home staging

What Is Home Staging And How Can I Use It? | Real Estate Skills

house flipping real estate agent May 12, 2020

If you're about to put your home on the market, you definitely want to appeal to as many people as possible. Home staging will help gain the attention you want! 

Home staging may be accomplished to different extents depending on what you want and what your home needs. From hiring a professional home stager to turning it into a do-it-yourself project, big or small enhancements can be made. 

We'll go over the basics, show you the numbers and go over what you need to accomplish home staging!

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What Is Home Staging?

Home staging is the process of decorating, rearranging and dressing up a home to appear as appealing as it can. This could be in preparation for any photos that may be taken for listings and walkthroughs for prospective buyers. This could also include any repairs that are needed at a minimum level.

Home staging is also considered a marketing tactic to make any home feel welcoming and appealing. The more attractive the home, the more buyers that will be drawn to it, thus giving it a higher chance for a sale to be made. 


What Are The Benefits Of Home Staging?

Is home staging worth it? What are the benefits of home staging? Not only does the home catch the attention of a potential buyer, but staged homes typically sell faster and for more money!

A staged home will leave a good impression on those who are looking into potentially buying it, letting them know that the home is in better condition and well-maintained. With these impressions, asking for higher prices would be more justifiable than a non-staged home, of course still within fair reason of what is accomplished on your end and reasonable on theirs.

Home staging will also give the client a chance to see themselves living in the home. Each home can attract different families depending on their style and taste, so the entirety of the home should provide a neutral theme to give way to their own personalization and perspective as they view the home. 

Ultimately, by word of mouth your house would gain popularity if it’s the real deal! Clients who are stunned by your home would rave about it to their friends and family, who would then want to see it for themselves.

Lasting impressions may be left on real estate agents who could also favor your home! This would incline them to bring in other clients, thus gaining more offers and the opportunity to get the home sold faster!


Home Staging Statistics

With all those benefits in mind, I bet you’re thinking, is home staging worth it? Well, let’s talk about some home staging statistics that will hopefully put things into perspective.

home staging

According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2019:

  • 83% of agents claimed that staging a home made it easier for a client to visualize it as their future home.
  • The most common improvement recommended by agents was decluttering the home at 95%, followed by entire home cleaning at 89%, removing pets during showings at 83%, and carpet cleaning at 78%.
  • 22% of the sellers’ agents noticed 1-5% increases of the dollar value offered by buyers when the home was staged. 
  • 17% of sellers stated that the dollar value of the home increased somewhere between 6-10% due to home staging. 
  • 20% of respondents said that buyers were not disappointed by how homes looked compared to homes they saw on TV shows. However, up to 10% of buyers were found to be disappointed. 
  • An average of 40% of respondents claimed that buyers needed to consult with family members during the buying process.
  • 58% of respondents stated that they were not influenced to stage homes based on what they had seen on TV.

These statistics listed are a few of many that reflect the results of home staging. Overall, home staging positively affects the outcome as it enhances visualization and acknowledgment on the client’s end, as well as profit and reputation for the seller. 


What Do Home Staging Jobs Involve?

What do I need to look for when I hire a home stager? What do home staging jobs involve?

Home staging jobs consist of organizing, cleaning and preparing a home before it is sold, setting it up for potential buyers. Bringing in home decoration and products will also be involved in bringing life into the home before potential buyers take a look at it. 

It is important to remember that the main goal of a home stager is to assure that potential buyers are able to connect to the home. This ultimately helps the home sell faster. 

If you were interested in posting a job for a home stager, there are various sites you can turn to. Job finding websites, such as IndeedZiprecruiter and Glassdoor, are great examples to post job listings. You can also use these as a resource to see what others are looking for in a home stager before you post yours. 


What Are Some Options For Home Staging Companies?

Options for home staging companies can vary depending on where you live and what you’re looking for. Each home stager and company hold different experiences, as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. Researching each home stager and reading reviews will definitely help you make the right decision for your needs.

Here are a few top home staging companies, along with their locations, that may help refine your search: 

A site, such as Houzz, is a great resource when it comes to finding companies and professional stagers. It allows you to define the services you need, your location, request a quote, and provides a menu with ideas for different areas of the home, all in one convenient spot. Each professional also issues information such as:

  • The services they provide
  • Areas they serve
  • Any awards they have received
  • Photos and reviews from projects they’ve worked on

Another resource available to you is Thumbtack. This also finds home staging companies in your location and provides an overview that includes information such as: 

  • The number of times they were hired
  • What area they serve
  • How long they’ve been in business
  • If they have been background checked
  • Their availability and starting cost
  • Photos and videos provided by the company
  • Reviews from previous clients

With these resources and many more that are available, you’ll be able to find home staging companies that will best fit your expectations. 


