How Much Does Home Staging Cost? 

Over the years, Home Staging has taken on a variety of definitions and meanings. Many billboards and other real estate advertisements will refer to “Free Staging” with listing services, but what does that REALLY include?

I’ve seen the full spectrum of “staging” in listings over the years and some of it isn’t very effective at impressing potential home buyers. You really do need to know what questions to ask to ensure you are getting quality services.

Whether you decide to pay for it up front, or if it’s rolled into your commission fee, there is no such thing as free home staging. Now I’ll be the first to say that there are many things you can do yourself to prepare your home for almost no money, but if you’re receiving services of any contractor such as a home stager, mover, or handyman, there is always a cost associated.

Let’s break down the cost of home staging into it’s parts so you can know what to expect and what is fair.

1) Home Staging Consultation $250-$350

What is it?

A Home Staging Consultation is an appointment where a professional will walk through your home (hopefully long before it is listed for sale) and they will give you tips and advice on how to improve the marketability of your home for sale. This is not a decor rampage, or a chance to spend lots of your money. The Home Staging Professional should be asking you questions about your timeline, capabilities, budget and goals, so that the plan is actually reasonable and feasible to carry out. The only purpose of any level of home staging is to achieve these 3 goals:

  1. To make your home look as big as possible
  2. To make your home look as bright as possible
  3. To make your home look as updated as possible

A superior consultation will also include a detailed step by step plan for the home owners to follow. See an example of a home staging plan.

Who Pays?

If you decide to hire a full-service realtor, they will often include this consult as part of their services, but not necessarily, be sure to ask.  If you are choosing a flat fee or a low-commission realtor, you may have to cover this cost yourself. Also ask for the qualifications of the Home Stager. It shouldn’t be a decorator who has time to kill, or a realtor who is playing jack-of-all-trades. A professional home stager is skilled at creating a strategic plan that will add THE MOST value and appeal to your home for THE LEAST amount of money. 

Who is it Good For?

All Home Sellers. It is incredibly difficult for any home owner to look at their home with the critical eye necessary to build a proper, strategic plan. Home owners accept their house as is, and it is perfectly livable. But first impressions are what’s at stake; you truly only get 30 seconds before buyers form an opinion about your home. Then they will spend the rest of the visit finding reasons to validate their first impression, for better or for worse.

2) Essential Home Staging Activities

If you take a minute to read this article about top 10 activities to increase the value of your home, I review some of these common tasks that earn you the best bang for your buck. Industry experts recommend investing 1-2% of the value of your home to prepare it for sale, but often, The Village Guru gets the job done for much, much less.

At the Village Guru, we focus first on Decluttering, Repairs, Painting and Lighting, as almost every home benefits from these activities. Given the right circumstances, a wide variety of other activities can come into play, but if you want to keep to the most simple and solid ROI (return on investment) focus on those 4 key areas. For more information check out these useful links:

The Ultimate Guide to Cheap and Stylish Lighting

The Top 10 Upgrades to Increase the Value of Your Home

Who Pays for Home Staging Activities?

Over the years, we all let little fixes pile up in our house unattended. We say we don’t have the time but secretly, it may also be that we’re not sure how to fix it or don’t want to try. The old adage is to save $100-200 a month for home maintenance….have you spent $1000-2000 each year maintaining your home? I don’t know too many people who have. Consider selling your home to be the “Day Of Reckoning” for your home. The single most important thing you can do for your home before you list is to ensure it is extremely well maintained.

Generally, a good realtor (who isn’t desperate and runs a reputable full-time business) will provide you with ongoing guidance from a home stager, and connect you with any contractor you need to get the work done. We build the plan off what will earn you the most money for your home, within the budget you are comfortable with. We would like you to contact us the minute you’ve decided you want to sell your home, even if you don’t plan to list for 3 months from now. The more time we have execute our plans, the more successful we’ll be. Giving yourself 2 weekend to get your home ready often causes unnecessary stress and doesn’t achieve the best results.

