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The Creative Home Podcast | Episode #266

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Home staging is a marketing tool to help you show off your home and is a great way to get buyers to fall in love with your home. Real estate agents know that home staging will help them get their listings sold faster while others may not recommend home staging. So who should pay for the home staging? Let’s cover some scenarios where home staging was done by different parties and who paid for home staging.

1 | Who pays for home staging?

I hear this question a lot and it can be confusing. Home staging can be used as a marketing tool to show off the home so you would think that the real estate agent should pay for home staging. On the other hand, the homeowner has a vested interest in making their home shine so that buyers fall in love with it to make an offer. So who should pay for home staging? Let’s get into the different scenarios and what each brings to the table.

2| Realtor pays for home staging?

When it comes time to sell your home, the realtor may bring up home staging as a service they provide or recommend home staging in order for your house to show better. They know that home staging is a great tool to make their listings sell faster and staging gives buyers the move-in ready feel, which is what you want buyers to think. Buyers should see that there isn’t any work to be done and that they can move right in. Not the thought of, oh well we need to paint the walls, there’s a hole in the fence or we need to fix that rickety railing. A home that is staged looks move-in ready.

However, if the realtor brings it up, it does NOT mean that they should pay for it. Just like they will recommend that the tile is fixed or the house needs to be cleaned. They normally don’t pay for a handyman or a cleaning service. Same idea when it comes to a home stager. Some realtors will have it as part of their fees. It may be a service they provide or pay for, so pay attention to the fees they list when looking for a seller’s agent. I know some agents will have home stagers on their staff or the real estate agent does the home staging.

Other real estate agents may not do the staging but have a home stager they recommend. This is where it would be out of your pocket, the home owner. If you are interested in staging your home, or need an opinion of a home stager, you can ask the realtor if they know someone they recommend. I am normally part of this scenario where a real estate agent will refer me to their client and will have me meet them and do a consultation. Sometimes the agent pays for my advice and is there to help move things around too.

For the scenario where the agent paid for the home staging, the agent contacted me to do the staging at one house, paid for the consult and we moved things around, added some artwork and got it ready for pictures. It sold 3 weeks later. That same agent paid for another consultation with a different couple. However, the new couple was not willing to make any changes. Basically, it was free advice for the homeowner, so they had no skin in the game. They had no money on the line and were not interested in making any changes. That house sat on the market for 6 months. Makes you wonder what else they weren’t willing to budge on.

3| Homeowner pays for home staging?

Other times, the homeowner will reach out to me directly separate from the real estate agent. The homeowners are willing to pay for the consultation because they have the vested interest in making the changes and getting more money for their home. Or maybe they just want the house sold faster. Perhaps you inherited the house and you live out of state and need help getting it sold. You know you have to do something to entice buyers so you reach out to a home stager. So the home owner pays for the home staging.

My opinion, it should be the home owner. Mainly because you are the ones that will take action and listen to the advice of the home stager. During one home staging consultation, my daughter was helping me move things around the house but she had this look on her face. I pulled her aside and asked if something was wrong. She said, “I thought the home owner wanted you to come in and stage their home. Why is the homeowner fighting you on all the changes you are recommending?” I explained that the realtor was the one who paid for my services not the homeowner. The homeowner was a bit reluctant but they made the changes and knew it had to be done.  Changes are hard and moving is hard! As the homeowner, you are more willing to make the changes. It’s the same as if you paid for a gym membership vs the free trial. When you paid for the gym, you go more often. If you have the free trial, you aren’t as vested into and can skip a day or two. Then you’re frustrated with yourself later when you don’t see the results. It’s the same when staging a home.

When we were renting our home, as the homeowner and home stager, got a discount on the agent fee because I paid/did the home staging for them. So pay attention to the different fees. You never know where you might be able to get a discount if you did the work beforehand and made the agent’s life a bit easier too.

4 | Both Realtor and homeowner pay for home staging?

I have also seen scenarios where the realtor will pay for the initial consult and any additional time or staging is paid by the homeowner. Sometimes I need to go shopping on the owners behalf to buy some bedding, pick some artwork or other items to help stage the home. In this case, both the agent and homeowner spend some money to get the house ready for the market.

I’ve heard of scenarios where the home buyers pay for home staging but I’ve personally never seen that done. I’ve helped new homeowners move into their home and help them set up their new home, but not stage it to buy the home.

Whichever option you choose, be prepared to ask the question of who covers what expense, especially who pays for home staging. Always look at the fees presented by the seller’s agent and decide what works best for all parties involved. If you need help staging your home, click on the link below for a home staging consultation.

Home Staging Consultation


If you want to talk about staging the rest of your house, then sign up for a home staging consultation. This service can be done online or in person and we walk through all the rooms and rearrange, remove and add items during the consult.

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