When you have made the decision to sell that special place you have called home for a lot of years, many Real Estate Professionals believe that staging your home is a necessary part of the process. Keep in mind that even if you are still living in the home, professional stagers are able to work with your furnishings and belongings and create such an appealing atmosphere, you may not want to move.
With two transactions recently, I've represented Buyers in the sale of vacant homes that were not staged, however the homes were priced slightly under market value, and received multiple offers. Not every homeowner is comfortable with this strategy, because it is very risky.
I do agree that staging is an important part of the selling process. Although it may be an expense you're not comfortable with, some stagers will accept payment at the final close of escrow.
I find it particularly important to stage your home if you have lived in the home for many years. Stagers not only supply tasteful furnishings, they also may change faucets, suggest carpet changes, even buff your hardwood floors. Stagers will also apply thier artistic touches to your garden and increase curb appeal. I was surprised to see flowers in full bloom last winter outside one home for sale in San Mateo. It was later that I realized the stager had "planted" silk flowers along the walkway leading to the front door. It was very pretty.
In the same fashion that you obtain estimates and interviews with other professionals, you may want to interview at least 3 stagers prior to commiting to the process.
With interest rates at an all time low, home buyers are back testing the waters, so you owe it to yourself to present your home in the best light.