Article continued below

Removing Furniture/Paring Down: 0$ 

The cheapest and easiest thing you can do is start packing before you list your home for sale. It’s time to think about how to make your home look like a model home, which contains JUST ENOUGH furniture to show the function and size of each room. Sell, donate or hide excess “stuff” in your basement or garage. But please don’t start until after you have received a staging consultation, because the only thing worse than a house with too much stuff, is a house that is empty.

what is home staging

Complete Repairs: 0$ – $ 1000+

Before we talk about staging, we have to talk repairs. Staging is nothing but lipstick on a pig if your home has visible repair issues. If you have to choose between staging and repairs, choose repairs. The cost all depends on what needs to be done. If your counter is broken, sink is rusted, transition strips broken, baseboards missing, mismatched electrical switches, exposed wires, chipped porcelain tubs, cracked tiles, wobbly hand rails, then we will work with you to make a plan of attack. Some repairs buyers don’t mind absorbing, some repairs buyers HATE and can actually be a deal breaker. We will show you which to focus on to get the best results.

How Much Does Home Staging Cost

Handyman Services: $30-50 per hour

Is that repair list above causing you stress? Not sure how to fix it all? Hiring for all the little things can mean the job is done right, done well and saves a lot of time in the long run. Especially for things like plaster work, replacing counters, fixing floors or tiles, painting, hanging drapes, etc, it can mean a lot to make one call and have it done. You’ll have wished you did it long ago. Always get 3 quotes and we can help connect you with contractors for whatever your job may be. If your friends can recommend someone good, perhaps you can barter services for payment of food, drinks or maybe get a gift card from points. Get creative and call in any favours you can.

How Much Does Home Staging Cost

Paint: $200-$600 Supplies, $0-$4000 for Labour

Painting is the single most effective staging activity you can do, so that your home looks and feels new. Every buyer wants a home that feels new, even if it isn’t. Neutralize everywhere you can. Don’t forget doors and baseboards, they are key to a modern finished look. Take a look at our guide for choosing paint colours here, However, it’s impossible to choose the right colour without considering other fixed elements in the room and lighting. We provide paint colour consults for $250 as a separate service, or we will include it in our commission if you hire The Village Guru to sell your home. The expense of painting is the labour, so if you want to save money, start asking around, call in favours, or bribe anyone who is willing to pick up a paint brush.

How Much Does Home Staging Cost

Lighting: $200-$700 Supplies, $0-$500 for Labour

Upgrading your lights have about 5 million benefits. Maybe 4.9 million, but it’s up there. I’ll condense it to this:

  • Increasing the physical number of bulbs in in your home (1 light to 3 light, 3 light to 5 light) makes rooms feel bigger (added value)
  • Adding ceiling fixtures where there are none (common in older homes) is worth every penny to buyers. New homes have ceiling lights, and old homes have dim dark rooms with a lamp in the corner. This is an investment that pays off 300%. It will set you apart from other comparable homes
  • Upgrading lights to stylish lights add a focal point to rooms that often have none. If you don’t have big beautiful windows, fireplace, moulding or built ins, adding a gorgeous chandelier is the cheapest way to add architectural interest and a focal point for photos.
  • Beautiful lights are very memorable to buyers and subliminally communicate quality and elegance to buyers.
  • The only way you can miss the mark with new lighting is if you choose the wrong one. Just because a light for sale, that doesn’t mean its pretty or attractive. When you hire The Village Guru, we source lights FOR YOU so that you don’t have to fuss over all the options out there. We will steer you away from the dime-a-dozen builder standards, and find the most affordable and stylish options. If you plan enough time to order online, we can REALLY knock your socks off.
  • Yes, there is real ROI with lights. If you spend $1000 on new lights, you can absolutely, no question, no doubt about it, add $3000 of value to your home. I stand behind that argument emphatically. Take a look at this article about lighting upgrades to learn more. 

How Much Does Home Staging Cost the Average Home Owner?

There’s no hard and fast equation, because some homes needs a lot of painting, but very little repairs. Or some, because of budget, can only do the decluttering and nothing more. Some owners have gone full hog and did every recommendation we made. Most home owners spend between $1000-$2500. On a $700,000 home, $2500 is 0.3% of the price of the home, well under industry recommendations.

What is true with each and every one of our clients is that we enter into a positive, partnership agreement. Our clients are willing and excited to do everything they can to prepare their home, and we agree to bring in our expertise in staging, design, marketing, product sourcing, as well as staging props, which is often over a $3000 value. (see below for more info)

It’s this strategic teamwork and positive relationship that adds tens of thousands of value to our clients homes. The Village Guru is blessed and privileged to find clients who are as equally committed as us towards a Top Dollar Sale and who want the best possible service from day 1.


3) Additional Staging Services

When you see “Free Staging” on a billboard, I’m quite confident in saying it won’t include these additional staging services. The Village Guru has a variety of service packages, all of which can be further customized to your needs.

