Are you considering selling your home? Selling it at a competitive rate is crucial, but many people neglect to give any thought to how buyers perceive their homes. Putting a house on the market that’s full of clutter and too many personal items can scare off potential buyers. This is because potential buyers could become so caught up in looking at your stuff that they aren’t able to think about how the home fits their personal needs. You may get people who are interested in your home—but not to buy it. Instead, they will be wondering whether they know you or if your kids know each other or what college you may have attended instead of seeing the home itself and potentially making an offer.
So, how do you remove the distractions and get potential buyers to focus on the great features that your home has to offer? Hiring home stagers is the best way to increase serious interest in your home. What follows are some of the best home staging companies and tips to consider when hiring these professionals.
- BEST OVERALL: Showhomes
- LUXURY PICK: Meridith Baer Home
- BEST LUXURY VIRTUAL: Barion Design
- BEST ADDITIONAL SERVICES: All About the Wow
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: PadStyler
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Home Staging Companies
Many people underestimate the power of what home staging companies can do to get their homes sold quickly. These professionals know what is on-trend and are in tune with the market. As a result, they can provide advice that can move your house off the market in as little as 11 days and possibly for 20 percent more than the asking price. So, how do the best home staging companies work their magic?
Training and Experience
First, it starts with their training and experience. Many of the best home stagers will be certified. Certification courses teach interior design basics, including color, lighting effects, the importance of space, and decor styles. In addition, home stagers have acquired the skills to conduct themselves as a professional business service. Some experienced stagers may receive training from The Academy of Home Staging and Design, School of Home Staging, or Staging Diva. While receiving professional instruction is an excellent way for professionals to show their credibility, you should consider more than just training and experience since no governing board regulates the industry. It is also a good idea to determine how long the company has been in the design business. Checking sites like the Real Estate Staging Association can help you find qualified stagers.
Portfolio and Design Style
Another critical part of narrowing down the right staging business is to look at its portfolio. A staging portfolio should include high-quality photos and display the stager’s knowledge in dealing with various design styles. Also, it’s a good idea to try to figure out if their portfolio includes staged homes at your home’s selling price point. For instance, if your home happens to be a million-dollar home, it would be a good idea to choose someone who has expertise in staging such dwellings.
When looking for a qualified stager, you should also take a look at the services they provide. You also want to make sure that you work with a home staging company instead of an interior designer. While there may be some stagers that are also interior designers, make sure that the focus of their business is home staging. Interior designers are typically focused on catering to clients’ design tastes. On the other hand, stagers are more concerned with working with the home’s style and features to encourage a faster home sale. Home staging services may include rearranging furniture, temporarily removing items from the house, repurposing furniture, adding rental pieces, and implementing other selling tips and tricks. However, every home stager’s plans and tactics are different, so it’s helpful to know what you are getting with your particular package.
Something else to consider when choosing a home staging expert is the coverage area. While the home staging company that catches your eye may be great and you’re willing to pay for their fantastic services, they may not perform work outside their coverage area. Before you send an email or make a phone call, check that the house staging company you like performs work in your area.
How long will it take to stage your home? This depends on a lot of factors. One of the essential parts of the process is the consultation stage, which could last from 1.5 to 3.5 hours or more depending on how big the house is. During the consultation, you and the stager will be viewing parts of the home that you want to be staged and discussing your goals. The home stager will also look at your curb appeal and let you know how to improve it. Once the walk-through and consultation are complete, you will receive a quote on the services and schedule an installation. If the staging company is busy, it may take a few weeks to get to your project. However, the process should take a few hours for a furnished home and a couple of days for a vacant house.
References and Customer Reviews
One final piece of the vetting process is to get references and check online reviews for home stagers. A great place to obtain such information is from the real estate agent you work with to sell your home. If you know friends or neighbors who recently used home stagers to help them sell their homes, they could also be a good reference. One other great source for finding top-notch home stagers is the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site. You can find both accredited and non-accredited stagers on this site. Accredited stagers have been checked by the BBB and assigned a rating of A+ to F, with F being the lowest.
Our Top Picks
Staging a home is an essential part of getting it to sell quickly. Here are some of the best home staging companies to help clients declutter and decorate their homes to present them at their best and move them off the market.
Why It Made the Cut: For over three decades, Showhomes has been taking uninviting spaces and transforming them into places that are ready to sell, generating billions of dollars in sales for homeowners and real estate agents across the country.
Showhomes is a franchised network of home staging experts that has been in operation across the United States since 1986, ensuring that homes are staged to sell quickly. Their work is so prominent that they have been featured on major media outlets such as the “Today” show, HGTV, and the Travel Channel. They typically style homes in a traditional manner and provide various home staging services, including restyles and updating.
This home staging company can work on a tight deadline. They even offer a live-in professional who protects the home and its valuables while the house is on the market. Although they offer spectacular services around the country, one disadvantage is that since they are franchised, customer experiences may differ. Despite this, they still deliver outstanding results and are a standout choice.
