To Stage or Not to Stage Your Phoenix Real Estate

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate AgentThe debate flared again over dinner last night … is it better for a home being sold to be vacant or furnished? And, as always, the answer was “it depends.”

Under ideal circumstances, a home for sale should be decorated and staged like a model home at a new build. There’s a reason many homeowners tour model homes simply for the decorating ideas they can find.

But for most, life is not an ideal circumstance and decorating a home like a model can be difficult if not impossible. So as an agent we tend to focus on what’s doable – taking down an overabundance of family photos, uncluttering rooms, counters and closets and the like.

What if the owners have moved? Arguments often are made for full-fledged staging but what isn’t usually discussed is the extreme cost of filling a home with furniture-for-rent for the duration of a listing. Those who question the commission they’re paying a real estate agent would blanch at the tab that can be run through full staging.

Some lesser staging can help … towels in the bathroom, some items in the kitchen … but at the end of the day, what’s going to sell the house is the house itself.

Model homes don’t sell new construction because of the decor but because of the extreme upgrades involved. A model for a two-story, for instance, almost always will have the wrought iron or wood banister and not the solid wall, allowing the home to feel more open. Counters are upgraded. More tile is used than in standard homes

In short, all of the things that attract a homeowner (even if they can’t really afford the upgrades when they get to the design center) – that’s what sells.

I’ve had buyers who only can envision themselves in vacant homes and others who want all the trappings. There’s no right answer. The folks who say there is probably are trying to sell you something other than a home.

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Athol Kay 10 years ago

    I like it or not the home is always staged to give a message. Whether that message is “everything is clean”, “we reeeeeeaaaally like samuari swords”, “you may want to wash your hands after you leave” or “we have a pretentious daughter”… well there is always a message.

    If that message isn’t working to sell the house, then it should be changed if it can be.

    I suspect most of the gains from “staging” come from simply cleaning up the house.

  • Dru Bloomfield 10 years ago

    I agree that some buyers prefer to see vacant houses, and some want furniture in to gauge size better.

    What speaks to pretty much all buyers and their agents, is the level of cleanliness. Buyers always seem to comment positively when they are in a really clean home, even if it’s not a match. I’ve sold homes where one of the primary reasons given is that if someone keeps their house this clean, they must take good care of it overall, too.

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    Absolutely right, both of you … clean is a big thing. Air condition vents and air filters are one of the basics. If people don’t change filters regularly, what else did they not do they were supposed to?

  • Log Homes For Sale In North Georgia 10 years ago

    I think to clear a house out and do a Spring Clean is key. Staging I do think helps even if it’s just a few accents and in the main living area only.