Why Staging Is More Important—and Expensive—Than Ever

Interested in selling your bungalow in the Los Angeles hills? Ten years ago, you could hire a realtor, put the home up on the market, and be done with it. However, these days, The New York Times is reporting that before you can sell your house, you’ve got to have it professionally staged.

Buyers don’t want to see an apartment filled with your mismatched furniture, and they don’t have the imagination to picture an empty space filled with home goods. That’s where the stager comes in: They create a sophisticated design by using white sofas, textural rugs, and clean lines. A staged apartment is important because it will usually help a home sell faster (and at a higher price).

While staging is nothing new, the role of the stager has evolved: “In the past, many stagers focused on decluttering and implementing minor tweaks in furnished homes. Or they appointed vacant apartments with basic rental furniture to prove that rooms were large enough for regular sofas and queen-size mattresses,” explains Tim McKeough. “Today, they are increasingly tackling all-out transformations that aim to present compelling contemporary design, while projecting a complete aspirational package.”

When buyers tour a property, they don’t want to see just the rooms, they are looking for a lifestyle—a lifestyle that they are more exposed to thanks to shelter magazines, websites (like the one you are reading), and television shows like Million Dollar Listing. The story recounts several examples of New York properties selling only after the owners reluctantly agreed to staging. The reason for their hesitancy? The amount it costs to hire a stager: For a small two bedroom apartment, it’s at least $10,000. With a townhouse or larger apartment, it can cost $100,000 or more.

Thinking about staging your own home? Read The Stage Coach Book of Staging Tips for Home Sellers to learn how it’s done.

Would you pay to have your house staged?