I'm here to debunk a common myth about home staging: The perception that if it's a smaller property, it's always going to cost less to stage.
Many homeowners and Realtors assume that stagers base their pricing on size of the property, and that, since many condos are smaller than single-family homes, they will cost less to stage. While size of the property is certainly a consideration in pricing staging services, it is certainly not the only factor. Frequently, stagers must price condos at a higher rate than a comparably-sized single-family home for a number of reasons. Some things that stagers have to take into account in staging a condo include:
- Security factors: Does the condo complex have a gate? Do you need a special key, remote, or code to access even the parking lot of the complex? Once you make it into the parking lot, how do you obtain access to the unit? For instance, I recently staged a unit near San Francisco which had a security gate to get into the parking lot (needed a remote to get in), an access door to the building (a separate key), and then another key to get into the unit. Each trip from the parking lot to the unit took my team anywhere from 5-10 minutes!
- Parking: Is there a space near the unit where I can park? Where any assistants can park? Are there meters or parking controls which puts the stagers at risk of getting parking tickets?
- Access: What is the clearance for a stager's truck or van? How close can the truck or van get to the unit?
- Level of unit: What floor is the unit on? Stair-only access makes a stager's job very difficult, and even elevator access is still difficult - consider the amount of time it takes to wait for the elevator each time, and how small the elevator is.
- Safety: This is a consideration for staging any home, but often condos tend to be in more high-density, urban areas. Many people come in and out of a condo complex, and a stager always must consider the risk to his or her inventory. If the van or truck cannot be left unattended, extra hands are required to monitor the inventory.
Just as in any other profession, in staging, time equals money. A stager must take into account the length of time it will take to stage a property when pricing the job. Each of the factors outlined above contribute to the overall cost of a job, and can sometimes combine to create the "perfect storm" of contributing factors which would make a small condominium more costly to stage than a single-family home which may be larger. That being said, staging is still a vital investment for selling these properties.
Think about it: if a buyer goes through all this trouble to view the property, you'd better give them something worthwhile to visit once they get there!