My salesperson and I agreed that my home needed staging before it was listed. I was later surprised to be presented with a bill for it – shouldn’t my listing brokerage cover the staging costs as a part of their services to me?

Staging is a service that may be provided by a third-party professional stager or by the brokerage itself, however who pays for it should be specified in your listing agreement. Your salesperson on behalf of their brokerage will be able to walk you through the services included in your listing agreement in detail.

Staging can be a very effective tool for marketing a property to potential buyers. A well-staged home accentuates selling features and helps would-be buyers to visualize themselves living in the space as their own. Whether done by professional stagers, salespeople and brokers experienced in showcasing properties, or by the current owner, staging is often a part of preparing a property for sale.

It is a seller’s choice as to whether they would like staging included as a service that is covered in a listing agreement or arranged directly between you and the staging firm. When choosing to have the service included, it is important to have a frank and clear discussion with your salesperson regarding what the service is to entail and what, if any, additional fees are charged to you. The costs of staging can vary greatly, depending on the kind of services you request or agree to and the furniture that may be brought in. You will want to discuss with your real estate salesperson what will be done, who will complete the service, how and when it is to be paid for.

If your salesperson 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, at what cost and who will pay for them.

Once you and your salesperson have ironed out the details, and you fully understand your obligations regarding what will or will not be included, all the details should be drafted into the listing agreement. If the cost of staging isn’t included with your salesperson’s marketing plan, you will likely have to pay the stager separately out of your own pocket – possibly before the sale of your home. Do not assume the fees are included in the fees payable to the brokerage for selling the home.

It is important to note that unless otherwise stipulated in the listing agreement or a separate written agreement, staging fees agreed to by the seller will be owed, and are likely non-refundable, regardless of whether or not the property is sold.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email

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, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at

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