By Nina Doiron

What’s really being asked here is, can a property be sold without it being staged? And the truth is, yes it can. There’s a buyer out there for every property if they deem that the price they’re willing to pay equals the value they will get. What this means is that your listing can be sold without it being professionally staged, but it may take longer, and your client may not be able to get the price they are after.

It is a common practice to recommend a price reduction of two per cent for every two weeks that a property is not sold. For example, if a property is priced at $500,000, a two per cent reduction means $10,000. If it doesn’t sell then, another two per cent is recommended, which equates to another $9,800, bringing the total reduction to $19,800 after four weeks on the market.



According to Schwarz’ stagedhome.com statistics, home staging can help reduce a property’s listing time on the market by 30 to 50 per cent and could deliver a price that is six to 20 per cent more than a vacant home or a home that is not properly staged.

Based on statistics from the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), staging a 2,000 to 2,500 square foot vacant property can run from $2,950 to $5,250 in Ontario. Staging an occupied property of similar size can cost anywhere from $1,400 to $2,700, depending on the condition on the homeowner’s furniture. That’s a small investment if it can help to sell the property faster and fetch more money for it.

The alternative is do nothing and keep reducing the price of the property until it sells. Using the price reduction example above, having the property staged equates to a saving of approximately $14,550 to $18,400. In this scenario, both seller and agent made more money.

Home staging has been around for a long time for luxury properties, but it really took off and became popular as a real estate marketing strategy in the late 2000s when real estate became a buyer’s market…our current market.

People lead busy lives. They don’t want to walk into a home and make a list of things that they need to fix and renovate. They would much prefer and are willing to pay extra for a move-in ready home. If your clients have been living in their home for a while and have some outdated furniture and decor, buyers will not be able to see themselves or their belongings there, especially if the space is cluttered and filled with dated and overstuffed furnishings.

A professional stager’s job is to provide an unbiased viewpoint and offer advice to help you and your client sell fast. The primary objective is to help sellers sell and help buyers visualize themselves living there.

So, in short, yes you can sell a property that’s not staged, but at what cost?

If a professional staging service is not within the budget, my recommendation, at minimum, is to advise the clients to declutter every living space, including the garage, by a minimum of 30 to 50 per cent. Remove oversized furniture and create a warm and inviting space for buyers to help them see the potential in the property for themselves. The more you and your client put into the preparation of the property, the greater the benefit, both in time and money.

Award-winning Certified UltimateStager, redesigner and owner Nina Doiron is the principal at iStage& Organize. She provides an objective and experienced eye to attract more buyers and help sell for top dollar. She will also help you declutter and get organized. She says she will “inspire redesign ideas so that you’ll fall in love with your home again.” Call 416-993-0131.

17 COMMENTS

  1. My board just offered a seminar for $ 35.00 to get a certificate to be a CSA (Certified Staging Advocate). Is that all what it takes to baffle sellers ?

    • Hi Sabine, I will likely be the one to teach that course. I hope you’ll attend. The intent of the course to teach you to understand the impact of staging and how best to position staging with your clients, how to work with a stager and what you need to know about the staging contract in order to protect yourself and your client. I hope to see you there.

    • As the old saying goes: “Bullshit baffles brains”.

      The key word in the “CSA” acronym is “Advocate”. The certificate simply implies that the holder of same simply is an advocate who is in favour of staging a home for sale and who will advocate for that position. Thus a naive seller is being led to believe that the CSA person is a professional stager. After all, THIRTY-FIVE BUCKS were spent along with a short time watching a seminar presentation! Professionalism in a nut shell! That is where the bullshit factor rears its misrepresentative head.

      Decades ago I earned a B.A., a three-year university degree (Political Science) which did not automatically qualify me as being a professional politician; it simply allowed me to more effectively understand the world of politics domestically and globally That degree cost me many thousands of dollars and three years of rigorous study. Thirty-five bucks, a passive seminar and one gets to put “CSA” after one’s name? “WTF”?

  2. Food for thought …always surprised to hear sales reps base their generalized statements on just their personal experiences.

    • Thank you for the comment Peter :). I think that it’s important to consider one’s personal experience and then tie it in with a broader viewpoint in order to get a clearer big picture. Studies are never 100% accurate as it’s based on a sample, but it does offer us a guideline to base our plans and strategic direction on.

