The Hidden Costs of Home Staging and How it Affects You

This year presents a tough market for everyone in the Sacramento area. Realtors are discounting their service, homeowners are dropping prices…. Stagers are… well, they are taking big hits too. Home Stagers may have several costs written into their bids that you may not realize. You need to know just what you are paying for and what is included, or not included, in the staging service fee.

Just within our own business here at Premiere Home Staging, we have had to dissect the services we offer, while keeping in mind many of the “pre-set” costs. The added costs of home staging should be tabulated on the invoice such as taxes… we can’t get around them, as well as, damage and security deposits. We need them too as many stagers have extensive inventories and may do some outside rental for their clients. Not only do home stagers have to sell themselves as professionals, they also have to sell the hidden costs of taxes, waivers/and/or security deposits. Those areas are already pre-set per the stager’s professional policies.

So when you hire a professional home stager, what ARE you really paying for besides the staging service itself?
MOVERS: This is a very gray area. Normally it is included in the staging service and not an added cost. Often stagers will use friends or family members for this. Most are not insured to do this job. At Premiere Home Staging, we use professional movers, period. They are experienced, they are careful, they wrap the furniture, they wrap the walls, they set-up, they are reliable, and they are insured. I did use neighbors, family, friends, and friends’ teenagers, at the beginning of my staging life…but nothing beats a professional moving service. (Once, in sheer desperation, I almost hired the guy down on the corner holding a “will work for food” sign when everyone was busy on a Staging day).

TAXES: They are everywhere…. lurking, you just can’t get away from them. Someone has to pay the TAX, and it ain’t coming out of my pocket. It is considered a standard added cost. When I first started Staging, I didn’t think about the TAXES until TAX time. Yikes! Taxes are charged on rental services only and should be clearly shown on the invoice.

DAMAGE WAIVER: When you rent furniture, many times your fees will include a damage waiver. It is not always an optional coverage available while renting. Most of the time, it is an added cost. In a sense, it is a form of rental item protection. This contractually waives the renter’s responsibility for the cost of damage to, loss or theft of, regardless of fault or negligence. Against popular notion, it is not insurance. Contract stipulations do apply with this waiver. Rental customers may opt to use their own personal insurance, credit card coverage, or ask the stager to be put on their Homeowners Insurance. However, protection and options do vary for each Rental Company. Home stagers need to be perfectly clear on what the rental policy is and if it does include a damage waiver fee when you hire them to stage your home.

SECURITY DEPOSIT: Many stagers and the rental companies ask for a security deposit. This is another possible added cost. It is just another way to secure the safety/replacement of their items. It is also another huge chunk of $$$ for clients to pay up-front, especially in this market.
PHOTOGRAPHY: All homes for sale must have professional pictures taken. Some stagers offer professional photography included in their staging service as a standard, but I have seen it as an added cost. It depends on each individual stager.

MARKETING: For the marketing aspect, several stagers have offered this service as added visibility for clients to help speed the sale of the home by marketing the listing on personal websites, networking groups, and social media. It has proven to be a differentiator for staging services. Normally included in the staging service, but can be an added cost.

So everything must be out in the open. All added and inclusive costs should be explained prior to the initial payment you may be paying when hiring a professional home stager. These added/inclusive costs should be noted on the proposal and the invoice for the staging service. If you find a professional stager who includes several of these services within their staging service, you now know just what you are paying for!

Lori Kim Polk is the founder of Premiere Home Staging, a full service Home Staging and Design Corporation and nationally recognized leader within the home staging industry located in Roseville, California. Premiere Home Staging LLC has a warehouse full of unique accessories and quality artwork to better serve their growing list of clients in the Sacramento areas. We have been featured in Staging Standard Magazine Sacramento Magazine, Sacramento News and Review, KFBK radio and SMUD’s Home of the Future. Proudly serving realtors, homeowners and investors in Granite Bay, Rocklin, Lincoln, Sacramento, and surrounding areas with exceptional home staging.

Premiere Home Staging LLC has helped stage and market hundreds of homes in the Sacramento, Roseville, and surrounding areas since 2005. Our stats say it all…..current DOM with our staging is 12 days. “We are changing this market one home at a time!”

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