Staging refers to enhancing the appearance of your home by having a professional interior designer temporarily decorate the interior of your home. Depending on the level of staging, the stager may or may not paint certiain areas of the house as well. The items used to stage the home are usually already owned by or obtained by the stager. Typically a stager will use art pieces, curtains, linens, various small to large furniture items, and area rugs to dramatically alter the appearance of the home.
The cost of staging a home can run anywhere from $2000 to $6000, depending on the square footage of the home. Most stagers can be paid half of their fee up front, and half at the close of escrow which makes it a little more convenient. It's been noted by Realtors that homes that are staged do sell faster and for more money on average than those homes that aren't staged, and in this market with high inventory sellers need to do as much as they can to prepare their home for sale in order to make it stand out as a good value.
Staging is much more common in higher end homes, where it can have the most dramatic effect. Even if you can't afford to get your home staged, it's a good idea to get at least a staging consultation which will point out some inexpensve things you can do to spruce up the appearance of your home. You can get a consultation from a good stager for about $150.