  3. Uhhhhh, I’ve been doing this for 32 years and although staging helps for sure I think these stats are very biased. Also I have never reduced my listing prices every two weeks by two percent – ever. An objective piece would be so much more beneficial

    • Hi Alan, the figures I stated above is just a sample to proove the point that a staging investment is typically less than that of the 1st price reduction. Even though the GTA market has changed significantly within the last year, I am definitely observing that price reductions are happening within less than a month. Of course, I’m not privy to the reason why, but it’s definitely a trend.

  4. I would prefer to see a study done on the benefit of staging by a company that is at arm’s length from RESA.

    • Hi Sandra, The DOM and price stats are based on a study done in the US conducted by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. The remaining pricing stats stated above is based on pricing in the GTA market. Although some of the stats are from the US, I find that many of our markets are similar. I am in agreement that we need to have more of an independent study for the Canadian market. As a member of RESA, I’m trying to help lead the way in this area within the association.

      • And this is the part that throws me into a loop every time. I have staged properties in the past so I don’t have a problem in principle. But every single time I ask for a statistic (like over the last 10 years) it’s an American one. We all know what happened to the US market vs. the Canadian market in 2008. There is zero comparison as to the market conditions since then (although the last 2/3 years the market in the US is finally coming out of the big gaping hole they were in). The markets are as dis-similar as one an imagine. Consequently none of the US statistics hold any water here in Canada. I do own property int he USA and dare to say that I know what I am talking about. Anything else is just a sales pitch for staging.

        • Hi Sabine, the lack of Canadian statistics is definitely not unique for the staging industry. Any industry that is small and still relatively new has this unfortunate disadvantage. Each staging company keeps their own statistics based on their own projects. It’s not national or even province wide, but the data is definitely there to support the impact of staging. We compare our stats with that of the TREB Market Watch report. RESA is definitely working hard to help gather and consolidate a Canadian study. Please stay tuned!

  5. What a bunch of malarkey. I have been selling properties for 25 years and have never heard of the “Common Practice” of recommending a two percent price reduction every two weeks. If the market indicates that the average number of days on the market to be thirty to forty days why would a realtor suggest a price reduction before the property had been on the market for a reasonable amount of time?
    To suggest that staging will reduce time on the market by thirty to fifty percent is also erroneous , I have seen many beautifully staged homes sitting on the market for months and months. Why? One possible reason is because someone sold the owner on expensive home staging and the end result is an inflated listing price to meet the Seller’s expectations of the value of home staging.
    The author further suggest that Buyer’s want to Buy a “move in ready Home” and continues by stating Buyer’s do not want to fix or repair anything. While this may be true this has nothing to do with placing a nice throw blanket over an arm chair to make a room look nice. Buyer’s are not buying the staged furniture , that will be gone once they move in and any repairs or fixes will still have to be done.
    I cannot imagine a prudent Buyer looking at a fifteen hundred square foot townhouse on a street with fifty similar townhouses all with similar layouts , lots and features with five listed for sale. And then decide to pay twenty thousand dollars more because one was staged and one was not. They would most likely purchase the property that was mechanically sound for the best price possible.
    While staging a home is a nice service for a realtor to offer for a resale property, it is market conditions that will dictate real estate values. This is why “Valuing a property based on staging effects” is not an accepted method of valuation by the Appraisal Institute of Canada.

    • Hi David, thank you for your comment. I agree that staging alone is not going to cut it. The success is in using a combination of tactics, especially in a competitive market. If the property is well over priced, a well executed staging may not be enough to push it to sell. If the house is really dated and in poor condition and the homeowner is unwilling to make any of the recommended changes, I have adviced both the homeowner and the agent that staging alone is not going to help. However, in a competitive market, it is going to make a difference to help one property stand out from another. Some of the most successful agent and brokerage in our market incorporate some level of staging with all of their listing. They do so because they recognize it it helps. I recently worked on a property just north of the GTA that was listed $100,000 more than it’s competitive listings, some of which had ravine backing and were even larger. The only problem is that they were not updated and cluttered. The home I worked on sold while the others remained on the market. Since then, a few more has sold in the neighbourhood, but all were $70K-$100K less than the property I staged which was full update (inside and outside).

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