- Services: Home manager service, home staging, home restyles, home updating
- Coverage area: Nationwide where locations are available
- Design style: Traditional
- Customer service: Phone, email
- Turnaround time: Varies by location
- Home manager service provides a live-in professional to care for and protect a home and its belongings while the home is on the market
- Home updating services include new paint and flooring installation to create an appealing, move-in-ready home for buyers or sellers
- Stagers can accommodate turnaround times as short as 48 hours for sellers on a tight deadline
- Independently owned franchises mean that customers can have variable service experiences
Why It Made the Cut: Meridith Baer, a home staging professional, and her team have an excellent reputation for transforming houses into luxurious spaces so well that even top celebrities seek out her company’s services.
When it comes to home staging, Meridith Baer is a home staging expert who really knows how to get a home sold. Based in California, her company has several locations throughout the United States. Her staging company is also well known for staging homes for many A-list celebrities such as Rihanna, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Brad Pitt, to name a few. Meridith Baer Home specializes in styles like transitional, modern, eclectic, traditional, and coastal, and they can transform a home in about 3 to 4 weeks.
Meridith Baer Homes has a stellar portfolio of clients who have sold homes quickly at well over the asking price using her services. They stage all types of properties, including luxury homes, high-rise condos, midsize houses, and retail showrooms. While their portfolio is incredibly impressive and they’ve helped quickly sell billions of dollars worth of real estate, their price tag can be pretty expensive. Despite this, working with such staging professionals who undoubtedly make homes alluring enough to sell in under 30 days and for well over the asking price is well worth it.
- Services: Home staging, interior design, luxury furniture leasing
- Coverage area: Nationwide where locations are available
- Design style: Transitional, modern, eclectic, traditional, coastal
- Customer service: Phone, email
- Turnaround time: 3 to 4 weeks
- Stagers can cater to any design style, from eclectic to traditional to coastal, so customers are not limited to one aesthetic
- In-person interior design and design consultation services available for more permanent home decor improvements
- Extensive portfolio of homes that have sold in under 30 days and over asking price
- Prices may be higher than other companies
Why It Made the Cut: With so many people searching for homes online, companies like Barion Design, a pioneer in the industry, can help stage a home virtually for less money than traditional staging by using virtual tours.
Before 2005, virtual staging may have been unheard of, but Ilaria Barion, the founder of Barion Design, changed this. Seeing the potential for virtual staging, she focused her business on this technique and has become one of the most well-known virtual staging experts in the United States. Because virtual staging has few limitations, her company offers services nationwide. The founder of Barion Design invented virtual furniture replacement for virtual styling, which is now an industry standard. Specializing in modern design style, she and her team can virtually stage a home within 10 days.
Barion Design provides a much more personalized touch than other virtual staging companies. After a consultation, the customer places an order and receives images. Consultation is customized, and the images that their design team creates are much more realistic than those of most virtual staging companies. While these services are undoubtedly innovative and versatile, they can be pretty expensive, especially if homeowners have large homes. Despite the costly rate, their realistically computer-generated images are second to none.
- Services: Virtual staging
- Coverage area: Nationwide
- Design style: Modern
- Customer service: Phone, email
- Turnaround time: Up to 10 days
- Consultation service is more customized than other virtual services
- Cost is charged as a flat rate per photo so homeowners can decide how much they want to spend
- Graphic designers use multiple software programs to create the most realistic images
- Flat-rate pricing means that the service is costlier for larger homes
Why It Made the Cut: For those who want to make enhancements using their existing decor, All About the Wow plays up the “wow” factor in a client’s existing furniture and decor, taking a middle-of-the-road approach to staging a home.
All About the Wow offers traditional, whole-home staging like many other companies. But All About the Wow goes the extra mile and offers various other services to cater to clients’ needs. In less than a week, the team can get a home ready to sell using a minimalist approach to staging. All About the Wow provides home staging services, landscaping, interior design, and turnkey furniture.
The turnkey package, which keeps most of the owners’ belongings in the home and enhances the existing style with additional decor pieces, is ideal for sellers who are still living in their homes while they are on the market. Unfortunately, this company is only able to provide service in southern Florida and the Denver metropolitan area. Despite these limitations, they are a results-driven company that helps clients sell their homes fast and at top dollar in these specific locations.
- Services: Home staging, turnkey furniture, landscaping, interior design
- Coverage area: Southern Florida, Denver metro area
- Design style: Modern
- Customer service: Phone, email, live chat
- Turnaround time: 3 to 5 days
- Additional services available like landscaping for improved whole-home selling potential
- Turnkey furniture service uses home’s existing furniture with added decor when owners need to remain in the home
- “Out-of-the-box styling methods” provide a unique, eye-catching aesthetic
- Service area limited to southern Florida and the Denver metro area
Why It Made the Cut: PadStyler is an accessible option for people who want the benefits of home staging photos and want to save money.
Staging a home can be an expensive investment, particularly when customers have to purchase new items to add to their decor or pay for traditional services over a period of time until their home sells. This is why PadStyler offers virtual staging services that use a photorealistic 3D visual marketing platform. Because they are not limited by location, they offer services nationwide and are an affordable solution to home staging. Plus, “Property Brothers” fans might recognize PadStyler from the show.
