When you see a staged home, what you see is a performance - a home that has been made to look better than it actually might be. Staged homes are nice to look at, but homebuyers need to be careful to not get caught up in the presentation and lose sight of what is "real" in the home. Not all staging is done to "cover" something, but staging may strategically distract a buyer from seeing something undesirable. Unless you are buying a home that is fully furnished and decorated, you will be buying the same walls, floors and layout you would get if you were seeing the home completely empty. Staging in and of itself is not necessarily bad. Staging can help showcase the better features of a home to buyers.
Home staging in Utah is on the rise. More and more homes are being staged. Exclusive buyer's agents can easily spot staged homes. Often the stager has often gone overboard. Buyers who know that a home has been staged can consider WHY the home may have been staged in that way. While staged homes give a good first impression, potential buyers should try to imagine the home as they will receive it at closing or envision the home with the buyer's own furniture and decor in it.
The actual value of a staged home should not be higher than the same home unstaged. But staging does generally fetch a higher purchase price... primarily because some buyers perceive the home as being worth more than they would value the exact same home if it were full of moving boxes, etc. The place settings on the table, nice comforters on the beds, fancy exercise equipment... most of that will not come with the home. A house that smells good with relaxing music playing in the background shouldn't influence a buyer one way or another.
It is true that in general, furnished or semi-furnished homes are more enjoyable to look at than completely vacant homes. Some furniture here and there helps a home show it's best and gives a buyer perspective regarding room size and potential uses.
But buyers need to make sure they aren't overlooking important things that can be easily missed when viewing a staged home. For example, sometimes a stager removes all the dining room chairs or even a refrigerator to artificially make a small area seem large enough for day-to-day use when it actually isn't. They may use two love seats or a love seat and a recliner to make an area appear large enough to fit a sofa, when a full size sofa might not fit in that room. An experienced agent can often tell if furniture has purposely been removed from a room or if smaller than typical furnishings have been used to make a space appear larger. Buyer's need an agent who will speak up and make sure the buyers are noticing and considering these things.
The Listing (or Staging) Agent isn't going to tell a prospective buyer at an open house, "You know, this dining area might be a tad too small for you and your 3 kids." Their job is to sell the home. They work for the Seller. Make sure that you have an Exclusive Buyers Agent on your side - one that will point out both the good things and the not so good aspects of a home, so that you are viewing it with eyes wide open and not just looking at the pretty packaging!
Remember Exclusive Buyer's Agents do not list homes and will not ask you to limit your level of representation. They will be 100% on your side during the transaction, representing YOU, negotiating on YOUR behalf and protecting YOUR interests.
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