Should You Stage a Rental Property? Tips for Landlords

by Patrick Freeze  11/14/2023

Rental property staging can be an excellent strategy for some landlords or property managers looking to fill a vacant unit. However, is it always necessary? In today’s article, we’re going to go over whether you need to stage a rental or not, tips for staging, and pros and cons of furnishing for a rental property listing. 


Contents of This Article: 

  • What Is Rental Property Staging? 
  • How to Stage a Rental Property: Tips for Landlords
  • Is Staging Necessary for Rental Properties?
  • Pros and Cons of Staging Rentals
  • Protect Your Property With Professional Management

What Is Rental Property Staging?

Rental property staging is the process of preparing a property by decorating and furnishing it in a way that appeals to potential tenants. If you’re a landlord or property manager in Northern Virginia, you may be familiar with rental property staging. 

The goal of staging is to showcase the property’s best features, create an inviting atmosphere, and help prospective tenants visualize themselves living in the space. It typically involves adding furniture, decorations, and other furnishings to the property. These items can include couches, tables, beds, chairs, artwork, and other decor pieces. 


Typically, whoever’s staging the property arranges the furniture and decor in ways that maximize the use and space of the rental, highlighting the best features. Ultimately, the goal of staging is to help attract potential tenants and justify higher rental prices. 

Additionally, it can reduce the time a property sits vacant on the rental market. However, while staging can be beneficial, it’s crucial to consider the costs and potential return on investment, especially for lower-end rental properties or in markets where demand is high regardless of staging. 

Next, let’s discuss whether or not staging is necessary for rental properties. 

Is Staging Necessary for Rental Properties?

Staging is not always necessary for rental properties. That said, its applicability can depend on various factors like location, target tenant demographic, and the property’s condition. For instance, in a high-demand rental market where properties are quickly rented out, staging may not be necessary. Tenants looking for housing quickly may not care about whether a property is empty or minimally furnished. 

Additionally, the property’s condition can determine whether staging might be beneficial. If the property is in excellent condition and features modern amenities, it may not require excessive staging. However, if it’s dated or lacks certain features, staging can help showcase its potential. 

In some cases, virtual staging can be more beneficial than physically staging a rental property. Virtual staging involves digitally adding furnishings to photos to envision the space with furniture instead of bringing in physical furnishings. After all, most renters begin their search for rentals online, so virtual staging allows landlords to have professional photos without the cost of bringing in real furniture. 

If you’re thinking about physically staging a rental property to attract high-quality tenants, here are some tips for landlords. 

How to Stage a Rental Property: Tips for Landlords

Staging a rental property can be a valuable strategy for attracting and retaining high-quality tenants. That said, here are some tips for landlords looking to stage their rental properties effectively. 


  • Focus on Curb Appeal
  • Clean and Declutter
  • Highlight the Home’s Features
  • Pay Attention to Lighting
  • Don’t Over Personalize

Focus on Curb Appeal

The first thing that your prospective tenants will see is the exterior of the property. As such, if you’re taking the time to stage the inside of a rental, you’ll also want to focus on the outside. So, trim overgrown trees and shrubs, remove debris from the yard, and consider adding a welcome mat or small porch decorations. Additionally, another cost-effective way to boost curb appeal is by power washing the siding or walkways to remove dirt and ensure a more clean look. 

Clean and Declutter

If you’re going to list a property for rent, cleaning is a crucial first step. Before adding any furnishings or decor, ensure the property is thoroughly cleaned and spotless. It may help to hire a professional cleaning crew to give the property a thorough, deep clean. Additionally, you’ll want to get rid of any clutter and keep the furnishings clean and simple. 

Highlight the Home’s Features

Whether your property has a beautiful fireplace, new kitchen appliances, or charming hardwood floors, highlight the rental’s best features. Arrange furniture to make the most of the property’s naturally desirable features. After all, these crucial details are what sets your property apart from the competition, so highlighting them gives prospective renters something to remember. 

Pay Attention to Lighting

Nothing beats natural lighting in a rental property. So, ensure there is plenty of natural light, and if necessary, supplement with well-placed lamps and fixtures. That said, while overhead lighting is great, it can be harsh, especially in photos. So, consider adding floor lamps and table lamps to spruce up the space and add less harsh lighting. 


Don’t Over Personalize

A rental property should be a blank slate for prospective tenants.

So, just as you wouldn’t choose funky paint colors for the walls, you don’t want to over-personalize the decor you choose for staging. So, when you stage a rental property, avoid adding personal items that can distract prospective renters from the potential of the space. 

Pros and Cons of Staging Rentals

Staging a rental property, like any investment, comes with some advantages and disadvantages. For instance, deciding whether to stage a rental or not may depend on your target market, budget, and the property itself. Let’s look into some of the main pros and cons for investors to consider. 

Benefits of Staging Rental Properties

  • Faster Occupancy- A staged property can potentially rent out faster, reducing the time it sits vacant and maximizing your rental income. 
  • Enhances Online Listings- High-quality photos of a staged property can significantly improve the appeal of online listings, capturing potential tenants’ attention and generating more inquiries. 
  • Helps Tenants Visualize- Staging provides a tangible representation of how a space can be used and allows potential tenants to imagine themselves living there. 
  • Competitive Edge- In a competitive rental market, a well-staged property can stand out among other listings, potentially attracting more interest. 


Disadvantages of Staging Properties

  • Costly Investment- Staging can be expensive, especially if you need to buy or rent furnishings and decor for the property. That said, this initial investment may not always yield immediate returns. 
  • Storage Costs- If the property isn’t rented, or if the tenant brings their own furnishings, you’ll need to factor in storage costs for the furnishings when the property is vacant or occupied. 
  • Taste and Style Differences- The furnishings chosen for staging may not align with every tenant’s personal taste, which can limit the appeal to a specific demographic. 

Protect Your Property With Professional Management

Whether you decide to stage your rental property or not, it’s important to apply smart marketing strategies to reduce vacancies and fill units quickly. One of the best ways to stay on top of rental marketing, tenant screening, and property maintenance is with professional management. 

Professional Property Management of Northern Virginia offers full-service management for rental units around Northern Virginia. So, whether you own one rental or 100 properties, we can help manage the day-to-day tasks to keep tenants happy and properties up-to-date. If you’re looking for professional management services, contact PPM today!

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