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Ask Dave

You don't need a professional

Ben and his wife are selling their old house. They want to know if it would be wise to have the property professionally staged. Dave doesn't think so, and he's joined by Chris Brown with some thoughts on the matter.

QUESTION: Ben and his wife moved from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. about a year ago. They’ve been renting their old house, but now they want to sell the property. They’ll be asking around $140,000 for the place, and they ask Dave’s opinion on whether or not they should consider professionally staging the home. Dave is joined by Chris Brown, a member of Ramsey Solutions Speakers Group and host of Chris Brown’s True Stewardship, as they answer Ben’s question.

DAVE RAMSEY: I doubt it. You start talking about a million-dollar house, and it makes lot of sense to stage it.

With a less expensive home like that, I’d make sure it’s very clean and spend a lot of time and care on the front sidewalk and the front bushes from a curb appeal perspective. When someone gets out of the car with a realtor, what are they seeing as they walk up to the front door? That’s like your first impression on a job interview. The door needs to be clean and painted, with no handprints. There doesn’t need to be any bad smells in the house when you open the door, and everything inside needs to be crisp and clean. But I wouldn’t spend money to stage it. Do you agree, Chris? You’ve owned a bunch of real estate, too.

CHRIS BROWN: Yeah, I think you hit on it with the smell. The smell is huge, and maybe the front porch. Then, if you want to do some minor staging just don’t pay for it. There may be some things you can put in the house. Maybe if you’re renting, or whatever you’re doing now, you can pull over some of your best furniture. But you definitely don’t need to spend for staging at that price range.

DAVE RAMSEY: An old realtor trick is to take vanilla extract, and sprinkle it on the eye of the stove while it’s heated. It will fill the house with a smell like you’ve been baking cookies. But no, I wouldn’t pay to stage a $140,000 house. I really wouldn’t.