Spend a Little and Make a Lot With Home Staging

Spend a Little and Make a Lot with Home Staging

We all know if we want to make money, we have to invest some  to get started. Whether it is stocks, mutual funds, a home, or a business, we need to spend a little to make a lot. The key is to pick an investment that we can get a good return on for the price we pay for it. Home Staging is a marketing tool for selling your home that uses decorating to show off a home’s best features while downplaying its flaws. Done right, staging creates an emotional connection between home and buyer, leading to a faster sale at maximum value.

When homeowners or Realtors approach me as a professional home stager, their initial query often revolves around the cost of home staging.

However, the focus should ideally shift from “how much will home staging cost?” to “how can home staging enhance my property’s value and reduce its time on the market?” Think of home staging as an investment, not just an expense. The extent of this investment varies based on factors like home size, whether it’s occupied or vacant, and the division of tasks between the stager and the homeowner.

Typically, stagers offer a consultation for a fee and provide an estimate for additional services, either as an hourly rate or a set fee. If furniture or accessories are rented, there’s an added monthly charge.

Prices can range with consultations averaging between $400-$700 and subsequent staging services around $125/hour. The cost of renting furniture and accessories differs based on specific needs. It’s essential to remember that selecting a stager isn’t about finding the cheapest deal but ensuring quality. After all, in home staging, as in many things, you often get what you pay for.

The concept of home staging and its impact on the sale price of homes has been extensively studied by various associations and organizations. Here are some more detailed findings, particularly from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and other entities, As of September 2021 the following information is available.


National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2019 Profile of Home Staging:

  1. Impact on Sale Price:

    • 29% of seller’s agents reported a slight increase (1%-5%) in the dollar value offered by buyers for staged homes compared to non-staged ones.
    • 21% of respondents stated that staging increased the seller’s dollar value by 6%-10%.
    • 28% felt staging had no impact on the dollar value, and 2% reported a decrease in the value.
  2. Impact on Speed of Sale:

    • The faster sale of staged homes was also highlighted, with 39% of sellers’ agents stating that staging greatly decreased the number of days homes stayed on the market.
  3. Rooms Benefiting Most from Staging:

    • According to the NAR report, the living room was considered the most crucial room to stage, followed by the master bedroom, the kitchen, and then outdoor spaces.
  4. Staging Cost:

    • While the value of staging was acknowledged, the cost was a consideration. About 28% of agents reported their sellers paid nothing because the agent provided the service. For others, the typical cost ranged depending on home size and market.

Real Estate Staging Association:

  1. Time on Market:

    • Staged homes, on average, stayed 72% less time on the market compared to their non-staged counterparts.
  2. Investment Return:

    • Various staging professionals have cited that the investment in staging often returns more than the cost. The exact ROI can vary but is often justified by a quicker sale and increased offer prices.

Other General Insights:

  1. First Impressions Matter:

    • Many buyers first see a home online, and staged homes typically photograph better. This can increase interest and result in more showings.
  2. Vacant Homes:

    • Staging can be especially crucial for vacant homes. An empty home can feel cold and uninviting, and it’s harder for buyers to visualize how they might live in the space.
  3. Staging and Home Condition:

    • While staging can enhance a home’s appeal, critical repairs and home condition remain pivotal. A beautifully staged home with significant structural issues might still struggle on the market.

It’s worth noting that while these findings provide an insight into the potential benefits of home staging, the actual impact can vary based on various factors, including location, the current market condition, and the specific property in question. For the latest data or more specific regional insights, consulting up-to-date industry reports or local real estate experts would be beneficial.


I have found that home staging usually costs 0.5%-1% of the home’s value.  Considering it may increase the value a buyer may pay up to 10% or more, while also saving money on holding costs with a quicker sale, this is a pretty good investment!


Your results will depend on the quality of the home stager you hire, how well your realtor does of marketing your property, market conditions and you. Learn more in my article Why Your House Won’t Sell.

Let’s do the Math

If the median home price in your area is $479,000 as it is in my town, Seward Alaska:

1% increase is $4790

5% increase is $23,950

10% increase is $47,900


So what does this all mean? Lets look at a three examples.

1.  Make 1% More with Home Staging: Say you spend $4000 on home staging and only make a 1% increase ($4790) over the sale price of $479,000.  You have paid back your home staging costs and made $790. You likely have also sold your house faster because it looks better than the competition. If you sell in a month, compared to three months for example, and your holding costs such as utilities, mortgage and taxes are $2000 a month, you have also saved yourself $4000.  Total increase or savings, $4790.

