As I head to Florida for a much-needed vacation and annual Spring Training game (Go Tigers!!!), I leave you with an excellent Q & A reblogged with permission from my staging colleague Cindy Bryant of Redesign Etc, Inc. in Houston, TX. Her post on Active Rain is spot-on and truly reflects the most common questions that I am asked by potential staging clients. I apologize for starting my vacation early and taking the easy way out. Truth is, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Take it away Cindy …
“There is so much information on home staging, that home sellers are on overload. With advice coming from all kinds of sources and areas of the country. Yes, it is confusing, where do you start? If you watch tv, you may get the impression you can have your home staged for under $2000. Or another show may stage a home for around $20,000. Big difference! Another show has strangers coming to your house picking it apart, to the point that you’re thinking, no way am I going to let someone do that to my home. You can read articles or books on the internet from people that may be experts or just people with an opinion. You can also read a book on “How to Cut Hair”, but would you actually trust yourself to cut your hair or someone else’s? I wouldn’t! So, where do you start? Sure, you have questions … who wouldn’t?
Here are a few questions home sellers have when thinking about staging their homes.
1) How much does it cost? Reasonable question … as a matter of fact it’s the #1 question. It’s the big mystery. This is why. I wish I could say every home stager could give you a standard answer, but we can’t. Every stager should be their own business entity, and provide different services. Some charge an hourly rate, by the square foot, per room, a percentage of the list price or a flat fee. As every property is different, we really need to see the home to assess it and give you a solid number. Some stagers can estimate it, but shouldn’t be held to that number until the property is viewed. There are too many variables that go into it. Is is vacant? Do furniture and accessories need to be brought in? Or is it occupied, and you just need a redesign of existing furnishings? These are just a couple of examples.
2) Who pays for the staging? The 2nd most popular question. The home seller is ultimately responsible for staging services.
3) Why doesn’t my Realtor pay for home staging, they are making the commission? Again, ultimately a homeowner is responsible for staging costs. Some, but not all real estate agents will pay for a Home Staging Consultation, as a value-added service, but the actual costs associated with staging (furniture rental, actual hands-on staging) is paid for by the home seller. It is not the responsibility of a real estate agent to pay for home staging costs.
4) Can I pay at closing? This is up to the stager. Most, do not do this as we do not know if a property will be on the market for 1 day or 3 months. Again, we all do it a little differently, some ask for 1/2 upfront, and some charge a monthly fee.
5) What do you do? Again, each home stager is their own entity. Some offer redesigns only, some offer accessories only, and some offer furniture and accessories. Some don’t have the inventory to do a vacant home so they will have to use a third party source, and some use their own inventory. Different services can be offered, such as paint color consultations, personal shopping, organizing, curb appeal, recommendations on cost-effective cosmetic changes such as flooring, counters, lights, fixtures, etc. The ultimate goal is to help a seller get their home sold faster and in the most cost effective manner.
6) How long does it take? It depends on how much you want done and to what extent. It can take a few hours or a few days, or maybe longer if there are some cosmetic changes that need to be taken care of.
7) When should I have my home staged? As soon as you decide to sell. Call a professional home stager and get a Home Staging Consultation. Once necessary recommendations are completed from your stager’s list, your house is ready to be listed. Don’t make the mistake of putting up that “For Sale” sign in the front yard before your home is ready. The first 20 days a home is listed will be when it will get the most interest and traffic. Make sure your house is show ready.”