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Trying to sell a vacant home? Why you should stage your home professionally

If you’re wondering why it’s been months since you put your home on the market and it still hasn’t sold, it may well be because it’s empty.

It’s much harder to attract online browsers to a home that is unfurnished as all they see are naked walls and floors. And if they don’t like what they see online, you can be sure they won’t be spending their Sunday afternoons viewing your property.

Give emotional cues

Vacant properties offer no clues to the prospective buyer that this might their dream home. This is also – and perhaps especially – true of development and flipped investment properties. As beautifully finished as they are, there is little to distinguish them from other properties. Essentially, to an online browser, they all look the same. Vacant properties tend to sit on the market for months, going stale, suffering from overexposure and eventually a reduction in price.

Take a look at these photos that I have taken onscreen shots. They are all great renovations. You can see that the finishes are good, and the paintwork fresh. The cupboards and flooring look new. BUT is there anything in these photos that says “hello” to you? Does one stand out over the other?

More than that, can you tell that these are three different properties?

(PS These are all screen shots of apartments in Seapoint, ranging from R3 to R6 million.)

Buyers are looking for clues to visually hook them in; to gve them a glimpse of the lifestyle they are looking for. An empty property does not speak of a lifestyle, of a place to call home.

Styling to appeal to specific markets

That’s why staging your empty property professionally is such a good idea. A professional stager knows how to give hints to prospective buyers that resonate with them. We style homes to appeal to buyers in specific target markets. A Gauteng parent looking for an investment flat for their first year university-going child will subliminally pick up clues such as a Mr Price desk with text books and a big squishy bean bag to flop down on. The same décor would not be appropriate for a house that is being marketed to retirees!

Staging is an investment

Of course, bringing in a professional company is not free. But since you’re selling probably your biggest financial asset, you should consider this an investment, not a cost. In fact, the cost of staging a home is far less than a price reduction.

Most staging costs less between 0,5 and 1% of the asking price, while the typical first price reduction on a property is around 6-8%. On a R4 million property, we’re talking around R20 000 for staging, but around R240 000 for a price reduction. And that’s before you’ve factored in the bond, insurance, rates and taxes and other payments you have to keep making while your house is unsold.

So does staging work?

If your home is priced right, it definitely does. Here’s one example: This home was on the market empty for three months, with only one low offer. The sellers were getting desperate as they were paying the bond, rates and taxes and insurance!

I was called in to stage it. Within two weeks after staging, it was sold close to asking price!

In short, you can keep marketing an empty home and hoping for the best. Or you can stage it, and recoup what you spend.

A a detailed report or a full staging service. We’d love to help. Call 084 843 2426 or email

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