What Is Home Staging and What Does It Cost?

Claudia Soto
Claudia Soto
Owner's Rep
Jun 17, 2024
What Is Home Staging and What Does It Cost?

Whether you’re a homeowner or real estate agent, one thing is certain, before selling a home sellers and their agents are always looking for ways to make the home stand out to attract more buyers and sell for the most amount possible. One increasingly popular strategy is home staging, a process that involves preparing a property for sale by making it look its best. But what exactly is home staging, and why does it matter? Let’s dive into it.

What is Home Staging?

You can almost think of home staging as an art form. Home staging experts prep a home for sale by highlighting its best features and creating an inviting atmosphere that appeals to a wide range of potential buyers. This process oftentimes involves decluttering, cleaning, and rearranging furniture – i.e. helping to create a blank canvas again – before adding decorative touches to make the space feel warm and welcoming. The whole goal of home staging is to help buyers envision themselves living in the home and to create an emotional connection that encourages them to make an offer.

Why Home Staging Matters

It almost goes without saying that homes that are well-staged tend to sell faster and for higher prices than those that aren't. After all, pretty sells, and there is plenty of data to back it up. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 83% of buyer's agents said that staging made it easier for their clients to visualize a property as their future home. Additionally, staged homes spent an average of 73% less time on the market compared to non-staged properties. That’s a pretty big difference!

Benefits of Home Staging

1. Increased Appeal

One of the main upsides of home staging is that it makes a property more appealing to potential buyers. By creating a neutral, clutter-free environment, staging allows buyers to focus on the home's best features and imagine themselves living in the space. This increase in appeal can lead to more showings, more offers, and ultimately, a faster sale.

2. Higher Sale Price

Staged homes often receive higher sale prices than non-staged properties. According to a report by the Real Estate Staging Association, staged homes sold for an average of 20% more than non-staged homes. This increase in sale price can help offset the cost of staging, making it a worthwhile investment for sellers. Alternatively, you could work with a home concierge company that specializes in prepping homes for sale and covers the cost of home improvements and staging. Companies like Revive allow homeowners to bring their homes to market in turnkey condition without ever spending a dollar out of pocket. 

3. Faster Sales

In addition to driving higher sales prices, staged homes also tend to sell faster than non-staged properties. By creating a move-in-ready environment that appeals to a wide range of buyers, staging can help a home stand out among the competition and generate more interest from potential purchasers. This increased interest can lead to quicker offers and a shorter overall sales process.

A Step-by-Step Home Staging Guide

Step 1: Declutter and Depersonalize

The first step in staging a home is to declutter and depersonalize the space. This can be hard for a lot of homeowners. Removing personal items such as family photos, unique collections, and decor can help make the space look new again. By creating a neutral environment, staging allows potential buyers to envision their own belongings in the space and makes the home feel more spacious and inviting.

Step 2: Deep Clean

A thorough deep cleaning is not a want, it’s a must for making a home look its best. This includes deep cleaning carpets, washing windows, dusting surfaces, and ensuring that all areas of the home are free from dirt and grime. A clean home not only looks better but also feels more inviting and well-maintained. Not to mention, it probably smells a lot fresher too! 

Step 3: Focus on Key Rooms

While it's important to stage a home in its entirety, some rooms are more critical than others. The living room, kitchen, and master bedroom are typically the most important spaces to focus on, as these are the areas where buyers tend to spend the most amount of time. By making these rooms look their best, staging can create a lasting impression that encourages buyers to make an offer.

Step 4: Rearrange and Maximize Space

Rearranging furniture and maximizing space is another big play in home staging. This involves creating a functional and inviting layout that showcases the home's best features and makes the space feel larger. By removing oversized or unnecessary furniture and creating clear pathways, staging can help buyers envision themselves living comfortably in the home.

Step 5: Neutralize Colors

The bold and the beautiful? Think again… while bold colors can be appealing to some buyers, neutral tones are generally more effective for staging. By painting walls in soft, neutral shades and adding pops of color through accessories, staging can create a warm and inviting atmosphere that appeals to a wider range of buyers, and that’s the real goal.

Step 6: Add Finishing Touches

Finally, adding finishing touches like fresh flowers, decorative pillows, and tasteful artwork can help make a home feel more inviting and polished. These small details can create a finishing look that ties the entire space together and leaves a lasting impression on potential buyers.

The Cost of Home Staging

When it comes down to it, what’s the cost? Well, it can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the size of the home, the scope of the staging, the location, and the duration of the staging period. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $500 and $5,000 for professional staging services.

