The Real Cost of Staging Your Home
By Tori Toth
When you’re ready to sell your home, you may want to consider staging it. Staging experts have a flair for interior design and work their magic to make your home appear bigger, brighter and more appealing to home buyers. Staging goes beyond just cleaning and decluttering, it’s dressing up your home in a way that others can picture themselves living there.
Why Stage a Home? What Are the Benefits?
Staging a home can be a significant investment, but that investment has been proven to have an equally significant return. A NAR survey found 77 percent of buyers’ agents believe staging makes it easier for their buyer to visualize the property as their future home. In the same survey, sellers’ agents say staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time a house will sit on the market.
Not to mention, the potential for return on investment. Sid Pinkerton, a New York City–based stager, says, “If you found a financial planner who could give you an ROI of 5%, 10%, sometimes as much as 20%, wouldn’t you think he/she was a genius? Well, that’s what a good stager can do.”
How to Get Started for Staging Success
Now, let’s say you’re sold on the idea of staging your home. Before you officially jump on the bandwagon, you should set a budget. While some listing agents offer staging services to their clients, many others do not. So, before you seek out a staging expert, it’s important to know how much you can really afford.
Secondly, you must still take the time to clean and declutter your home. That means putting away any knick-knacks, random shoe piles and seasonal decorations. You should also consider removing personal photographs and other artwork that may deter potential buyers from seeing themselves living there.
Once you’ve finished tidying up, it’s time to find the right stager for your home. Before hiring someone on the spot, you should prepare a list of questions to ask them, so you can find out how much they charge and if their taste matches yours.
According to House Logic, the main questions you’ll want to ask are about price range, the style of homes they typically stage and if they have a portfolio you can see. Knowing this information will ensure you find a stager whose style (and fee) is in line with what you had in mind.
How Much Does Staging Cost?
Getting a realistic estimate on home staging costs can be difficult, as it really depends on the home, but it starts by evaluating the amount of work it will take to get your home prepped and ready for potential buyers. As a general rule of thumb, most stagers charge $300 to $600 for an initial consultation and $400 to $700 per month per room. Below we’ve broken down the average cost depending on which home staging path you choose.
- If you have a limited budget and want to save money, you can go the DIY route and hire a stager to tour your home and give suggestions on how to best present it to home buyers. Barb Schwarz, founder of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, tells Kiplinger that the average fee for a consultation is $350 and it often involves a tour of your home, photos and a 30- to 50-page report on how to optimize your home’s look. Reach out to your family and friends to help implement their recommendations. All you’ll need to provide is pizza and drinks!
- You can also just partially stage your home. This means you’ll only stage the rooms that have the biggest impact on buyers, such as the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. The cost to stage a home varies, but overall expect to spend anywhere from $400-$700 per room, as well as a monthly rental fee of $500-$600 per monthfor furniture and decor items.
- If you want full-service professional home staging, you’re likely going to spend at least $4,000. This option includes all new furniture and décor for each room of your home. You should also be prepared to store most of your belongings, unless your home is already vacant. This can cost anywhere from $100-$200 per month, depending on the size of the storage unit.
- Additional Considerations and Costs: Usually, stagers will try to use items the homeowner already owns, but sometimes they “need to purchase new accessories, fresh towels, flowers, and/or fruit, as these small touches make a big difference,” says Sheila Schostok with Your Home Matters Staging and Redesign.
However, if you’ve already moved and your home is vacant, having to rent all the furniture and décor will increase staging expenses. On the flip side, if you have too much stuff and need to put your excess belongings in storage, that can increase the price as well.
Lastly, you’ll need to consider the price of labor. If a staging job calls for heavy lifting through multiple levels of your home, that may require hiring additional help to move all the furniture wherever it needs to go.
Make it Count: The True Value of Home Staging
With staged homes typically seeing a significant return on investment, selling faster and for more money than non-staged homes, some sellers are beginning to wonder, “Can I afford not to stage my home?” According to the NAR survey we discussed earlier, more than 20 percent of sellers’ agents believe staging a home increases its value anywhere from 6 to 10 percent – which could mean thousands more dollars in your pocket!
Krisztina Bell, a stager in Atlanta puts things into perspective, saying, “It costs more not to stage – the average cost of a complete staging is usually much less than your first price reduction.”
At the end of the day, the choice is yours to decide what’s best for your unique situation. Happy staging!