2.  Make 10% More with Home Staging: Say you spend $5000 on home staging and make a 10% increase ($47,900) on the sale.  You sell your house in a month instead of three months. You have paid back your home staging costs and made $42,900 plus your savings of $4000 in holding costs. Total increase or savings, $46,900

3. You choose not to invest in Home Staging:  You save the $4000-$5000 on home staging. You list your house for the average price of $479,000. If you are lucky and sell in a month at full asking price, your increase or savings would be $4000 on holding costs compared to not selling for three months.  This is still $790 less than had you staged and got a minimal 1% increase in the sales price as in scenario #1.  A more likely scenario is that your house does not sell in the first month because it will not outshine the competition, and your realtor recommends a price reduction of $5000 or more.  If your house is on the market for three months, and each month you go through another $5000 price reduction, at the end of the three months you have lost $15,000 from price reductions. You will also lose  $4000 in holding costs.  Total loss of $19,000.

In my experience, my average home selling client sells within a few days or weeks on the market and makes about 10% more.

A recent client had 2 over-asking price offers in 24 hours, 15 offers in 3 days and sold for $30,000 over asking which was 10% over asking. She paid about $1500 for her staging and made $30,000 from it, at a profit of $28,500 for her investment.

Does Home Staging Work in Every Market?

While it’s true we’re in a seller’s market, home staging holds value regardless of market conditions. Remember, even in favorable markets, some homes linger unsold. Staged homes consistently captivate more online and in-person interest, offering a modern, spacious, and turnkey appeal. This allure often results in elevated offers, possible bidding frenzies, and ultimately, a heftier profit for you

What is the Bottom Line?

Staging always cost less than your first price reduction.

Consider this: the boost in your home’s sale price, a swifter closing, and minimized holding expenses will often outweigh the initial outlay on staging. Moreover, a significant portion of the staging expense can likely be tax-deducted as an advertising cost for the home sale.

In essence, without staging, your home could witness a price reduction of 1-20% the longer it stays on the market. On the flip side, staging can amplify your selling price by 1-10% or more.

Think of home staging as a strategic investment.  A quicker sale reduces ongoing costs like mortgages and utilities and, importantly, eases the stress of the selling process.

How Does Home Staging Work?

Now that you know how home staging can help, if you are interested in knowing how much it costs and how it works, check out this videol

Ready to Sell Fast and For More?

Get your online home staging consultation or staging service today. Click on the pictures to learn more. For in person consultations or staging, call for a custom quote.

Make More on Your Home Sale with the Right Paint Colors

Color Your Way to a Swift and Profitable Home Sale with These Top Paint Colors NORTHERN LIGHTS HOME STAGING AND DESIGN www.northernlightsstaging.com

Updated for 2023. Studies show some colors in specific rooms,  increased the sales price in homes. Why? Color affects emotion and buyers buy on emotion!  This report gives you six specific color recommendations per room to help sell your house for more based on study results, top paint sales and professional experience. Mary Ann Benoit is a certified color expert and color strategist and professional home stager. Download now. Price: $4.99.

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Spend a Little and Make a Lot with Home Staging

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. I LOVE how clearly you have laid out the money benefits here, Mary Ann. As you have so clearly outlined, it is throwing money away to try to sell without staging!

    1. Thank you, it is so true that your are throwing money away if you try to sell without staging. And why would anyone want to do that?

  2. This is such a clear post re: the financial benefits to hiring a home stager to stage your home before sale.

    I think the thing most sellers really don’t think about when considering staging is just how much better their home will look online, to potential buyers, when it’s staged, compared to comparable homes in the area.

    It’s just like an Airbnb > the Airbnb’s that look beautiful inside get leased first, and for more money.

    Every real estate agent should see this, as should every consumer thinking of selling their home.

    1. That is such a great point, and also a great reminder to have professional photos taken of your beautifully staged home. People will make up their mind in seconds whether to even come and look at your for-sale home based on the listing photos. A beautifully staged home and professional photos are critical for a fast and profitable sale….and to rent your AirBNB. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. The way you outline the math is a clear way to understand the true value of staging.

    1. Thank you Lisa, and those numbers really add up to make it a no brainer to stage when selling a home.

  4. I loved that you did ‘ the math’ for all of us to really showcase how important home staging is!

    1. Thanks Sheri, it really is worth it when you see how much staging can add to the final sales price!

  5. Staging is certaintly worth every penny! Its a no brainer when selling your home!

  6. I had no idea what the return on your investment was for staging. This is so easy to understand!

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