The Factors Affecting Cost

  • Home Size
    The size of the home is one of the biggest factors that will affect staging costs. Larger homes generally require more furniture and accessories to fill the space, which can increase the overall cost of staging.
  • Staging Scope
    The scope of the staging can also influence costs. Full-home staging, which involves staging every room in the house, will typically cost more than partial staging, which focuses only on key areas such as the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom.
  • Location
    Staging costs can also vary depending on the location of the home. In high-cost areas such as New York City or San Francisco, staging services may be more expensive than in smaller cities or rural areas.
  • Duration
    The length of time that a home is staged can also impact costs. Most staging companies charge a monthly fee for their services, so the longer a home is staged, the more expensive it will be.

Typical Costs Associated with Home Staging

Many staging companies offer an initial consultation to assess the home and provide recommendations for staging. This consultation typically costs between $150 and $500, depending on the company and the location. If working with a home concierge company, like Revive, there is no charge for a consultation.

Monthly Fees
Once the staging plan is in place, homeowners can expect to pay a monthly fee for the duration of the staging period. This fee can range from $500 to $2,000 per month, depending on the size of the home and the scope of the staging.

Additional Services
Some staging companies may also charge additional fees for services such as furniture rental, accessory rental, or move-in/move-out services. These fees can add up quickly, so it's important for homeowners to carefully review their staging contract and understand all of the costs involved.

DIY vs. Professional Staging

While professional staging can be expensive, some homeowners may choose to stage their homes themselves to save money. DIY staging can be a cost-effective option, but it does require time, effort, and an eye for design.

DIY Tips

  • Budget-Friendlysome text
    • For homeowners on a tight budget, simple DIY staging techniques such as decluttering, deep cleaning, and rearranging furniture can make a big impact without breaking the bank.
  • Mid-Rangesome text
    • Homeowners with a bit more to spend may choose to invest in new accessories, paint, or minor home repairs to enhance their staging efforts.
  • High-Endsome text
    • For those with a larger budget, renting furniture or hiring a professional photographer can take DIY staging to the next level.

Benefits of Professional Stagers

While DIY staging can be effective, there are several benefits to working with a professional stager. Professional stagers have experience creating inviting spaces that appeal to buyers, and they have access to high-quality furniture and accessories that can make a home look its best. They also have a deep understanding of current design trends and can provide valuable advice on how to maximize a home's potential.

Cost Comparison

While professional staging may cost more upfront, it can often lead to a faster sale and a higher sale price, which can offset the initial investment. Homeowners should carefully consider their budget and their goals when deciding between DIY and professional staging.

Pros and Cons of DIY

Cost-effective for homeowners on a budget
Requires a significant time investment
Allows homeowners to have full control

May not be as effective as professional staging

Enables a more personalized touch
Requires a good understanding of current design trends and buyer preferences
Can be a fun and rewarding project
Homeowners may lack the expertise and resources of professional stagers
Provides an opportunity to declutter and refresh the home
Results may not be as polished or cohesive as professional staging

Working with a Professional Stager

For homeowners who choose to work with a professional stager, there are several key things to keep in mind to ensure a successful partnership.

Finding a Stager

When searching for a professional stager, homeowners should look for someone with experience, a strong portfolio, and positive reviews from past clients. They should also ask for references and should carefully review the stager's contract to ensure that they understand all of the costs and services involved.

Questions to Ask

When interviewing potential stagers, homeowners should ask about their experience, their design philosophy, and their process for working with clients. They should also ask for examples of past projects and should know ahead of time the stager's availability and timeline for completing the project.

Evaluating Portfolios

When reviewing a stager's portfolio, homeowners should look for examples of work similar in style and scope to their own home. They should also pay attention to the quality of the photos and look for spaces that feel inviting, spacious, and well-designed.

What to Expect

Once a stager has been selected, homeowners should expect to work closely with them throughout the staging process. This may involve providing access to the home, approving design plans, and communicating regularly about the project's progress. Homeowners should also be prepared to make some changes to their living arrangements during the staging period, such as removing personal items or temporarily relocating pets.

Common Staging Mistakes

While home staging can be a great tool for selling a home, there are several common mistakes that homeowners should avoid.

  1. Over-Personalizing

While it's important to create a warm and inviting atmosphere, homeowners should be careful not to over-personalize their staging. This means avoiding highly specific or polarizing design choices that may not appeal to all buyers.

  1. Ignoring Curb Appeal

Staging doesn't just apply to the inside of the home - it's also important to create a strong first impression from the outside. The landscaping is well-maintained, the front door should be clean and inviting, and the outdoor spaces are tidy and well-designed.

