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If you’re selling your home, you want buyers to be able to picture themselves living in it. Staging, or decorating your home to make it more appealing to prospective buyers, is one of the best ways to do that.
Home staging can help your property stand out in online searches, shine during in-person showings and secure competitive offers faster. In fact, staged homes sell for around $40,000 over the list price, according to recent data from the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA).
- 81 percent of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for their clients to visualize the property as their home.
- 51 percent said staging has an effect on most buyers’ view of the home.
- 27 percent of seller’s agents said staged homes spent less time on the market.
- 23 percent said they staged all client homes before listing them for sale.
- 20 percent of all agents said that home staging increased a home’s value by up to 5 percent. 14 percent said it increased value by up to 10 percent.
How much does home staging cost?
Home sellers typically pay somewhere between $778 and $2,851 in home staging costs, according to data from HomeAdvisor — but the price tag can vary widely. If your home is vacant, staging it can be significantly more expensive: For example, furniture rentals alone can cost $2,000 per month, or more.
Generally, a home stager charges for an initial two-hour consultation, which can run between $150 and $600, according to HomeAdvisor. The size of your home and the scope of the project play a major role in determining the rest of the costs. If your home is in good shape and your furniture looks appealing, you might only need some rearranging and decluttering — a service that averages a flat $800 total.
Let’s say you have an empty three-bedroom home, and the home stager recommends renting furniture for each bedroom plus the living room. Based on HomeAdvisor data, the service fee alone can be between $800 and $1,000. Then, you’ll need to pay staging fees, which fall somewhere between $400 and $700 per room for the first month. And furniture rental can cost $500 to $600 per room, per month.
The cost of staging a home for two to three months typically translates to 1 percent of a home’s list price, says Pam Tiberia, founder of Spruce Interiors in Hampton, New Hampshire. So, if your home is being listed for $300,000, the cost to stage it for a few months would likely be around $3,000.
For higher-end homes, though, the cost can be more. “Typically, luxury homes range around 1 percent to 1.25 percent of the list price for staging,” Tiberia says. “These costs include labor, furniture rentals, movers and an insurance policy to protect the inventory.”
What does a home stager do?
Each stager offers a different perspective and different services. Some will include shopping for and incorporating recommended items, such as a new shower curtain, accent pillows or updated bedding. “Many stagers also rent these kinds of props and come in to style the home before photos and open houses,” says Tiberia.
Other services a home stager might offer include:
- Discussing how best to furnish a space and recommending which furniture, window treatments and accessories should be removed, added or changed.
- Pointing out any needed repairs or maintenance issues.
- Recommending which rooms should be staged, particularly in vacant homes. Not all rooms need to be staged, typically.
- Advising homeowners on ambiguous spaces. Some homes with random rooms or funky floor plans can be improved with creative staging and furniture placement.
Is staging your home worth the cost?
Several studies have shown that home staging can be a worthwhile investment. By investing 1.3 percent of a home’s value in staging, 73 percent of sellers saw a return of over 7.1 percent, according to RESA.
And in the 2023 National Association of Realtors report, 20 percent of agents surveyed said staging increased a home’s value by 1 to 5 percent; 14 percent saw an increase of 6 to 10 percent; and 5 percent saw an increase of 11 to 15 percent. Two percent of agents even said that staging resulted in price increases of more than 20 percent.
The adage “time is money” applies here, too: According to HomeAdvisor, staged homes spend between 33 and 50 percent less time on the market than non-staged properties.
“The better a home presents, the more perceived value it has, which typically makes it sell faster and for more money,” says Tiberia. “Staging addresses many potential buyer objections, such as wall colors that are too specific, tricky floor plans or worn or outdated finishes.”
If you’re not sure whether staging makes sense for your home, ask your real estate agent for candid feedback. Agents have a keen understanding of how a home will look in the eyes of prospective buyers.
Virtual staging, in which photos of rooms are digitally refurnished, is a cheaper option. For buyers browsing online, virtually staged photos can help entice them to see the property in person.
Most companies use photo editing software to render a conceptual view of what a room could look like. Possible options include virtually remodeling the kitchen, changing paint colors and floors, adding in or removing furniture or artwork and tweaking the window views for seasonality (i.e., putting summer leaves on bare trees that were photographed in winter).
Some companies do renderings for as little as $35 per room, says Tiberia. The cost to stage a home virtually is typically around 10 percent of what a physical staging would run you, according to New York City–based firm Barion Design.
How to save on home staging costs
Here are some savvy strategies to save on physical staging costs:
- Implement a pro’s ideas yourself: Sellers often pay for just a consultation with a staging pro, then do some of the actual work themselves to save on costs, says Tiberia.
- Don’t do every room: Having only a couple rooms staged, rather than the whole house, also reduces costs.
- Tidy up: Declutter and deep-clean to make sure buyers can actually see the home, not just your stuff. If you have to, rent a storage unit (or borrow a friend’s basement or garage) to keep things stashed away.
- Brighten up: A simple window-cleaning can help showcase your home’s natural light. Updating your lighting fixtures can also enhance rooms and make them seem more open, notes Tiberia. Clean, freshly painted white walls can also brighten things up.
- Be clear about timeframes: Some designers have three-month minimums for furniture rentals. If your home flies off the market faster than that, you don’t want to be on the hook for unnecessary rental charges.
Yes. Staging can help buyers visualize themselves in a particular home while also helping properties garner higher prices than non-staged homes, according to the Real Estate Staging Association. And in a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, more than 25 percent of Realtors said staged homes sell faster.
A large or luxury home will cost more to stage than a smaller or more modest property. In addition, the more rooms you stage, the higher the cost — particularly if the home is vacant and furniture must be rented. Staging will typically cost more in more expensive parts of the country as well.
Start by asking your network for recommendations, including friends, family and your real estate agent. You can also search online for home stagers in your area. But before you hire anyone, make sure to ask for a cost breakdown, check their references and study examples of how they’ve staged homes like yours in the past.