Home staging—where you decorate your house in an effort to entice buyers to bite—may seem counterintuitive at first blush: Why spend money on real estate if you’re moving out? Simple answer: because home staging can get you more money for your home sale.
If your real estate agent (here’s how to find a real estate agent in your area) has suggested staging, it’s because evidence shows staging real estate is usually well worth the effort. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than nonstaged homes, which is nothing to sneeze at. But just how much does home staging really cost?
Here’s what to know about the cost to stage a home, so you can decide if paying a professional stager is worth the investment for you.
What Is Home Staging?
Home staging is temporarily redecorating your house so that when buyers come to tour it, your home looks its best and it’s easier for the buyers to visualize themselves living there. Home staging efforts go beyond adding charming furniture and decorations. A good home stager makes the home look larger, ensures the decorations appeal to a large group of buyers, and removes clutter and personal items that are difficult for buyers to look past.
Home staging offerings vary and many stagers offer different packages that suit all types of staging needs and budgets. Home staging can involve:
- An assessment of your entire home with documented notes and photographs of your home
- A detailed vision statement that guides design decisions
- Supporting documents that will outline rental furniture suggestions and room layouts
- Color scheme plan that incorporates painting
- A to-do list for the homeowners to help guide them through decluttering and organizing their home
- Professional decluttering, organization, and packing services
- Shopping services to buy or rent decorative items such as artwork, plants, and bedding
Professional home stagers may also make suggestions about things you can do to your home to make it sell, such as painting, adding in new lighting, and giving your home a deep clean. These recommendations will put you on the path towards getting your home ready to sell.
Is Home Staging Effective?
While home staging may feel like an extra cost, if you’re struggling to compete in a buyer’s market, home staging may be the extra special touch that makes your home really stand out to picky house hunters.
Not only does having your home professionally staged help you sell it faster and for a higher price, but according to the National Association of Realtors, 47% of buyers’ agents reported that home staging affected most of their clients’ opinion of homes they toured. On top of that, 82% of buyers’ agents reported that home staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize a home as their future home.
If you’re in a seller’s market, you may find that home staging isn’t worth the fuss when every house on your block is in a bidding war. Do some research on your local real estate market to gauge whether or not home staging is necessary for you.
How Much Does It Cost To Stage A House?
File this one under “obvious”—but the pricier the staged home, the higher the potential home staging costs. As a general rule of thumb, the average cost for most stagers is $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and $500 to $600 per month per staged room.
“Therefore, staging a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $2,000 to $2,400 a month,” explains real estate professional Crystal Leigh Hemphill. Most professional home stagers also require a three-month minimum staging contract, “even if you sell the home in 24 hours.” That could bring your final staging bill to $7,200.
Home staging might sound expensive, but if you own a vacant home, for example, you’re already paying lots of bills every month that your unstaged house sits empty. If a home stager can help buyers envision how fabulous your living room looks with a little classy furniture and tasteful decor, the costs of home staging may be some of the best money you have ever spent.
What Makes The Cost Of Staging A Home More Expensive?
Most home stagers work with the knickknacks and art that the homeowner already owns. But sometimes home stagers “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, which serves Chicago and southeastern Wisconsin. This is especially true with a vacant house. The stagers’ new purchases will add to the overall cost of the project.
The layout of your home could also add a cha-ching to the home staging costs. Home stagers often use lightweight versions of basic furniture pieces. However, a home staging job that requires heavy lifting in a multistory house still usually means hiring additional help to move furniture, says Schostok.
And if you’re listing a vacant home because you’ve already moved out, you’re looking at home staging costs that include rental fees for every stick of furniture and all furnishing and decor items from a stager.
Conversely, if you inherited a ton of antiques (or have a One King’s Lane addiction), the stager may recommend you declutter by putting excess knickknacks into storage, tacking that monthly rental onto your overall staging costs. Staging services may also suggest that sellers declutter and depersonalize the home by removing unusual, religious or political, and personal items, so home buyers can more easily envision themselves living in the home.
A final expense, an important one that can help ensure staging success, is the price of painting a room. A fresh coat in a 12-by-12-foot room will cost a DIYer around $200, or $400 to $700 if left to the pros.
How To Save On Home Staging Costs
You don’t have to pay a home stager to transform the decor of your entire house from basement laundry room to attic storage.
“A great way to save money when staging is by only focusing on the main areas of a home,” says Schostok.
