Home Staging: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE COST OF HOME STAGING

By
Home Stager with ProStaged Homes

There are a lot of misconceptions about the cost for home staging. People always seem to be surprised and maybe even a bit shocked (and not in a good way) when they get the quote to stage their property, especially for vacant properties. Surprise

First and foremost, it is important for consumers to realize that Home Staging is a cost  an investment, the final investment they will make in their current home. And like any investment, consumers receive a return on that investment (ROI) and an amazing return at that. HomeGains reports that consumers may reap a whopping 299% return on the money they invest in staging their home before selling it. With an occupied home, if the owner were to invest just $400 by hiring a professional home stager before listing their home, it will earn them a higher selling price of nearly $1200.

It has been proven time and again that staged homes sell faster and in this market, for full asking price and sometimes higher than unstaged homes. RESA (REAL ESTATE STAGING ASSOCIATION) reports that in 2009 (the most recent year currently available) staged homes spent 78% less time on the market than their unstaged counterparts. The report looked at unstaged homes previously listed and concluded that they sat on the market an average of 263 days unsold. Those same homes were then staged and sold in 60 days on average after staging. The same study states that properties that were staged before they went on the market and sold in 40.5 days on average after staging.

Most home staging companies offer a variety of options for consumers to choose from. Services may include and range from a low $99 for a one hour verbal consultation to about $350 for a DIY (Do It Yourself) Report to $900 for a full day of staging by the home stager. Consumers can select the option that works best for them and make arrangements to hire the stager for any or all of the staging. Or, if they purchase the DIY Report, homeowners can complete all of the recommendations themselves and the stager will come back for a final walk through and to take "after" pictures.

90% of the population cannot see past the current decor of a property nor can they envision what their belongings will look like in an empty room. They won't be able to guage whether or not their furniture will fit the space and they need to physically see how the area can be made to look and how the space can be used. That's one of the reasons it is so important to stage vacant properties. Builders have known for years that catering to the lifestyle potential buyers want is integral to the success of their new home sales. So, they invest thousands and thousands of dollars going all out to stage the model homes in a way that will draw buyers in. They know that creating that emotional attachment will bring in the offers.

The investment to stage a vacant home is higher than that of an occupied home. Stagers will do their best to work with the owner's existing furnishings which saves the seller a lot of money. In the case of a vacant property, the stager will bring in the furniture, accessories, artwork, plants, area rugs and lighting needed to create a home that will appeal to a broad range of buyers as well a home that creates that emotional attachment for potential buyers.

Now that you understand that home staging is the final investment you will make on your present property and you have learned that staged homes sell faster and for the best price, let's talk about what you are paying for. How does the home stager come up with your total investment costs.

In an earlier blog article, I talked about the process your stager will go through to prepare your home for market. To quickly recap, your stager will:

  Meet with you and conduct a walk through and take "before" photos

  Prepare/Discuss all of the steps you need to take before staging can begin

  Create Room Design for each room to be staged

  Select Inventory for each room

                                         Select Furniture, Lighting, Bed & Bath Linens, Artwork, Accessories, Plants                                     

                                         Prepare/Wrap/Load/Transport to property

                                         Deliver/Unload/Unwrap for set up

                                         Determine Room Configuration & Set up Inventory

                                         Personal Shopping 

Once your home has been staged, your home stager will take "after" pictures and write blogs and articles and create marketing presentations for their portfolio and to advertise your home on ActiveRain, Energized Seller, their company blogs and other platforms. Many stagers do not charge for these and offer them as complimentary services.

And after your property sells, your stager must then destage the house which includes preparing/wrapping/loading and transporting all of the inventory back to the storage facility and then unload and restock it.

Your home stager will spend many, many hours prepping for the day your home will be staged, many more hours than you will be charged for. Your stager will spend a few restless nights during the creative process coming up with the perfect plan for your home. Your stager may even return to the property while it's on the market to ensure that everything is still in perfect order for open houses or showings. Again, most won't charge for this.

As you can see, there is a lot of work that goes into the home staging process. So when your stager is preparing the quote for your home, he/she has to take into account all the time, energy and resources that will be needed. Your stager may rent the furniture and will pass on those fees to you, the client, you will pay a rental fee on all of the accessories from their stock or they may have to do some shopping for some additional items. Or your home stager may have their own warehouse filled with all of the furniture and accessories. In that case, the furniture rental fee will take into account all of the overhead needed to maintain the warehouse as well as a prorated or percentage-based fee on the cost of inventory used in your home.

