June 5, 2021
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There are a lot of sites presenting a range for the average cost of home staging that factors in every type of service that a home staging company might provide, not just staging. These services can be something as simple as a limited one-hour "walk and talk" consultation all the way up to full staging for every room in an empty house. 

Presenting the average cost of home staging in this way is very deceiving. It gives readers the impression they can get a house staged (as opposed to just getting a consultation) for as little as a few hundred bucks.

We stagers network online in private forums, at trade association chapter meetings and at annual conventions, and we frequently survey each other on what we're charging for our services. I wrote this article to give the public an insider's look at the cost of staging a home.

How much does staging a house cost? Staging a home costs an average of .5% - 2% of the home's list price. While consultations, in which a consultant will view the home and offer recommendations for getting the house ready to sell, but doesn't do any work or provide any furnishings, will cost an average of $150 to $500 (one of the top consultants in the country charges $600 and up for a consultation).

I describe all the services and their average costs for you in more detail below, but before we proceed, please keep in mind that these are just averages. The mid-range I'm providing does not represent the lowest or highest staging fees in the industry. The price for any type of service a staging company provides will vary greatly by region. If housing prices and the overall cost of living is higher in your area, expect home staging prices to be higher, as well, since the staging company's overhead costs will be higher. I list more variables that affect the cost of home staging further down in this article.

"Walk and Talk" Consultation (No Report) - Average Cost: $150-$300

During a "walk and talk" consultation, a professional consultant will walk through your home with you and give their advice to get your house ready to sell. The consultant will specify which items should be pre-packed and taken out of the home, suggest edits to furniture arrangements, and point out which areas of the home should be updated. 

This is usually the lowest-priced service any staging company provides. If you're looking to pay the lower end of this price range for a "walk and talk", don't expect the consultant to spend longer than an hour in the home. They may not have time to address every room of the house in such a short amount of time, so they will start with the areas buyers are the most concerned with: living spaces, dining areas, kitchen, and the primary bed and bath. If the client wants the consultant's recommendations in writing to refer to later, they will need to take notes themselves. Don't expect the consultant to make any selections at this price, either, such as paint colors, new lighting fixtures, etc.

Some consultants will spend more than an hour in the home during a "walk and talk" for a higher fee. The additional time allows them to address more areas in the home, go into more detail, explain the reasoning behind their recommendations, and possibly select paint colors, fixtures, and other items that might be needed. 

A Consultation with a Written Report - Average Cost: $200-$500

Many staging companies, including Larimar Home Staging, offer consultations that include a written report. The average time the consultant will spend in your home for this type of consultation is two hours, and they will spend a significant amount of additional time preparing the report. The higher the consultation fee, the more likely it is you can expect them to make selections for you, as well. But, just to be sure, before you schedule a consultation with them, ask if they'll be providing these in their report. 

Occupied Staging - Average Cost: $2,000-$5,000

 "Occupied staging" is what we in the industry call staging a home the homeowners will continue to live in while it's on the market. I often call this my "Photo Prep" service. The consultant will usually provide a quote for occupied staging or photo prep after they've completed their consultation. During this service, stagers return after the homeowners have implemented the consultant's recommendations to put the finishing touches on the home before the marketing photos are taken. They will style the beds (there's a difference between making a bed and styling it), accessorize bookshelves and tables, and possibly rearrange some furniture or artwork. The stagers might exclusively use items the homeowners already have in the house, or the consultant may propose the homeowners purchase and/or rent some additional items from the staging company.

A small minority of staging companies will also pack, organize, and/or clean during an occupied stage, but expect to pay a premium for these additional services. Also not standard, but sometimes offered, is project management of the updates the consultant recommended, if any other professional trades need to be enlisted. 

Many people expect occupied staging to cost significantly less than vacant staging (more details on vacant staging below), but the truth is that staging occupied homes is usually a lot more challenging for stagers because they can't simply start with a clean slate. Let's be honest, most homeowners are not interior designers and have accumulated a lot of mismatched stuff over the years, much of which is probably worn and outdated. Editing the homeowners own furnishings and layout to make the home marketable often takes more time than pulling together a vacant stage. You might be able to pay a little less for occupied staging services if you're not going to purchase or rent anything from the staging company, but if they will be bringing in additional items, then the cost of delivery, the purchase or rental fees, and the cost of the movers returning for a second trip to retrieve the items ("destaging"), will cost about the same as staging a vacant house. The upside to this is that you won't have to worry about the additional costs of living elsewhere while your home is on the market. The downside is that it can be challenging to find a company that offers occupied staging packages. Many home staging companies only offer vacant staging packages.

Vacant Staging - Average Cost: $3,000-$10,000

"Vacant Staging" means staging a house nobody is living in. The homeowners have moved out and taken all their stuff with them. The staging company will bring in furniture, rugs, artwork, linens and accessories and style all of these things in a way that will appeal to the needs and tastes of the targeted buying demographic.

