Home staging massively increases your chances of selling a house

Properties that look lived-in sell better than those that are empty; but what is home staging, and is it worth it?

a living room staged for sale by EHG Home
(Image credit: EHG Home/Home Staging Association)

A recent Home Staging report demonstrates that people are much more likely to want to buy a property that looks lived in – in fact, 62 per cent of property professionals and a unanimous 100 per cent of estate agents say that staging an empty house for selling helps increase chances of a sale as it allows potential buyers to visualise the property better. 

Better still, according to the Home Staging Association UK, home staging could get sellers an offer that's up to 10 per cent higher than if the property were left untended. Worth looking into? We think so.

So what is home staging, and how can it be used for an empty property to maximise those viewings and offers? 

What is home staging?

Property staging – or home staging – is when you hire professionals to make your home or property as appealing to as many potential buyers as possible. This might usually be by dressing an empty property so that it looks lived-in and inviting, but it could also include making a bright, bold (and perhaps off-putting) decorative scheme more neutral, or cleaning and sprucing an empty rental property that's been left in a terrible state by former tenants. 

You can use professional home stagers, or have a go yourself, if you have an eye for interior design.

Living room staged by EHG Home

(Image credit: EHG Home/Home Staging Association)

What home stagers do

Maybe you're thinking of DIYing your home staging – or just want to know more about what home stagers do? The first thing to tackle is cleaning. If you don't have time to do it yourself, hire a professional cleaner for the weekend before viewings start. Areas to concentrate on in particular are the kitchen, the bathrooms, and flooring, especially if you have carpets. 

Next: depersonalising, especially if the property's decorative style is very eclectic or eccentric. Neutral is what you're going for. While it's true that your potential buyers won't be moving into the house furnished as it is, they may find it difficult to imagine it as theirs if it looks too personalised. You may want to invest in some light-coloured soft furnishings, too.

a kitchen diner staged for sale by EHG Home

Kitchen staged by EHG Home

(Image credit: EHG Home/Home Staging Association)

The vast majority of buyers want bright, airy rooms, so the next thing to look at is cleaning all windows, opening up blinds and curtains (in fact, you may wish to take down any dark curtains for the viewings). If doing viewings in the evenings, think carefully about lighting: turn on all your side lights as well as the overhead lights to add dimension to the space. 

Whether you are staging an empty home, or your furniture has seen better days, renting beautiful furniture is one of the surest ways to make your home attractive to prospective buyers. If in doubt, go for a contemporary (but not ultra-modern), neutral-coloured furniture. This will, of course, cost you money, but if you need a quick sale, it will help. If you're hiring a professional home stager, they will organise this for you.

What does home staging cost – and is it worth it?

Costs vary widely, depending on where the property is, and its value and size, plus, of course the work that needs doing on it. 

As a general idea, it's worth knowing that many UK companies will often offer a free initial consultation, but if there's no one in your area that does, expect to pay between £50 to £200 for the initial meeting then from £20 to £75 per hour for the staging work.

In the USA, where this is an established business, expect to pay from $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and between $500 to $600 per month per room.

Is it worth it? It's all about the maths. If your property is of a high value and is proving difficult to shift and your estate agent or realtor has advised that your property needs staging to heighten interest, it's definitely worth totting up the costs versus potential profit/speed of sale. If your property is low value, it's a DIY job most of us could tackle with our eyes shut – even if a talented friend helps with the styling advice.

Need more practical advice? Find out how to sell a house or flat in our expert guide

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.