Regardless, it's important for consumers to realize all the expenses your home stager has to cover. Expenses may include a mortgage/rent payment on the storage facility or rental fees from the furniture rental company, insurance for the storage facility, liability and car, employee salaries and associated costs, utilities, marketing, professional fees, all the costs associated with any business.  

                                                                                                              

Staging costs vary by region and as such, what it might cost to stage a home in California will be different from what a   home in rural New Hampshire costs.  Some staging companies may have a fixed starting point or minimum fee regardless of the size of the property. Your home stager may charge based on the square footage of the home or as a percentage of the selling price.

You may think that staging a 850sq ft home should cost far less than a 3000sq ft home. And although that might be true, in most cases, your stager is still renting the same basic furniture no matter what the size of the property. There will be a sofa and one or two chairs, occasional tables,(X2 if there is a living room and family/bonus room) dining table and chairs, beds and nightstands. There will be artwork, bed and bath linens, table and floor lamps, plants and decorative accessories in every room.

So what goes into your quote? Your home stager will prepare a quote that will take into account among other things, rental fees for all the furniture, rental fees for all of the accessories used in your home and labor for the entire project. To determine the labor costs, your stager has to account for all of the business expenses, inventory costs, employee-related costs and a reasonable "profit" that allows your them to pay their personal debts and obligations and enables their  company to stay in business.  

And now you know all of the work that goes into staging your home and you know what you can expect to be included when you receive your home staging quote. With staged homes selling within 60 days and sitting on the market 78% less time  than unstaged homes, this is an investment that is well worth making. 

Great Agent + Home Staging + Priced Right Property =

Pro Staged Homes is a professional home staging company. Our staged properties sell in 54.5 days on average from the date staged.

Proven results in priced right-staged homes sales

 

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Pro Staged Homes      Home Staging & Redesign      San Dimas, CA 91773     909-714-1149      www.prostagedhomes.com      judy.colburn@prostagedhomes.com

   

 

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Rainmaker
684,100
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Judy, thanks for broaching this subject. I try to break down the costs for my clients so they will know what they are paying for but I think the shows on HGTV give them false expectations. As you say, sellers can opt for various options and one should fit their budget.

Feb 09, 2011 03:08 AM #5
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Good Morning Debbie, Thank you for reading and positng on my blog. I am so happy to hear that you, as a real estate agent, agree. $400 may be an average cost on an occupied home but it's definitaley not on a vacant property. But I think you're right, it should be a lot more!

Feb 09, 2011 04:36 AM #6
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Thank You Beth. :-) I just recently cautioned an agent when she told me that "other" agents told her it would cost about $1000 for an 850sq ft property. Once I broke it all down for her, I advised her to really check out the credentials and quality of work beforehand if a professional stager agreed to that price. She hired me even though my bid was much higher. We stage as soon as the contractor is finished. Thanks for commenting. :-)

Feb 09, 2011 04:39 AM #7
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Hi Janice, Ever since we learned what the average hourly wage was coming out to at the RESA conference, I've decided to focus on educating consumers and agents on everything that is involved in staging. I think more people will come on board once they learn and understand the process and the actual value home staging provides. Speaking of, were you at the conference? Would have liked to meet you. :-)

Feb 09, 2011 04:42 AM #8
Rainmaker
277,141
Beverly Carlson
Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 - Abilene, TX
Abilene's Staging Realtor

Staging is also a marketing cost that can be included as a home sale expense for tax purposes, which may save  on taxes on investment type properties.

Reducing days on the market means the seller saves all those carrying costs such as mortgage, insurance, utilities, and landscaping.

Staged homes reduce stress for the sellers. All the hard packing up and cleaning up is done!

 

Feb 09, 2011 01:11 PM #9
Rainmaker
820,093
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Judy -- educating agents and homeowners about staging and its associated costs is something we need to do at every opportunity so that they understand that all-important ROI of staging.

Your post is well-written and I'm sure will enlighten sellers about all of the many tasks that go into staging a home, whether it's vacant or occupied.

