To Stage or Not To Stage is Not the Question

Staging your home for sale can be an expensive endeavour. It can easily cost you over $5,000 to stage an average 3 bedroom house, and this price tag is just for the rentals. It does not include the cost of all of those little fixes you always wanted to make, some day, when you had time - which is code for when your back is up against the wall with a hard and fast deadline. Nor does it include the storage locker for your stuff, the movers who schlep your stuff to it, the cleaning crew that gives your house an industrial strength once over. 

It does not take long to feel out of pocket before you put up your for sale sign, with no hard and fast guarantee that you’ll get it back. So why on earth is ‘staging’ such an essential consideration when selling your property? Simply put: you should take seriously the things you can control that will have the greatest impact on how many buyers come forward with an offer to buy your property. You can’t control the market, but you can control how you present your property within it. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “you should always do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”


I’d like to shift the question by first removing the word ‘stage’. I hate that word and even more, hate what it has come to mean. Often reduced to a dog and pony show, the very word has become synonymous with an over-hyped, unstrustworthy act on the one hand, or an industry-approved, neutered, coated-in-for-sale-white cliche of what buyers supposedly want on the other. The same grey sofa and black and white print of a broken fence in the snow does not have the lock on every market, despite what you may have been told. So what am I referring to when I say that staging options are an essential part of the pre-list conversation?


When I think of staging, I’m thinking more in terms of presenting, which is not only possible to do authentically, it is essential. When you go to a job interview, a first date, get introduced to your future mother in law, you make sure that you present yourself well. You don’t fake your way through it. We all know that no one likes a fake and most people are good at spotting one. Well, your house is no different. Instead of staging or faking your way to your desired outcome, why not approach it as presenting your home’s value in the most authentic, uncluttered, open, and immediately visible way? That is not just ‘positive’ realtor spin. I’m suggesting a transformed seller mindset.

Think about the values your home already embodies. Is it the warmth of family;  the excitement of being an entertaining hub; a respite from city life; a friendly neighbour? These values are what will draw your buyer, who shares those same values. As a seller, make it your business to have your home communicate to that buyer with the greatest clarity and confidence. Everything that contributes to that conversation, keep. Everything that gets in its way, donate, throw out, store. Putting your energy to this task, in this manner, with this mindset, will not only be a more enjoyable process for you, it is also much more likely to yield you the dividends you seek.