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Staging and what it means to Buyers & Sellers

by sfishome on May 19, 2006

I have a new listing, check it out at http://www.2295VallejoSt.com. I interviewed 6 stagers and got 6 very different quotes. The most expensive was $5,000 for one month with each extra month at $1,000. The cheapest was $1,300 and is who we went with. This particular stager is a friend of a friend of both me and the Seller which is why I trusted her to do a good job despite the really inexpensive quote. I was half right and half wrong. I’m fairly confident that had I hired yet another stager who quoted $5,000 for 2 months, that I would have gotten an gorgeous looking staging job that was very thorough and complete. With the Stager we did hire the place looks pretty sparse (we needed to take out a lot of over-sized furniture and replace it with smaller modern pieces) and we’re having her come back today to add some items and some “warmth”. My guess is that the end result won’t be as ideal as I would have liked or the $5,000 quote would have gotten, but it’s “decent”.

So what does this all mean for you the Seller or Buyer. Stagers make huge claims about how much faster homes sell for, and how much more they sell for vs. non-staged homes and empty homes. I’ve personally had vastly different impressions of homes when I’ve seen them staged and unstaged, and have to agree in general that staged homes would get a lot more interest. So it would behoove Sellers to hire stagers. The question for Sellers is how much to spend and who to hire, and in general I would advise that you base that on the kind of home you have. If you have a high end luxury style home you should make sure you hire a stager who specializes in luxury homes. Chances are you’ll spend more, and $10,000 quotes are fairly common. If you have a home in a working class neighborhood with a 20 year old kitchen, you can get away with spending less for a basic staging job.

In hindsight I might have advised my current seller to go with the $5,000 two month quote because they seemed more in tune with the “luxury” modern look and feel we need for my current listing. In the end, we do have a pretty good staging job, and I’ll update this Blog as to how the interest level is over the next week or two. Hopefully saving the $3,700 won’t cost us $5,000 or more in the final sales price. Which is how Seller’s need to look at this particular expense. If it costs $10,000 in staging to sell it for $20,000 more, and saves one month of selling time and carrying costs of your mortgage, it MORE than pays for itself.

Buyers on the other hand – if you find an unstaged home that needs a paint job, you’re probably in luck “IF” you can see past it. There will be less interest, and the home can be purchased for less. But so many buyers just can’t see past the “ugly” home. Paint and stage it with nice furniture and all of a sudden it’s a “beautiful” home. So Buyers – try to train yourself to look past the staging for what the home really looks like, and train yourself to then compare those to the unstaged homes and you’ll likely save yourself some money when Buying.

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