PadStyler can provide modern and traditional-styled virtual staging in about 12 hours. They provide unlimited revisions and a money-back guarantee to ensure customer satisfaction. The only drawback is that customers can’t speak to a live professional. Therefore, miscommunication may arise using the available email and live chat. Despite this, it is still a much more cost-effective solution compared to traditional home staging.
- Services: Virtual staging, virtual remodeling, virtual landscaping
- Coverage area: Nationwide
- Design style: Modern, traditional
- Customer service: Email, live chat
- Turnaround time: 12 hours
- Unlimited free revisions and money-back guarantee so the customer can get the result they want
- 12-hour turnaround time for orders submitted weekdays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST
- Tends to be more affordable than traditional staging
- No customer support phone number available, so users are reliant on email support and live chat
After considering many home staging companies, the one that topped the list is Showhomes. Its coverage area, expertise, prominence in the staging industry, superb services (including the live-in home manager), and its ability to help sell billions of dollars in real estate with the staging skills of its designers makes it the Best Overall pick. A close contender was our luxury pick, Meridith Baer Home, whose portfolio includes top celebrities. The company provides nationwide services and can accommodate many styles, including transitional, modern, eclectic, traditional, and coastal.
How We Chose the Best Home Staging Companies
A house can be on the market for a substantial length of time for several reasons. But one of the most common reasons is that they typically aren’t staged. Therefore, we chose staging companies that have excellent turnaround times and proven results. Most of the staging companies we chose also have a nationwide coverage area, providing either virtual services or having plenty of offices throughout the United States. The companies we chose also cater to modern tastes, with a few having many more decor options to use in their home staging. We also included home staging companies that are accessible via phone, email, and live chat.
Before You Hire One of the Best Home Staging Companies
In addition to what you should consider before hiring one of the best home staging companies listed above, there are a few other critical items to check off your list. For instance, you should ensure that the home staging company is adequately insured so you won’t have to pay for their damages. It would help if you also asked how long the homes they’ve staged have been on the market before selling to get an idea of how long it may take for your house to sell. Something else important that you should consider is your staging budget. Once you’ve done this and narrowed down your final choices, you should get estimates, interview companies, and make your final decision.
Even though you may hire the best home staging company, know that there are some problems that staging can’t hide. These problems could range from structural issues with the home to strange odors in the house. Issues such as this will have to be addressed by other professionals such as foundation experts or professional cleaners. Also, keep in mind that dirty carpets, oversize furniture, bedrooms being used as home gyms, and tons of personal items like photos are some of the cardinal sins of staging your home to sell. Therefore, it’s a good idea to display a bedroom as originally intended and remove personal items until the house sells.
Cost of Hiring One of the Best Home Staging Companies
Hiring a high-quality staging company may seem pretty expensive. However, staged homes can help you sell your home faster and usually fetch offers between 5 and 23 percent over the asking price. So, while staging may be pricey, it will produce a great return on investment (ROI) and may also yield far more money than an unstaged home.
If you want to get your home staged, expect to pay between $628 and $2,364, with the national average being $1,496. The cost will include the price of consultation and the hour-by-hour cost to stage the home. The hourly range for staging a home is between $25 to $150, with the average cost being about $75 per hour. Most homes that are already furnished take about 8 hours to stage. Vacant homes may take a couple of days to stage. Some of the tasks involved in staging may not cost anything because the homeowner will do them; this is usually the pre-staging part of the project.
The Advantages of Using One of the Best Home Staging Companies
You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so it’s a good idea to hire a staging company early in the home-selling process. Unfortunately, many homeowners tend to resort to home staging as a last resort because their home isn’t selling. However, home staging should be an essential part of the sales plan, not an afterthought. Home stagers will help you cover or eliminate any flaws before a buyer notices them. In addition, home stagers have an eye for first impressions and will see the flaws that you won’t be able to see. Here are some additional advantages of hiring the best home staging companies.
- Home stagers will know what the latest trends are and decorate your home to sell.
- They know what to do to make your home look its absolute best.
- Home stagers have extensive knowledge of the current market and know what works to sell a house quickly.
When choosing a home staging company, you may not know exactly where to start. You may have a lot of questions about the process. To get you on the right path, here are some of the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about home staging companies.
Q. Should I use a home staging company when I sell my house?
Yes. It is a good idea to use a home staging company before you list your house. Staging it may help it sell much faster.
Q. How much do home staging companies charge?
The average cost to stage a home ranges from $628 and $2,364, with the national average around $1,496. A home staging company may charge between $150 and $600 for an initial consultation and $25 to $150 per hour to stage the home.
Q. How many homes can a home staging company stage at once?
It entirely depends on the company’s size, number of stagers, and how much furniture and decor they have on hand.
Q. Do home staging companies operate in foreign countries?
Yes. The International Association of Home Staging Professionals has professional members in the United States, Europe, Japan, Russia, South America, and other international locations.
Q. How can I recognize a reputable home staging company?
Many reputable home staging companies will have a certification from The Academy of Home Staging and Design, School of Home Staging, or Staging Diva. They will also have a top-notch portfolio.