…and their pros & cons

So you have a property to sell. Vacant. And now you’re thinking, you would need some staging. Undoubtedly this will help to show full potential of the house. You’re very excited cause you love decorating and jump on the idea -this will be an enjoyable experience! But before you rush to Home Sense let’s go over all staging options for you and think each one over. For the sake of this case study let’s say the house is 3 bedroom family house in suburbs. You have $2000 budget and three options:

1. Do it yourself

2. Rent furniture from staging rental company

3. Have Stager do it for you

Staging Option #1 Do it yourself…

…if:

  • you have time to do it. Real staging is not just an installation which takes a professional Stager about 5 hours (if you are dexterous in it). Additionally you need to allocate time for shopping the items, if you don’t have any and even if you do, you always need additional pieces. Obviously if you want extra items, like flowers etc. that will add up to your time. Not only you have to pack the items, coordinate people involved but also spend a lot of time driving. Usually this all can take 32-40 hours per project.
  • It requires energy. It should be noted there is always some lifting involved and some houses have very complicated layouts, so bringing items in and upstairs might take a lot of sweat. But it’s a good workout too.
  • proper layout, precise measurements and how it impacts the flow are not important for the listing. Some listings are pretty easy to figure out. However I’ve seen condo layouts provided by developers that make absolutely no sense and include furniture with dimensions that don’t exist
  • similarly design choices and what potential buyers will respond to are easy for you
  • available storage to keep the items once the staging is done. This costs monthly 250$ for 10×20 unit. Unless you’re in need of new furniture (always!) or you can sell it quickly.
  • reliable infrastructure to do it, such as movers and help for staging and destaging are on hand.
  • investment in inventory is your long term goal. Consider how many times would you need it for. Moreover, consider if the inventory is right for the project. Accidental collection of props is not the same as the one curated slowly for months with unique pieces. Surly, some houses require very little TLC and you can easily make it cozy. Some however are your big opportunities to make it special. Consider if your inventory is up for it.

What you get for 2000$ budget: couch (1000$), 2 chairs (700$), rug (300$, got on clearance)

How much would you have to invest yourself if you wanted to stage the whole house: 6000-7000$ unless you have the inventory then 0$.

Staging Option #2 Rent furniture from the rental company…

…if:

  • there is time for styling. Rental company will only provide you with furniture but they will not install items for you. Additionally, the choice of accessories is somewhat standard and limited. Real staging looks natural and lived-in because there are one of a kind props like chess board or newspaper with glasses. This should discourage potential investment buyers, who look for discounted price.
  • Owner-occupier appeal is not irrelevant. With a totally empty house this won’t look good if you just throw in one sofa with 2 chairs and call it “staged!” – this looks not only incomplete, but it sends a message a house is a product not somebody’s future home.
  • the house will not sit on the market for weeks. Rental companies charge per month with monthly renewal. Whereas some Stagers have contracts for couple of months which starts to make sense in those cases.
  • Cons: limited choice of styles: its hard to find a cool, modern rental pieces. Most of them are new and contemporary, but they look unoriginal. Presumably that’s why many realtors say furniture rental alone isn’t elevating listings. 

What would 2000$ get you: furniture for living and dining room for 1 month

Sofa $     279.00
Armchairs $     258.00
Console table $     109.00
Coffee table  $     169.00
End table $        69.00
bench  $        99.00
Dining table $     219.00
6 Dining chairs $     354.00
Rug 8×11 $     169.00
Sideboard $     300.00
TOTAL $  2,025.00
As per December 2020 rates from Stagers Choice online quote

Staging Option #3 Have Stager do it for you

Last, but not least this option is pretty much hustle-free option. Best if you don’t have time, inventory or energy to do it. What you get included in the price:

  • design concept and professional layouts to show house’s full potential. Unquestionably this makes a huge difference when walking into well thought over space. Furniture are placed in the right spots, not too big, not too small. Subsequently the look is proportional and harmonious.
  • equally important movers costs (staging and destaging) are included in the price
  • obviously rental of furniture and props, including art (depending on the Stager you can get up to 3 months). Moreover inventory choice is usually much better. Indeed, there are Stagers that specialize in rustic and farmhouse style, and those that have modern pieces like us. Above all, research and ask for referrals. Check their websites.
  • Also fresh flowers and real plants. House starts to live and breath with greenery! 
  • best of all, no sweating with bringing in heavy boxes on the attic
  • styling, not only furnishing the house, so it looks lived in
  • finally extra marketing if the Stager has his/her own base of followers on the local market
  • bigger investment but think of it as a branding investment. Your clients and public will appreciate you want to nurture your them. Without a doubt, this should bring in more business and profit.

Here’s more on how it works.

What 2000$ budget would get you: Staging living room and dining room with styling for 3 months.

Summary

Generally realtors keep some accessories for staging purposes. For the most part they have great eye for design. However realtors want to focus on what they want and need to focus on – selling, legal, negotiating and marketing. Overall they often don’t have time for elaborate design process. However you know best what you particular listing situation is and you make the choice!

Cover photo ARAS Imaging.

Ola Mochol

Femepreneur, Stager, Team Leader. Helps realtors and home owners transform empty listings into homes.

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