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Amanda Whitehead
Gateway Mortgage
(O) 256.615.1460
(E) amanda.whitehead@gatewayloan.com

Kendra Cummings
NextHome Limitless Realty
(C): 256.620.2173
(O): 256.841.6767

Staging a Home Like It’s 2022

Staging a Home Like It’s 2022

Staging a Home Like It’s 2022

Staging a home is likely to result in more showings and a better sale, most REALTORS® would agree. But staging in 2022 – affected by pandemic concerns, supply chain issues and time constraints – can be quite different than staging practices that first emerged in the 1970s. Early staging techniques focused on the three D’s – decluttering, depersonalizing and décor. Prices for services varied widely as did the expertise and inventory of the stagers. Now, staging is widely accepted and has adapted to meet homeowners’ needs.

Impact on Buyers and Sellers

A 2019 survey by the National Association of REALTORS® found that 28 percent of sellers’ agents routinely employ home staging to help move listings – most commonly the living room, master bedroom, kitchen and dining room. Twenty-two percent of sellers’ agents found that staged homes increased offers by one to five percent over similar homes, and 17 percent found that staging increased value by six to 10 percent. Buyers’ agents, according to the survey, also found staging helpful.


Forty percent said staging had an impact on most buyers; 52 percent said it had an effect on some buyers, but not always; and only six percent said staging had no effect.


Staging can also influence the time a property is on the market. Agents responding to NAR’s survey found that staged homes had less time on market. Twenty-eight percent cited slight decreases and 25 percent said staging greatly decreased time on market. Twelve percent found no effect and nine percent reported increased time on market.


How Much and Who Pays

In the early years of staging, there were few truly professional stagers. With staging more commonplace and in demand, there is an abundance of stagers with fees ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands – some charge a percentage of the listing price. NAR’s survey found that 26 percent of sellers’ agents personally offered to stage their client’s home. When the seller paid for home staging, 18 percent paid before the home was listed and only five percent paid after the home sold. Seventeen percent of sellers’ agents offered a home staging service to their clients and 15 percent hired a professional home staging service. Either the seller or their REALTOR® pays for staging. NAR’s survey reports the median cost for staging was $400.


Since the 2019 survey, staging fees spiked in response to increased demand and the cost of maintaining a carefully curated inventory of furniture and décor items. A recent NAR article on home staging cited fees of up to eight to 10 percent of listing price.

A more cost-effective approach may lie in a new trend – virtual staging. Aimed at buyers who already are comfortable with online listings, virtual tours and layouts, virtual staging offers REALTORS® and their clients a way to declutter, depersonalize and update décor with edited photos. Stay-at-home orders and pandemic precautions gave rise to virtual staging first as consultations. Professional stagers would analyze photos and make suggestions for furniture removal and placement that homeowners could perform. As pandemic restrictions eased, virtual staging continued to evolve and is in demand, especially by sellers uncomfortable with strangers coming into their homes. Virtual staging may be less expensive and faster since changes are made via images instead of trucks full of furnishings. Time is money and virtual staging allows a faster home re-do. Instead of arranging for a furniture mover, a seller’s virtual stager can “move” items large and small with a mouse click.

Virtual staging fees vary with vendors and the services they offer. Some charge per room photo or by the number of items changed in each image. Others work for a flat fee for services as basic as simple image alterations to a virtual home makeover with consultations. Turnaround time can be as quick as 24-hours or longer for more extensive work.

Which is better? Whether staging is real, virtual or a combination of both, it can improve the visual appeal of an online listing.  Since web appeal is today’s equivalent of curb appeal, it’s an important tool in competing for a buyer’s time for a personal visit. Virtual staging, much like curb appeal, entices a buyer to look but may lead to disappointment when viewed in person.

Staging Tips

Whether staging a home traditionally or virtually, here are a few must-do tips to quickly make a home shine online:


1. Clean

Floor to ceiling cleaning – with special emphasis on kitchen appliances and bathrooms – will not only make a home look its best, it assures potential buyers that the home is well maintained.

Potential buyers understand that a family lives in the house, but the goal is to make it so clean that a new family could feel comfortable moving in right away. Pick a place to hide away the half-used soap bar, toothbrushes, shampoo, and other toiletries every morning. In the kitchen, a new (dry) dishtowel, uncluttered countertops, and sparkling surfaces involve minimal effort yet leaves a lasting good impression.

