Should you pay for home stagers when selling your home?
Real estate agents can be quick to recommend professional home staging to sell your home faster and for a higher price. However, for a service costing several grand, there’s little hard evidence this outlay will pay for itself.
When the Norrie family wanted to sell their Auckland property last year, their real estate agent referred them to a home staging company.
Home stagers spruce up your home during the sale period, by bringing in their own furniture and knick-knacks.
The Norries had the kitchen, living and dining areas, bathroom and two bedrooms staged for four weeks, costing them $2100. While some people move out during this process, the Norries remained. “It was like camping in our house because we didn’t want to sit on their chairs, or use the furniture,” the family said.
When auction day came, “loads of competition” saw the house sell for $50,000 more than expected.
The Norries were “convinced that the staging attracted buyers who might otherwise have been put off by our own interior decoration and the unusual old furniture”.
The companies themselves tout the financial benefits of using their professional services. On its website, Homestaging Wellington claims “research shows that home staged properties sell for more and in less time than empty properties”.
Sold on Staging’s website states “whatever the cost, the aim is to make a much larger return on that investment”.
We did our homework on both the costs and the research on the benefits of professional staging.
Left: Auckland Homestaging before. Right: Auckland Homestaging after.
To find out what these services will set you back, our mystery shopper arranged for five in-home consultations on a Wellington home (see “Home stagers compared”). None of the companies had prices on their websites – costs depend on the size of your home.
Our second mystery shopper, inquiring about an Auckland property, asked five more home staging firms for over-the-phone estimates for a similar property.
For our Wellington home, there was more than $1200 difference between the least (Homestaged) and most expensive (Set 2 Sell) quote for a full stage – though both also offer lower-cost partial staging.
In Auckland, the difference between estimates was more than $1600. This shows it’s well worth shopping around.
While Auckland Homestaging Ltd offered the cheapest estimate, our Auckland-based companies typically charged more than their counterparts in the capital.
When we asked the 10 companies about the price differences, one pointed to the extra care taken by its contracted furniture-delivery service. Two firms said their higher prices reflected the better quality furniture used – though Auckland Homestaging, at the other end of the cost spectrum, also stressed the high quality of its decor.
Homestaging Wellington said its prices vary throughout the year depending on demand. The summer period, when we ran our mystery shop, is typically the most expensive.