When we talk with sellers, we are often asked if it is important to stage a home when selling in San Francisco. We put together the above video showing before, during, and after photos of a home that we prepared for market and sold. We think it does a really great job of demonstrating why our answer to San Francisco sellers is almost always “Yes, stage your home.”
Sellers have a variety of concerns about home staging – some feel it is artificial and contrived, others are concerned about the cost and value of home staging, and others just object to the idea of living inside a Pottery Barn catalog while their home is being marketed. Here are a few of my thoughts about home staging:
Is home staging artificial and contrived?
I think those terms are a little harsh, but yes, that’s pretty much the point. I guess I could tip-toe around this more diplomatically with gentle euphemisms, but sometimes – no matter how attached the seller is to their decor – it hurts the value. Some (not all) buyers that walk through the front door of a home for sale in San Francisco have a really hard time visualizing how a home will look with their stuff in it. Sometimes a home has a quirky layout that is difficult to mentally move furniture around in. Either way, by staging a home at its “ideal” and demonstrating creative uses for space, buyers can get a better feel for how the home will look without the seller’s stuff. Home staging, when well done, helps to show off a home at its best.
Is home staging a good investment?
In a nutshell, yes it is. If your home has other issues that make it the proverbial pig, then prettying it up with some staging lipstick is about as smart an investment as actually trying to put lipstick on a pig. However, if your home is in generally good condition (or you are making the recommended repairs) then staging is a very smart investment, and it is my experience in San Francisco that staged homes sell more quickly and/or at a higher price than similar homes that are not staged. While spending $5,000 on faux-furniture for two months of home marketing might seem like lunacy, if that $5,000 investment results in a shorter marketing period by 30 days (one months worth of your mortgage and property taxes) or brings in an offer that is just $10,000 higher than you might otherwise get, I think you can see that it is easily money well spent.
Do I have to live in a Pottery Barn catalog?
Sort of. Yes, expect to paint your home in neutral colors. Maybe you’ll leave an accent wall or two of color behind, but if your condo is purple and turquoise (and I’ve really seen a condo that was purple andÂ turquoise), you can expect to be bored with the new paintÂ paletteÂ recommended as a part of your home staging by your stager and Realtor. There are, fortunately, a wide variety of staging companies in San Francisco, and each has their own design sense and aesthetic. However, it can be hard not to feel like you are living in a catalog as you have to pack your items up and see them replaced with things that you might never personally purchase.