How Much Does It Cost to Stage a Home for Sale?
“How much does it cost to stage my house?” This is the number one question on every realtor’s and home seller’s mind.
This really comes down to your local economy and where your price point is. Staging a starter home versus a high-end luxury home is two very different end of the spectrum and two very different price points. Since there is no industry standard on pricing or business practices (meaning every stager may offer different packages or services), it is difficult to just come up with one figure. But I can show you the breakdown of our proposal so you can get an idea of how a home stager puts an estimate together.
WALK THROUGH / CONSULTATIONS: $150 PER HOUR
This is pure labor & brain picking. During the consultation session, I do a walk-through with homeowners and/or agents to go over what needs to be done to prepare their home for sale. This can range from color consultations to how to physically rearrange the existing furniture for a better traffic flow. During the walk-through, I also candidly answer any questions the sellers or agents may have.
There are a lot of studies done by agencies like Realtor.org, HomeGain, and HomeAdvisor, where the home staging costs came out to be less than a $1000. In National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Profile of Home Staging, it states that the median dollar value to stage a home is $675 for each home. That’s because most of these studies do not include investment for services like painting, basic landscaping, etc., or just include a home stager’s consultation time. These numbers do not include actual investment of hiring a home stager to do the work.
HANDS-ON HOME STAGING SERVICES
Generally in our estimates, labor consists of roughly 65% of the total investment. This includes:
Design time: 1-2 hours
Prep time: 6-20 hours depending on size of the project. This includes pulling inventory, shopping if needed, and packing everything for load out.
Moving: Unfortunately, furniture doesn’t move itself. From our studio to the site with a 2-3 person team, it roughly comes out to 8-12 man hours. Sometimes longer if we are staging a high-rise condo where we may need to take several elevators up and down, or the doors are too small where we had to take them off.
On-site design & installation time: 2-3 people team, roughly 10-22 man hours
De-staging, packing, and moving out: 2-5 people team, 8-18 hours
Restocking inventory: 4-8 hours depending on the size of the project
So as you can see, it takes a lot of time to pull a home staging project together. Typically our 30-day contract starts at $2800 for our average projects. But again, this will vary from stager to stager since everyone values their time and services differently.
Other Pricing Models
% OF LISTING PRICE
I have seen a common number of expecting to invest 0.5% to 1% of your listing price on home staging. So for a $800,000 listing price, you are looking to spend around $4,000 to $8,000 for home staging services.
BY SQUARE FEET
This is not common. I have seen this pricing practice on the marketplace where home stagers would charge a certain dollar amount per square foot.
Ultimately, there are a wide variety of business models out there. Many stagers, like me, choose to invest in our own warehousing and our own inventory. This means high overhead: we have to invest our time to learn furniture trends, visit furniture trade shows, establish relationships with vendors, bring in employees or independent contractors for maintenance, upkeep, and organization. We also have to invest in tooling, shelves, racks, packaging materials, etc. to protect and store our inventory.
Many choose to rent furniture from furniture rental companies. We made the conscious decision of investing in our own inventory and warehouse because we feel that:
a) We can offer more flexible packages to our clients.
b) We are not at the mercy of the furniture rental companies, where we have to meet minimum rental price per month. The contracts also often have a 2 or 3 month minimum.
c) We can offer more diverse inventory. Most rental companies only offer certain sets of furniture. They also often do not include bedding, lifestyle accessories, etc.
All these business decisions impact bottom line and profit margins of the home staging business and subsequently impact how each home stager estimates the costs of home staging. It is up to the individual to make decisions on how they want to run their business.
DO IT YOURSELF?
If hiring a home stager is not in your budget, or you already have a well-put together interior or know how to style your own home, you can also considering the do it yourself route. Ultimately it is up to you to decide if the staging fee saved is worth your time and effort. The hours you invest on staging your own house can add up fairly quickly — project management, picking materials, shopping for inventory, actual staging, etc. Hiring a home stager for an one-day installation may be more efficient than do it yourself. You can invest your time saved elsewhere.
But the decision is always yours. If you choose to do it yourself, and want a little more guidance, you can check out our course offerings here.