How Much Does Home Staging Cost?

With hiring a home stager and all that home staging consists of, you’re probably wondering, how much does home staging really cost? Well, the cost for home staging generally depends on the style you’re setting for the home and the extent you’re willing to reach.  

Consultations can range anywhere between $2000-3000 for the first amount of days, some also provide hourly rates, depending on the home stager. Moving forward into a staged room on a monthly basis, it can typically cost around $500-600 per room.

The size, typically by square footage, of the home and the rooms needed to be staged is a crucial part of the price you need to pay. Additionally, the specific services needed, the location of the home and the amount of time available for services to be completed, are also taken into account when determining the price.

If you’re worried about the price, don’t worry! We know that staying within a budget is crucial and can also be a bit difficult when you want to look the best. But there are ways for you to get the look without breaking the bank! 

  • Statistics show that the living room, kitchen, master bedroom and dining room are the rooms that matter most to clients, so focus on those main areas.
  • Initial consultations can help you get the advice for your home without going through the entire service and paying the whole price. Look for those who provide hourly rates!
  • Don’t be afraid of doing some of the home staging yourself! You can declutter and organize the home yourself and spend the money on other necessary home improvements. 

You definitely should do what you can to make the best out of your home staging but that doesn’t mean you have to go to extreme measures. Make sure you’re comfortable with the staging of the home and the price you’re going to pay! 

"People don't buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons." -Zig Ziglar


Who Pays For Home Staging?

What if I can’t afford home staging? Who is responsible for paying for home staging? There are various ways to approach who pays for home staging. 

Typically, if you are the one selling the home, you will pay for the staging. However, the sellers’ listing broker may personally offer to stage the home if they believe it will significantly increase the selling price, which they will gain commission from. This was the most common way in 2019. 

Other options may include the sellers’ agent offering home staging services to the seller, in which the seller would have to take on financial responsibility. Although, the sellers’ agent may also hire a professional home staging service if they wish. Ultimately, it is up to you and your agent to communicate different options. 


Should You Rent Or Buy Furniture For Home Staging?

The furniture in the home is like statement pieces, especially during the selling process. Should you rent or buy furniture for home staging? Let's go over the differences between the two.

Renting furniture requires less financial demand for the seller. They can pick out a piece without fully committing to it being in their home. After the home is sold, they are able to pick out new pieces and won’t have to worry about spending the money on furniture that isn’t completely loved. 

Although less money is necessary upfront, the selection may not be the greatest. If you’re going for a specific theme or tone for your home, items that are typically up for rent are neutral since it is used to appeal to the greater good. 

Along with this, some companies may require a specific time period for your rental. Thus, if you need it for as little as a week or as long as a year, you may run into some problems depending on the rental company. 

You can find different furniture rental locations simply by typing in “rental furniture near me” in your search engine. Here are a few located in San Diego for reference: 

Similarly, buying furniture also has its advantages and disadvantages compared to renting.  

Buying furniture requires commitment and reassurance that you want to keep the pieces. So, you should think about if you are able to make the most out of the pieces. Just remember, you should be prepared with more financial flexibility depending on the pieces you choose. 

Along with needed flexibility in your finances, you do have flexibility in your choices. If you do decide on buying your pieces, you will find a variety of pieces and companies to shop at. This way you could really be specific and creative with what you desire for your home. You may also find sales and discounted items when buying the furniture! 


Do I Need A Certification For Home Staging?

If you weren’t in the market for hiring a professional home stager, you can definitely take on the task on your own. Exactly how? Do I need a certification for home staging?

Well, anyone can pursue the job of being a home stager without obtaining a certain license or certification. However, getting certified for being a home stager holds a great number of benefits:  

  • You’ll be able to train with home staging experts that will help you gain more skills
  • Opportunity to network with other home stagers and experts
  • Ability to gain clients through the company’s directory or network
  • You have more credibility

To gain certification there are various home staging courses and programs that are beneficial. A few you should consider are the Accredited Staging Professional and Certified Staging Professional courses. Also taking part in the Real Estate Staging Association is a great resource for you to stay connected with any ongoing events and opportunities. 


Home Staging Before And After Photos

To gain some insight on what home staging looks like in a home, here are some photos to display the before and after stages of home staging

home staging before and after

Image Credit

As depicted, you can see the significant difference between the room before and after it was staged. 

Notice how much of the clutter in the home was cleared, along with almost all of the furniture. Tables, shelves, and picture frames were taken down, allowing for the room to seem bigger and brighter. 

