Home staging -- where you decorate your house in an effort to entice buyers to bite -- may seem counterintuitive at first blush: Why spend money on a place if you're moving out? Simple answer: because it can get you more money for your home sale. And evidence shows it's usually well worth the effort. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than nonstaged ones, which is nothing to sneeze at. But just how much does home staging really cost? Here's the scoop, so you can decide if it's worth the investment for you.
How much does staging cost?
File this one under "obvious" -- but the pricier the home, the more it costs to stage. As a general rule of thumb, most stagers charge $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and $500 to $600 per month per room. "Therefore, a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $2,000 to $2,400 a month," explains real estate professional Crystal Leigh Hemphill. Most professional home stagers also require a three-month minimum contract, "even if you sell the home in 24 hours." That could bring your final bill to $7,200.
What can cost extra?
Most stagers work with the knickknacks and art that the homeowner already owns. But sometimes they "need to purchase new accessories, fresh towels, flowers, and/or fruit, as these small touches make a big difference," says Sheila Schostok with Your Home Matters Staging and Redesign. which serves Chicago and southeastern Wisconsin. And those new purchases will add to the overall cost of the project.
The layout of your home could also add a ka-ching to a stager's price tag. A job that requires heavy lifting in a multistory house usually means hiring additional help to move furniture, says Schostok.
And if you're listing a completely vacant home because you've already moved out, you're looking at the additional expense of renting every stick of furniture and all decor items.
Conversely, if you inherited a ton of antiques (or have a One King's Lane addiction), you may need to put excess belongings into storage, tacking that monthly rental onto your overall staging costs.
A final expense, an important one that can help ensure staging success, is the price of painting a room. A fresh coat in a 12-by-12 square foot room will cost a DIYer around $200, or $400 to $700 if left to the pros.
How to save on home staging
You don't have to stage your entire house from basement laundry room to attic storage. "A great way to save money when staging is by only focusing on the main areas of a home," says Schostok. These are the rooms you spend the most time in -- your kitchen, living room, dining room, and master bedroom. Another wallet-friendly option is to limit yourself to a consultation with a home stager. When Schostok tours a home with the owner, offering suggestions to maximize the potential for each room, "the price is far less, $125 for 90 minutes."
The biggest savings? Selling your home faster, at a better price, and without months of carrying costs -- because your house was properly staged and buyer-ready.
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Watch: How to Stage Your Home Like a Pro