Pro staging tips for beginner house flippers.
If you’re just getting into house flipping, it’s easy to try to save money wherever you can. If you’re like most of us, you might have taken one look at the cost of professional staging and decided that it’s not that important after all! Read on to find out whether staging is right for your property and learn how to stage for the best results.
Is Staging Worth It?
Whether you decide to hire a pro or do it yourself, staging does take time and money. Either you have to pay a lot of money to a pro stager to come up with a plan, move in and set up all the furniture, and move it out when the house sells—or you’ll have to invest in furniture and décor yourself, find a place to store it when it’s not in use, learn interior design skills, and take care of all the moving and setting up on your own. Either way, it’s a significant investment! You might be wondering if it’s all worth it.
Here are some of the main reasons we recommend staging residential properties:
- Staging often lets you increase the asking price and therefore boost your profits.
- It often shortens the time the home is on the market, reducing your marketing costs and time spent.
Boosting your profits and allowing you to move on to the next project more quickly? Staging is already sounding like a pretty good idea! More specifically, these are the ways that staging grabs peoples’ interest and makes them more likely to buy:
- Staging can turn a vacant house into one that looks like a home.
- Staging can help you stand out from the competition in a crowded market.
- It can help spice up a boring-looking house by adding color and interest.
- It can help define spaces and create purposes for spaces and rooms (i.e., the weirdly-shaped mystery nook can be transformed into an office space).
- Staging creates an emotional response in buyers and makes it easy for them to picture themselves living in the house.
- Staging can make a house look better in online photos and in person.
If the house is already gorgeous, in demand, and likely to command a fair price on its own, that might be a situation where staging wouldn’t be worth the time and money. Maybe the home has amazing architectural details that speak for themselves, or buyers are already lining up at the door to make an offer. In those cases, it’s possible that staging won’t make much of a difference, and you can skip the effort.
Usually, though, staging can easily pay for itself—especially when it’s a high-dollar investment to start with. The more expensive the house, the greater impact staging could have on your profit margin! If there’s any worry that the house is blah-looking, if there’s a lot of competition, or if buyers aren’t responding to your house as well as you’d like, staging can make a huge difference.
The Cost of Staging
If you’re flipping, you probably don’t have any furniture in the home. Staging a vacant home is quite different from staging a furnished home to sell. Most of the staging tips online focus on decluttering, rearranging your furniture, adding décor, and the like. Vacant homes are a bit more involved, because you have to figure out what furniture and décor will fit the house, source the furniture, move it all in, and arrange it.
Hiring a pro to stage a vacant home will generally cost about 1% of the list price. That’s just a rule of thumb, and it can vary. But it usually costs several thousand dollars, obviously depending on the size of the home.
We can’t stress enough, though, that the cost of staging—even though it’s upwards of $1000 for a vacant home—will almost always pay for itself in the end. According to Forbes, the average staged home will sell for 17% more than the average non-staged home. Compare that to the “1% of the list price” rule of thumb, and the numbers are looking pretty good!
Saving Money Staging
There are a couple ways to cut cost here, and it will depend on the specific house and the market whether these tips really help. We would normally suggest staging the whole house whenever possible for the biggest ROI, but we realize that you don’t always have the money on hand when you are just starting out. If you’re DIYing it, here are some suggestions:
- Stage the main living areas (usually the living room/family room) if nothing else.
- Add some decorative touches in the rooms you don’t stage with furniture. Fresh flowers, pretty rugs, and simple décor items can go a LONG way!
- It’s cheap and easy to add nice towels and soap to the bathrooms.
- If you pick one bedroom to stage, definitely make it the master. Smaller bedrooms don’t always need to be staged.
If you are going to hire a pro, you’re in luck; you can often write staging costs off as a marketing expense!
Staging to Sell
A pro stager will have a good idea of how to stage to sell, but here are some quick tips for the DIYer:
Always try to choose furnishings and accessories that will appeal to the widest audience. There might be a few situations where you’re trying to appeal to a certain niche, but usually, you’ll want to stage with generic furnishings. While they might not be thrilling and attention-grabbing, they won’t turn any buyers off either. You should probably stick with simple designs when it comes to large things like furniture and area rugs. Spice it up with colorful and inexpensive accessories, like throw pillows in bright colors or trendy patterns. These small items can pack a big punch.
Set up the furniture in an inviting way that makes people want to come in and sit down. Show them the potential that the house offers by including multiple seating areas (if possible), an office area, an outdoor seating area, maybe a playroom or nursery if you’re targeting young families.
Keep the style of the house in mind, too! You’ll probably want to choose different accessories to stage a Spanish-style house versus a rustic farmhouse or a woodsy cabin-style home. Certain things work for EVERY home, though. . . houseplants or fresh flowers, luxurious hand towels, a cozy place to sit.
Hopefully these tips will make staging seem a little less intimidating. Experienced flippers, feel free to offer your insight. How do you get the most out of your staging? Let us know!