The Creative Home Podcast | Episode #198
It’s almost spring time as we air this episode of the Creative Home Podcast, which means that houses are going to start popping up with for sale signs. But you may wonder, well how much time and effort do these people really put into a home to get it sold and make it look so darn good? In today’s episode, we are going to talk about a staging budget and what you can expect to spend when getting your house ready to sell.
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How much money do I need to stage my home?
How much does it cost for home staging?
Before I was a home stager, I was a homeowner just like you trying to get my house sold because we were moving…again. And there were some corners that we cut when it came time to selling where we did the work ourselves, while other times we hired someone to help us.
So if you are trying to come up with a budget to stage your home, let me share some things that I did myself and what I splurged on so that you can get a better idea on how much does it cost for home staging.
You can easily declutter your home yourself. You just need to start deciding what stays and what you really want to bring with you. Even though we lived in most of our homes for 3 years we still managed to collect things that was just clutter (especially toys). If it doesn’t have a “home” i.e. a box to put it in, a cabinet or drawer, then it’s clutter and should be donated, sold or thrown out. The cost here is basically your time and finding boxes around town from liquor stores or Dollar tree stores (or purchasing them).
You can find free moving boxes at places like Craigslist, Liquor Stores, a local bookstore, U-Haul Customer Connect, Office Depot or OfficeMax, Walgreens, PetSmart, Walmart, Target, and Costco. You can also look online at places like OfferUp, LetGo, Facebook Community Groups, and Freecycle.
Drop by Staples, Office Depot, or any office supply store close by. Ask to speak to a manager, and see if they have any free boxes they don’t use. Ask if they specifically have printer or copy paper boxes. Due to their large size, those will help you carry your heavy household belongings, from kitchenware to books. You may also find some boxes at cardboard recycling centers.
2| Rearranging furniture
If you have excess furniture that makes the room look crowded and small, sell it or donate it. Rearranging is free but it does cost you some time to do it. If you need help with how to arrange furniture in your living room, I have some furniture layouts called Living Room Layout Diagrams you can use for your current home and then help you set up your new home.
3| Cleaning cost for home staging
This one you may do already but once you remove that excess furniture, there may be some dirt, dust and other surprises. While you can do this yourself, I found that once I removed the excess and cleaned out things, I hired a cleaning crew to come once a week to keep the place looking spotless. This can run you about $200-300 depending on your location.
If your carpets need some refreshing/cleaning, hiring someone to clean the carpets will go a long way to showing off your clean and move-in ready home. This can cost $200-300 depending on the number of rooms and your location.
Finally, take a look at your sidewalks and siding on your home. Do they need to be washed and cleaned? We bought our own power washer and use it all the time on our decks and sidewalks. If you don’t have one, rent power washer for the day or have someone come out to do the cleaning for you. This can also run about $100 or more depending on if you buy your own, rent it or have someone come out.
4| Staging advice cost for home staging
If you don’t have the decorative eye and just need someone to tell you what to do, a staging consultation is the way to go. As a home stager, I will help move things around (if I am in person) during the consult and try to reuse what the homeowner has in their home to stage it. A consult can run from $200-500 for 2 hours depending on your location. But this is worth it in gold if you get custom staging advice and you do the work afterwards.
5| Furniture rental cost for home staging
This is the most expensive option if you’ve already moved out and the house is empty. You may not know this, but empty houses can take longer to sell than staged homes. I learned that the hard way when we sold our house in New Mexico. Furniture rental can run anywhere from $1500-3000 a month and some places require you to keep the furniture for a 2 month min even if you sell your home in a week! So be aware and ask those questions so you know what you are signing up for. Shop your home for furniture once you rearranged and removed some pieces from a room. You can also take a look at local thrift stores to see if they have anby pieces you can use to help stage your home.
Some homes may require fixing things like a hole in the window screen, replacing a light fixture or some new throw pillows. I’ve hired electricians to add lights in a closet or replaced the dated bathroom counters. Each home is different but here is a rule of thumb that I’ve found very helpful. Spend no more than 1-3% of your home’s asking price on maintenance like fresh mulch, flowers, cleaning, staging consult, getting new accessories, etc. For example if your home selling price is going to be $300,000, spend no more than $3000 on getting your house ready to sell. You may think that’s a lot but when you realize all the work you spend on some of those little things it adds up. If you consider this rule of thumb, you can stay within budget and still recoup the cost without going overboard.
So there you have it. How much money do you need to start staging your home? Realistically some will say as little as possible. Others will go overboard and spend thousands more and think they will get more for the house. Sometimes that works while other times you don’t recoup what you put into it. A safe bet is to spend 1-3% of your home’s asking price and you will be well on your way to staying within budget and moving into your next home.
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