Staging Props ($2000+) & Prop Installation Labour ($1500) = $3500+

Who Pays?

This service is part of our commission fee, if you choose one of our 2 higher service packages. My wife Stephanie has her own Staging & Design Company, and believe me, I don’t get it for free, but I do think she throws in some extra pillows for me. 🙂 If you are looking for a lower commission, you can also arrange to pay Stephanie directly if you still want these services.

What’s Included?

We think that bringing in a TON of props is the reward for all of your hard work to prep your home. We would much rather you spend money on lights and paint, and let us bring in the art, linens, small furniture, and accessories that will take the look of your home to the next level. This also includes our professional mover, hired to load the props in and out of the property, $100 of fresh staging props to create vignettes for photos, and 2 days of labour from Stephanie to prep, install, and then remove the props. It’s a lot of work, but it all sets your home miles apart from your competition. Take a look at our portfolio to see for yourself. Non-staged or “free-staged” homes don’t look as good as ours. Period.


Accessories are good for sellers whose homes are in good condition, and who have the basic furniture for each room. There is no benefit to bringing in artwork and pillows if the home requires significant repair….it does not hide problems that would affect offer price. So in MOST cases, we provide props *in combination with* the work home owners put into the home to prepare it for sale. Working together is how get the best results.

Renovation Planning & Design Consult Hours: 20-40 hours, a value of $1500-$3000

Who Pays?

This service is part of my commission when you chose our top level service program. If you want a lower commission, you can also hire Stephanie separately, and she can charge a flat fee or per hour, depending on your needs.

What’s Included?

Integrity and honesty are cornerstone values of The Village Guru, and first we always do a market report to see what renovation, if any, is worth the investment. And yes, I have recommended for clients NOT to do the work. The last thing I want is an overpriced home that can’t sell and an angry home owner. If I can determine that a reno will net a great profit (minimum twice the investment cost) then The Village Guru team is with you all the way, from day 1. Stephanie LOVES working on kitchens and baths especially, since thats where we can build the greatest profits. She will design a plan and revise it until you are completely satisfied, she will plan all of the material finishes and help you source them, and she will be there to troubleshoot problems and help make decisions along the way.

How Much Does Home Staging Cost

Click this link to see a large sample of Stephanie’s Past Staging & Decor Reports

Staging for Vacant Homes: $2000-$5000

What’s Included?

Empty rooms never do a good job selling homes, because scale and perspective cannot be understood from the photos. Confusion is never a good first impression. For vacant homes, it is highly recommended to fill the home with furniture, including beds, sofas and other large scale items. Renting furntire is a very high labour, high cost venture, and my wife determined years ago that she cannot offer this service any cheaper than the other rental companies out there, and didn’t want to carry the costs and liabilities. So we act as coordinator between you and the rental company.

Who Pays?

A good guideline is $650 per room, per month. The cost for a home seller to rent a full house is between $3500-$5000 depending on number of rooms. The cost to rent furniture for a condo is between $2000-$3000 depending on number of rooms.

We manage the coordination hours to source and finalize an item inventory to procure the items to fill out each room properly. We can then bring in our props and installation efforts as per our standard service package, which is a value of $3000+.

How Much Does Home Staging Cost

Staging for Estate Sales: $0-$profit

Estate Sales can generate a small to reasonable profit if the estate decides to have a contents sale. We have companies who provide this service, and they usually charge 50% of sales if they fully manage the auction, or 35% of sales if the estate manages setting up the auction. It’s a simple way to deal with any leftover contents after the directions from the will are carried out.

In our experience, these homes are often well taken care of with perhaps a few maintenance issues to address. The money earned from a contents sale can often cover these repairs, making it a zero-sum equation. We often sell these homes vacant and empty because it’s usually the least stressful and complicated option for the estate. Buyers know that it is an estate sale, so there is often more forgiveness for a vacant or dated home.

How Much Does Home Staging Cost

Don’t Gloss over the Details

Once you are signed with a realtor, it’s too late to find out you’re not getting the services you need to get the highest price for your home. Ask as many questions as you must, because the devil is in the details. “Free Home Staging” doesn’t mean anything. To us, we see Home Staging as a team effort, where we both do everything with reason to make your home look as big, bright and modern as possible. I have consistently seen that the home owners who put in 110%  to prepare their home for sale get the best results when the home is listed. Don’t underestimate the power of hard work and a positive attitude! 


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