Feb 09, 2011 02:22 PM #10
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Beverly, I did not know that staging could be a write off. That's good to know - and I will start passing that on to potential clients. Thank you for coming back and sharing. :-)

Feb 10, 2011 02:54 AM #11
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Good Morning Maureen, Yes, as I mentioned to Janice - definitely need to focus on education as an industry and help consumers and agents realize the value adn results they will receive. Thank You for the kinds words and commenting. :-)

Feb 10, 2011 02:56 AM #12
Rainer
135,556
Birgit Anich
Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors, 203.807.4040 - Norwalk, CT
CT Home Stager Fairfield & New Haven County

Judy, this is a great post. Thanks for putting this all together.

Congratulations, your post has been featured on the Realtors and Home Stagers Information Exchange Group.

Feb 10, 2011 03:01 PM #13
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Thank you Birgit (again)! 2 feautures. Thank you so much. I see that you have a lot going on from your FB posts. Congrats!

Feb 11, 2011 07:09 AM #14
Rainer
68,196
Georgia Elite Realty
Georgia Elite Realty - Kennesaw, GA

Staging helps the buyer see it as a their "home" and not an empty space.

Feb 11, 2011 08:30 AM #15
Rainer
32,025
Eve Rusakova
Studio 74, Home Staging and Redesign - Toronto, ON
Home Stager, Toronto, ON

Great post Judy! Very well explained and lots of helpful information for sellers on how stagers do their job. I would reblog it if I could))

Feb 11, 2011 10:19 AM #16
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

The folks at Georgia Elite Realty understand the value and concept of staging. We love hearing that! Thanks for stopping by.

Feb 12, 2011 04:08 AM #17
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Good Morning Eva, Thank You. Feel free to cut and paste and just include a link back to me. We definitely need to get the word out and help consumers understand home staging and jump on board the best marketing tool they have.

Feb 12, 2011 04:10 AM #18
Rainmaker
139,134
Ryan Dressel
Stage Right Design, Inc. - Roseville, CA
Sacramento Home Staging

Great post Judy!!  It is very challenging to fit some clients budgets and still make the property shine.  I love big budgets!!!  :)  Thanks for discussing the topic. Have a great weekend!!

Feb 12, 2011 06:07 AM #19
Rainer
53,629
LISA BOND - BIRMINGHAM HOOVER HOME STAGER -
THE STAGEHAND HOME STAGING AND REDESIGN SERVICES - Hoover, AL

Judy - Excellent and noteworty points; many people do not understand what it takes to run a business or the costs involved in staging a home, that have to be expected as part of a business.  To make matters worse, inexperienced/untrained stagers,who don't have a business plan, don't understand overhead expenses and how to budget for them,  who often quote extremely low prices without having the knowledge to properly submit a quote, give the general public and realtors the perception that staging is extremely expensive, when in fact, it's relative to the services being provided.

Having a stager put together a design plan, oversee it, bring in their own inventory, coordinate all the extra services you mentioned above is part of the staging quote.  If more realtors and home sellers understood that, then I don't think they would be confused.  $400.00 will give my clients an initial verbal walk through (2 hours), a 7 - 10 page report/checklist, a courtesy list of credentialed contractors, a courtesy list of real estate agents, a furniture layout for each room being staged, a checklist for finishing touches, a checklist for curb appeal, and color recommendations for each room, as necessary, and a free quote for me to do the staging.   If I were to charge by the hour for those services - it would cost alot more.  

I am going to repost too (will cut and paste and link back to you). 

Feb 12, 2011 07:21 AM #20
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Hi Ryan, Thank you. I love bog budgets too but in this economy, don't get to work with them ogten enough. Thank You for reading and posting. :-)

Feb 14, 2011 02:32 AM #21
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Lisa, thank you for the repost. Got the notification from Google. I agree, people don't always realize that our staging business is our livelihood and how we make a living. Most people think this is a job of pure fun. They don't realize all of the physical and mental labor that goes into it. Again, thank you for reposting and spreading the word!

Feb 14, 2011 02:37 AM #22
Rainmaker
141,069
Michele Rose
Rose-Colored Staging - Mount Holly Township, NJ
Burlington County Home Staging & Redesign

Fabulous post Judy-- very well thought-out and detailed.  Most people don't realize all that goes into staging a home and this helps to educate both agents and sellers.  I will pass it on!

Mar 23, 2011 07:57 AM #23
Rainer
73,047
Judy Colburn
ProStaged Homes - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Glendora, San Dimas Covina, Home Staging

Thank you Michelle. By all means, feel free to share. Thank you for stopping by and taking time to post. Appreciate it!

Mar 24, 2011 04:02 AM #24
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Judy Colburn

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