Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQs

Do I have to spend money on staging?

There are things you can do that do not cost anything. You can use what you already have. Often the main things needed are to de-clutter; depersonalize; organize; pare back on furniture and accessories; and reposition existing furniture, accessories and artwork for better balance and flow. However, we recommend that a home stager be brought in for at least a home staging consultation. For a few hundred dollars investment, the home stager will provide you with professional advice on what exactly needs to be done to get your home in show-ready condition.

How much does staging cost?

An investment in staging can cost as little as a few hundred dollars for a consultation to several thousand dollars for staging services, furniture and accessory rentals or purchases, and minor repairs and updates, such as repainting and updating lighting and plumbing fixtures and cabinet hardware. The fees also depend upon the size and condition of the home, how much work the owner is willing to do themselves, and the price point of the home. Remember, staging is an investment, not an expense, which has been proven to get your home sold sooner, thereby saving money on mortgage, taxes, utilities, and maintenance expense. Contact us at Designed to Appeal for a complete description of services and fees.

Who pays for the staging – the homeowner or the real estate agent?

In some cases the real estate agent pays for the initial consultation. Some realtors will reimburse the owner for the consultation fee only once the home is sold. However, many owners and realtors look upon it as another fee just like a home inspection or a real estate lawyer. If staging is not brought up by the other party when the home is listed, it is strongly recommended that one of the parties gets the dialogue going. Owners should keep in mind that realtors might be afraid to suggest staging because they think their client would be insulted, and they don’t want to endanger the relationship. Realtors should keep in mind clients want to sell or rent the home probably more than they do, and would be willing to seek the objective advice of a professional home stager.

What should I do to prepare for a staging consultation?

There really is nothing a homeowner should do to prepare for a consultation. Unlike most people, professional home stagers can see past a person’s clutter and furnishings. Trying to get organized or clean up will waste the homeowner’s time and only cause stress. If a half-day or full day of staging services is going to follow a consultation, we may request that recommendations we made in the consultation such as de-cluttering, painting and repairs be done before we come in to rearrange furniture or add accessories.

What if I have a vacant home to sell?

Only 10% of buyers can visualize the potential of a home. Vacant homes sit on the market even longer than poorly furnished homes. Vacant homes can appear cold, sterile and boxy. That’s why builders always furnish model homes. And with no frame of reference in the form of furniture and accessories, the buyer has no idea if their furniture will fit (empty rooms actually appear smaller than furnished rooms), or what the purpose of the room is (an office or extra bedroom?). Buyers also tend to focus on the little defects because there’s nothing else to look at. And not to be overlooked is the perception by buyers of a vacant home: empty houses = desperate sellers. They’ve already moved out and now have two mortgages to pay, so they must be willing to settle for less. At Designed to Appeal, we will spend time evaluating what furniture and accessories are needed to fit the style of the home and the market it’s in. We will find just the right furniture and accessories to rent or purchase to appeal to the target buyer. We’ll be there to arrange it all properly when the furniture and accessories are delivered, and we’re there when the home is successfully sold and everything needs to be moved out.

Why can’t buyers or renters just look past the decor and envision themselves living there?

Only 10% of buyers or renters can visualize the potential of a home. Most buyers and renters cannot look past a cluttered or unappealing room. And while most of them start out looking for a home based upon logical criteria, for example, 4 bedrooms, family room with a fireplace, they end up purchasing or renting based upon an emotional connection they feel when they’re in the home. When a house feels like home, they will re-prioritize their list. They may be willing to give up the fireplace because staging has transformed the property into a dream and they can envision themselves living there.

Why can’t the realtor or owner stage a home?

Realtors should spend their time doing what they do best: marketing and showing their listings to potential buyers and renters. Homeowners would rather know their realtors are doing this instead of spending hours rearranging furniture, shopping for accessories, and managing repairmen. Owners can’t stage their own homes because they’ve stopped seeing all of its flaws. Most homeowners don’t have the buyer’s eyes that a professional home stager will when walking through the home. The owners have gotten used to walking past the overgrown bushes in the front yard blocking all of the light from coming into the windows. The dated wallpaper and lighting fixtures have been in the bathroom so long that they seem to be part of the family. And owners will be overwhelmed enough with the stress of finding a new home and moving that they won’t have the time or energy to focus on making their home look appealing.

Why should I hire a stager if my home already looks good and it’s in a great location?

While location is very important, every home that’s for sale can benefit from the objective eye of a professional home stager. Most homeowners are so used to their home’s flaws they don’t see them anymore. Also, you cannot view your own home through a buyer’s eyes. Once your home is on the market, it’s a product that needs to be positioned and it’s not about your taste anymore.

Why can’t I wait to see if my home sells before I stage?

If you wait to stage if it doesn’t sell, it then becomes a stale listing. You’ll be offered less than the listing price because potential buyers know it’s been on the market for a while. Also, you end up missing out on any interested buyers who first saw your house and decided it wasn’t for them for one reason or another. Why not capture them right away because the home looks its best?

Why should I bother with making the home look better when the new owners will change it anyway?

While a total kitchen and/or bathroom remodel may be unnecessary prior to selling, the reasons you want to at least do some updates like painting, new carpeting, floor refinishing and changing out lighting and plumbing fixtures is to 1) first, eliminate the turn-off that buyers will have once they step into the space, and 2) to improve the space enough so that buyers feel they can move in and wait awhile prior to doing their own updates. And things as simple as repairs need to be done so that buyers don’t make a mental checklist and offer a lower selling price.

The real estate market is soft – who would want to spend money in a down market?

The softer the market, the more you must differentiate the property from others crowding the market. Wouldn’t it be great to get a bidding war going because your property looks so much better than everyone elses? Remember, staging is an investment not an expense. It can increase profit in two ways – by increasing value and by reducing expenses (mortgage, taxes, utilities) by decreasing the time the home is on the market.

The real estate market is strong – why should a home be staged?

Yes, in a hot market just about every house or apartment will sell or rent, but the question is when and at what price. Even if it did sell or rent quickly and at a good price, it doesn’t mean it was sold or rented at its fullest potential. Imagine having multiple bids on a home instead of the couple you might get without staging.

How does home staging differ from interior decorating?

Home staging is the art and the skill of making a house or apartment attractive to potential buyers or renters by portraying a lifestyle that they aspire to, so that it sells or rents quickly and for top dollar. With interior decorating, you are designing to the tastes, preferences and lifestyle of the people living in the home. Unlike interior decorating, home staging is about decor that is not taste-specific, yet appeals to the profile of the target buyer. It is the art of creating emotional connection points throughout the house so that when a buyer or renter steps into the house they feel as if they were home. Home staging emphasizes the best features of a property while improving or downplaying the less marketable features.

What is interior redesign and how does it differ from interior decorating?

Interior redesign is the process of enhancing a home by using mostly what the homeowner has for furniture, artwork and decorative accessories, but also supplementing these with some purchases. It also involves making inexpensive updates rather than renovations, for example, painting and new light fixtures. The enhancements are done with an eye towards making the home attractive to a future buyer. Interior decorating is the process of enhancing the home using primarily all new furniture, artwork, decorative accessories and window treatments. It is done taking into account the tastes and preferences of the homeowner, rather than taking into account a potential future sale of the property.