2. Declutter

Items that won’t be moved to or fit in a new home should be removed – store them temporarily or donate. Experts say closets should contain only matching hangers and current-season clothing. Purge outdated, no longer worn items to donate and store the rest. Local thrift stores will welcome always in demand household items and clothing. Bonus tip: Get a receipt for a deduction at tax time. 

Reduce the number of items on bookshelves and visible cabinet shelves. Carefully select what remains.

Don’t forget to declutter the pantry removing out-of-date food.

Pack away games and hobby materials.

Garages and storage buildings can easily become the repository of clutter. At least organize the contents to create as much space as possible.

Remember, the more uncluttered, empty space, the better. Allow potential buyers to see the amount of space without distraction

3. De-Pet

Pets are beloved family members in many homes. There are homebuyers, however, who are allergic to or afraid of the most adorable pets. Find a place to keep pets during showings and a place to store bowls, beds and litter boxes. Anything that remains in view, like a fish tank, should be immaculately clean. Virtual stagers can remove pet items like crates, beds, litter boxes, and food bowls from room photos. It’s almost like Princess and Peppy were never there.

4. Depersonalize

Go beyond removing the refrigerator magnets, family photos, and kids’ artwork. Look around and store most items that communicate who lives there. Toys, cosmetics, and souvenirs should be stored.

Once the house is depersonalized, look for a few things to add back to keep it from appearing too sanitized. A trophy in a child’s room or a nice collectible may help a buyer visualize a happy family – like theirs – living in the home.

5. Decor

Décor is an expression of the current homeowner’s style but, if the goal is making a home attractive to a buyer, décor should be as neutral as possible. Rooms with an obvious theme like tropical trees and plants or everything farmhouse should be staged with a more neutral look by removing some themed items.

Pack away religious items and political messages. The same goes for items with sports logos. Aubie and Big Al deserve a little vacation. Collections – especially large ones – can distract potential buyers. Pack collections away until they reach their new home.

For more real and virtual home staging tips, visit investopedia.com and The Top Dos and Don’ts of Virtual Staging.

Staging a Home Like It’s 2022 (alabamarealtors.com)

How Your Equity Can Grow Over Time

How Your Equity Can Grow Over Time

How Your Equity Can Grow Over Time

It’s true that record levels of home price appreciation have spurred significant equity gains for homeowners over the past few years. As Diana Olick, Real Estate Correspondent at CNBC, says:

“The stunning jump in home values over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has given U.S. homeowners record amounts of housing wealth.”

That’s great for your home’s value over the last couple of years, but what if you’ve lived in your home for longer than that? You may be wondering how much equity you truly have.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has done a study to calculate the typical equity gains over longer spans of time. The data they compiled could be enough to motivate you to move. Just remember, to find out how much equity you have in your specific home, you’ll want to get a professional equity assessment from a trusted real estate advisor.

How Your Equity Grows

Let’s start by establishing how you build equity in your home. While price appreciation is clearly a factor that can help boost your equity, you also build equity over time as you pay down your home loan. NAR explains:

“Home equity gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage through principal payments.”

Average Equity Growth over Time

The study from NAR breaks down the typical equity gain over time (see graph below). It calculates the equity a homeowner potentially gained if they purchased the median-priced home 5, 10, or 30 years ago and still own it today.


These six-figure numbers are impressive and certainly enough to help you fuel a move into your next home, but they’re not a promised amount. Remember, your own equity gain will be different. It depends on how long you’ve been in the house, your home’s condition, any upgrades you’ve made, your area, and much more.

If you want to find out how much equity you have, partner with a trusted real estate professional for an equity assessment on your home. They can provide an expert opinion on what your house is worth today and how the equity you’ve gained over time can help you when you purchase your next home. It may be some (if not all) of what you need for your next down payment.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house and making a move, home equity can be a real game-changer, especially if you’ve been in your current home for a while. If you’re ready to find out how much equity you have, reach out to a local real estate advisor.

Source: How Your Equity Can Grow Over Time Keeping Current Matters (July 6, 2022) KCM Crew

My Family

CummingsMy real estate career began in 2018, with NextHome Limitless Realty in Cullman, Alabama. My husband and I have lived in Cullman our whole lives and we are currently raising our two boys here as well. As a full time professional realtor, I pride myself on offering you the best personal service before, during and after your transaction. Knowledge, commitment, honesty, expertise and professionalism are the cornerstone of my business. When I am not working with families to find them the perfect home, I enjoy being outdoors with my family. We love hiking, fishing, hunting, riding bikes, and playing all the sports. Let me earn your trust, your business and most importantly your friendship. I guarantee you will see the difference quality service makes. I look forward to working with you!