Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

How to Properly Vet a Home Stager

Find the perfect ally to help you prepare your listing for the market.

By the Real Estate Staging Association.

You’ve likely heard it before: Staging can help sell homes. But how do you find a stager to team up with on your listing?

What a stager does for you: Professional stagers can work within your budget and help you invest your dollars for the best return on investment. They can recommend everything from paint colors to replacing or updating items and offering decluttering tips. The stager can have those awkward conversations with your clients about the appearance of a home so you don’t have to.

Heather Good, Attractive Interiors
Heather Good Attractive Interiors

Why you need a stager on your team: Staging can help draw foot traffic into your listing and get more money as a result. Eighty-five percent of staged homes sell for 5% to 23% over the list price, according to a 2020 survey reviewing 13,000 staged homes. The survey was conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association. Staged homes also tended to sell faster than non-staged homes, the RESA survey shows.

Here are some tips for finding the right stager in your market:

Research options. Search the web for home stagers in your area. For example, RESA, which offers professional education for stagers, provides a searchable database of home stagers.

Judge their portfolio. Is the stager’s work professionally photographed? Staging companies understand the power of professional photography, and their portfolio should reflect that. When reviewing a stager’s portfolio, consider whether the staging fits the architecture of the home. After all, ultra-modern furniture may look odd in an old Victorian home. Most established companies excel at staging to complement multiple home styles. You should know that newer companies often use stock photos on their websites instead of their own work. Make sure the stagers are showing you their original work.

Judge their portfolio to determine if you see a range of furniture in the homes they are staging or if everything looks the same. If you see the same living room setting in every photo, it may be an indication they are limited in their resources, or they may not be staging many homes.

Staged Room
Anne Kenney, Anne Kenney Associates

Inquire about their resources and insurance. Ask if the stager uses their own furniture or rents pieces. If your listing is vacant, it’s important to understand whether you are entering into a furniture rental agreement with the stager or a third party. Check to see if all the parties involved are properly insured.

Check references. A professional stager understands the importance of having great references, and they should have them readily available upon request. Also, consider asking them for their personal statistics on projects they complete.

Interview candidates. Request consultations with the stagers you’re considering. Get bids from two to three staging companies, and then get a feel for them and the value they can bring to your home. But don’t base your decision on price—because you often get what you pay for. It can be a red flag if you get a bid that is significantly lower. Choose quality: A good, reputable stager will help sell your home faster and for a higher price.

Understand the contract. Once you’ve decided to move forward with a home stager, review the written contract carefully. These contracts provide you with a legal document outlining the scope of the work and expectations. This ensures that no one can claim misunderstandings later on. If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation. If your stager does not offer a contract, consider that a red flag.

Check out the Consumer’s Guide to Real Estate Staging from RESA to view staging statistics and learn more about teaming with home stagers.

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Styled, Staged & Sold, created by NAR and REALTOR® Magazine, is produced by professional home staging and style experts around the country.

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REALTOR® Magazine is the official magazine of the National Association of REALTORS® and the business tool for real estate professionals.

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