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Real Estate

New report questions the value of home staging

Staging may not be important and may not raise residential sales prices, according to researchers at the College of William & Mary.

The study polled 820 homebuyers who were shown a series of six virtual tours of a single property, each focusing either on wall color or furnishings. The tours showed the property without furniture, with "ugly" furniture, with "good" furniture, and with wall colors such as neutral beige and an "unattractive" shade of purple.

The researchers determined that buyers would pay the same price for the home, no matter how it was staged.

"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," the researchers concluded. Study co-author Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at the College of William & Mary, speculates that today's buyers are savvy and recognize that staging involves cosmetic changes that are not expensive.

However, because these buyers thought others would spend more on the property, Seiler said, "I am definitely not ready to say spending money on staging would be a waste."

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