Many homeowners live in their houses while selling them, which lessens the need for staging. However, if you’ve already moved away or you’re selling a vacant rental property, you’ll have to decide whether to leave your house empty or furnish it.

Professional staging is expensive, but leads to a faster sale because it makes your home more appealing to buyers. Staged homes usually fetch higher sale prices than empty houses, so the extra expense may be worth it.

To help you decide if you should shell out on rental furniture, here are the pros and cons of staging your empty house.

Should You Stage Your Home or Leave it Empty: Pros and Cons

Staged Homes Usually Sell Faster and For More Money

Staging makes your home more attractive to potential buyers, which can help it sell faster and for more money. Ninety-five percent of staged homes sell in 11 days or less, which is 87% faster than non-staged homes. They also sell for an average of 17% more, so you could recoup the cost of staging and then some.

However, local market conditions can affect the return you get from staging. So it’s always best to ask a qualified real estate agent whether or not staging is worth it in your area.

Staging Helps Buyers Envision Themselves in Your Home

An empty house can feel cold and sterile, which is the opposite of what most buyers are looking for. In a recent survey, 40% of real estate agents said that staging—or lack thereof—can affect a buyer’s view of a home.

A further 83% believe that furnishings make it easier for buyers to envision themselves living in a house. So if you accessorize your home instead of leaving it bare, it may lead to a quicker sale.

Staging Can Be Costly

Professional staging is a big expense. It costs between $750 and $2,400 per month depending on how much furniture your home needs. If you’re juggling two housing payments because you’ve already moved out of your house, the high cost of staging may cause financial strain.

If you’re on a budget, you can try to furnish your empty house yourself. DIY staging costs around $350 and could increase your home’s sale price by as much as $2,000. But if you don’t have an eye for design, you should get some guidance from your real estate agent. Furniture that’s mismatched, bulky, or outdated can give buyers a bad first impression and cause them to offer less money for your home.

Staging Doesn’t Make Much Difference in Expensive Markets

If your home is located in an expensive area, you probably won’t get a big return from staging it. Studies have shown that empty homes in high-cost real estate markets like San Jose sell for under 1% less than staged houses. Since you probably won’t make the money you spend on staging back, it’s better to leave your home empty.

However, staging makes a big difference in low-cost markets. In Omaha, Nebraska, vacant houses sold for 7.2% more if they still had furnishings. That’s a $15,000 difference, so it’s worth shelling out for staging.

Empty Houses Look Smaller

A recent study showed that the main thing today’s buyers are looking for is space. Empty houses usually seem smaller than furnished ones, especially in listing photos, which could put your vacant home at a disadvantage. If there isn’t any furniture to help buyers gauge the size of each room, they may write off your house as too small for their growing family.

Buyers Will See Every Flaw in an Empty House

Furniture not only makes a home look warm and inviting, but also distracts from flaws like dents in the walls and chips in the tiles. Buyers are more likely to see signs of wear and tear in an empty house, which may give them a negative perception of the condition of your home. This could cause them to offer less money or walk away entirely.

Empty Houses Attract Burglars

You might think that there isn’t anything of value in an empty house, so thieves won’t break in. But burglars are still interested in vacant homes because the pipes and water meter are made of metal that they can sell.

In fact, one of the main things burglars look for when deciding which houses to rob are signs of vacancy like an overflowing mailbox. So keeping some furniture in your home may make your home less vulnerable to property crime and save you thousands of dollars in damages.

About Danielle Verboski

Whether you are looking for homes for sale or looking for a real estate agent to sell your home, having a dedicated professional who is committed to excellence is essential to a smooth real estate transaction. I am that person! The path to and from home ownership is best traveled with an experienced professional. Let me lead the way and help simplify the process. Born and raised in Connecticut, my level of expertise in the local area and market is unparalleled. With over 12 years experience in the customer service industry, the undivided attention that all clients receive while working with me is what sets me apart from the rest. I am personally committed to each and every one of my clients, no matter what their role is in the Connecticut real estate market.