No Vacancies

Karen Galler

By Karen Galler
A picture frame without a photo is the same as a home with no furnishings and accessories, it lacks an emotional connection. That’s why REALTORS turn to home staging, which helps prospective home buyers envision what it would be like to live in the space. By creating a home-feel environment, buyers will be able to form a bond with a potential home.

According to a 2012 study by the Real Estate Staging Association, staged homes sell 78 percent faster within 32 days of being re-listed on the market. Because 90 percent of home buyers lack the ability to visualize their furniture in the space, vacant homes are often left on the market a lot longer and will also suffer in price reductions.

Selling a vacant home may be cost effective, but it places the home at risk of facing several challenges. Following are some of those challenges:

  • It does not show well to potential home buyers – Without furniture, a home buyer can be confused by spatial dimensions and worry about their furniture fitting in the home. By adding furnishings and decorations, buyers are able to better see the home layout and create an emotional connection to the space.
  • Fewer and shorter showings – Without furnishings and decorations a room can feel blank without much to look at leading to less time spent in the space picturing their future.
  • Cold and uninviting – Vacant homes can have a particular smell similar to still air, which can leave a potential buyer feeling uncomfortable in the space.
  • All flaws are accentuated – Without decorations, home owners are more likely to be attracted to small flaws in the structure of the home, whereas by using decorations you are able to downplay the flaw and accentuate how it may be a more attractive piece of the home.
  • Longer time on the market – Homes that are not staged tend to stay for sale longer leaving potential home buyers questioning what is wrong with the house and why it hasn’t been sold as of yet.
  • Subject to low offers – Because the space is vacant potential home buyers will make a lowball offer hoping a seller is desperate to get the home off their hands.
  • Risks of vandalism – Without the presence of a home owner, sellers are subject to break-ins, looters and vandalism while they are gone.
  • Requires overseeing and maintenance – Not having someone constantly oversee your home places a seller at risk for major damage. If a pipe breaks it may go unseen for days before being noticed and therefore increases the costs of potential damages.

According to current data from Northstar MLS on the Twin Cities home market, there has been a steady decline in the number of days a home has stayed on the market. Luxury homes – one million dollars or more – have made the biggest leap out of all price ranges. The average luxury home stayed on the market for approximately 275 days in 2012 and is now under 200. Although this is indicative of progress, the number of days a home is on the market can continue to fall rapidly by using techniques such as home staging to speed up the buying process.

Although home staging adds thousands of dollars of value to a home, the average cost is .75-1.5 percent of the list price. The cost depends on the level of staging, the square footage of the home, the duration of the staging, and the number of rooms to be staged.


Karen Galler is a certified stager and owner and operator of Showhomes Minneapolis in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Showhomes is America’s largest home staging provider with 54 locations across the United States. Karen has multiple years of experience in home design and renovation, as well as real estate. Karen is currently a licensed real estate agent and has been ranked number one several times in the Showhomes franchise system. You can reach Karen at (952) 818-5055 or You can also visit their website at