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Sunday, December 12, 2010

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


In this series of 4 articles on what you pay for when hiring a professional Home Stager, this last article covers the inventory investment for houses that need a little or a lot of pizzazz to attract a potential buyer.

I hear this question a lot: "When it comes to renting items for Staging why can't they just sit for FREE in a house until it sells?" Great question and before I can answer it let's look at some facts.

What is inventory? Inventory consists of décor and furnishing used to add visual appeal to a property. The inventory can be a few items to help enhance a Seller's existing things to help add "Wow Factor" or inventory can be furniture and décor to help furnish a vacant house. Therefore inventory can be artwork, bedding, accessories, greenery, furniture, rugs, and so forth.

Inventory a professional Home Stager brings in is a convenience to the Seller - so that they do not have to purchase extra items, store them, or move them to a new property.

Inventory = Overhead: When an item is purchased it becomes an overhead expense and property of the company. Professional Stagers are not just pulling stuff out of their houses to stick in a vacant house or to help spiff up house that needs some pizzazz. They make an investment in selecting things that are universally appealing, will enhance a house, and make it look better for the buying public. They must also consider the style of the house they are Staging - not every piece of décor is useful in every house for sale. So we have to purchase things specific for types of properties as well.

Think about this: That piece of furniture, lamp, vase or fichus tree costs money every time it is moved or used. There is labor involved, gas and time.

When it is stored - there is often overhead costs associated with warehouse or storage unit space.

Things get damaged in houses - from careless Sellers who may paint interiors, or by Buyers that break something or use something inappropriately.

So why can't items just sit for free in a house? Because all these costs have to be covered by the renting of the items.

So before any Stager turns a profit from "stuff" they bring into a house, they must first cover their overhead expenses of managing and maintaining that inventory, and then pay for the transportation of those items to and from the house.

  • Moving costs average $200 each way per project for 2 men and a truck.
  • A small Storage Unit averages $100-150 per month.
  • A warehouse costs thousands to manage and maintain monthly.

Then there is the wear and tear on an item. Fabrics get stained, woods get nicked, and items get broken. Over time an item must be retired and replaced with a new item. The old one is sold or donated at pennies on the dollar. Things even get stolen from time to time - and have to be replaced. It's all a cost of doing business. And professional Home Stagers operate a business.
So when you are paying rental for things, you are helping that business owner cover operating costs and maintenance costs on having those items as a convenience to you - the Seller or Realtor - so that your house or listing CAN look better than the un-Staged marketed competition.
You pay for the "WOW Factor" to help your house or listing SELL - and when it sells we can say 100% of the time - "THE INVESTMENT OF STAGING IS LESS THAN A PRICE REDUCTION" - that you did NOT have to take because your house SOLD.