Frequently Asked Questions
"How much do you charge to stage a home?"
The investment to hire Larimar Home Staging to help you get the most equity out of your home will depend on which of our services you opt to take advantage of, and will range anywhere from $250 for a pre-listing consultation up to several thousands of dollars to stage an entire, large home. We'll need to talk to you first to ask a few questions before we can offer an estimate. After that, if you're interesed in moving forward, we will schedule a complimentary visit to the property to gather the additional information we'll need to prepare a firm quote. Here are the factors we take into consideration before we prepare a quote for home staging:
- The specific staging service requested - As mentioned above, Larimar Home Staging offers services ranging from a paid staging consultation (in which one of our trained, certified home staging professionals offers recommendations and DIY instructions in a written report), all the way up to delivery and installation of furniture, artwork, area rugs, plants, bedding, towels and accessories to fill the entire home, including the outdoor entertaining areas. We also offer staging services in between, including a photo-prep service for occupied listings, during which we do our best to re-purpose what the homeowner already has in the home. For occupied listings, we may offer to rent the client some of our inventory to enhance the presentation for photos and showings. We also offer partial staging for vacant listing, meaning we will stage some rooms but not the entire house.
- Square footage and number of rooms to be staged - The larger the rooms are, the more furnishings will be needed, as well as furnishings that are larger in scale. More pieces and larger sizes means more overhead costs for us. In addition to the usual cost of running a business, such as insurance, warehouse space, office equipment and so forth, the bulk of our overhead costs are in the inventory we purchase, store and maintain to stage houses. The more square footage that needs to be staged in a home, the more time and money we will spend on sourcing, purchasing, and delivery or shipping charges for any new inventory needed for the project, as well as assembling, transporting and installing everything needed to properly stage the space. For larger homes, we will need to rent a larger truck and hire additional labor for loading and unloading (both ways), assembling and disassembling the furniture and styling the bedding and accessories.
- Built-in bookcases, floating shelves and/or glass-paneled cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms - These require us to bring in more accessories, which will take us more time to wrap, pack, unpack and style, as well as go through the process in reverse when it's time to destage.
- Distance we will need to travel - The distance between Larimar's warehouse and the home to be staged will be a factor, as we will need to charge for additional fuel cost and payroll hours for time spent traveling to and from the work site (and often sitting in rush hour traffic). Larimar Home Staging is located in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and we consider our "standard" service area to be Rancho Cucamonga and the three bordering cities: Upland, Ontario and Fontana. However, we're willing to travel anywhere in Southern California, as long as we will still make a profit after we cover the additional travel expenses.
- Logistical challenges - Before preparing a quote, we will take into consideration any challenges we will encounter in order to deliver and install the staging, such as winding mountain roads that are often closed due to increment weather, steep driveways or steps leading to the entrance, parking availability (particularly in beach cities or condo buildings), size restrictions and wait times for service elevators, staircases, etc.
- Price point of the home - The higher the price point, the higher buyers' expectations will be. Larimar always uses quality, on-trend furnishings in new or like-new condition, but a home in our area over $1 million may require furnishings perceived as more "upscale" than what we would use in a median-priced home. If the staging does not match the price point of the home, it will lower the perceived value of the home in the eyes of potential buyers, and we always intend to elevate the perceived value so that our clients get the best possible offers.
Keep in mind that staging your home is an investment that costs less than the first price reduction. It is the one expense you'll incur during the selling process that will bring you an ROI. By not staging, you're leaving money on the closing table.
Call us today and tell us about your home and which of our staging services you're interested in. We can email you a ballpark estimate shortly after we get off the phone with you, and if you're interested in moving forward, we'll schedule a complimentary visit to the property to gather the remaining information we'll need to prepare a firm quote. In some cases, we may be able to offer a firm quote without seeing the property in person.
"Why should I hire a home staging professional? Can't I just do it myself?"
There's a lot of free information on home staging available to home sellers in the form of blog posts, Youtube videos, magazine articles and cable TV shows (we even offer a lot of free advice, ourselves, through many of the same platforms). So, naturally, a lot of sellers and real estate agents think they already know everything they need to know about preparing a home for the market. But the information provided in these formats is very generic, "one-size-fits-all" advice that is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. During a custom home staging consultation provided by a certified home stager, you will receive recommendations specific to your property that no blogger or Youtuber is going to be able to provide.
For example: Does your living room need a fresh coat of paint? I don't know. I haven't seen it... and neither have any of those bloggers giving out free home staging tips. Painting is often needed, but you don't want to waste time or money doing it if it's not necessary, and a home staging consultant will be able to tell you if it is.
Maybe you already know you need to paint (let's assume it's obvious because it's been years and the paint finish is in really rough shape, or it's a dated color). You've heard from the bloggers that neutral colors are best for selling homes, but there is no such thing as "just neutral." There are literally thousands of different shades of grey, white and beige available, and each one of them has a color undertone. If you pick a neutral with an undertone that is going to clash with the fixed finishes of your home (flooring, countertops, cabinets, etc), then your home could end up looking worse after you've invested time and money in painting it. A home stager that is certified in color will be able to choose the best paint color for selling your home.