Next to model home staging, which is a different business model and charged at much higher rates, vacant home staging is usually the highest-priced type of staging service available to individual homeowners, but it's also the most effective marketing strategy for selling faster and for more money. Larger homes, luxury homes, and homes that present logistical challenges for the movers might cost more than the high range above. In fact, it may be significantly more. There are a couple "celebrity stagers" in the U.S. that charge in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to stage a home.

The cost of vacant staging can be brought down a little by staging only the areas that are the most important to buyers, which, again, are the living and dining areas, kitchen and primary bed and bath. Some staging companies are even willing to stage just one or two rooms in the house, although this isn't as effective, and the minimum fee the company will need to charge to cover labor, delivery and pick up fees means staging only one or two rooms isn't cost effective for the client.

The industry-wide standard for services included in a vacant staging agreement or for occupied staging using some of the staging company's assets will be:

  • planning
  • delivery
  • styling
  • rental of the assets for up to xx days (the standard range is 30-90 days)
  • destaging (returning to the home after it goes pending to retrieve the assets) 

Some staging companies will also include professional photography in their home staging packages.

Additional fees may be incurred for rush destaging (your stager will let you know the minimum number of days notice they'll need to avoid a rush fee), rescheduling fees, cancellation fees, replacement cost for missing or damaged staging assets, or extension of the agreement beyond the initial number of days agreed upon. 

Variables That Will Determine Home Staging Costs

As promised earlier, he's a more comprehensive list of the factors that will be considered when creating a quote for home staging.

  • The specific type of home staging service are you seeking. Are you just looking for a consultation from a home stager that will coach you on how to stage the house yourself? Or full-service staging in which the staging company brings in tens of thousands of dollars worth of gorgeous furniture, artwork, bedding, towels, plants, throw pillows, throw blankets and other accessories in the latest trends and leaves your house looking like a model home? Or are you looking for a level of service that is somewhere in between?
  • The size of the house and - more importantly - size of the rooms to be staged. Bigger rooms will need more furnishings in larger scale to fit the proportion of the room. When a staging company procures the assets they use to stage homes, they - like every other consumer - have to pay higher prices for larger furniture. Also, larger pieces take up more space in a moving truck, meaning larger trucks (which cost more) and sometimes even multiple trucks, meaning more drivers and movers will be needed for larger homes. 
  • Whether or not you want the outdoor areas of your home staged. Adding these areas will bring up your staging investment by quite a bit, because staging companies usually charge a premium to cover the high turnover rate of outdoor furniture due to exposure to critters and harsh weather elements. 
  • The quality of staging you're expecting. Home staging is a marketing strategy that elevates the perceived value of the home in the eyes of potential buyers. A house staged with whatever worn-out, mismatched furniture that could be scrounged up on the cheap from local garage sales or Offer Up - or worse, free hand-me-downs from friends and family who needed to get rid of stuff they could no longer stand the sight of -  is going to actually drag down the perceived value of the home. And, unfortunately, there are a lot cheap home staging companies out there doing exactly this. I suggest if you care about whether or not the staging is going to bring the desired results (more interest, more viewings, more offers, higher offers, and ultimately more money), don't choose a home staging company based solely on which one is offering the lowest price. The "low-price leaders" in any industry are usually the lowest priced for a reason, and it's not because their products and services are superior.
  • Price point of the home - The higher the price point, the higher buyers' expectations will be. Luxury homes will require furnishings perceived as more upscale than what would normally be used in the median-priced home. If the staging doesn't match the price point of a luxury home, it will lower the perceived value of the home in the eyes of potential buyers.
  • The number of built-in bookcases, floating shelves and glass-paneled cabinets in the home. These require the staging company to provide considerably more decor accessories, which not only cost the company more to procure, but will also take more time to wrap, pack, unpack and style. They will have to go through the same process in reverse when it's time to destage.
  • Whether or not window treatments are desired. It is not standard in the staging industry to provide window treatments, but many will install them upon request for an additional fee.
  • Whether or not place settings at dining tables are needed or desired. Place settings at every dining table and breakfast bar is no longer a trend in home staging, but many clients still request them. Some home staging companies may charge an additional fee for place settings since it requires them to procure, store, transport, unpack, style, and repack many more accessories than they would otherwise use.
  • Distance between the home staging company's warehouse and the home to be staged. There are additional fuel cost and payroll hours for time spent traveling to and from the warehouse to the work site, and often, the crew ends up sitting in rush hour traffic. Employment laws require the crew be paid for the time traveling from the warehouse to the client's house and back again.
  • Logistical challenges. Before preparing a quote, the staging company will take into consideration any challenges they will encounter in order to deliver and install the staging, as well as destage at a later date. Logistical challenges include, but are not limited to, winding mountain roads, inclement weather, icy roads, road construction, steep driveways or steps leading to the entrance of the home, parking restrictions, low-clearance parking garages, wait times for service elevators in high-rise buildings, fees for using a building's loading dock, narrow staircases and/or doorways, and switchbacks in staircases, which will slow down the movers and add to the installation and destaging time.

Ready to sell your home faster and for more money?

Call Larimar Home Staging for a free estimate!

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