If you're putting your family's home on the market, staging a part of your home can make it sell faster. While the housing market is currently hot and favors sellers, it doesn't hurt to stage parts of your home to make it stand out to prospective buyers. Especially for buyers with kids (or those looking to start a family), visualizing themselves in the house long-term can make a home more attractive. So maybe setting up a cute, albeit temporary nursery in your home will up its sales factor?
Actually, when it comes to the choice between staging a nursery or a home office, you might want to consider the latter. While a nursery can definitely be a valuable addition, staging a home office can help you appeal to a bigger group of people. Plus, according to data by the Institute for Family Studies, Americans had fewer babies over the past decade—5.8 million fewer, to be exact (the average is usually around 4 million births per year).
"Unless the buyers have or are expecting a baby, I don't think that staging a nursery brings any added value," North Carolina real estate broker Luly Lopez tells Parents. "There is no doubt in my mind that staging a home office will most definitely increase the probability of selling a home quickly and for more money," adds Lopez.
Last year, because of the pandemic, an Owl Labs study found that 70% of full-time workers were working from home. With many working parents pushing for company perks such as flexible schedules, a home office might be just the space parents are looking for. Here is why staging a home office will make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
There is a higher demand for home offices right now.
The pandemic pushed many people to work from home, and even as companies return to the office, many are trying out hybrid and flexible work schedules. For parents juggling work and kids at home, a dedicated office space can be a huge asset in a home.
"We recall during the shutdowns that most businesses shifted to remote working from home for employees. This created a huge necessity for having a decent private work area in the home conducive to productivity," says Lopez.
She says that with more companies integrating remote work more permanently, she believes a home office is the new must-have buyers are looking for. "With the trend heavily weighing on working from home and remote, there is a higher demand for an extra office space," says Gigi Malek, a real estate agent at Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty in New York. Rocket Homes also found that the number of listings with the word "office" in them increased by almost 17% from 2019 to 2020, as more people began working from home.
Staging a home office will make your home more marketable to a wider group of people.
Having a home office can help you appeal to a larger group of potential buyers. "A home office increases a home value more than a nursery," Khari Washington, real estate broker and owner of 1st United Realty tells Parents. "The period someone needs a nursery is a lot smaller than when they might want a home office," he adds. Also, parents might have their own preferences as to how they want a nursery to look (or if they even want a nursery at all) so you might be wasting your time staging one.
"A nursery is a sweet idea to stage in a home, however not everyone will utilize a space that way," says Lauren Reynolds, a real estate agent in Connecticut. "Additionally, if you have a budget to stage (on average it's about 1% of the home's asking price), you will want to focus on the spaces used most often, and today that means a home office," Reynolds explains. Plus, a home office offers a space that is more versatile than a nursery. "Home offices are commonly used for studying, filing away important documents, tutoring, etc.," says Lopez.
Stage the home office with a desk and plenty of natural light so people can visualize themselves in the space.
Stage your home office in a way that allows prospective buyers to see themselves using the space. Stick to neutral paint colors that will keep the room looking spacious and bright. "Make sure the accessories you choose are warm and pleasing to the eye," says Liz Hutz, real estate investor and expert.
"Add layers by hanging some curtains and throws on the sofa chair to make the buyer feel at home," adds Hutz. Make sure you declutter the room as well, and add a desk and chair—but stay away from anything too big that's going to make the space look smaller. If your home doesn't have an additional room for a home office, consider spaces such as an unused closet, a loft area, or any place that can be a comfortable and private work space, suggests Lopez.
First impressions are everything, so be sure the room looks good as soon as a buyer enters. "Sellers have only a few minutes to make an impact on a prospective home buyer. So you want to make sure you have your best foot forward," advises Reynolds.
A 2017 report by Robin Realty on staging homes found that staged homes spend 90% less time on the market. So, while there is nothing wrong with staging a nursery (and you certainly can, especially if you know your prospective buyers are expecting a baby), staging a home office is more suitable in the current market regardless of your own family situation—and it's more likely to make a bigger impact on potential buyers, and thus earn your family more money in the long haul.