A new survey from the National Association of Realtors®shows that 83% of buyers' agents say that staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize a property as their future home, according to NAR's 2019 Profile of Home Staging.

"Buying a house is more than a financial decision; it is an emotional decision as well. Buyers aren't just making an investment in a property, they are purchasing a place to call home; to raise their children; to begin a new chapter; or to retire to a new season of life," said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor®from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty.

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According to the report, more than half of sellers' agents said that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, with 25% saying that it greatly decreases the time and 28% saying it slightly decreases the time.

The report contains a new section called "Buyer Expectations," which focuses on how home buying television shows are impacting Realtors®' businesses as well as home buyers' views on the home buying process. 38% of respondents say that television shows that display the home buying process have had an impact on their business, while 32% say they witnessed no impact and 31% say they do not know if they have an impact.The report found that a median of 20% of buyers were disappointed by how homes look compared to homes they see on television shows. Thirty-nine% of respondents stated that buyers found the home buying process to be more difficult than their expectations. A median of 10% of respondents cited that buyers felt homes should look the way they do when staged on TV shows.

Among these respondents, 40% of buyer' agents said staging has an effect on most buyers, while 52% stated that staging has an effect on some buyers' opinion of a home. Only 6% said that it has no impact on buyers.

Realtors® who represent buyers report that the living room is the most important room in a home to stage (47%). Buyers' agents say the next most important rooms are the master bedroom (42%) and then the kitchen (35%); sellers' agents agree with those rooms, but in reverse order. The guest bedroom is considered the least important room to stage.

44% of buyers' agents report that staging a home increased the financial offer on a home. 25% say staging a home increases its dollar value by 1% to 5% and 12% said that it increases the dollar value 6 to 10%. 29% of buyers' agents stated it has no impact on dollar value. Only 1% of buyers' agents felt that staging has a negative impact on a home's dollar value.

Sellers' agents report even more value added from staging: 22% reported an increase of 1 to 5% in dollar value offered by buyers, 17% reported an increase of 6 to 10%, 5% reported an increase of 11 to 15% and 2% reported an increase of 16 to 20%. In fact, no sellers' agents reported a negative impact from home staging.

When deciding which homes to stage, 28% of sellers' agents say they stage all of their clients' homes before listing them. 45% of sellers' agents said they do not stage homes before listing them, but they recommend sellers declutter their homes and fix any faults within the property. 13% said they only stage homes that are difficult to sell, and 7% stage only homes in higher price brackets.

Who pays for the home staging? The seller pays before listing the home 18% of the time, sellers' agents in will personally provide funds to stage the home in 26% of cases, and in 17% of occasions, agents will offer home staging services.

In addition to staging, agents recommended sellers take these important actions: 95% recommend decluttering the home, 89% recommend an entire home cleaning and 83% recommend removing pets from the home during showings. Other pre-sale projects include carpet cleaning, depersonalizing the home and making minor repairs.

In February 2019, NAR invited a random sample of 48,728 active Realtor® members to fill out an online survey. A total of 2,076 usable responses were received for an overall response rate of 4.2%. At the 95% confidence level, the margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.15%.