Home Staging- How it Works, What it Costs

Home staging- how it works and how much it costs.#edesign #onlinedesign #virtualdesign #interiordesign #homestaging #staging #realestatemarketing #sellahome #homesale #decoratetosell #homestyling #homestagingconsultation #virtualstaging #virtualremodeling

Home staging is the art of decorating a home to sell fast and for top dollar. It works by highlighting the home’s best features and creating an atmosphere that buyers make an emotional connection with, so they can visualize themselves living there. Each year statistics come out that talk about things like staged homes sell 78% faster and for up to 20% more. Of course, this all depends on how well you or the realtor markets the home and if it is priced competitively to start with.

Just about every call I get starts with how much  does it cost, and how does it work? This video is for you!

What are my options and how much does it cost?

Every house is different and there are options for every budget and situation. Most folks are looking for the most affordable way to stage. Low cost is not always better though. Remember, staging always costs less than your first price reduction if it does not sell. 

 Professional staging can help sell faster and for a higher price. See my article, “My Top Ten Home Staging Tips” for the most important things to consider. It’s also good to know things you should not do! See my article “How NOT to Sell Your House in Seven Easy Steps” and “Why Your House Won’t Sell” to learn more.

Check out the following options to see what best fits your situation. The prices listed are just general estimates for planning. Every house is different and the investment in staging may vary.

Home Staging Consultation- Most Affordable

The most cost effective way to stage if you are living in the home while on the market,  is to get a home staging consultation with a pro and then stage it yourself.  They will give you their expert opinion on everything you can do both inside and outside to get top dollar and only recommend things that will give you a good return on your investment of time or money. This is great for folks with small budgets, but who know the value of home staging and are handy. The end result may not be as good as if a pro does it, but it will definitely help!  Your stager may be able to offer a final review after you do the staging to refine the end result.

Every home, no matter how nice can benefit from a consultation. The value comes from the pro’s knowledge of the market, how to stage for the buyer and their un-biased view of your home. When you live there every day, it is impossible for you to have that perspective. Don’t be worried about what they will recommend…. their goal is to get you the most money possible and reduce stress by selling fast. When preparing your house for sale, it is all about the buyer.

The longer the home is on the market, the more showings you have to deal with at a moment’s notice while still paying your monthly home expenses. The longer it is on the market, the more likely your realtor is to recommend a price reduction, which is typically $10,000 each time. The longer it is on the market, buyers wonder what is wrong with the house and are less likely to offer top dollar. Once you set the initial price, it is only downhill from there. It is extremely unlikely you can list it un-staged for one price, then stage it later and raise your price. So do the staging before listing.

Investment.​-$400-$650. A 2-hour consultation is about $400. Based on your location, size of your house and if you need a color consultation before painting, it may take more time and run up to $650 or more.

Occupied Home Staging- The Best Option

This is really the way to go if you will be living in the house while on the market. You start with the consultation to come up with a plan for staging. Then working mainly with what you already have, you work together and stage it that same day. Your stager may recommend purchasing a few items such as a new bedding set for the master bedroom, new shower curtains or towels for the bathrooms. Those things make a huge difference in helping the home look fresh, clean, modern and move-in ready to buyers.

Most people have everything we need to stage it beautifully. Often it is just a matter of re-arranging the pieces to make sure buyers know what the room function is,  it looks spacious and modern, the best features of the home are highlighted and it appeals to your target market. Because we work with what you already have, you generally don’t have to rent anything, saving you money.

Investment– $650-$1800. Based on the size and condition of the house, it could take 4-10 hours or more to do the staging and you may have to purchase new bedding, towels etc. It depends on the time needed for your particular house. You should be done in a day though!


Hybrid Home Staging- A Great Option

The same as Occupied Home Staging except you may need a few things, like some furniture pieces if yours is in poor shape. Rental fees are by the month, and my estimate assumes you are paying some rental fees for 2 months.

Investment- $1000-$3000. Based on the size and condition of the house, it will likely take 6-13 hours to do the staging/de-staging and you may have some costs to purchase new bedding, towels etc. and rental furniture. Anything you will be “using” such as bedding, towels etc. (besides furniture) you need to buy, as they are not available for lease. Your stager needs extra time for sourcing the rentals, potentially packing and delivering some items, being there for delivery and then for de-staging to make sure no damage is done to your house. The staging should be done in a day.


Vacant Home Staging- Largest Investment- Just Do it.

Why? Vacant homes don’t sell quickly. They look sad and lonely, don’t make an emotional connection with buyers, there is no sense of scale so no-one can tell how big a room is or if their stuff will fit, how the furniture can be arranged or the purpose of the room. There is nothing to look at but the flaws. As the house sits on the market for months, the utility and mortgage bills add up, plus all those price reductions! Just stage it!  See the article in Alaska Home Magazine, “Staging a Vacant Home- Why It’s Worth the Money”.

Yes, it is expensive. Imagine if you had to completely deliver a house worth of stuff, unpack it and make the place look gorgeous in a day. Plus, your stager needs time to plan what can fit in the home, what looks good together and where to get the items, and may have to pack some  and deliver some of it themselves. They also need to be there to de-stage the house when it sells.

Investment– $2800-$4000. It depends on how much furniture needs to be rented and how long the house is on the market. This estimate is for up to 2-3 months.

