Staging Costs You Didn’t See Coming, and How to Avoid Them When You Sell

by Alex ThatcherApril 25, 2018

Sometimes You Have to Spend Money to Maximize Your Sale, Within Reason

Most real estate experts agree — home staging can be a great way to accentuate the qualities of your home without breaking the bank. Staging your home for the sale period can help a house sell for well over list price, and more quickly, in some cases. But it’s also an expense that could potentially eat away the proceeds of the sale.

Staging a home effectively without breaking the bank is the ideal scenario. But sometimes, it’s what you don’t know that can hurt you. Here’s how to avoid common hidden costs that factor into staging and ways to work out how to do it yourself for considerably less money.
home staging costs

Minimum Terms

One of the most common hidden costs of staging that can affect your proceeds from a sale comes in the form of the minimum terms worked into many staging contracts. If you are in a tight market with fast turnarounds, signing a contract with a staging company that has a three-month or two-month minimum may not be worth the extra money they can get you for the sale of your home.

The High Cost of “New” Items

Some professional staging companies will utilize many of the homeowner’s existing pieces of furniture and art to stage the house and some will not. Either way, you could be looking at massive up-charges for purchasing new furnishings or artwork to gussy up your home.

Often, these items become the property of the staging company once a sale is made. Because of this, make sure to discuss all of the costs you are agreeing to before you sign a contract.
home staging costs

The Heavy Lifting

A home with multiple levels can also cost you more when it comes to staging. Moving heavy furniture up or down stairs can cost additional labor, and many times, with a labor surcharge tacked on, too. Make sure that you’re only signing on to stage the areas that need staging and negotiate the contract before you sign it.

DIY Staging

Staging can be done by homeowners themselves, typically with great results in many cases. Often a staging company will agree to provide you with an initial consultation, during the time which you can pick an expert’s brain on how they would stage your space, which pieces of furniture and art you could use to good effect, and which pieces might seem dated to buyers. You can then stage the home yourself based on the expert’s recommendations.

Working With What You Have

If your furniture is dated, appeals only to those with taste like yours, or is worn down, then consider using good-quality slipcovers to give it a more neutral, updated look. Consider renting pieces for staging your home rather than buying them. The most important aspect of staging is to give the prospective buyer an idea of what living in your home might mean to them. Keep that in mind when working with furniture that you already own.

A Minimalist Approach

Less is often more — this concept applies to staging as well. At the very least, you will want to remove everything about your home that bears your signature style or unique taste. You only really need to stage the main rooms of the home, leaving the bedrooms and areas like utility rooms and basements open to buyer imagination. When in doubt, take a minimalist approach.
home staging costs

Finding Multiple Ways to Save on Staging

The work you’re agreeing to pay for when hiring a professional staging company is, in many cases, negotiable. Knowing what you can do yourself and how to trim the excess items from the staging company’s “usual” way of doing business can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your home and the duration of the staging.

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About The Author
Alex Thatcher
Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.

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