Vacant Staging on a $200 it possible?

Home Stager with Desert Chic Interiors
Yes, $200.  On this budget, the ony thing I think I'll be able to bring in are plants and a few other decor items that I'll rent to the client for one month. I'm thinking of maybe staging the kitchen and a bathroom, but I'm not sure what kind of impact that will have. Any suggestions on what areas of the house I should Stage with such a small budget? 

Comments (18)

Cindy Richter
Interior Motiv Home Staging - Flower Mound, TX
IRIS Dallas, TX Home Stager
I stage just kitchen and master baths ALL of the time and the Realtor has sold the home in less than 30 days EVERY time.  It definitely makes an impact and a big difference.  Don't forget to add the entry.  It's very important when doing this.  You want to make them fall in love with it when they walk in!  I am probably in the minority here but I don't think you have to stage the entire house to sell it.  Good luck
Jul 15, 2007 06:19 AM
Sherry Flanagan
Desert Chic Interiors - Vail, AZ

Hi Cindy, I appreciate your feedback. My focus then will be the entry, kitchen and the masterbath. Thanks again!

Jul 15, 2007 06:34 AM
Patricia Ebrahimi
SHOW SMART! HOME STAGING & Color Consultant - Rockville, MD
Home Staging the Washington DC Area from Rockville MD
I agree with Cindy.  I would add that a chair in the living room gives some idea of scale, or an area rug where a dining table would go.  Otherwise, I too have staged only kitchen and baths and minimally.  You do what you can under the circumstances.
Jul 15, 2007 07:32 AM
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regions Premier Home Staging Resource,

Hi Sherry,

My two cents - It is not worth doing a sub standard job because the client is cheap than to cheapen what Staging really is.  If you feel strongly about doing the work, then I would make sure whoever you are working with understands that what you are doing is "surface Staging," and will not have the same effect as a real staging job on a vacant house.  The small decor helps add color, but it is not Staging - because the main areas of the house are not addressed and a buyer may still have a hard time envisioning living in the space with no furniture.  It is better than totally vacant - but when our reputations rest on our results, it is important to make sure we send the right message about what we do. 

It always amazes me that a seller will continue to make the mortgage payments on the house, but is unable to see Staging as an investment that will stop that situation and bring a buyer.  One extra month with "surface staging" - and that mortgage payment they are making - and you could have used that $$ to do the job the way you really wanted to - and get the house sold more quickly.  My experience after Staging over 2,000 houses rings true for me - I have surface Staged and regretted it because for me - it sent the wrong message about what Staging is and what it is not. 

Good luck - I know when times are slow and we rely on income, it's hard to turn business away - and so work with what you have, and hopefully more clients that understand the true value of Staging will come your way!

- Jennie

Jul 15, 2007 07:57 AM
Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL

Hi Sherry, me too.  I often only stage bathrooms and kitchens, and if there is a foyer that too as it is the first impression of the inside of the house.  It makes a tremendos difference.  Not everyone can afford or wants to pay for full blown staging.  Go for it!

Terry Haugen - STAGE it RIGHT!

Jul 15, 2007 08:40 AM
Sherry Flanagan
Desert Chic Interiors - Vail, AZ
Patricia, Jenny and Terry, thanks so much for the info. This really helps. I debated on whether or not I should accept the job or not. I was clear with the agent (who's paying out of pocket for the staging) that this budget would not include ANY furniture. I cannot afford to have pieces of furniture removed from my limited inventory with such a tiny budget. Terry and Cindy, when you say you stage kitchen's, do you bring in a kitchen table and chairs, or do you just stage with decor (plants, dinner and stem ware, cookbooks, etc)?
Jul 15, 2007 10:12 AM
Cindy Richter
Interior Motiv Home Staging - Flower Mound, TX
IRIS Dallas, TX Home Stager

For a kitchen and a small budget, only greenery and decorative accessories for the counters and above the cabinets since you have other rooms too.  But I could include a table and chairs for that.  Here in Texas though, it's a lot less expensive to stage I think than in other states.  But I've heard I'm way to cheap!  Hope that helps. 


By the way...these new graphic words to type things in are really wierd!? 

Jul 15, 2007 10:28 AM
Sherry Flanagan
Desert Chic Interiors - Vail, AZ

Thanks Cindy, that does help, and that's pretty much what I had in mind. I looked into renting a table and chairs for one month, but that would eat the entire budget!  Thanks again for your help on this.