Increase your Vacation Rental Income and Bookings with Home Staging

Virtual Staging- Affordable and Best for Certain Situations

Virtual home staging is a computer rendering of what a vacant space might look like if it was staged with furniture and accessories. Virtual is better than not staging and can show the buyers the possibilities. It can be helpful for out of state buyers that may not be able to visit in person, real estate investors or for rental properties. It might be great for properties that need a lot of remodeling and the seller chooses to leave that to the buyer. It is also more affordable than renting furniture and accessories for actual staging.

Remember though, as soon as they arrive in person, they are seeing a “vacant” house with all the issues that I mentioned previously. See my article “Virtual Staging and Remodeling, the Pros and Cons” to learn more.

Investment– $100 per room, 2 room minimum for virtual staging.  Virtual Remodeling- $210 per room.


How Long Does It Need to Be Staged?

Keep it staged until after the inspection is complete and the sale is pretty much a done deal. You don’t want the buyer to come to the house and think, wow, this looks nothing like what I bought, or to have to start over if the deal falls through.  Many staged homes sell within the first month and rentals go into the second month while waiting for the inspection to be complete. I have had some homes sell the first day on the market, but it still takes time for the inspection, etc. My cost estimates were based on two months. There are no guarantees though. No one can predict how long it will take

The Bottom Line

OK, so you know staging will help you sell faster and for more. Even if you spend $5000, that is half the cost of your first price reduction most likely and you should be able to make the investment back easily in a higher selling price and reduced time (and expenses) on the market. See my article, “Spend a Little- Make a Lot with Home Staging” to learn more.

Food for Thought

I know, you are thinking YIKES! I want to sell and not spend one more cent on this house. You may be tempted to go with the lowest cost stager or try partial staging or vignette staging or some other half measure. Your realtor may offer to do it for you. Are they a professional stager? Wouldn’t you rather have them spending their time using their expertise to “market” your house instead?  Halfway measures are a waste of your money, don’t work and are distracting to buyers.  When I get calls asking me to do those things I always say no. See my article, “Bad Home Staging is like going on a first date to the drive-in for dinner” to learn more. 

I hope you found this helpful! For more info, check out my guides, FAQ’s for Home Sellers or FAQs for Realtors and best of luck on your home sale!! If you need help, I offer staging consultations as well as virtual staging and remodeling services nationwide and in person staging in my service area.

Call 907-362-0065 today



Get your Free Report

Top Paint Colors for a Speedy and Profitable Home Sale by Northern Lights Home Staging and Design

Gift Cards

Give a home staging gift card.

Staging Diva Home Staging Store

Staging Savvy Quiz: Do You Have the Eye of a Home Stager?

Free 10 Tips Course to Become a Home Stager

Why work with Northern Lights Home Staging and Design

Terms of Service  |  Privacy Policy  |  Disclaimer

Prices subject to change without notice.

Call 907-362-0065 today


Home Staging- How it Works, What it costs. #edesign #onlinedesign #virtualdesign #interiordesign #homestaging #staging #realestatemarketing #sellahome #homesale #decoratetosell #homestyling #homestagingconsultation #virtualstaging #virtualremodeling
Home staging- how it works and how much it costs.#edesign #onlinedesign #virtualdesign #interiordesign #homestaging #staging #realestatemarketing #sellahome #homesale #decoratetosell #homestyling #homestagingconsultation #virtualstaging #virtualremodeling
Home staging- how it works and how much it costs.#edesign #onlinedesign #virtualdesign #interiordesign #homestaging #staging #realestatemarketing #sellahome #homesale #decoratetosell #homestyling #homestagingconsultation #virtualstaging #virtualremodeling
Home staging- how it works and how much it costs.#edesign #onlinedesign #virtualdesign #interiordesign #homestaging #staging #realestatemarketing #sellahome #homesale #decoratetosell #homestyling #homestagingconsultation #virtualstaging #virtualremodeling

By Mary Ann Benoit

President- Northern Lights Home Staging and Design Owner- Arctic Paradise Bed and Breakfast Artist- Stained Glass, Jewelry and Alcohol Ink Art Wildlife Biologist Director- Kaleido World Percussion and Dance Company Director- Tavus Dance Company of Alaska Lover of music, art, dance and animals.


    1. Thanks Janet! I get the same questions over and over so it inspired the video and the blog post. Hope it helps people plan ahead!

  1. This is a such a great primer and resource. Great point about ‘how long does it need to be staged?’ You really don’t want them having buyer’s remorse before they sign the papers.

  2. Love the idea of virtual staging. What a great tool for getting your home noticed and seen in its best light in the sea of available properties. The before and afters here are really proof that it works.

    1. Thanks Carla! I think in person works better in terms of making an emotional connection with buyers coming to visit the property because they will still “see” a vacant house, but it definitely can show buyers the possibilities and is perfect for certain situations.

  3. This is such an excellent post, MaryAnn, about all the options. I didn’t understand the differing service levels available before reading this, and now I do.

    And if I were selling my home, especially if I had children to settle in another school district and needed to get out quickly, I would pay for the best staging I could afford as there is nothing like a clean, pretty, organized, spacious looking home to fetch top dollar, fast.

    1. Thank you Leslie! I think most people don’t really understand how home staging works. They watch HGTV and that is so far from the truth of what really happens to stage a home. A clean, beautiful, spacious looking home makes all the difference in making that emotional connection with buyers. And it makes such a difference to sell fast, as selling a home can be really stressful. Thanks for reading.

  4. Such an excellent post Mary Ann. Since we’ve lived in the same home for 35 years I had no idea there were all these different options for staging. I’ve worked with home stagers, but it’s usually for a home tour. This is such valuable info for a homeowner. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

Comments are closed.