Home staging services have become mainstream and are no longer reserved for million-dollar listings. However, some people remain intimidated and even confused about the varying levels of service provided. That is especially true of the consultation.
What you can expect in a home staging consultation? Knowing this information is valuable if you have a listing coming on the market soon and want to serve your clients well by making the property is as show-ready as possible.
In short, a home staging consultation is a comprehensive process where the stager will offer a room-by-room assessment of the entire property to help get it show-ready and, hopefully, get top dollar for the sale.
Here’s what you should expect from any professional home stager:
- The consultation typically takes place in person, as the stager will need to see every inch of the home.
- It will take approximately two hours; more for larger homes.
- Expect advice on ways to declutter so that buyers can see the potential of the home’s potential, not just stuff.
- Receive advice on “must-do” updates and fixes, along with “nice to haves” (paint, flooring, hardware) to ensure your client focuses on tasks necessary to get the most return.
- Help select paint colours that will brighten and make a room feel more spacious.
- Offer suggestions on furniture placement and styling to ensure that every room buyers walk into appears spacious and welcoming.
- Offer lighting changes and recommendations to brighten up every space.
- Provide resource contacts (contractor, painter) should the client need help (this is especially helpful for new agents who haven’t yet build up list of reliable resources of their own).
- Provide a list of action items to help focus efforts as the client prepares the property to sell.
- As for price, a good and comprehensive staging consultation ranges between $200 and $500+. My experience is that the agents who are best representing their clients’ interests will typically pay for the consultation. It is money well-spent and worth the investment.
What to look out for:
- You and the client should feel better and more informed after the consultation. The stager’s ultimate objective is to help the homeowner be as prepared as possible. Should the client have the skills and resources to tackle the final step of staging themselves, the stager should leave them with the knowledge to do that. If not, the stager should offer what follow-up services they provide and outline the cost.
- If you feel the stager is holding back or pressuring the client not to do some work themselves, the stager may be short-changing you to make more money.
- Expect an action plan. There’s a lot of debate in the staging industry about the delivery method of the consultation. Some stagers offer what’s called a “Walk & Talk”. This means that the stager offers their full knowledge and sound advice, but the client takes the notes. Some argue that homeowners taking their own notes are more attentive and absorb more. Others offer a full staging report at the end of the consultation. This is likely a better method because homeowners are so overwhelmed with the entire process and the amount of information coming at them, that they can’t completely process all that’s being said. Clients are appreciative of the leave-behind report that they can review and consult in the hours and weeks that follow.
- Stagers value their time because this is their livelihood. Beware of offers of free or low-cost consultations. No one works for free and if you’re offered a free consultation, know that you will not be getting a full-service review of your home. It will just be a “sample” of what you’ll hear in a proper assessment of your property and will require you to pay money to get the full picture.