Frequently Asked Questions

What is home staging and how does it differ from interior decorating?

Home staging is the art of making a house or apartment attractive to potential buyers so that it sells quickly and for top dollar. With interior decorating, you are designing to reflect the tastes, preferences and lifestyle of the people living in the home. Unlike interior decorating, home staging is about decor that appeals to a wide range of tastes and preferences. It is the art of creating emotional connection points throughout the house so that when potential buyers step into the house they feel as if they were home. Home staging highlights the best features of a property and downplays, or improves, those that are less marketable.

Do I have to spend money if I wish to stage my home?

There are three phases of home staging:

  • Using what the owner has: often the only thing needed is to de-clutter, organize, edit or reposition existing furniture for better balance and flow.
  • Adding furniture and accessories: the homeowner can rent or purchase furniture and accessories, such as bedding, lamps, artwork, etc. that are strategically chosen by the home stager to enhance the decor.
  • Doing simple but dramatic updates and changes: the home stager will focus on enhancing the value of the property in the eyes of the buyer by suggesting quick repairs, repainting, updating lighting and plumbing fixtures and cabinet hardware, and has access to reliable resources, such as painters, landscapers, etc., to help the homeowner accomplish these tasks.

Home staging is an investment, not an expense! Statistics show that an investment in staging increases profit in two ways: it increases the value of the property, and, by decreasing the amount of time that a house remains on the market, the owner saves on mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, etc.

The real estate market is soft - who would want to spend money in a down market?

The softer the market, the more you must differentiate the property from others crowding the market. Wouldn’t it be great to get a bidding war going because your property looks so much better than everyone else’s?

The real estate market is strong - should a home be staged?

Yes, in a hot market just about every house or apartment will sell, but the question is when and at what price. Even if it did sell quickly and at a good price, it doesn’t mean it was sold at its fullest potential.

How much does staging cost?

An investment in staging typically ranges from a few hundred dollars for an initial consultation to a few thousand dollars to stage a property involving furniture and accessory rentals, minor repairs and cosmetic updates. The cost also naturally depends upon the size and condition of the home, how much work the owners are willing to do themselves, and the price point of the home. Remember, staging is an investment that can yield a potentially significant return.

Who pays for the staging - the owner or the realtor?

It depends. In some cases the realtor pays for the initial consultation. Others may reimburse the owner for the consultation fee once a home is sold. Most owners and realtors, however, look upon staging as another cost of closing on a house such as the hiring of a real estate lawyer.

If staging is not brought up by the realtor when the home is initially listed, we strongly recommend owners begin a dialogue. Owners should keep in mind that realtors might be reluctant to suggest staging because they might think that their client would be insulted, and they don’t want to harm the relationship. Realtors should keep in mind that clients want to sell their home more than they do, and would be willing to seek the objective advice of a professional home stager in order to achieve that goal.

Why can't the realtor or owner stage a home?

Realtors should spend their time doing what they do best: establishing price points for properties, marketing them effectively, and showing their listings to as many potential buyers as possible. Homeowners would rather know their realtors are doing this instead of spending hours rearranging furniture, shopping for accessories, and managing repairmen.

Most homeowners don’t have the buyer’s eyes that a professional home stager has when it comes to their own homes. They have gotten used to walking past the overgrown bushes in the front yard, the dated wallpaper and lighting fixtures have been in the bathroom so long that they seem to be part of the family!

Why can't buyers or renters just look past the decor and envision themselves living there?

Only 10% of buyers can visualize the potential of a home and are unable to look past a cluttered or unappealing room. And while most of them start out looking for a home based upon specific criteria, such as wanting 4 bedrooms, family room with a fireplace, they end up purchasing houses based upon the emotional connection they feel when they’re in the home. When a house feels like home to others, they will often reprioritize their list. They may be willing to give up the fireplace because staging has transformed the property into the type of home where they can envision themselves living.

What should a homeowner do to prepare for a consultation or staging?

There really is nothing a homeowner should do to prepare for an initial consultation. Unlike most people, professional home stagers can see past a person’s clutter and furnishings. Trying to get organized or clean up will waste the homeowner’s time and only cause unnecessary stress.

If staging services are going to follow a consultation, we may request that recommendations we made in the consultation such as de-cluttering, painting and repairs be done before we come in to rearrange or add furniture and accessories. We have a list of service contractors that we can recommend who you can contact directly or we can arrange for the work to be done.


I was very anxious. In this bad market, I wanted to maximize every chance of selling my house so I hired CK Home Design Group to stage my home for sale. Our house sold in four weeks. Now we are in our new house which Virginia and Maria helped set up. Any person can have a nice house but it takes a special skill to create a home.

– TS, Home Owner

Still have questions?

CK Home Design Group serves Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary and surrounding areas.

Copyright 2018 CK Home Design Group

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