ROI on staging is greater than people imagine, expert says
Kim Shindle
Apr 20, 2011
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Ninety-four percent of staged homes sell within 33 days, compared to non-staged homes which sell in 144 days, according to

After photo of staging a room. Photo:

That’s no surprise to Barb Schwarz, president and CEO of Schwarz, a Realtor® who started the home staging trend in 1972, collects data from the 22,000 graduates of her Staging University. And those who are using her techniques are seeing success in their sales.

Schwarz, the author of Staging to Sell: The Secret to Selling Homes in a Down Market, believes staging helps Realtors® better serve their clients. “We want to sell our client’s house for the highest price possible and to do that, it has to be staged,” she advised. “It’s up to us to educate them about the need for staging.”

Showing photos of a property before it’s been staged and after often helps the seller understand the difference, Schwarz said. “Investing $500 to stage a home is better than a price reduction later,” she adds. “Our research shows the return on your investment is about 568 percent. The ROI  is greater than people imagine.”

Schwarz likes to compare staging a house to detailing an automobile. “Your car decreases in value yet people don’t hesitate to pay to have it detailed,” she said. “You have to detail your home because this is where your money is invested.”

Bedroom before staging. Photo:

Nearly 25 percent of properties are staged today, up from 10 percent about 10 years ago, Schwarz reports.

“When the real estate market is hot, people think they don’t have to stage and when it’s slow, they say they can’t afford it,” she said. “No matter what the market condition, it’s a Realtor’s® fiduciary responsibility to help your client get the best price possible and staged homes average 10 to 20 percent more.”

Recently Schwarz said a couple going through the divorce process disagreed about whether or not to stage the property. A judge said that statistics show that house would sell better with a Realtor® and a stager.

“It’s really about helping the client understand that it’s mostly about time and energy to stage a property,” Schwarz concludes. “They need to clear out the clutter, paint in neutral colors to help allow buyers mentally move into a property. Many of our clients don’t see their own dirt and clutter but potential buyers will.”

Some Realtors® build the price of staging into their marketing budget so the client doesn’t have to pay for it upfront. Others team with a professional stager to make sure homes are ready to show.

Pictures from