When it comes to selling quickly and for the highest price possible, it’s hard to overstate the importance of staging your home. I find though that there’s some confusion about the term “staging.” Many people equate “home staging” with hiring a “staging company” to move a bunch of furniture and accessories into your home and artfully arrange them in such a way as to increase the appeal of the home.
When I talk about staging, I’m really talking about the whole process of boosting the perceived value of a home. Wikipedia actually has a pretty good definition of it too:
Home staging is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money.
There are a number of steps in the staging process – you can read all about it in my book, Get It Sold. In fact, many home owners do handle most of the staging themselves – by cleaning, de-cluttering, landscaping, painting, and other minor cosmetic repairs. These are among the most important, and cost-effective, parts of the staging process.
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It is only after you’ve completed all the hard work of putting the home itself into tip-top shape, does it come time to turn your eye towards what’s inside the home – the furnishings and other decor. It’s at this point that a lot of folks will turn to a professional stager – and I always recommend doing so, at least for an initial consultation. Most real estate home stagers actually split their time between staging and traditional interior design work, so they’re great people to talk to about what can be done to show off your home in its best light.
Most folks will be living in their homes while they are on the market – and in these situations, it’s not practical to rent a whole bunch of furniture. In fact, many stagers won’t put their furnishings into occupied homes, because they can become easily damaged or soiled. In such cases, a professional staging consultation is well worth the time. The stager will walk through your home and make suggestions on what to move and remove, and what select few pieces can or should be added to maximize appeal. Think of them as your home’s “editor” – they’ll work with what you have to bring out the very best in it.
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Staging a Vacant Home
Home staging professionals make the lion’s share of their money with vacant homes. This is where it starts to get expensive. Renting a house full of furniture can cost thousands of dollars – figure between $2500 and $5000 for most homes for the first month. Each additional month the furniture stays will cost you as well – usually around 50% of the cost of the first month’s fee.
For many sellers, that’s a lot of money they can’t easily afford to part with. If this is your situation, you can certainly go the DIY (do it yourself) route. And you can do it quite successfully too! Check out the photographs below from a home which he owners staged it themselves. They choked on the $2800 staging fee, and instead took a quick trip to Ikea. They bought some inexpensive furniture and artwork to dress up the home, with a very pleasing effect. In fact, most visitors to the home thought that it had been professionally staged!
Hiring a staging company to provide staging furnishings is something that relatively few sellers end up doing. In many cases, a seller will be able to do a pretty righteous job of staging, all by themselves and with some expert guidance from a Realtor®. Depending on your sense of style and design, the home, and your real estate market, it may make more sense for you to stage your home all on your own. As you can see from these photos, it doesn’t have to be all that hard – and it can end up saving you thousands of dollars on staging fees while boosting your sale price and shortening the time on market.