If you've spent any time shopping for real estate in recent years, you've probably noticed that many homes have similar looks. They are meticulously decorated but are somewhat generic, like a nice hotel. The odds are that what you've seen is home staging.

Stagers are experts in home decor who specialize in making homes more salable. While stagers have been around for a long time, they're relatively new to most homeowners.

Is Staging Really Necessary?

Even if your home is immaculate and perfectly decorated, it's decorated for you. Home stagers specialize in clearing the clutter, even if the clutter is simply your favorite knick-knacks and pictures. They'll usually supplement your best pieces of furniture with temporary furniture. They'll arrange to have the rest of your belongings moved to storage.

Staging isn't cheap. On average, you'll pay about $500 to $600 per room per month. Many have a three-month minimum. That doesn't include any additional items they may need to buy for your home, such as new towels, flower arrangements, etc.

A study of 820 homebuyers determined that superficial changes like paint color and staging have little impact on a home's price.

The study surveyed 820 homebuyers by professors of real estate and finance at the College of William and Mary. It had them virtually tour a single home. In the virtual tours, they compared wall colors like purple to a neutral color. They had beautiful furniture and ugly furniture. It turned out that buyers weren't fooled by superficiality.

Do Buyers Respond Better To Staged Homes?

In one virtual tour, the buyers saw the home without furniture. In another virtual tour, they saw the same property, but with “ugly” furniture. In yet another virtual tour, they saw the same property, but with “good” furniture. The wall color variations included a neutral beige and an “unattractive” purple.

As it turned out, neither wall color nor furnishings made much of an impact on the potential sale price. According to the study, buyers were willing to pay the same price, about $204,000, regardless of how the property was staged.

“(Staging) choices do not appear to have a significant effect on the actual revealed market value of the property,” the study’s authors wrote. “These results stand in stark contrast to the conscious opinion of both buyers and real estate agents that staging conditions significantly impact willingness to pay for a home.”

Source: Bankrate

There Is A Happy Middle Ground

Still, you want to put your home's best foot forward, even if it is only for the listing photographs (it's always best to hire a professional photographer). Realtor.com has some simple steps for staging.

Featured image via Pexels.