Jul 15, 2007 10:36 AM
Toronto's 2 Hounds Design: Decorating + Staging
2 Hounds Design + Home Staging - Toronto, ON

I don't envy you! I don't feel we need to stage every room to help buyers see the potential, but I'd do at least 3 rooms plus the entrance (inside and out).

I don't know if I would take the job myself...I don't know what you could do for the master-bed room. Just a kitchen and a bathroom...doesn't seem worth the investment for the agent...this is just my opinion though!


Jul 15, 2007 11:50 AM
Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL

Hi Sherry, I do accessories only.  Fake fruits, some artwork, cookbook, pickled vegetables or herbs in oil in nice bottles, greenry, and anything that goes with the kitchen.  I will bring in two breakfast bar stools if there is one and set each place with dinnerware and placemats.  But other than a few small accent pieces for the bathrooms, no furniture unless there is a foyer.

Terry Haugen - STAGE it RIGHT!

Jul 15, 2007 02:32 PM
Kathy Alexander
GreatStages Home Staging and Redesign - Vancouver, WA
Home Stager Camas WA, Home Staging Southwest WA
I was just asked to do a vacant staging with a budget just a bit larger that this one. I explained that it would not have the same impact as true staging, but that even a little extra pizzaz is better than nothing. It was actually kind of fun since I didn't have to move heavy furniture and lots of stuff. Better yet, the home had a contract the next day following staging(after 93 days on the market).
Jul 15, 2007 02:52 PM
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento
Sherry, unfortunately anyone can do that. What is it that actually sets YOU apart from the rest?  Discounting and being the bargain Stager won't work for long.  If you are building your portfolio and experience, then do what you see fit to get you where you need to be. Then, up your fees and don't look back!
Jul 15, 2007 03:38 PM
Sherry Flanagan
Desert Chic Interiors - Vail, AZ

I want to thank everyone for their feedback and thoughts on this. I just returned a short while ago from staging this house on the $200 budget. It only took an hour and I have to say, this was a great lesson.

Obviously a larger budget would have been great, but adding just a few things to a few key areas DOES make a huge difference.  I was a bit perplexed by this whole thing and didn't know if I could pull it off, so I dragged my husband with me for moral support and constructive feedback.

He told me that even though the house for the most part was vacant, he was drawn to the rooms that WERE staged. Kitchens are known to sell a home, so are great bathrooms and these are the rooms I chose to stage. 

The last few homes I've staged have been for a builder with budget's ranging from $5,000-$10,000.  When I discussed this job with my husband, I kind of turned my nose up a little at the thought of doing it, he called me a "Staging Snob" and told me I should be willing to help out the little guy too.  He also said I was a great stager (gotta love 'em) and If I can stage for $2,000, I should be able to do it for $200. I hate it when he's right!

Well, I'm glad I did it and I think the client will be happy with the results, but more importantly, STAGING(no matter how small the budget) WORKS! 


Jul 15, 2007 06:03 PM
Kim Dillon
Creative Eye Home Staging - West Chester, PA

Great photos!  So many times full staging of a vacant just isn't in the budget.  I agree that little touches can make a huge difference!  I do not see this as discounting.  You charged a reasonable fee for the job you did and rented the accessories.  Just curious, was the $200 for services, or did it include inventory and for how long?

Kim Dillon

Jul 15, 2007 10:03 PM
Susan Smith
Rooms That Work LLC - Sandy Hook, CT
There are two truths about stagers: 1) we like a challenge, and 2) we are creative.  That're a true stager!  Great job!  (And great hubby too!)
Jul 15, 2007 11:16 PM
Sherry Flanagan
Desert Chic Interiors - Vail, AZ
Hi Kim, the $200 was for the whole shebang! I charged my $50 "Room by Room" staging fee and another $100 for the one month rental of the decor items for each room. This house is in my neighborhood, so the distance to and from was less than 5 minutes! I spent more time worrying about wheter this would be a successful project than I did actually doing the job. I know it's not a lot of money, but it wasn't necessarily about the money-this job introduced staging to a realtor who's never utilized staging services before.
Jul 16, 2007 01:17 AM
Cindy Richter
Interior Motiv Home Staging - Flower Mound, TX
IRIS Dallas, TX Home Stager
Nice job.  I knew you could do it!  Give your hubby a big hug too!
Jul 16, 2007 04:05 AM
Welcome Home Staging & Furniture Rental
Valesca Bogard - Roseville, CA
Good for you, you took the challenge and MADE A DIFFERENCE....onward !
Jul 16, 2007 06:17 AM