Staging done well can help a seller sell their home faster for more money. Careless or poor staging can prolong the sales process and force a seller to lower their sale price. With that fact in mind, choosing the right stager is imperative for positioning your house correctly on the market. Since no two stagers are the same, you may find searching for the right stager a daunting task.
Ask These Questions or Proceed at Your Own Risk
The best ways to find a home staging expert are either through word of mouth or via an internet search. Look at their online portfolios. Their presentations should be absolutely stunning! Confirm that the photos on their websites are actually stagings they have completed and not stock photos.
Find out if they have a warehouse of furniture, rugs and décor or if they out-source these items. An established and experienced company will have its own warehouse of goods, which allows them to service your needs better.
Ask how long they have been in business, how many homes they have staged and who some of their high-profile clients are. Request references. A great stager has a list of clients, including well-known real estate agents, investors and developers. Finally, make sure they have insurance.
What Happens First?
If you will be living in your home while it’s on the market, you’ll need to book a Staging Consultation. During a consultation, a stager comes in to look at your home and provides you with a step-by-step staging plan. Sometimes, they will recommend renting a few pieces of furniture.
A good staging company will offer you a verbal or written report. Expect to pay for this important report. It is an investment on the quick sale of your home. In the Maryland, Washington, DC or Virginia areas, this service generally costs $275 to $375. Save the receipt because the expense is a tax deduction.
Having this staging plan gives you the opportunity to stage your own home if you wish. If you prefer to have the pros manage it, this report allows you to know what to expect, as it will all be in writing.
When you’re leaving a home vacant while it’s on the market, all staging companies will provide you with a free quote for bringing in the necessary furniture, rugs, art and décor to make your home show like a model. But now is where it gets tricky.
Comparing Apples to Apples
Some companies will use very cheap furniture, such as a folding card table as the dining room table and plastic side tables from IKEA. Other staging companies will use very high-end furnishings, chosen based on the appropriateness of the quality, style and scale of the piece. You can generally tell what type of furniture they use by looking at their online portfolio and knowing if they have an A-List of repeat clients.
Stagings vary in price depending on the size and price of the house, scope of work to be done and whether or not the house is occupied. A home that already has furnishings in it is generally less expensive to stage because a stager can use all or most of what is already there. Vacant stagings are more expensive since the stager needs to bring in all of the furniture, rugs, art and décor. In general, a vacant staging for a 1 bedroom/1 bathroom house costs between $2,000 and $3,000. Each additional room adds approximately $500 to the investment.
Recommended Staging Companies
To make things a little easier, here are a few home staging experts in the Washington DC Metro and Baltimore areas I like, have used and would recommend:
Your Home Transformed – Maybe You Should Stay!
It can be inspiring and magical to watch the home transformation your home can go through in just one day! Once your home is staged, you may never want to leave! Keep in mind though, you can always hire the stager to help arrange your new home.
Tracy Kay Griffin is a member of Express Homebuyers Design Team. She was the Series Designer for HGTV’s “Get It Sold,” a Guest Designer for HGTV’s “My First Place” and the Lead Stager for Washington DC’s premier staging company, Red House Staging & Interiors.