Home staging is smart business. Sell your house for top dollar by investing in a professional stager who’ll transform your comfy place into a showcase piece. Expert stagers, Christine Brown of DeZign Zoo in Dallas, Texas, and Taya Wright of Just Organized By Taya in Houston, Texas, two top-rated home stagers on Thumbtack give home sellers the why and how of hiring the right pro.
What are the benefits of hiring a professional stager?
Staged homes spent 81 percent less time on the market than homes that were not professionally staged, cites Taya from a study by the Real Estate Staging Association. Staging is so successful, she says, because buyers have a hard time envisioning what a space will be like if it’s cluttered with the current owner’s belongings or it’s vacant. Contrary to popular belief, an empty room does not look bigger or better; it just allows the room’s imperfections to stand out.
Home staging is cheaper than a price reduction on the home, says Christine—and it’s hard to argue with her logic. She explains that staging is a marketing tool that targets a demographic, lifestyle, and buyer for the property you are selling. It’s not about creating a home for your personal taste or everyday comforts. You won’t see any toothpaste or hampers in the homes she stages. The goals is making people fall in love with your place so they can imagine their life there. Which results in a home sale.
What should new clients ask before signing a contract with a home stager?
Always do your homework, urges Christine. Read reviews, look for an appealing and professional website, look through the portfolio of work. Taya agrees, saying reviews are the best way to learn what it might be like to work with a particular stager. Go with your gut as well, Taya says…ask yourself if the person is professional, on time, knowledgeable, and has experience.
Both Taya and Christine are accredited and are members of the Real Estate Staging Association, and it never hurts to look for people who invest in their craft.
What can someone expect when they hire a home stager?
Once contact has been made, DeZign Zoo tours the home in person or via online photos during a conference call with the client. This review allows for the draft of the Staging Agreement which has pricing and job details. The client and stager review the contract, and if signed, a staging is scheduled.
DeZign Zoo requests access when the clients will not be home, to be as efficient as possible. They do a walkthrough with the client after the staging, then the home is ready to go up for sale! Once the home sells, DeZign Zoo picks up their furniture and accessories (if any were brought in). Simple, clean, done.
Taya adds you can expect honesty from a good stager. They’ll coach you on maintaining “show status” if you’re still residing in the house while it’s for sale. And they’ll gently let you know that although your prized porcelain tropical bird collection is lovely, it will have to be packed away during the staging.
How far out should home sellers book a home stager?
Both ladies agree, sooner is better. If it’s a sought after pro you want, at least a six week window is ideal. Allow at the very least two weeks from consultation to staging, says Christine.
What is average cost for home staging in your region?
Costs vary, depending on house size and needs. Christine shares there are three main staging options:
Vacant Staging – Creating a customized lifestyle image with furniture and decor entirely provided by the company
Partial Staging – Infusing a home with strategic touches to attract a targeted buyer, this may include the company providing furniture and decor, as well as using client’s items
Redesign Staging – Transforming the look and feel of a home using the client’s existing furniture and accessories
In Houston, Taya shares that vacant staging typically starts at $2,200 and can be as much as 1% of the home’s selling price. This includes the staging, use of furniture, and transport of furniture to and from the site. For partial or re-design staging she explains a two hour consultation for DIY tips runs $200 and a full day of hands-on staging provided by the company starts at $800.
Any tips you have for first timers to this process?
For quicker turnaround and a higher sell price, the house has to be transformed from your home to their home, explains Christine.
Home staging achieves this by making the house a product. She encourages you to detach yourself from your house as the place where you made memories, and shift to seeing it as a commodity. Set aside all sense of personal taste and preferences and let the stagers work their magic.
Less is more, say both Christine and Taya. What you see as fabulous decor can come across as clutter and is actually distracting to buyers.
Clean, clean, clean, says Taya. If you’re living in the home while it’s for sale, you want it to be impeccable and as clutter-free as possible when buyers pass through. If you can, update kitchen appliances to stainless steel. And always remove family photos, states Taya!
Curb appeal is a big deal and tiny interior improvements can have exponential financial return. Scope these easy tips to boost home value to get you started.
Most of all, relax and remember you don’t have to do this alone!