By Nina Dorion
One of the questions that professional stagers are most often asked is “Who should cover the cost of staging? The agent or the homeowner?”
It depends on what kind of agreement you have negotiated with your client, your fee structure and your marketing strategy.
The 2017 Profile of Home Staging report published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicates that the staging investment is typically paid by the seller.
But while that may be most typical, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. In my experience, 80 per cent of the staging investment is paid directly by sellers. These homeowners understand that they have the most direct benefit from the return on investment in staging. Research shows that 49 per cent of buyer agents find that staged homes increase the dollar value of the home sale.
TREB’s April 2018 Market Watch reported that the average home price in the GTA was $804,584. How much of that might be due to staging? At the lowest end, 31 per cent of buyer agents agree that a staged home can increase the value of a property from between one to five per cent. On an $800,000 home, that equates to an ROI of $8,000 to $40,000. Even with a staging investment of $3,000, sellers would, at minimum, more than double their return on investment by making the effort to stage.
Sometimes real estate agents will foot the cost of staging. According to NAR, 21 per cent of agents will agree to pay for staging up front, which is in line with Canadian statistics. Why do some do this? Frankly, it’s more about giving clients an excellent and efficient sales experience than it is about improving their own bottom line. Need proof?
Let’s go back to the previous example. If the value of an $800,000 staged home increased by one to five per cent and brings in an additional $8,000 to $40,000, a listing agent earning a 2.5 per cent commission would recoup only $200 to $1,000 more. It’s nothing to sneeze at, but it is far less than the increase the seller would see. This is likely why 98 per cent of agents believe in the value of staging, but only 21 per cent will actually incorporate it, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.
Those agents may offer a home staging consultation. Such a service is incredibly valuable on its own. Many sellers are so overwhelmed with the idea of preparing their home to sell they don’t even know where to start. A full home staging consultation can provide sellers with a step-by-step action plan from decluttering, to updates and fixes, all the way to DIY staging if the seller has the ability. See What to expect at a home staging consultation. This service is much more affordable for agents and should be part of your value-add services offerings.
Bottom line is this: staging is an investment and one that has been proven to help sell homes faster and for more money.