Staging is not a common practice in Tokyo for second hand property. There is no other reason for this than the domestic culture not understanding the benefits.
Japanese agents won’t bring up the topic for a couple of reasons; the agent needs to ask you for money as the cost is not included in the 3% brokerage fee.
Secondly, the Japanese firms feel that staging is too “mendokusai” or “bothersome” to pull off for second hand property. Sellers in other developed nations understand the benefits enough to know that it is worth thinking about when selling property.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the States released their 2017 Home Staging Report showing that staging has an effect on 49% of buyers with another 48% stating that staging has an effect on some buyers but not always.
77% of buyers agents in the NAR report stated that staging allowed buyers more easily to visualize how the space can be used.
Practices like helping buyers imagine how your space can be used is a selling tactic that transcends culture entering into the land of common sense.
Additionally, staging a property helps take much better photos. Japanese buyers, similar to foreign buyers, will look online first when searching for property. If your competition are all trying to advertise with unfurnished photos, then you will have a leg up with slick, polished photos that are tastefully furnished.
In Tokyo, the cost isn’t as prohibitive as you might think. Furniture leasing companies exist with reasonable pricing on high quality furniture. In the case of a 2LDK, a three month contract where the living, dining and master bedroom are staged with tasteful rental furniture would cost roughly ¥2,100,000 for three months. The cost would rise or fall depending on size of the unit and grade of furniture used.
Alternatively, you can buy the furniture outright and offer it to potential buyers. The cost might look high at first but if it allows an extra ¥5,000,000 on the sales price then it is worth the extra investment. This is especially true if you are pricing your property aggressively.
If you are an owner occupier, then you can help your sale by cleaning out the clutter and keeping your house organized as you never know when the next viewing will be. Trim the garden, eliminate strange odors (especially if you have pets or small children) and you’ll find more action with your listing.
If you have an older, beat up piece of furniture like a sofa, then consider investing in a new one to make the property, both digitally and in person, more appealing to buyers.
The more you put into it the more you’ll get out of it. Every property is different so if interested in learning more about how staging can help your property then ask Housing Japan to arrange a free estimate for rental furniture.
Editor’s Note: Adam German is Vice President of Business Development at Housing Japan and a well-known figure in both the marketing and sales side of Tokyo real estate. Originally from Canada, Adam has been behind some of the most successful international residential property services in Tokyo.