living room with light purple couch and metal accents
Selling a Home

Should You Pay To Stage Your Home

It’s undeniable that they make the spaces their selling look incredible– and for a television show, it certainly makes sense to hire a professional stager. But what about the average homeowner? Should they pay to stage their home when selling?

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It’s impossible to watch homebuying or “fixer upper” shows and not see professional home staging. It’s undeniable that they make the spaces their selling look incredible– and for a television show, it certainly makes sense to hire a professional stager. But what about the average homeowner? Should they pay to stage their home when selling?

According to the National Association of Realtors 2019 Profile of Home Staging report, 83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as their future home. So, there is an upside to spending money on home staging. But before you write the check, there are a few things you need to know.

living room with light purple couch and metal accents

Not All Home Stagers Are Created Equal

The home stagers you see on television aren’t just people that like to decorate, they’re chosen because they’re trained to decorate and style a home with a buyer in mind. There is a distinct difference in being able to decorate a space well and being able to style it for a buyer. Cecilia Cannon of Cecilia Cannon Staging and Interiors in Chicago states: “Staging is not interior design and that needs to be remembered. Also, don’t be scared to ask for a list of homes they have staged and their success rate…Any professional home stagers should be able to provide this info.”

When hiring a home stager, it’s not only acceptable but responsible to ask for credentials, references, and a listing of homes they’ve sold, as well as the property sold prices.

Stage Where It Counts

According to NAR’s report, staging a living room was found to be the most important for buyers followed by 42% of respondents saying the master bedroom was important. Many buyers struggle with envisioning a space that is not only beautiful but functional, and that’s where the role of a home stager comes in. By focusing on the main rooms, the home stager can define a space, highlight its features, and minimize its faults.

But according to Mrs. Cannon, staging isn’t just “about de-cluttering or renting furniture for a vacant space.” While that is part of the process, she suggests “Paint is the number one ROI [return on investment] in selling.” She continues by suggesting that sellers “ask if painting is needed and where and what colors, staying on trend with what buyers want.”

kitchen with decor

Does It Really Increase Resale Value?

Many sellers may be reluctant to spend money on a home stager for fear they won’t recoup the cost. However, according to the 2019 NAR report, 25% of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1%-5%, compared to other homes on the market that weren’t staged. 17% of buyers’ agents said it could increase the amount from 6%-10%! For example, on a $200,000 home, that’s an increase of $2,000-$10,000 or $12,000-$20,000. Mrs. Cannon concurs by stating the role of a home stager is “to assist the Realtor in having a home sell in under 30 days and for top dollar.”

The Cost Of Professional Home Staging

If a homeowner is paying a Realtor, they may consider an additional expense of a home staging extreme, but if done property, stats say sellers can recoup the cost of staging. But what is that cost? In the 2019 NAR report, the median dollar value spent on home staging was $400. As far as who pays, that differs. According to NAR, 18% of agents responded that sellers pay for it. Mrs. Cannon said, “If a Realtors calls me, it is discussed that they will pay the consult and staging report but after that all staging costs are the property owners.”

Some home stagers may price their services based on square footage, list price, inventory needed, location, and amount of manpower needed. Regardless who pays for the staging, it’s important to identify all possible costs involved with staging before committing to a particular home stager.

What You Should Ask

If you’re planning to sell your home this year and you and your Realtor believe home staging is beneficial to the sale, consider asking the following questions of the home staging professionals you interview:

  • Who will pay the home staging bill?
  • How many homes have they staged?
  • What was the list price versus sale price of their staged homes?
  • How long did their staged homes stay on the market before going under contract?
  • What training have they had to become a home stager?
  • How do they charge?
  • How long does the home remain staged?
  • Should they paint the interior?
  • Can the home stager provide an ideal floor plan design?
  • Will they be staging any exterior spaces?
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Jennifer is an accidental house flipper turned Realtor and real estate investor. She is the voice behind the blog, Bachelorette Pad Flip. Over five years, Jennifer paid off $70,000 in student loan debt through real estate investing. She's passionate about the power of real estate. She's also passionate about southern cooking, good architecture, and thrift store treasure hunting. She calls Northwest Arkansas home with her cat Smokey, but she has a deep love affair with South Florida.

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