A home stager is also going to identify a lot of issues that you're overlooking because you've just grown accustomed to them. For example, we recently had a client who had two elderly cats that could barely jump onto his sofa, let alone climb a tree. And yet, this client had a very large, very elaborate, carpeted floor-to-ceiling cat tree in the corner of his living room, which was not going to be appealing to buyers. During our consultation, we recommended the client remove the cat tree and his response was, "oh my gosh! Of course! It's been there for so many years now that I forgot it was there!"
We found several other items that needed to be put into storage (or donated, or sold). This client's real estate agent had already told him to "declutter" the home to prepare it for the market. But most real estate agents and homeowners don't understand what "decluttering" means in the context of home staging. It's goes well beyond tidying up as you would to prepare for a visit from friends or family. A home stager may recommend that you rearrange or even remove some of the furniture from your home and put it into storage. This will improve the flow, create a better "stage" for MLS photos, and give the perception of more square footage in the home, which will appeal to buyers. But don't pack anything until you've had your consultation! Even if it's something you don't want to take with you to your next home, the stager may be able to repurpose it to stage your current home before it goes on the market.
How about your lighting fixtures? Keep or replace? Some of them? All of them? What can you do with your particular home to increase the curb appeal? All of these questions and much, much more are addressed during a professional home staging consultation.
If you're committed to getting the most money you can possibly get on the sale of your home, it is recommended that you hire a professional stager that can identify all those areas that can't be addressed in generic online advice.
While any effort to prepare your home for the market is better than no effort at all, the results you'll get under the guidance of a professional home stager will be far greater. A trained, professional home stager is able to determine the profile of the targeted buyer for each home and objectively assess that home through the eyes of these buyers. Homeowners have more difficulty with this level of objectivity, keeping them from identifying the factors that may prevent getting the highest bids possible from the most qualified buyers.
"Can't home buyers use their imagination and look past my decor or empty rooms?"
Oh gosh, no! This is the most important reason to update and stage a home before putting it on the market. Ninety percent of the population cannot imagine something they can't see with their own eyes. Only 10% of the population has the ability to visualize in their minds an aesthetic other than what's shown in front of them, whether they're seeing it in photos or in person. Larimar is lead by one of those gifted 10%. TJ can translate her vision for your property into a reality that will dazzle potential home buyers.
Buyers' expectations and standards have changed and, unless their purchasing a new build or having a home custom built for them, the days of buyers wanting to choose their own flooring, paint colors, etc. after they purchase the home are long behind us. Home buyers today are looking for move-in ready homes, and they're willing to pay more for them, because 1) they don't have the time and patience for the hassle; and 2) unless they are going to sell the home within a couple years of completing renovations, they are not going to get a return on investment. The sellers-not the buyers-are the ones in the position to get the ROI on improvements to the home, and buyers know this. Not only do they expect all necessary repairs completed and the finishes updated, they want to see what the home will look like with updated furnishings and accessories. If they like what they see (because, again, very few can imagine it any other way), they are more likely to become emotionally invested in the home, and they'll be willing to not only submit an offer, but offer more.
"Can I get a partial refund if I don't need to keep the house staged for the entire length of the contract?"
Home staging is a marketing strategy, and if your home sells quickly, the intended goal has been achieved. So, no, of course we do not offer a refund if your home sells quickly. If you signed a 60-day contract with an agency for a billboard ad, and the product you were advertising sold out in 30 days, the ad agency isn't going to issue a refund for the remaining 30 days on the contract.
Perhaps you were thinking home staging was more akin to a furniture rental service than marketing. Okay, let's go with that analogy: Let's assume you have the talent and know-how to curate a design plan that will appeal to your targeted buying demographic (do you even know who that is? We do!), and let's pretend that you could get everything you needed to execute that plan (not just furniture, but attractive artwork, accessories, bedding, area rugs, throw pillows, etc) from one local furniture rental company (you can't, we've checked). No matter which furniture rental company you choose, they are going to require that you sign a contract covering payment for a particular length of time. That could be 30, 60 or 90 days or longer. If your house sells in less than the time on your contract, the rental company will be happy to pick up the furniture before your contract expires, but they are not going to give you a pro-rated refund for the remaining days on the contract.
Lairmar's initial staging fee will cover up to 60 days. Even if your home goes under contract in one day on the market, we recommend keeping the home staged until all contingencies have cleared, in case things don't work out and you need to relist. We require ten full business days notice to destage, and we also require the home be destaged a minimum of three business days before the closing date. This may mean that you'll be contractually obligated to allow us to destage prior to the full 60 days up.
On the other hand, if you need to keep the stage longer than the initial 60 days, we offer contract extensions for an additional fee. Please contact us at least ten business days before your contract expires if you will be needing a contract extension.
"Why does home staging costs so much?"
See the answer provided under "How much do you charge to stage a home?"
Home staging is a proven marketing strategy that raises the perceived value of the home in the eyes of the targeted buyer.
Statistics show that, on average, staged homes sell faster and for more money than non-staged properties. Buying a home is an emotional experience, and staging helps the buyer make an emotional connection with the home. This motivates them to not only make an offer, but a higher one than they may have initially intended, and quickly--before some else outbids them!