There is no official scientific research that backs this theory, but you can ask any Realtor, they will all tell you that staging can make the difference between getting your home sold fast as opposed to having it sit on the market for weeks. Not that homes tend to sit here in the Bay Area - are you kidding me? - but what I am obseving is that all the homes which present themselves with a fresh coat of neutral paint and a sophisticated staging job, get a huge amount of offers and sell way over the average of 12% over asking price. Buyers in the San Francisco Bay Area are sophisticated. They do expect a home that they're going to spend top $$ on to present itself in a certain way.
Yes, it is an investment (more than the average $675 nationwide). No, your Bay Area agent generally will not pay for this. But it is one of the smartest marketing techniques out there.
If you had the choice to buy a home that is vacant with old paint, or a home that presents itself like it just walked out of ELLE DECOR Magazine - which one would you picture yourself in?
BTW, I have teamed up with one of the most amazing stagers out there...