Who should pay for staging, the Seller or the Realtor listing the home? Can you blame the Seller for asking? A friend of mine recently put her house on the market for about 400k in Atlanta. She called me before listing it and asked me if it was appropriate to ask her Listing Agent to pick up the tab for this service. That's a very big question with a lot of what-ifs.
There's some very good stagers out there who literally have their own warehouse filled with furniture, decorations and a whole lot more. Some stagers will rent furniture and pass along that cost to the customer. A 3000 square foot vacant home will cost X each month it's staged. If the home is fully furnished and staged for 3 months you could be talking about several thousands of dollars. Sometimes it's smart to work with existing furniture and decorations and "redesign" how the home looks. The most common of all is a simple consultation by the Stager. A consultation visit can cost a couple of hundred bucks.
I have never said no to a consultation visit. I would gladly pay for it. I told my friend that in no circumstance would I ever pay 3-5 thousand upfront for staging. Not ever. It wouldn't matter how much money I could make on the sale of the home. It's too large of a risk and to be honest, not a smart business decision.
But what about all that commission? On a 400k house a Listing Agent will usually make 3%, or $12,000.00 for those of you still count with your toes and fingers. $4,000.00 only equates to 1/3 of the commission leaving the agent with 8 grand in compensation. That's not so bad right? I still wouldn't pay that much. Personally, I'd consider splitting the entire cost. ONLY if the Seller was buying another house with me.
Staging is a bonus, not a necessity in our market. There's a shortage of homes and people are still clawing at properties. Spending thousands of dollars to get top dollar is like tying $500 worth of balloons to Justin Beiber's belt loop in hope that somebody will recognize him at the local mall. It's like so not necessary dude.
I don't want to undervalue the benefit of staging. That's not what this post is about. Staging can be awesome for the right scenario. Who should pay for it is up for discussion. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I will never pay for full-blow staging for anyone, not upfront anyways. What I have done in the past is charged my Sellers $400.00 for light staging. Me and my wife literally went to Big Lots and bought pictures, place mats, plants, small tables and all that good stuff just to add something to the house. It's a lot of work and time, but it has helped. More importantly, it's just four hundred bucks.
If a Listing Agent spends up front money and then is asked to take the house of the market in favor of using a different listing agent then you can expect problems. The same holds true for the use of professional photography. The Listing agent is a person just like you and me. The theory of quantum merit comes to mind. What he or she is worth before they'll go away.
Lots to consider.