Home Stager with Restage Inc.

We recently had a client that used our services - We fully furnished they're vacant property. It went into month 2 and still nothing - Hard luck story for the homeowners and we decided to leave the furnishings in for FREE.

I'm so glad we were able to help and it helps me to remember that were here to help people. For me it's not only about the money it's the gratifying feeling that what I do really helps people.

If I could afford to do it for free I would - I'm trying to incooperate a strategy that allows my company to offer pro-bono work to people that can't afford it. Any ideas would be fantastic.


Comments (16)

Tom Davis
Harrington ERA,DE Homes For Sale, $$ Save $$ Buy Today ! - Dover, DE
FREE Delaware Homes Search!, $$ Save $$ - Find Homes! Delaware Realtor

Hymm don't have any ideas but good luck on it! :)  Thanks for the posting!

Realtor In Delaware: Agent Tom Davis's Comment: Committed To Excellence!

Mar 16, 2008 06:59 PM
Julianna Hind
eXp Realty - Tacoma, WA
REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA

Kim, it's nice that you want to help people out, I think we all feel the same way. Staging is a useful service that helps the homeowner get ahead in the selling game. You are nice to lend your furnishings for free. Do you think your business model supports it? will it be asked of you from all your clients?

I think it is important for all business owners to adopt a charitable organization. There are three that I work with specifically, and although it is not for staging, the work is related, it is always such a good feeling. Another good feeling, admittedly, is getting paid for doing something I love, and helping someone sell their home... definitely a win win situation!

Mar 16, 2008 07:01 PM
Ryan Vivo
Gateway Realty - Fairfield, CA
NRBA Realtor Solano County, Gateway Realty 707-384-5894
That's really nice of you to do that.
Mar 16, 2008 07:31 PM
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

Hi Kim,  It's very nice of you to extend your contract services for free ~ but for how long?  I have a few "hard luck" cases as well, but what I do is along the lines of, ' if the house doesn't sell by the 2nd month, the 3rd month is free' - but then after that I still have to invoice them.  Luckily this has only been utilized twice.  Also, be careful of getting the "free" reputation if it drags on.

But I must say, your graciousness is commendable.

Mar 17, 2008 02:03 AM
Kristina Leone
Lionheart Home Staging, LLC - Minneapolis, MN
I have mixed emotions when it comes to "free stagings."  Financially, I don't see how it will work out in the long run.  It is good to negotiate a fair price with the homeowners, but I would limit my free services to specialized circumstances.
Mar 17, 2008 05:00 AM
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Why not do pro-bono work when the occasion warrants it? I don't see anyone telling Lawyers they should be worried about if others will pay them because occasionally they work for free. Nothing shouts success like sometimes being able to give it away. Decide what the parameters are you will use then stick to it. Have you thought about having a "board" of your trusted friends and advisers who would make the decision pro or no? 
Mar 17, 2008 06:10 AM
Mary Lou Teague
Home Style and Staging Knoxville. TN

Kim, I must say that is very nice of you to stage for free. However, I am not in the position to leave furniture or accessories in a home for free. Maybe someday I will be in the position to give my time and knowledge away, but right now..just can't. I applaud you however.

Mar 17, 2008 08:34 AM
Sandra Hughes
Redesigned Spaces - Northern Virginia - Fairfax, VA
Redesigned Spaces - Fairfax County, Virginia
Kim, I have to admit you are a better person then I am.  I would possibly do a 3rd month free if they had paid for the first two as long as I didn't have another job that I needed the furniture for.  I am not at the point in my business that I could by pass a paying job for a free one.
Mar 17, 2008 09:38 AM
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Kim- It's your business and if it works for you, why not?  I agree with Yvonne, have you considered establishing a Board of Adviser's?  Also, you consider getting together with your attorney to see if you can work something out contractually so that when the house does sell you still get paid.  Just a thought or two.


Mar 17, 2008 05:18 PM
Sandy Ridgway
Designs For You - Columbus, OH
Designs For You
Why not try to do it like attorneys do.  Ask other decorators and stagers in the area if they would be willing to join in your effort to help others.  You could then compile a list for "pro bono" cases and take turns.  If you get enough people to donate their services, it may work out where you each just do one place a year.  I think that could be great PR for all of you.  You could have the prospective clients submit an application, explaining why they need the work done, and you could be the one to decide who really needs the help the most.  Best of luck and God Bless!
Mar 18, 2008 07:46 AM
Leslie Hoyt
Hello Home! - Greenville, SC
Hello Home!

Hey Kim!

Have you checked on the interior/exterior upkeep of the home since you staged it? Has the home staging/upkeep been maintained?

I check on my staged homes every three week-four weeks after staging them to see what is happening with the occupied home and sellers (sometimes out of my control what people do when you leave, LOL!). We will tweak a few things based on buyer/looker feedback, too.

Has there been an Open House, yet? Could you, like us, go a few hours before the Open House and tweak the home- bring fresh flowers and bake goodies, light the candles, fill bathtubs with water and drop some blue food coloring in the tub and float candles or flowers, get the pets out, turn on the soft music and lights, etc....

Oftentimes, a great Open House gets interest going again....

Just a few thoughts, just trying to help ;o) 

Let us know what happens!


PS. I have a real good friend that we gave a staging quote to last week. Their realtor told them they didn't need to stage/update it (it truly needs it- think 1990s decor), and so they decided they couldn't afford staging, and I noticed they lowered their price $5,000 already! I am pondering whether or not to give her a 1/2 off rate (I don't stage for free anymore- people take advantage)...any thoughts, anyone?

Mar 18, 2008 09:52 AM
Brenda Smith
Interiors By Design - Punta Gorda, FL


You have a generous heart?  But I feel that FREE work is not valued by the receiver.  It's like getting something you really wanted but when you don't have to work for it, you don't put as great a value on it. 

 Brenda Smith

PS.  To answer Leslie's question,  I found a great quote that I am using in my staging business.  It goes...........A poor man asks "how much it costs" and a rich man asks "how much will it make me."  In the world of home selling, you can't afford NOT to stage your home.  I wish I could get that across to sellers and realtors.  If it puts more money in your pocket you are a fool not to stage your house to sell.

Mar 18, 2008 11:28 AM
Leslie Hoyt
Hello Home! - Greenville, SC
Hello Home!

Wow, Brenda- that's good!

Mark and I told our good friends that if the home is not improved, we predicted a sale in July (it was listed in January) for $15,000 less than original list. And in 8 weeks, they have already dropped the price 5K. Let's see what happens. We weren't trying to be mean or doomsayers with the prediction (anything can happen) but we've seen the market here and what sits and what sells...and we really do want to help them, but we can force them, right?

Reminds me of what I read in of Amie Chaney's Blog:

I will definitely be using the quote: A poor man asks, "How much does it cost?" and a rich man asks, "How much will it make me?"

Love it. And it's true. So true.



Mar 18, 2008 12:25 PM
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Interesting concept re: free not being valued by the receiver...I'd beg to differ.  As the recipient of a fully paid 4 year scholarship my education was free and I highly value(d) it. 


Mar 18, 2008 12:33 PM
Sandy Ridgway
Designs For You - Columbus, OH
Designs For You
Ah......a WISE MAN asks "how much does it cost?"  instead of just throwing his money to the wind.  The poor man gets richer and the rich man gets poorer.
Mar 18, 2008 01:07 PM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.
Well there is no right or wrong is there, it's what feels right to Kim that counts and right now she's paid it forward and told us at Stage it good job.  Hope it works out for you.
Mar 18, 2008 06:38 PM