As a Westchester County, NY home stager the first question I often hear is, How much will it cost to stage my home or How much does home staging cost? But really, the fundamental question to ask is, Can a home stager help me sell my home quickly?
Similarly, if your doctor recommended a procedure, would your first question be how much does it cost or are you more likely to investigate the efficacy of the treatment?
Let’s start at the beginning…
What is Home Staging?
Home staging uses decorating to properly prepare a home for sale by showing off its best features and downplaying its flaws. To put it more succinctly, home staging is the “art of decorating a home to sell quickly and for top dollar” (http://www.stagingdiva.com/).
Staging, in a word, is marketing. And as with any form of marketing – or advertising – there is usually an initial investment. An investment that will be returned three-fold when the “product” sells, according to HomeGain’s 2011 home improvement survey.
Last but not least, staging speeds home sales by making your home appeal to the largest number of potential buyers. And a faster sale generally leads to a higher sales price.
Improve the product, and more people will want it. Simple, huh?
Dollars and Sense
Now that you understand home staging and its benefits, how much do you spend to ensure a positive return on your investment? To decide, you’ll need to be objective and know which projects are most important.
In 2007 the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Buyers and Sellers reported that investing 1-3% of the price of a home would bring an 8-10% increase in sale price. In today’s market, just selling without a price reduction – and before the competition – may save you a 10% price reduction. Reward enough.
If you are having trouble being objective – and almost 90% of home owners will – consider hiring a professional home stager. A stager can quickly evaluate your home and ensure that you invest your money wisely.
How Do I Find a Home Stager?
To find a home staging professional, use Google. Put “Home Staging YOUR CITY/STATE” (i.e.: “Home Staging Somers NY”) in a search box, and you should get the best results for your area.
Or, if your home is currently on the market, or you’ve already chosen a real estate agent, ask him/her to make a recommendation.
Next, you’ll want to know about the home staging company. What is the home stager’s expertise and experience? Does he/she have a website with before-and-after pictures of successful projects, testimonials from satisfied customers, and information on how the staging process works?
Finally, because many real estate professionals recognize the benefits of staging, more and more see it as another marketing investment and may reimburse an initial consultation at closing. The cost of home staging may also be tax deductible (check with your accountant to learn more).
Where Do You Start?
A good first step is the home staging consultation.
The purpose of an initial consultation is to evaluate your home, stage as much as possible, and create a plan for completing the process. All of this is based on the home owner’s time and budget requirements.
When Home Staging Fails
Staging needs to be combined with a realistic price that represents the current value of the home. In this market, there is no amount of staging that will make up for a home that is overpriced or underrepresented. (Refer to Home Selling Insanity to learn the 3P’s of home selling.)
Listen to the Pros for Staging Success
Your home is now a commodity – like Coca-Cola or Lee jeans. Just as the manufacturer wants its product to attract as many people as possible, so should you. It’s no longer about your taste; instead, it’s all about appealing to potential buyers.
Take your stager’s and Realtor’s advice to heart. They are in the business of selling homes. They understand the market and what clients are looking for in a house. Plus, they have the objectivity that most home owners do not.
How Much Does Home Staging Cost?
Many home staging techniques cost nothing to implement, and those that do will be returned at closing. Therefore, home staging pays for itself.
I’ll leave you with this. If you could sell your home faster and for more money, wouldn’t that be an investment worth making?