Stage That House for Higher Appraisals

Home Stager with Home Sweet Home Staging

From my page on (more "investigative" than "bloggy"!) ...


If you are still on the fence about the value of professionally staging a home for sale, here is another benefit to consider:  staged properties command higher appraisals.

Certified Residential Appraiser Linda Shurtliff, owner of Troy, MI-based Reliable Residential Appraisals, LLC agrees.  “A staged home has much more appeal than an unstaged home.  A staged home has no clutter, very few personal items and appears clean and welcoming.  A home that is well-maintained, has good functional utility including strategic staging of furniture, has fresh paint and is clean will appraise higher than one that’s not.”

Shurtliff, who has been appraising properties for 18 years and has owned her firm for 14 of those, has seen her share of houses for sale.  She knows that factors other than comps affect the final value.  “In doing an appraisal on a house, the appraiser estimates the current market value as of the day of inspection, but we also look at the house as a prospective buyer.  Everything is considered in an appraisal … how well it’s maintained, the quality of the cabinets, flooring, lighting, etc.”  Since the main goal of home staging is to present a home looking it’s very best, it follows that staging will address all of these factors and affect the appraisal.

“If something is really offensive, it forces us to look at lowering the range of value” according to Robert Vacanti, president of Northeastern Appraisal Associates.

Samantha Maziarz Christmann, Consumer Reporter for The Buffalo News offers the following tips:

  • Set the stage. Make the house look as nice as you can, as if you were staging it for a buyer. Making the home as pleasant as possible can help give the appraiser a subconscious nudge in your favor.
  • Got wild taste? You might want to consider toning it down for the appraiser.
  • Completing needed repairs won’t increase the value of your home, (but) neglecting repairs and maintenance will decrease the value.

A favorable appraisal is in everyone’s best interest.  The seller is justified in listing at a higher price point, the buyer feels confident that they have paid fair market value for the house, the mortgage lender will be more likely to approve the loan to the qualified buyer, and the listing agent makes the sale!

Many great outcomes follow from a small investment in staging.  Shurtliff sums up her belief in home staging:  “It’s one very good thing a homeowner can do to help make their home stand out from the rest.  They need to be able to detach themselves from their home, especially in today’s market, and let the professionals market it.”

Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing your tip. Many home sellers need this advice. Best wishes for continued success.

Mar 31, 2010 11:40 PM
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Great advice Marianne, thanks for an informative post.  Staging is so important, most buyers need to be able to visualize their own things in the home, not a lot of personal items that won't be there anyway.

Apr 01, 2010 12:16 AM
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

Marianne....great point and one that I hope realtors pass on to their sellers!!

Apr 01, 2010 01:53 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Marianne- thanks for pointing out another great reason to Stager your house!!

Apr 01, 2010 02:47 AM
Tessa Skeens
Hampton ReDesign, Home Staging and Redesign - Grand Junction, CO
Staging For Realtors, Builders & Investors

Thanks for sharing this valuable input Marianne. Just another way staging adds perceived value!

Apr 01, 2010 12:47 PM
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Excellent information Marianne.  We always encourage our vacant and occupied home sellers to leave the home staged until After appraisal.  Great article to support our recommendation.  Thank you for sharing.

Apr 02, 2010 10:40 PM
Julie Davis, Amy Blank - Rediscovered Interiors, LLC
Rediscovered Interiors, LLC - Andover, MN

Some Realtors even ask for us to leave our inventory in the property until the inspection is over for the very same reason you mentioned above.  They know the property looks better even for that, rather then completely empty!  I love the points made though coming from the inspector themselves.  Thanks for sharing!!


Apr 03, 2010 06:30 AM
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

This is such a great blog. 

I told clients of mine to get an appraisal of the house BEFORE we did all the work to get it ready.

It's an Estate and we all know the PR gets to do all the dirty work while the siblings sit back and complain.

We us getting the appraisal first the families expectations to will be low.  After the work is done and the offer comes in for a higher amount the PR will look like a god.  They won't complain about how much was spent.  They will be happy that they are getting a higher share.



Apr 04, 2010 03:30 AM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

This is a great article!! I attended the spring stagers meetup 3-26 in So Calif and one of the speakers was an appraiser. She spoke about this and importance of  staging and leaving the inventory in the home until all contingencies are removed.

Apr 04, 2010 07:14 AM
Liz Lopez
Blue Skies Real Estate Photography - Atlanta, GA

Great article Marianne.  I just had a friend sell her non-staged townehome in less than a week after listing.  I had talked to her about staging but her agent told her a few things to do to 'stage' and said that her place was going to have a tough time selling because of some nearby foreclosures.  By the way, she did none of the 'Staging To Do's' as they were the generic realtor staging tips.  My friend said her townehome sold for a price that made her cry but she reconciled with that fact because the appraiser only took into consideration the foreclosures and she felt 'lucky' to sell. Another words, Staging would have been a waste of her time and money considering the low price she was getting for her townehome anyway.  Just out of curiosity I asked her if anyone was present during the appraisal and she said her realtor forbid anyone there but the appraisor.  I was about to tell her that anything will sell if it's cheap enough but she was still in shock over the low price she was having to accept and I didn't want to make her even more upset.  But the saddest part of all is that she unknowingly scared two staging prospects into selling quickly without staging.  I really don't think her realtor wasn't looking out for her best interest by selling for a price that was ridiculously low and then not making her home look its best for the appraisal.  Thank goodness for good appraisers like Shurtliff.


Apr 06, 2010 10:41 AM
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

You're so right Marianne. We staged a home that included painting the interior and the appraiser agreed to base the appraisal on new construction. The sellers would never have gotten their asking price otherwise.

Apr 10, 2010 01:07 PM