As an active home stager and marketing consultant, I am often asked when is the best time to stage or prep a home for sale. I am also asked "Do I really need to go to that much trouble?" I do find that many more homesellers are understanding the importance of careful staging. And the best time to do it is way before you list. Normal scenario is "Homeowner decides to sell. Gets agent. Agent recommends they change a few things or get a staging consultation. Agent is anxious to list. Seller is anxious to sell. Time to prep house is shortened and everyone feels time constraints."
This scenario creates stress for everyone and ususally makes things more expensive and perhaps not done as carefully as they should be.
I would recommend a professioanl staging consultation as soon as you even think you may be going to market. Or if you are thinking of making some changes to your home and you want to know how they will impact selling down the road, a good stager can give you an idea of Return on Investment for different projects as well as design ideas and strategies.
Studies repeatedly show that staging helps homes sell faster and for more money. And in today's market that is critical. My company, TWEAK, offers customized staging consultations based on your goals, budget, skills, and timeline. The best part of my job is helping a homeowner make changes to her home that results in a quick sale so she can move on with her life.
Here's a great example. Mr. F needed to sell his home to relocate for his wife's job. They listed with an agent and didn't change a thing. Six months went by with no offers during the prime selling season. They decided to use a different agent. Fortunately, this agent understood the importance of presentation. He called me in immediately, lined up help with some of the bigger projects and even helped himself. The owner left town to be with his wife and said "Do what you need to do to sell". After 4 days, new pictures went up on the MLS. The former agent showed it to clients who had viewed it before. They loved the new and improved version and bought it. It was under contract about 2 weeks after listing. When you consider the cost of owning that home for six months, it becomes amazingly clear what a bargain home staging can be.
Mr.F, agent, buyer and stager were all very happy.
If you are even thinking of selling your property in the near future, I would stongly advise a professional staging consultation. Real Estage agents can be very helpful in suggesting changes, however, not all of them can. And they seldom provide a detailed written and illustrated report that includes estimates and a priority list. I can.