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Smith: Demand remains for staging luxury homes in South Florida, despite pandemic

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 4/28/2020 By Rebecca San Juan, The Miami Herald

Measures to contain the spread of coronavirus are still shifting by the day — and so are responses by investors, developers, builders, banks and buyers. To track the impact in real time, RE 5/8 source Miami is asking real estate professionals in various sectors for on-the-ground reports.

Today we hear from Carole Smith, vice president of Compass Realty, on demand for home staging. Sellers in South Florida dropped anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000 on a variety of treatments — from painting to adding temporary home furnishings — to showcase a home listed at over $1 million prior to the pandemic. Work still exists to stage vacant condos and single-family homes, Smith said, while demand for those with residences has diminished.

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted demand for home staging in South Florida?

Sellers, more than ever, understand the need for home staging. They truly understand that their first showing will be online and they want to put their best foot forward to engage that buyer to schedule an appointment to see the house in person.

Of course we always have the concern about strangers coming into a home so the only homes I have had staged in the last six weeks have been vacant ones.

Q: Where do your home staging projects stand?

We are closing on some homes, as we speak, that were staged and the furniture and accessories are being removed. We have not staged any new homes in April, but we have a brand new construction which will be staged in the next two weeks as the finishing touches are being put on the house. That’s the first one for us, but I know that [other] stagers have done others.

Q: Who is still staging their homes?

The price ranges do vary but it is the higher-end homes which are being staged. It also depends on the reason the home is being placed on the market at this time. If personal reasons dictate a need to sell the home and if there is sufficient equity in the home, staging has become an expense that will provide an excellent return on investment.

Q: How has the process to stage a home today changed from prior to the pandemic?

The biggest change is that a large crew no longer goes into the house to do the staging because of social distancing. It does take a little longer to complete the staging because there are fewer people able to work in that property. A typical staging job for my clients used to take three to four days to do an entire house. The prediction is now as many as five to seven days.

Some of the high-rise condominiums have implemented restrictions to not allow any staging at this time. The condominiums that do allow the staging have strict guidelines having to do with personal protection and the number of people who are allowed not only in the elevators but in the unit at one time. We are working around all of these issues to make the process as seamless as possible.

Q: How might the pandemic influence demand for home staging moving forward?

As Covid-19 ends, and it will end, staged homes will be poised to sell more quickly and at a higher price than non-staged homes. The future of staging is excellent. My favorite stager is currently backed up with requests for staging. Staging is here to stay.

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©2020 Miami Herald

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