Home Staging Doesn't Have to be Expensive: The Consultation
Hiring a professional home stager is an effective way to help maximize the appeal of a property and showcase its selling features using the homeowner's own, and potentially rented furniture and decor, however, it may not work within everyone's budget. But if you could afford to invest a few hundred dollars and received thousands of dollars in return, why would you not do so? It doesn't have to be cost prohibitive if you have the stager provide a staging consultation. For a mere $200 - $500 investment, depending on your city and size of the property, the stager will walk around your home with you (both inside and outside) and offer their various recommendations that you may easily implement yourself to get your home effectively ready for the market.
What to Expect During the Consultation
The recommendations are primarily based on psychological factors to help the buyer make an emotional connection to your home and envision themselves living there. The stager is not there to judge you -- how we live in our home and how we market it for sale are two completely different things. Recommendations may include suggesting (and selecting) a lighter, neutral paint colour so that your home is move-in ready, point out any needed repairs that should be taken care of, addressing any unpleasant odours (i.e. from cigarettes and pets), general de-cluttering and de-personalizing, re-arranging the furniture to enhance the flow of the space and help make the room feel more cozy and inviting, editing out some of your furniture to make the rooms feel larger, removing heavy curtains to help brighten the rooms, moving some of your furniture, art, and decor to different rooms to maximize the appeal of each space, potentially purchasing some additional neutral subject art and decor to help appeal to the demographic of the buyer, etc. The stager will then type up a detailed and prioritized checklist report and send it to you so that you may then implement the recommendations yourself. They'll also likely provide a staging quote in case you'd like help with the staging. The report also typically offers general advice in how to prepare for an Open House and property viewing.
A Case History
Below are a couple of Before and After examples of how effective a 2 hour consultation can be. The seller of this 1960s house had lovingly made it her home for ~30 years before moving into a retirement home. Recommendations included during the staging consultation were to invest in new neutral carpet throughout the main level (each room had a different colour shag carpet), remove the pink drapes and valence, rent a more contemporary sofa with matching chair, coffee / end tables, and some art and accessories, and hire me to strategically put it all together. The existing mid-century modern orange chair, dining suite, and stereo cabinet were the design and colour inspiration and was staged to look "hip" for today's millennial buyers. The house received 2 offers above list price within just a few days!
Cheaper Than a Price Reduction!
Always keep in mind that the minimal cost of a staging consultation, and even professional staging with some rental furniture and decor, is almost always significantly less money than your first price reduction after the house has been sitting on the market for over a month.