Economists' Outlook

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Q&A Corner: 2021 Profile of Home Staging

This year, the National Association of REALTORS® updated the Profile of Home Staging for 2021. The report looks at multiple aspects of home staging, including: the affects of home staging on how a buyer views a home, for example, making it easier to view the home as a potential home for the buyer; which rooms are most important to stage; and how the dollar value of offers changed for staged homes — among many other data points.

Brandi Snowden, director of Member and Consumer Survey Research, was the lead author of the report. In this conversational Q&A, she provides perspectives on how to use the report, insights into the data, and the results she found to be most interesting.

How old is this report, and why did it start?

Brandi Snowden: The Profile of Home Staging started in 2015 and the has been reproduced every two years since. The report started as we were hearing interest in home staging from the buyers' agent perspective and sellers' agent perspective. The report has evolved to also include agents' perspectives of buyer expectations during the home buying process, and how TV shows depicting the home buying process have an effect on potential buyers.

What questions is this report trying to answer?

Brandi Snowden: The 2021 Profile looks at the effects that home staging has on buyers and sellers, whether that is helping buyers visualize the property as a future home or having an impact on the time a home spends on the market for sellers. The report also looks at the rooms that buyers' and sellers' agents find are most commonly staged. We also ask how TV shows have influenced buyers in how they think homes should look compared to how they look on TV. The last section of the report looks at the expectations buyers have during the home buying process and examines how their expectations compare to the actual process.

Are there any new questions in the report?

Brandi Snowden: This year, we added new questions to the buyers' agent and sellers' agent sections to ask about the importance of having staging, photos, videos, and virtual tours for listing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among buyers' agents, having photos (83%), videos (74%), and virtual tours (73%) available for their listings was more important since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have also asked in past reports if buyers have an expectation of the number of homes that they expect to see, and this year we added in the option for the number of homes they expect to see in person and also virtually. Among those who did have an expectation, buyers expected to view a median of 10 homes in person and a median of 15 homes virtually.

What aspects of this report do you find most interesting?

Brandi Snowden: Looking at the how TV shows displaying the buying process have impacted REALTORS®' businesses, members said that these TV shows displaying the buying process often led to unrealistic or higher expectations of how homes should look. However, we also see that 27% also said that this led to more educated home buyers and home sellers. I think that this also influences buyer expectations, and before starting the buying process we see that they often have ideas of where they want to live, what they want from an ideal home, and how the buying process should work.

How can our members use this data?

Brandi Snowden: Both buyers' agents and sellers' agents can use this report in their own businesses as a way to see the effects that staging can have on potential buyers and sellers. They can also get a feel for the importance of certain rooms being staged, how staging can impact a home's time on the market, and the potential change in dollar value offered by buyers and sellers when compared to similar homes that were not staged. Members can also use the TV show and buyer expectations sections to get a feel for how their clients may be influenced during the home buying process and to help meet the expectations of their clients.

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