How to Save Money when Staging Your Home

People decorate their homes to reflect their own unique sense of style and personality. When it’s time to start showing your home to potential buyers, you’ll want to project more of a neutral landscape that still hints at an enticing lifestyle.

Does it Really Matter?

According to The National Association of Realtors.com, 77% of buyer’s agents say that staging a home helps potential buyers visualize the property as their future home. Realtor.com indicates on average, staged homes sell 88% faster and 20% higher in cost than non-staged homes. The longer a home is listed without selling, the more likely it is to drop in price.

What Does it Cost?

Home Advisor.com says the average cost for staging a home to sell runs between $301-$1326, with the national average being about $810. These costs seem grossly underestimated when compared with figures from Realtor.com, where home staging experts indicate a cost of $2000 – $2400 per month to stage an average sized (2000 sq ft) home while MarketWatch.com indicates it will cost $3500 – $4500 per month.

The truth is, there are many variables that can affect the cost of home staging, including the home’s:

  • Size
  • Design
  • Layout or floor plan
  • Condition
  • Location

Don’t let these figures discourage you from the idea of staging your home. You can do a lot of the work yourself and take hundreds or even thousands of dollars off the cost. If you’re listing your home with a realtor, try to find one who will include this service with no up-front cost from you.

DIY Staging Tips

If you need to rent furniture or decorative accessories because your home is vacant, you want a more upscale look or you’re an investor doing your first home flip, compare the cost of hiring a professional stager against the monthly rental of furniture and accessories from a company like Cort.com, which leases furniture for any occasion and serves multiple locations nationwide. 

Note: It’s not necessary to fill the entire home with rental furniture. Concentrate on the main living areas, such as the living room, kitchen, dining room and typically, the master bedroom.

Step 1: Deep Clean and Declutter

The first step in getting your home picture perfect for listing photos and later, actual walkthroughs, is a major cleaning. Declutter those counters in the bathroom and kitchen. Bathrooms organizers are inexpensive and very handy for keeping makeup, hair accessories or personal grooming products neat and tidy. Your investment here can also be used in your new home to keep clutter from even forming.

Step 2: Neutralize the Backdrop

Doing your own painting will save you a minimum of $300 to $400 on staging costs. Warm neutral colors will give your home an inviting atmosphere. Antique white, ivory, Grey, beige and “greige” are popular colors that never go out of style. Keeping light colors on walls also makes it easier to repaint if your buyers are planning to do so.

Step 3: Detail Your Floors and Fixtures

Put some of your vacuum attachments to use to get all the dust and dirt

sea turtles rug
sea turtles rug by SurenArt click image to buy

accumulated in corners and along the baseboards of walls. Have your carpets professionally steamed cleaned.

Wipe down blinds, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures. Wash soiled walls (that didn’t get repainted), windows and light switches and make any hard floors shiny clean. Add warmth, color and texture to hard floors with area rugs. This print would make a nice addition to a coastal cottage for sale in Florida or Southern California.

Step 4: Touch Up Furniture

Cover up any eyesores or worn upholstery with slipcovers. Spray paint can do wonders for old bar stools, tables or chairs. A pretty piece of fabric or throw can make a great cover for a side table or nightstand.

Whenever possible, float seating furniture away from walls in conversational groupings. Accent pillows and throws add interest, color, pattern and texture to sofas, armchairs and beds. Hint: Hand chop accent pillows for a designer look.

Step 5: Clean and Organize Closets

Closet organizers are a must and you can find a ton of options at Amazon, such as this adjustable Closetmaid kit for $105. It’s important to give the impression of spaciousness, in all the storage areas in your home. If you can’t get rid of enough stuff to leave 20 to 30% of open space in each closet, you may have to store a few of your things temporarily with a friend or rent a portable storage pod you can use to help move your belongings once your home is sold.

Step 6: Highlight or Create Selling Features

Steer attention toward anything that can become a standout feature. Add

indoor water fountain
Kenroy Home Forged Wall/Table Fountain

cushions and pillows to a window seat for a comfortable reading nook. Place a small writing desk underneath a staircase to create an office cubby. Position an indoor fountain and some house plants in the foyer. This 26 inch high hammered copper wall or table fountain would look stunning surrounded by some leafy ferns, palm plants or the trailing vines of some pothos plants. Click on the image to buy it at Amazon, $128.

Spruce up patios or porches with seating furniture, end tables, outdoor rugs and potted plants to create outdoor living spaces with ambiance.

Step 7: Add Curb Appeal

Touch up cracked or peeling paint along trim and power wash dirt away from

beautiful home with curb appeal
First impressions count!

siding and concrete. Make sure lawns are adequately watered and mowed. Remove weeds from flower beds, rocks or desert landscaping, trim trees and prune shrubs. During spring and summer, add some potted flowers if you don’t have flower beds. Make sure your mailbox is in good working order and your house numbers are clearly displayed.

Step 8: Bring in the Final Touches

Think about the lifestyle image you would like to project to potential buyers coming to see your home. What else can you add to help your home stand out?

For a rural family home, it could be as simple as a bowl filled with fresh green apples on the kitchen table and vase holding sunflowers centered on the counter. Fresh fruit or flowers instantly brighten the room with small pops of color. A plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies could help cinch the deal for a young couple looking for a cozy home to raise their kids in.

Conversely, this upscale, modern urban loft living room would be underwhelming viewed empty with its beige walls and flooring. To give the room interest and a modern art type feel, modern furniture with a twist on scale was brought in. The play on scale is repeated with the finishing accessories and wall art; which also energize the space with bold, fiery color. Oversized sculptures and modern art picture books provide conversation starters that could help any discerning, upscale urban socialite visualize intimate gatherings here with fine wine, premium cocktails and close friends.

Consider Getting a Consultation

According to Realtor.com, a home staging consultation can run anywhere from $125 to $300. That’s a reasonable cost that can provide you with the blue print needed to make your home sell quickly and at the best possible price.

Good luck on finding or creating your dream home!