Staging a home is one of the best ways to increase the selling price of your home without making significant improvements or repairs prior to sale. But it is an investment, so you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. That means choosing a staging company that has the right services and products to match your home and your budget. Here’s how to find the right home stager and how to use a home staging checklist to maximize the value of your home.
Designers Are Not Stagers
It’s important to note that there’s a big difference between an interior designer and a home stager. A designer can help you fit a home to your personal tastes while a home stager understands the real estate market and can make changes to your home to increase the sale price as much as possible.
The reason this is such an important distinction is because home staging is not a licensed industry. So, anyone who thinks they have an eye for design can sell home staging services. But only a professional home stager will keep up with market trends and understand exactly what buyers are looking for. This is why you need to thoroughly vet any staging company you’re considering to make sure you get the maximum return on your investment.
To get the best results from your home staging efforts, check out our 10 Home Staging Tips to Sell Your House.
Questions to Ask a Potential Home Stager
A quick search will likely show a lot of home stagers in your area. So, sorting through them all to find the right one will take a little work and a little interrogation. Here are some questions to ask any prospective staging company to make sure they have the right skills and services you need:
- Do you stage homes full-time or is this a side business of yours?
- What do you do to stay up on the latest home staging trends?
- How did you get into staging and what is your background in interior design?
- Can I see your portfolio and are all the examples in there your own work?
- NOTE: If their portfolio contains a “TRUE PORTFOLIO endorsed by RESA” logo, it means they have met the Real Estate Staging Association’s code of ethics to only show the stager’s own work.
- Can I see some before-and-after photos of homes you’ve staged?
- How do you decide what kind of style to bring to a home?
- What exactly do I get for the price quoted?
- Can you send me a sample contract so I can review all the fine print?
- Can you give me some references from past clients I can contact?
- Are you able to provide me with proof of professional liability insurance?
In asking all of these questions, your main goal is to make sure you’re working with a professional who knows what they’re doing and will tailor their services to your individual home. A mix of styles, a holistic and professional approach to the process, and a large body of quality work are all good signs that you’ve found a stager you can trust.
Home Staging Pricing
If you consult with multiple vendors, you will likely find a range of prices quoted for staging services. This is where it pays to know exactly what you are getting in your contract. Going with the cheapest option isn’t always the best because it likely means the home stager will have to make cuts on their end to make the job profitable. In other words, less cost for you means fewer accessories, poorer service and less furniture for your home. That could end up costing you a lot more in the end if the home isn’t staged well and stays on the market for a long time. So, weigh your options carefully and keep the big picture in mind and what it would mean from a financial perspective to pay a little more up front to potentially sell your home faster.
Home Staging Checklist
If you’ve ever watched home buying and selling shows on HGTV or other channels, you may have gotten the impression that staging a home is all about bringing in new furniture. But it actually involves a lot more than that. It also includes reimagining spaces, utilizing your existing furniture in new ways, cleaning, decluttering and all around repackaging your home to look its best. This is why it can be helpful to use a home staging checklist to make sure you don’t miss any important steps along the way:
- All rooms and surfaces are free of clutter
- Kids’ toys and artwork are put away
- Kitchen surfaces are clean and appliances are free of smudges or stains
- Bathrooms are cleaned deeply and deodorized prior to home viewings
- Windows are cleaned and free of smudges
- Exterior areas are tidy and all landscaping is well maintained
- Power-wash the façade of your home, if applicable
- Add accent pillows to living room couches and chairs
- Depersonalize the home by removing family photos
- Remove any art that wouldn’t appeal to a mass audience
- Remove pet items and eliminate any odors
This is by no means an exhaustive checklist, but it should help you think about all the areas of your home you will need to prepare when getting ready to sell. Lean on your home stager and follow their advice to make sure everything is accounted for when it comes time to stage.
The Bottom Line
Staging a home is part art and part science. With a little help from the experts, you can navigate that balance and transform your home into one that buyers will love. By doing your homework beforehand to choose the right vendor and using a home staging checklist throughout the actual staging process, you can ensure your home looks its best, attracts offers quickly and ultimately generates the best possible sale price.
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