Not only does the interior make a difference, but also the exterior. Clearing any items outside and placing a simple table in replacement definitely enhanced the cleanliness of the home. 

With fewer items taking space and depersonalizing, the home now has a neutral and minimal theme to it, thus appealing to many potential buyers! 

Let's take a look at another home staging before and after photo: 

home staging before and after photo

Image Credit

This transformation brightened the room up tremendously! 

With soothing, neutral tones, updated furniture pieces and refreshed paint color, this won't fail to catch the attention of anyone who sees it. The outside patio is also redone to match the interior of the home. 

Although they added more furniture pieces than before, they are reasonably sized to fit the room. Overall, these rearrangements and decorations are done in a way that don't overcrowd the room. 

Having a correlated color palette will definitely help the balance of the home. Shown by these examples, neutral tones seem to have a great appeal to potential buyers. Of course, pairing it with a clean and organized home is crucial for the overall look of the home!


Home Staging Ideas And Tips For 2020

Need some help on getting started with your home staging? Here are some do’s and don'ts to give you some home staging tips on what’s good and bad! 

Good Home Staging: DO!

  • Pay attention to your curb appeal. As much as home staging matters on the inside, make sure you put in the effort to the outside as it might be their first impression of the home! Mowing the lawn, refreshing paint, repairing light fixtures and adding some welcoming touches are some things you can do. 
  • Make sure the home is neutral! If you’re going for a certain tone or theme, make sure it is appealing to everyone who comes into the home. Make it a crowd favorite! 
  • Make sure that the home is not cluttered. Not only with smaller items but even with furniture choices. Don’t pick out items that are too big or take up too much space. This way the home looks cleaner and spacious. 
  • Pay attention to the walls, carpeting, and windows! Walls may need to be refreshed with paint, carpets may need professional cleaning and windows may need to be updated. 
  • Keep decorations on tables and counters on a minimal level. This will give the home a cleaner, less cluttered look. Maybe skip the coffee table magazines and opt for a nice vase of flowers instead!
  • Look on sites like Amazon or Target for home decorations. They have various brands that may look expensive but for a fraction of the price if found elsewhere. 

 Bad Home Staging: DON'T!

  • Make any extreme renovations - Only fix up the house as necessary but don’t renovate anything that is too specific to a style you may like, as everyone’s taste is different! 
  • Have anything broken - Make sure lights work, doorknobs aren’t loose, windows aren’t cracked, faucets aren’t leaking! The little things add up so make sure to double-check these things. 
  • Be afraid to get help - If you don't plan on hiring a home stager, you can decide to do it yourself but having a team to help will definitely speed up the process. You’ll also get different perspectives on the home. 
  • Forget to take before and after photos of the home - This will help the client visualize the renovations made to the home. Especially if they’re viewing it online first.
  • Push all of the furniture against the wall - This will make the room look dull and boxy. Making sure the furniture fits the size of the room will help avoid this problem!
  • Forget to know your audience - Know who would appeal to the home, the area surrounding, and the price. This will help you style your home accordingly. 

Plenty of home stagers and sites, such as HGTV and New York Times, often post photos and articles of home staging projects, usually including before and after renovation photos. Using these as references can help you gain inspiration for what you would like to do for your home. 

Here are some tips to give you some home staging ideas: 


Staging A Home For Sale Checklist

home staging checklist

Ready to stage your home? Let’s make sure you have everything with a home staging checklist! 

  1. Prepare Accordingly!
    • Walk through your vacant home and note anything you notice
    • Get expert advice on your home 
    • Seek professionals, such as real estate agents and general contractors
    • Possibly set a budget that you expect from your feedback
  2. CLEAN!
    • Clean out any trash or clutter that isn’t necessary around the home
    • Clean floors, carpet, windows, and tile in the home
    • Clean counters, appliances, cabinets, drawers, sinks, showers, and toilets
    • Remove furniture that isn’t wanted, having storage space to keep them in would be helpful
    • Remove any personal belongings such as photos, appliances, and clothes
    • Try pressure washing any necessary outer areas like windows or driveways
  3. Work On Necessary Renovations
    • Repair any holes or cracks in the home
    • Refresh paint inside and outside the home, think about having neutral colors around the home
    • Check for any loose doorknobs and light fixtures
    • Make sure the roof isn’t damaged
  4. Organize & Decorate
    • Arrange furniture being used in the home that maximizes space
    • Plant flowers and plants for curb appeal
    • Organize closets and garage
    • Decorate accordingly but also minimally. Don’t overcrowd the areas!
    • Have a pleasant smell in the home
    • Brighten up space with light bulbs or lighter features 
    • Take advantage of accent walls
  5. Advertise and Open Up Your Home! 
    • Invite neighbors, family, friends, and coworkers to your open house
    • Include ads and listing photos in newspapers, local websites, Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and postings with real estate companies
    • Post “Open House” signs around the neighborhood with necessary directions
    • Put up informative ads on light posts that include details on the open house, a photo would be useful

Different rules apply to different spaces and your taste as a home stager but recognize your audience and what appeals to them! 


