts on this site may contain views and opinions from individual not related to JCHQ Publishing. They do not necessarily reflect our view or position.


  • NAR Profile of Home Staging (Source)


  • Jacob Coleman

    Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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