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What does it cost to stage a vacant home? Can you afford it? Can you afford not to?

Living Room staged by Organized by Design

The home in the above photo was staged by Organized by Design and sold $47,000 over list price with multiple offers for a 17% ROI.

Saturday, April 16th, 2016
by Sherry Castaldi
Category: Home Staging

The home in the above photo was staged and sold $47,000 over the list price with multiple offers for a 17% ROI.

No matter how many articles, blogs, and posts on the costs and benefits of staging a vacant home, none of it really matters until it’s for you and your home.

Home Staging is packaging and marketing in it’s purest form. If you go to the store to purchase a product you are most likely to pay retail when the product is packaged nicely and displayed properly. If it appears to be in sub-par condition you expect a discount. The same is true for selling a home. Of course, if you like the idea of selling for less, than by all means, forego the staging and sell low!

Although HGTV has brought more awareness of home staging to the mainstream it also may not portray the real time costs of staging a vacant home. Keep in mind that staging in different regions such as mid-town Manhattan, or a luxury-laden area of 10,000+ sq. ft homes will have different price points that a 2800 sq. ft. suburban or rural home. There may be times when a builder or seller may desire a completely furnished home for the market, but often only the main impact rooms need to be staged with furnishings. Although rental periods can vary they are often either for 60 or 90 days.

Let’s take a look at some real information at how the pricing for staging a home is derived. Did you ever really think about how much work goes into a staging project? Keep in mind professionals that are good at what they do, no matter what business, trade or craft, make their work look easy to the rest of us. The same holds true for staging. When you witness a quick segmented TV version of staging and think “Big deal! They move some stuff in, set it up and leave. How hard can that be? I can do that for next to nothing!” …Or can you?

Did You Know?

Here are findings from a recent survey that dissects the time and costs involved of staging a vacant home from a recent poll of over 5000 members from the Staging & Design Network Linked In Group by Tricia Tomlinson Founder of the Staging and Design Network

On average, the majority of stagers with credible experience spend between 40 to 60 hours pulling a staging project of up to a 4000 sq. ft. home together.   These hours include the time for the entire team which would consist of the designer, designer assistants that help on site, the mover and the admin staff that handle accounting and billing. Time is also spent on the walk-through, proposal, design plan, furniture and accessory selection, pick, pack and loading, delivery, furniture and accessory placement on site, and for the de-stage packing, loading, returning inventory, putting it away and billing the client.

A typical range per hour is $90 to $145 based on level of experience of the staging professional and number of services provided. This equates to a range between $3600 and $8700 for the design and installation fee which can go up or down depending upon the size of the home. The median sized home was considered to be between 2500 to 4000 square feet.  In 95% of the cases polled, the minimum design fee was $2500, which did not include monthly rental.

Rental fees were additional with a minimum rental period of 90 days with an average monthly rental of $2500 per month.

Looking at all of the data, it was determined that the staging industry average could be consistently quoted at 2% of the sales price – based on the average hard costs to stage, and the value received by the home owner.

The data researched on the benefits of home staging indicated that homes professionally staged sell in about 1/3rd of the time of an un-staged home and as high as 18% more. This number may very well apply to lower-priced homes. Even at an average of a 7% return on the sale price seems to warrant the 2% investment for home staging.

Reading through the survey findings, you realize there is a lot of time, work, effort and professionalism that goes into the pricing of a vacant home staging project. For years it’s been a known and stated fact that the cost of staging is almost always less than the first price reduction, which are often in $5000 – $10,000 increments. Better yet, the statistics support that investing in professional staging does sells your home in less time and for more money and ultimately isn’t that the goal when selling your home?


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