What Does a Home Stager REALLY do?
I’ve decided to answer this question that a lot of people are asking by giving a play by play of a typical staging of a house for the market.
It all starts with a phone call, text or email. I’m often contacted by many different types of people. Sometimes it’s from a Realtor: ‘Can you help me? I have a listing that needs help.’
Somtimes I’m contacted by a homeowner: ‘Can you help me? I’m selling and don’t know where to start.’
Even home builders or property investors contact me to ask whether I can help them show a property using staging.
The typical first question is ‘How much do you charge”?
And that is a very difficult answer to answer without seeing the house first.
For vacant homes in staging condition (this means they have been recently built or renovated) I can often give a ballpark figure, but for partial stagings, occupied stagings, and model home stagings I will need to see the property first.
In the case of occupied stagings, a comprehensive consultation is needed. But here I will digress a little.
Just remember that not all stagers are equal. Is your stager qualified? Is this a full-time job or a hobby? Does your stager have a great portfolio of ‘before & afters’ of THEIR OWN work? Do they have client testimonials?
So back to the subject at hand. I will give you a play by play of a new, vacant house staging first.
After the phone call, usually from a Realtor, homeowner, builder or developer, I will drop by to see the house to determine what needs to be done. I will take some photos, measurements, and discuss the scope of the job.
I will e-mail the owner with my estimate within 24 hrs. This estimate is free. If the proposal is accepted I will draw up a contract outlining all the particulars of the job.
After the contract is signed and I receive a 50% deposit I begin the process of finding suitable furniture to rent. This can take a whole day, depending what is available.
After all the furniture is picked out and a delivery time settled upon (1-3 days), I will begin to move my own inventory of small furniture pieces, rugs, window coverings, bedding, plants, cushions, pillows, and throws, art & mirrors, bathroom and kitchen accents and lots of other accessories.
Sometimes, if I can get the key, I will begin moving those things in before delivery day for the furniture.
After the furniture arrives, it will take 4-8 hrs (and sometimes more) to put it all together and get that WOW look. This involves a lot of activity; running up and down stairs, lifting, hanging, reaching, etc.
It is not a very glamorous job! By the time I’m finished I have had a real workout!
So, you can see, it can take two or more days to effectively stage a new average-sized vacant house.
A lived-in house that is going on the market always requires a consultation. This usually takes 1-2 hrs depending on the size of the house and the cost is $200 +HST for an average sized house.
I will go room by room with the homeowner and tell them what needs to be done to make their house compete successfully with other houses. My advice can include cost effective repairs, updating, painting, cleaning as well as the usual de-cluttering and de-personalizing.
Some sellers use the consultation to set them on the right path and do the staging themselves. Others may want me to come back after the ‘to-do’ is completed by the homeowners, to stage their house using proven staging techniques to make it ‘Open House” ready.
This can include removing, re-purposing, re-arranging the home owners furniture and accessories. It also may involve renting some items from me, to help tie everything together.
Occasionally, I may need to rent some furniture as well. There is an hourly rate for this ‘hands on’ staging plus a monthly rental cost if rental items are needed.
The time needed to do all that is required depends on the size, condition, and scope of work agreed upon. I have had to spend 3 days at a large house and 6 hrs at a small, ready to stage house.
But this is usually the result!