Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Truth About Home Staging Costs


Today I thought I'd feature a post by another stager named Brandi Minshew, owner of Centre Staging located in Bozeman, Montana. You can check out her website at  Brandi makes a very good case about staging being a great return on your investment.  Check out her article below.

"You look at the housing market right now and things are moving a little slow but they are moving. Here in the Gallatin Valley, in Montana, according the GAR, homes in this area are on the market for an average of 183 days. That’s over 6 months! That’s way too long. Financially, things are on shaky ground. Some are upside down on their houses and need to make a certain amount. They will do whatever it takes to get the most out of their house. Or will they?

Decor Pad
It all starts with the common misconception that first of all, Staging is Interior Design. It is NOT. I can tell you, from first hand experience, switching from the design world to Staging was like night and day. I had to readjust my thinking completely. Instead of picking out things I know the owner would like, I had to adjust my brain to look through “buyer’s eyes”. What was going to be the most appealing to a wider range of buyers? You have to change your thinking and how you arrange furniture, what accessories you would use, etc. I’ll be honest, the things I use for Staging homes are NOT my personal taste and I don’t have them in my house. It’s not that they are ugly, they just aren’t “me” personally. Face it, we all see things at different shops that we say to ourselves, “I like it but for someone else, not for me”. It’s the same thing with Staging. You can love the way a house is Staged but it doesn’t mean you want every single item in the house. Interior Design is personalized for that particular owner to reflect their personal taste, personality, etc. Staging is depersonalized so no one person’s taste or personality is reflected. Granted you do have to possess a certain amount of taste but as Stagers, we mute our own personal tastes in order to sell a product, your house. We save all of our quirky, sassy, outlandish tastes for our own homes.

Decor Pad
The second big misconception is cost. This is also linked to the above misconception that “Staging is design”. Interior Design is expensive. The regular, every day “joe” (such as myself) cannot afford to have a designer come in and re-do my house. Not gonna happen especially in this economy. Staging is affordable, plain and simple. I can’t say it enough. I think about all those people who have had their houses on the market for the last 6 months and it breaks my heart. Imagine the thousands upon thousands of dollars (and more) they have taken in price reductions to get their houses sold. It kills me! They could’ve saved the majority if not all of that money by Staging their houses. Here is a little secret: when houses go on the market, the seller has control over only 2 things. Presentation (condition) and price. Well, I hate to tell you but the market is what determines the price and what’s going to sell. You can hold on to your price point all you want but remember, the market decides who will “make it or break it”. Keep in mind, the current average price reduction is between 10-20% of your listing price, according to NAR. So, the only thing you have left to control is presentation. Presentation encompasses Staging. Staging encompasses neutral paint colors, clean carpets, decluttering, depersonalizing, etc. When presentation isn’t there, price is the ONLY leveraging tool a seller has to get in a buyer. The formula is simple: rely on the experts to Stage and price your house and it will sell faster than you can imagine. Staged homes, nationally, are selling in 37 days or less whereas non-Staged homes are selling in 212 days.

Mary's  Photo of Home to be Staged in Jacksonville,Fl.

“Ok, so what about cost?” When talking about Staging, there are no “costs” – Staging is an “investment”. The reason I say “investment” is because you will get that money back. I can tell you, without a doubt, that “the investment in Home Staging will ALWAYS be less than your first price reduction” (Barb Schwarz, Creator of Home Staging). On a $200,000 house, your first price reduction may be between $20,000 and $40,000. On a 2000 sq. ft. house, Staging may be around $1500. Hmmm, $20,000 or $1500. If this were taxes, we would all say “$1500 please!”. Staging WORKS.

Decor Pad
However, there is a small caveat to all of this. It’s important, I can’t stress it enough, to research the “Stagers” in your area. As with any industry out there, you have professionals with training and you have wannabes or people who wake up in the morning and decide “I’m going to be a…”. For example, we just had a massive hailstorm in our area. There has been damage like you wouldn’t believe. Last I heard it was over $60 million in claims. Construction companies have been busy but what we are seeing in this area is new roofing companies popping up left and right. I have a friend who has roofed for 20 years and he has actually had to do repairs on those roofs because the “new” roofer did it incorrectly. The client has had to pay twice. The “wannabe” roofer had little to no training and no idea how to do things correctly. Staging is no different. There is a Staging company in our area that has some training but they have not kept up on it and it shows. It’s obvious in their work. I get referral business because some Realtors don’t want to work with them anymore. It’s good business for me but it’s sad. There are over 1000 houses on the market here…plenty of business for all. It all boils down to, you WILL GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. For the best results, you have to pay a little extra. I’m not talking much but that little bit will make a difference. Paying that little extra up front will mean a bigger chunk on the back end. It’ll be worth it."


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