These are the rooms potential buyers would spend the most time in—the kitchen, living room, dining room, and master bedroom. You’ll also want to pay attention to what the buyers see when they first step in the front door. That first impression, whether it be a bare, unstaged home or an inviting, perfectly staged one, can make the difference in whether they decide to buy and how much they are willing to pay for your house.
Another cost-saving home staging option is to limit yourself to an initial consultation with a home stager, instead of full-service staging. When Schostok does a home staging walk-through with the homeowner, offering home staging tips to maximize the potential for each room, “the price is far less, $125 for 90 minutes.”
You may want to ask your real estate agent if she thinks your home would benefit from home staging. Your agent may also recommend a home staging service or even offer other cost-saving tips besides staging, based on her experience showing real estate to buyers. For example, your agent may recommend that you start by decluttering your home yourself, or spend the money on a specific home improvement task, instead of hiring a professional stager, depending on her own first-time impression of your home.
The biggest cost savings for home sellers who use home staging? Selling their home faster, at a better price, and without months of carrying costs—because their house was properly staged and buyer-ready.
How To Save On Home Staging Costs
On average, home staging costs $1,500, but this expense varies depending on your home staging needs and the company you choose to work with. Consultations for home staging start as low as $200. A full-service staging — requiring furniture rentals and a hefty redesign of the home — costs as much as $10,000.
The following chart provides a home staging cost breakdown, detailing some of the more common staging services. It’s important to remember that these numbers are very general, but they give you an idea of what it often costs to meet your home staging needs.
If you want to save money on home staging, you can choose to have a consultation with a staging specialist. During your consultation (which usually lasts about two hours), you can take the plan they come up with for your home and implement it yourself. It will take more time and effort on your end to do this, but it does save a lot of money.
If you do decide to work with a company to stage your home, you’ll want to confirm with the stager if they charge by the hour or have a fixed rate fee. Learn about the costs upfront so you aren’t hit with surprise expenses down the road.
How To Save On Home Staging Costs
How much it costs to stage your home depends on the size of the home and how many rooms you want to professionally stage. If you have a five-bedroom house and plan to stage every room for a month or two while you wait for your home to sell, you may end up spending more than makes sense. But if you only intend to refresh your living room since it’s the first room people see when they walk in the door, you may not have to spend that much to make an impact.
In short, staging costs depend on how much work you want done on your home.
If you’re looking to save on staging costs, consider a few of these handy tricks for keeping the costs down.
1. See if your agent will foot the bill
Some listing agents will pay for the staging of a home, but will then take some of the proceeds of your home sale to pay for the staging. While this method won’t necessarily save you any money, it will stop you from investing in an expensive service before your home sells. Some listing agents only require you to give them 1% to 3% of the listing price to cover these costs. It’s worth asking your listing agent what your options are for staging.
2. Only stage key areas of the home
If you have a sprawling four bedroom house, you may not want to fund the staging of the entire house. Luckily, you can choose which areas of your home you want to stage. You’ll likely want to focus on the areas that potential buyers spend the most time in, such as the master bedroom, kitchen, and living room. The National Associations of Realtors discovered that staging the living room had the biggest impact on buyers (46%), but the master bedroom (43%) and kitchen (35%) also benefited greatly from staging.
If you’re not sure which rooms to prioritize, your stager should be able to help you pinpoint where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
3. Start with DIY
If you’re uncertain about whether or not you want to invest in home staging services, you can always try a DIY approach first. If your personal efforts don’t pay off and you struggle to sell your home, you can hire a stager down the road. Do some research on how to stage a house and see what tips you can make work in your home. Start by giving your home a truly deep clean and decluttering it (you’ll be doubly glad you did when it’s time to move). Consider adding a fresh coat of paint to rooms that are looking lack luster or add some fresh accessories to the space to make it feel really modern.
The pros and cons of home staging
Now that you know more about what it costs to stage a home and what the benefits are, let’s do a quick recap so you can consider your options. To help you decide if the cost of staging your house is worth it, here’s a quick round up of the pros and cons:
- Your house may sell quicker
- You can increase your profit
- Staging a whole home can be expensive
- Takes a lot of time an effort
- No clear timeline of how long you need to pay for furniture rentals
It’s important to note there is no right or wrong answer here. Plenty of home sellers benefit from hiring home stagers, but there are countless other successful sellers out there who didn’t stage their home and sold it for a great price.