Staging FAQ

What is Home Staging?
Home Staging is the art of decorating a home to sell quickly and for top dollar.
It may be as simple as rearranging what you already have or as complex as bringing in new furniture,  accessories and art. Most projects lie somewhere between the two.

Can’t homebuyers use their  imagination and look past the décor? 
A mere 10% of homebuyers can actually visualize the potential of a home. This is why having a vacant home professionally staged is so important. Buyers cannot visualize size and scale  so furniture helps to give them a frame of reference.

I can clean and declutter, why do I  need a Home Stager?
It’s incredibly difficult to view your own home with the eyes of a highly critical buyer. A professional Home Stager can objectively assess how best to use what you  already have and determine if anything else needs to be added.

You’re emotionally involved in your home and the contents so it’s hard to be completely objective.  It’s hard to see your collection of beloved family photos the way a stranger will when they’re trying to imagine themselves living in your home.

You’ve been living there  so long there are many things you don’t even see anymore. Have you stopped noticing that really ugly wallpaper in the kitchen? Have you become used to tripping on the large carpet wrinkle running down the center of your living  room? Have you stopped caring that your bed looks like it belongs to the dog or your kids?

You may not necessarily have the designer’s eye that a Home Stager will.

You may not have the time or patience to deal with all the details the way a professional Home  Stager will. Just the idea of moving can be overwhelming. It’s natural to want to pretend everything is OK the way it is because you have no idea how to deal  with it otherwise.

Home staging usually goes beyond cleaning and decluttering and into decorating and rearranging  furniture, art and accessories.

Can Home Staging help me in a cooling real estate market?
Basically, the slower  the market the harder you have to work to get a competitive edge over the other  similar houses for sale.

Take the weekend and  check out all the houses for sale in your neighborhood and decide how yours  will stack up against them.

Don’t you owe it to yourself to do what you can to blow away the competition? Wouldn’t it be great to get a bidding war going because your home looks so much better than everything else in your price range?

Why should I spend money on a house  I’m selling?
Home Staging is an investment in getting a higher return when you sell your home. It is wrong to  look at home staging as an expense on your old home. How many other legal ways  can you think of to spend $1000 now and get $10,000 back, often in a matter of  days or weeks?

Would you try and sell your car without having it detailed? Why would you try and sell your single largest investment without first making it look as appealing as possible?

How do I prepare for a Home Stager’s  visit?
A Home Staging Professional can look past your clutter and any other problems. Some people  like to clean up before their cleaning lady arrives, or feel they need to get  in shape before they can be seen at the gym. Don’t fall into that trap. It  wastes your time and causes undue stress.

You do not need to prepare for a home stager’s visit.

However, if you think  some of your rooms may need to be repainted it would be best to replace any  burned out light bulbs and increase the wattage of bulbs where possible before the home stager’s visit. That’s because it’s best to choose paint colors in the  proper light.

Should I contact a Home Stager  before I call real estate agents?
If your real estate agent is willing to reevaluate the price they recommend listing your home at after the home stager has finished transforming your home, you can see the    home stager after you’ve hired your real estate agent.

On the other hand, having your home completely staged before having a few agents in to evaluate your home and make list price recommendations, will allow them all to see your home in the “best light”!

Will my agent pay for the Home Stager?
Some agents will pay for an initial consultation with a home stager as part of their package.  Others will reimburse you for a portion of the fees once your home is sold and they’ve collected their commission. Obviously, the higher the price point of your home, the larger the commission they’ll be working toward and the more money they’ll be willing to spend on your listing.

Some agents are afraid to recommend staging because they’re worried that their client will be offended at the suggestion and they don’t want to jeopardize the    relationship. Other agents may discourage you from using a stager because    they’re afraid you’ll want them to pay for it.

If your agent doesn’t suggest consulting a home stager, ask their opinion and see what they say.
Do not let your decision of which real estate agent to use rest on whether or not they will pay for a stager. You should pick your agent based on their expertise in your neighborhood, whether they are strong negotiators and what kind of job    they’ll do marketing your property.

In the end, it’s the homeowner who has the most to gain or lose by how well their house shows and whether they’ve picked an effective real estate agent.

How much does Home Staging cost?
It can range from a few hundred dollars for an initial consultation to thousands of dollars to furnish  an entire home. It completely depends on:

  • the current size and state of your home
  • how much of the work you’re willing to do yourself once you have the home stager’s advice
  • the price point is of your home

For example, it costs more to furnish a million dollar home than a $250,000 home, because of the square footage and the calibre of furnishings that would be required to fit the home’s target market.
If your home is already  furnished, you may be able to stage it for $250 to $800 depending on the  experience level of the person you are hiring, and how much needs to be done.

The important thing to remember is that you are making an  investment in a potentially significant financial return. Don’t base your  choice of stager purely on price, look at who you think will do the best job.

Will a Home Stager make me repaint my house?
Repainting may be  recommended, but it’s up to you whether you want to act on that advice. Not all  homes need to be repainted before going on the market.

It all depends on how fresh the current paint looks, whether the walls can be cleaned or touched up,  the price point of your home, and what the current colors are.

How do I decide which Home Stager to  hire? 
Make sure you see before and after photos of  projects they’ve worked on, check out any references or look at testimonials.

Interview the home stager by phone and see if you feel comfortable with them and whether they seem confident about their business. Do they have any success stories they can share with you?

If you need furnishings for staging purposes, can the home stager provide what you need? They don’t necessarily need their own inventory.

Home staging expert Jessica  Dolan does not keep an inventory despite staging hundreds of homes. Instead she  prefers to source items specifically for a client’s home and its target market.

Do not base your  decision on price. This is penny wise and pound foolish.
A more experienced stager may charge more per hour, but they probably work faster. Hourly rate is not necessarily the final determining factor in how much the project will cost.

My house isn’t worth being  “professionally staged”…
Even spending a mere $500 for  staging services should net you thousands in return and speed of sale based  upon statistical data. In the previous statistics, unless the house is under  50K this argument is invalid.

The housing market is good and my  house doesn’t need to be staged to sell…
You’re right. Every house will  sell…it’s a matter of when and for how much. Even if your house sells quickly  in a good market, it doesn’t mean it sold for the amount it would have sold for  had it been professionally staged. Remember, professionally staged homes sell  on a conservative average for 6%+ more. If your home sold for $400K unstaged it  probably would have sold for $425K staged.

Why can’t I just stage my own home?
Home sellers are usually incapable of successfully staging  their own home. Why? Because our home is like our child, we don’t always see  all of their flaws. We’ve gotten used to the way it looks and in fact it is  difficult emotionally to change it. If you can’t view something objectively  then you are unable to market and package it effectively. Additionally, most  home sellers don’t “stage” homes everyday so it is unlikely that  they possess the experience to expertly transform their own  home.  That’s what professionals are for and that is where the greatest  returns come in.

What areas do you cover?
Room to Breathe will travel anywhere, but our general service area is as follows:

State College
Bellefonte
Boalsburg
Centre Hall
Altoona
Tyrone
Philipsburg
Clearfield
Huntingdon
Williamsport
Lewisburg
Bloomsburg
Dubois
Clarion
Pittsburgh
Harrisburg
and everywhere in between…