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Monday, November 15, 2010

WHAT ARE YOU PAYING ME FOR? Part 3 of 4 by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP President

By Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP®, Owner, Sensational Home Staging

In today's market, many people can be confused about what they are actually paying for when hiring a professional Stager. In my last post, I talked about the Staging Consultation and what the underlying costs are – and what you pay for when including this service as part of preparing your house for sale. Remember, professional Stagers have business overhead and marketing expenses, and the costs to having an actual business - not just a hobby - and why it's important to hire someone that knows what they are doing.

In this post - we talk about The Vacant House. This type of Staging has a lot of work that goes in before the actual Staging takes place. In most markets, a Vacant House Staging starts at about $800 and goes up from there. There are 3 types of Vacant Staging: Light, Moderate and Fully Furnished and based on your budget and the type of property we are Staging, we will recommend the most cost-effective solution that gets your property SOLD.

What we don’t want to do is say something is “Staged” when there is no furniture in the property, when the “Staging” is not going to truly help a Buyer visualize living in the house or when the quality is not of the standard based on the type of property. If you are not going to Stage it right, then don’t do it at all because you are wasting your money. You need to invest the money up front to get your house or listing SOLD so Stage it so that it will SELL.

Here is a run-down of what typically goes into Staging a vacant property:

For a Vacant House: I drive to the location of the house to preview the property – typically at no charge to the client or you. While I am there I begin to form a vision and plan for what has to be done to Stage the house. I am not being paid at this point.

I go back to my house and prepare a detailed proposal – and have to research pricing for rental items and furnishings that are needed for the Staging. I am still not being paid a dime. This process can take hours to even days to find the exact pieces that are needed for your particular house or listing. 
I put the proposal together and then share it with the my client. I answer any questions they may have about the Staging and pricing. I negotiate. I listen to concerns they may have and overcome them. Hours have gone into the process at this point and I have still not been paid anything.

Once the Seller agrees to the Staging, I have to send them an Staging Services Agreement and secure payment, and establish the date for the Staging.

Then the work begins of pulling the Staging together. I take time to source furnishings from my own inventory or outside source. I coordinate the financial aspects of the Staging. I pull a team together and hire them for the Staging day. More time in the process is taken here.

Once I process the payment according to the terms of the Agreement, I finally get paid. On Staging Day we meet early and get loaded up and ready. 70% of the Staging is completed by this point because I have been planning this project mentally and now it’s just a matter of executing the plan.

We drive to the house and get the Staging done. I coordinate the entire project – what piece goes where, what each room should look like, and convey that to the people I hired to work with me on the project.

Once the Staging is complete, I coordinate the return of trucks, pay for labor, and then turn to the marketing of the property. If there are any incidences with the Staging, my insurance policy is activated and I take care of it. My goal is to make the process as user-friendly and easy for Sellers and to get the house sold.

I take photos that I will share with Realtors as needed. I put your listing up on a special website featuring only Staged properties and brings leads to you. I send you an interactive media show on the house that you can use to market the property. I will create customized flyers for your future listings, and if I get a call from the house I Staged, the leads are passed to you as my partner in success.

And once the house Sells, I and my team come back and remove everything efficiently and effectively, and restock the inventory.

All this is done and included in the price of the Vacant Home Staging.

Can you see why something like this would cost more than $500?