Should I Consider Virtual Home Staging?

virtual home staging

Image Credit

In today’s digital age, working from home is not rare to see. The convenience and comfort of working from home is something many individuals prefer. Lucky for you, virtual home staging is not impossible to accomplish! 

If you’re one who prefers virtual work and is always on-the-go, you should consider virtual home staging. This way everything is at the tip of your fingers and can be accomplished at your pace. 

You'll be able to stage a home through different applications and software, without having to be in the home or walking into a furniture store!

Here are a few virtual staging apps

VisualStager - $7 to $15 per image

If you’re wishing to take on home staging as a do-it-yourself project, you’ll get that freedom on this app. You get to choose your interior design and stage your photo as you wish, simply by dragging the piece onto the photo. This does not require any software and the website is compatible with PCs and Apple products and is easy to use! 

iStaging - Costs $5 per month with 3 live tours; additional tours are $2.50 each

This app is great for those who want a more realistic perspective. You first shoot a 360-degree video of the space that needs to be staged. Then, upload it onto their online design center and choose your furniture and designs. You can then send this to your clients and include it on your site. Pretty creative! 

Cedar Architect - Costs $59 per month

If you need to get across high-quality images, you may prefer this app. To avoid your staged photos from looking fake, you can stage and create 3D models using realistic furniture, for both the interior and exterior. What makes it so realistic?You are able to edit the shading and lighting on the furniture to make them fit the space, as well as record 360-degree tours.

Punch! Interior Design - Costs $50 for a one-time download

As it is a one-time download, this will be your budget-friendly app. Although you cannot upload your own photos, you’re able to enter the dimensions of your room and select furniture from a wide selection. This is great for those who are just starting out with home staging, however it is only available for Macs. 

BoxBrownie - Costs $32 per image

If you’re one that is always on a time crunch, Box Brownie is probably the best bet for you! You send in the photos of the space you need staged and professional photo editors stage it for you. You also get to choose the style you want for your space and they offer reworks for no additional cost if you aren’t satisfied. 

Here is a video displaying the benefits of virtual staging from BoxBrownie:

Despite the fact that it’s completely online, it seems to be just as worth it as traditional home staging. You have the ability and flexibility to decorate, often with a wider selection, without worrying about the tangible items.         

There are many more options when it comes to virtual home staging programs and applications. Each has its own features for you to experience, so figuring out what you need first will help determine the best choice. 


How Much Does Virtual Home Staging Cost?

As each program contains its own distinguishable features, virtual home staging costs tend to vary. Ultimately, determining the extent of your home staging will also determine the price you will end up spending. 

More simple applications, such as Punch! Interior Design, which doesn't allow you to personalize your own space, would cost less than an app like Box Brownie, which requires professional editors. 

Although there are programs that are cheaper than others, virtual home staging is a cheaper alternative to usual home staging. You don’t have to worry about accomplishing the physical responsibilities when all of it is available on your phone or computer!


How To Get Into Real Estate Investing If You’re Interested In Home Staging?

After going through the home staging process, you may have gained interest in the real estate market or simply just want to know how it works. There are other areas of real estate you can invest much of your time in!

 As the practice of home staging is based on the interior of the home, work your way out! Learn about the processes of flipping and wholesaling homes, such as what they entail and how to get started, with or without money

Talk to your connections, build your network! Talk to agents or peers that you come across during your home staging process. If you’re interested, ask them a question or two about investing in real estate and what they know about the market. Different perspectives can help you tremendously!  

Take advantage of your resources. There are free trainings and courses that are available to you that you may not realize! Take the time, find those courses, gain some insight on the market, and get started when you feel comfortable. 


Final Thoughts On Home Staging

Despite the somewhat arduous process home staging entails, it’ll help enhance the features of your home and the profit you gain when selling. 

Of course, you can opt-out of doing the process altogether. However, it is shown to help increase offers and decrease the time it is up for sale if a home is staged.  

Turning home staging into a do-it-yourself project is also an option you may want to consider if you’re not looking for a tremendous process. Even taking on smaller renovations and tasks can be enough for the home. Something is better than nothing. 

Ultimately, you decide on what you want for your home. No matter the duration of the process, any change will be reflected in the outcome. Find the purpose in your projects and have fun with it!

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