The High Costs of NOT Investing in Professional Home Staging Services

As president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc., one of NYC’s top home staging companies, I am continually surprised by real estate agents and sellers who think they will save money by NOT investing in professional home staging services. They focus solely on the price and not the value.

Expense versus Investment

Home staging is not an expense. It is an investment – in fact it’s the best short-term investment a home seller can make. For most sellers, their home is their most valuable financial asset, and yet they hesitate to invest in professional home staging services that will help them sell for top value in less time. The financial return on this investment can be tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes much more.

Let’s put things in perspective.

A $5,000 investment in Chase or Citibank will earn less than $50 in a year
A $10,000 investment in Chase or Citibank will earn less than $100 in a year

An investment in a professional home staging consultation is less than what many people spend on hairdressers, nail and spa treatments, restaurants and yes, even a pair of shoes! The value of a professional home staging consultation is incomparable to these other purchases.

But let’s look at what it costs when agents and home sellers do not invest in professional services.

Listing and Selling Prices: will be significantly lower, representing irreparable financial loss for the sellers.

Monthly Carrying Costs for mortgage payments, taxes, maintenance fees, utilities, etc. are expenses that cannot be refunded. The longer a property stays on the market the more it costs the seller.

Personal Costs: It is impossible to quantify what the emotional costs are to sellers when their properties don’t sell or sell only at significant discounts. In addition, opportunity costs are accrued because many sellers are not able to move forward with future plans until their properties are sold.

For real estate agents there are significant costs as well. Lower sales prices result in lower commissions. The longer properties sit on the market, the more marketing expenses are required. Their opportunity costs are also very high, as agents need to continue to invest time and money on these properties instead of listing and selling new properties. It’s simple math: lower income and increased expenses result in lower profits and reduced professional success.

Here are just 3 case studies that highlight the cost of not investing in professional home staging services before a property is launched on the market:

Vacant Properties:
As Barbara Corcoran says, “never sell a property vacant unless you have no other choice.” A property was listed vacant for 9 months with carrying costs of $10,000 a month. That was a $90,000 expense that represented significant financial loss for the sellers. The agents lost the listing and incurred significant marketing costs during the duration of the contract. However, the new listing agents insisted on professional home staging and we staged the property on a tight budget and it sold quickly.

Estate Properties:
Professional home stagers’ expertise and network of resources can expedite the often challenging process of preparing estate properties for sale, saving heirs and estate executors significant time and money. A project we could have completed in 3 weeks – from editing and painting and cleaning to final showcasing – still had numerous items that needed to be removed 10 months later. The monthly carrying costs were in excess of $5,000 per month.

Owner-Occupied Properties:
A professional home staging consultant will be able to identify a property’s competitive weaknesses, make expert recommendations and also offer complete project management to home sellers before the property is listed and marketed. When owner-occupied properties are truly market ready they sell faster and for more money.
One of my best success stories demonstrates this so well. A property that had been listed for $1.599 had received only one offer of $1.3 in 4 months. The location and overall condition were excellent but the decor was dated. I recommended significant condition work, including removal of wall-to-wall carpeting and wall paper and also editing many furnishings and accessories. We then showcased with the owners’ remaining furnishings. The property was re-listed at the same price and sold for $1.615 in four days- that’s $300,000 more than the only other offer received! Clearly, the investment in staging had an amazing financial return! Had the sellers not staged and accepted the existing offer it would have been a very costly mistake.

Professional home staging services provide home sellers and real estate agents with outstanding value. Hopefully, agents and home sellers alike will realize how important it is to invest in professional home staging services before properties are listed. Sellers and agents do not save money when they don’t invest in professional home staging services – in fact the costs of not investing may be higher than anyone could forecast, causing irreparable financial loss.

For more information on Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc. visit

If you are interested in becoming a professional home stager, visit

I have upcoming Certified Staging Professionals classes in NYC, Chicago, Purchase College and Ottawa.

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About Nairn Friemann

Nairn Friemann is a Certified Staging Professional Master and Trainer and the president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc. As one of New York City's top home stagers, she has collaborated with agents and homeowners on the staging of over $600 million in sold real estate. Her work has been featured on The CBS Early Show,CNN, Business Week, Dow Jones Market Watch and in The New York Times, The New York Post, New York Spaces and The Greenwich Time. Nairn is honored to be the RESA 2012 Professional Stager of the Year and the recipient of Certified Staging Professionals 2011 President's Award.