  1. Overcrowding Rooms

While it's important to showcase a home's potential, homeowners should be careful not to overcrowd rooms with too much furniture or accessories. This can make spaces feel smaller and less inviting and can distract from the home's best features.

Is Home Staging Worth It?

Given the potential costs and time investment involved in home staging, many homeowners wonder whether or not it's truly worth it. While every situation is unique, there are several compelling reasons why staging can be a worthwhile investment.

Return on Investment

According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, staged homes sold for an average of 17% more than non-staged homes. This means that even if a seller invests several thousand dollars in staging, they may be able to recoup that investment and then some when their home sells.

Case Studies

There are countless examples of homes that have sold quickly and for top dollar thanks to staging done right. For example, homes that undergo pre-sale renovations, combined with proper staging sell on average for $145k more, according to data from Revive. 

Expert Opinions

Many real estate professionals and industry experts agree that staging is a valuable tool for selling a home. According to a survey by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, 85% of staged homes sold for 5-23% over list price, and 75% of sellers saw a return on their staging investment of 5-15%.

Saving on Home Staging

While professional staging can be expensive, there are several ways that homeowners can save money and still achieve great results.

DIY Tips

As mentioned earlier, DIY staging can be a cost-effective option for homeowners on a budget. Here are some of the top things to consider if opting for this route:

  • Declutter and depersonalize the home by removing personal items, excess furniture, and clutter
  • Deep clean the entire home, including carpets, windows, and all surfaces
  • Make simple design updates, such as:some text
    • Rearranging furniture to maximize space and create a better flow
    • Updating light fixtures and hardware for a fresh, modern look
    • Adding a fresh coat of neutral paint to walls and trim
    • Replacing outdated or worn accessories, such as throw pillows, curtains, and rugs
  • Focus on key areas of the home, such as the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom
  • Enhance curb appeal by tidying up the front yard, adding potted plants, and ensuring the entryway is clean and inviting
  • Use natural light to your advantage by opening curtains and blinds and adding lamps or light fixtures where needed
  • Create a cohesive look throughout the home by using a consistent color scheme and style
  • Add small, inviting touches, such as fresh flowers, scented candles, and cozy throw blankets
  • Take high-quality photos of the staged home to use in online listings and marketing materials

Partial Staging

For homeowners who can't afford to stage their entire home, partial staging can be a great middleground. This involves focusing on key areas such as the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom while leaving other spaces more lightly staged or unstaged.

Negotiating with Stagers

Finally, homeowners may be able to save money by negotiating with their stager. This could involve asking for a discount for a longer staging period or negotiating a flat fee rather than a monthly rate.

The Takeaway

Home staging is a powerful tool for selling a home quickly and for top dollar. By creating an inviting atmosphere that appeals to a wide range of buyers, staging can help a home stand out in a crowded market and generate more interest from potential purchasers.

While staging can be expensive, the potential return on investment is significant. Staged homes tend to sell faster and for higher prices than non-staged homes, which can more than offset the initial cost of staging.

For homeowners considering staging, it's important to carefully weigh the costs and benefits and to choose a staging approach that aligns with their budget and goals. Whether working with a professional stager or taking a DIY approach, the key is to create a warm, inviting space that showcases the home's best features and appeals to potential buyers.

FAQs on Home Staging

1. How long does home staging take?
The staging process really depends on the size of the home and the scope of the project, but staging completed through Revive typically takes 1 day to complete. 

2. Can I live in my home while it's being staged?
In most cases, homeowners can continue to live in their homes during the staging process, but they may need to make some temporary changes to their living arrangements, such as removing personal items or relocating pets.

3. What if I can't afford to stage my entire home?
Partial staging, which involves focusing on key areas such as the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom, can be a cost-effective alternative to full-home staging.

4. How do I find a reputable home stager?
When searching for a home stager, look for someone with experience, a strong portfolio, and positive reviews from past clients. You can also ask for referrals from your real estate agent or other industry professionals.

5. Is home staging tax-deductible?
In some cases, home staging may be tax-deductible as a selling expense. Homeowners should consult with a tax professional to determine whether their staging costs qualify for a deduction.

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Claudia Soto
Claudia Soto
Owner's Rep
Jun 17, 2024

Claudia Soto, an Owner's Rep at Revive, assists homeowners and agents by serving as a dedicated personal expert who offers project oversight throughout the construction and renovation process. Her background knowledge in the construction space allows her to oversee large and small projects with precision.

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