Stage, Set, Sell: An Idea for Real Estate Agents

Renae Virata | April 24, 2017 | Best Practices

Stage, Set, Sell: An Idea for Real Estate AgentsSmart real estate agents know that staging their clients’ homes can help sell their homes more quickly. Home staging companies, however, can cost thousands of dollars per home.

We talked to Kara S., a real estate agent / remodeler in Dallas, who took staging into her own hands. She shares her best tips for providing an additional resource for your client as well as an additional revenue stream for your bottom line. Your wallet as well as your clients’ will thank you!

How Much Staging Companies Charge

Most staging companies provide their own furniture while others rent the furniture for use in their clients’ homes. This can drastically affect the staging fees.

For example, for a 3,000-square-foot home that Kara and her husband had just remodeled, the staging company charged them $3,000 per month. All of the furniture was brand new and purchased by the staging company prior to this particular project.

What did Kara and her husband get?

  • A furnished living room and dining room
  • A furnished master bedroom and master bath
  • A furnished office
  • Planters in the front yard and back yard
  • Room with just pictures on the wall: three bedrooms and other office

Doesn’t sound like much, does it? And what was provided was pretty sparse. The furniture was not cheap, either. The barstools, for example, were about $175 each while one of the sofas, for example, cost $2,500.

Kara’s Solution

Disappointed by the result, Kara did some thinking. What if she stage her clients’ homes on her own? It sounded like a huge endeavor, but Kara decided to start small and eventually build this part of her business.

The first thing Kara decided to do was find sources for her furniture. She needed high-quality pieces at bargain-basement prices. Where did she find such gems to stage her listings?

  • Facebook garage sale groups in higher-end neighborhoods
  • Estate and garage sales (AMAZING for home decor like vases, pictures, kitchen items, plats, etc.)
  • Amazon (especially awesome for inexpensive, easy-to-assemble and move items like beds)
  • Discount stores

She started with one set, enough for a 2,000-square-foot house, the average size for her listings. After staging the first house, it became easy for her to keep adding furniture to her storage unit for the second one. She only charges $2,000 total, instead of monthly – well below the average cost that staging companies would normally charge, which includes storage, set up and hauling of furniture.

Some Tips for Staging to Cut Costs

Do you really need actual furniture to stage a home? Of course, it’s hard to fake a sofa or dining table, but for a bed, for example, you don’t need an actual mattress. Here are some ideas that Kara had.

  • Use an inexpensive platform or, better yet, an inexpensive bed frame with a box spring instead of an actual mattress. It will be super light, easier to store and will simply need a set of bedding and a modern bedskirt.
  • Try benches for a dining table versus chairs all around.
  • Found an old couch? Recover it with a smart-fitting, modern slipcover.
  • Make desks super simple by using a small, rectangular dining table instead and outfitting with desk accessories.
  • If you’d like temporary shades in certain rooms, you can purchase inexpensive, easy-to-install ones from online or Home Depot.

If you’d like to go the route of staging your own listings, then start small like Kara and see how it works out for you. You’ll be saving money for your clients and could positively impact your bottom line.

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Renae Virata