My husband thinks we’ll get more offers on our home if we hire an agent who is also an experienced home stager. Is this true, and is home staging worth the money?
While it’s true that some real estate salespeople and brokers are experienced in the art of staging homes and can skillfully stage a property on their own, there are many professional stagers out there. I hope that when you and your husband interview potential salespeople (remember to look them up on the RECO website!) you ask how they plan to market your home to would-be buyers, and if they have any experience in staging, or working with professional stagers.
Home staging is a marketing tool that uses decluttering and/or the use of rented furniture and decorative elements to maximize the appeal of your home to potential buyers. A modest staging would involve a thorough cleaning and decluttering and could also involve rearranging the furniture or applying a fresh coat of paint to give the home an open and spacious feel. A more elaborate – and potentially expensive – staging would likely start with these actions, but might also include renting furniture, artwork and carpeting, or even some renovations, such as installing new light fixtures or replacing the kitchen cupboards and countertops. The idea is to show buyers what is possible, so you may also want to consider using a professional photographer.
Staging can help make a property look brighter, as well as more spacious and modern, but only you can decide if it’s worth the money or right for your home.
The costs of staging can vary, depending on the services you request, so you will want to discuss with your real estate salesperson how and when the stager will be paid, and have them draft the listing agreement accordingly. If the cost of staging is included in the fees payable under the listing agreement, the brokerage will pay the staging company’s bill. If the cost of staging isn’t included, however, you will likely have to pay the stager out of your own pocket – possibly before the sale of your home. Don’t assume the fees are included in the fees payable to your brokerage for selling the home.
If your agent offers to enter into an agreement with a staging firm on your behalf, you can expect your salesperson to confirm in writing the services that are covered, who will provide those services, and who will pay for them. You and your husband must then consent to the arrangement.
It’s important that you and your husband, your salesperson and the stager are all on the same page. Have a frank and open discussion about your budget, timelines, expectations, and general willingness to transform your home while you’re still living there and remember to ask for a written cost estimate.
If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.