A lot of real estate agents are looking for a good, reliable home stager that can magically transform their listings into the price point their seller is hoping to achieve. The trouble and confusion sometimes comes when the real estate professional asks a few home stagers to “bid” or present a proposal on their vacant home.
The vacant staging proposal price can range anywhere from $1,500 to $8,000 for a smaller home, so do you just pick the best priced stager?
I think we can all agree that there is a BIG difference between Walmart and Restoration Hardware when it comes to furnishings, so choosing a home stager on price alone is not a good idea … here’s why.
The professionally certified and trained home stager ranks the home based on “luxury level” and places the most ideal furnishings that kind of buyer would “expect” in the home. In each area across the country, there is a certain buyer “expectation” that corresponds to price point and location.
DO make sure the furnishings enhance and correspond with the buyer expectation for that home.
It’s not a matter of simply choosing a couch/chair/coffee table/rug to go into the space … it’s an art form. Professional stagers tend to base their price on the VALUE of the furnishings that go into that home. This is how they calculate their return on investment (ROI) and cover their costs, so that their business will be around in a year. This is also how they are able to stay on trend, turn over older furnishings, and present the home in a fresh, modern way every time.
DON’T choose on price alone.
Going with the lowest priced staging proposal could mean you are getting low priced furnishings, which ultimately could hurt the sale of the home. Here are a couple questions to ask a home stager rather than base your choice on price:
DO ask them what kind of “look” can I expect to go in this home?
This is their chance to show and talk you through their expertise and show you their work. If they fumble or choose a style that does not fit the style or luxury level of the home, then I would question their credibility and training.
DO ask them if they buy wholesale?
The certified stager knows how to buy wholesale and can get AMAZING prices on luxury furnishings (thus more bang for your buck!) But some home stagers are not certified or trained in this kind of advanced shopping.
I train on this extensively, and here’s an example of the kind of pricing you can get by going to the market. I love the look of layered rugs and this zebra hide rug costs only $99 at the market … what?!
DON’T base your choice on experience alone.
Staging will always be an art form and some of the most talented stagers I’ve seen who do not sacrifice on quality of materials are brand new to the industry. Their heart and soul is placed into that home and it shows. Take a chance and try someone new.
A good rule of thumb is to consider spending a little less or around 1 percent the value of the home on vacant staging in order for the staging to match the luxury level of the home. The million-plus dollar home needs to be staged like a million bucks …. buyers expect this.
If the seller’s furnishings are over 10 years old then DO have them consider “moving out” beforehand, so that they can make an extra 5 to 10 percent the value of the home in the sale. According to recent staging statistics, the seller who spends close to 1 percent on staging usually sees over a 10 percent return on investment. There does appear to be a connection between spending more and getting more.
DO educate the seller on how they can get the best price for their home by staging.
I’m seeing a lot of smart agents educating their sellers on this critical cost, sometimes even paying it up front (for the cash poor seller) and then charging it in closing as part of their fee. We all know that markets go up and down, but the real estate agent who consistently puts the best marketed and priced product on the market for the sellers, is the one that will be around forever.
Article by Audra Slinkey
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