Toscano charged $860 to stage the living room, kitchen and master bedroom in a vacant house on Orion Drive.
Toscano charged $860 to stage the living room, kitchen and master bedroom in a vacant house on Orion Drive.

When Raj Nakka wanted to sell his Monument home, he contacted a Realtor. And when Monica Breckenridge with Pink Realty recommended a home stager, he was all for it.

While he says he never would have thought of hiring someone to decorate his home to make it more attractive to buyers, he’s pleased with the results from Candance Toscano, owner and designer at Toscano Interiors.

“When Candance came in and she looked at the house and gave me her feedback — I think it really changed my perspective on staging because I didn’t have to worry about getting new furniture and filling my place with new stuff,” he said. “To me, that’s the big advantage of working with a Realtor who knows what she’s doing and a stager who knows what she’s doing — it takes the burden off me.”

And while homes are only staying on the market around three weeks, according to the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, that doesn’t mean that home-staging companies are going without work. It’s still an important part of the process, Toscano said. Staging a home can help attract online showing — and in some cases, increase the selling price above the listing price.

“I think [Realtors] who are in the business and have been in the business for a long time are serious about it,” she said. “I think those are the ones who see the value; they offer it to their sellers because it’s the best way to market their house.”

One home Toscano staged in the Palmer Park area sold for $12,000 more than its asking price after being on the market for a weekend, she said.

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Toscano said a lot of Realtors include home staging as part of their costs — and in the past two years, her business has increased by 90 percent.

Most owner-occupied houses Toscano stages are in the $250,000 price range, while the vacant houses she stages sell for around $400,000 or higher.

Toscano works with the homeowners, takes pictures and creates a checklist for the seller to get rid of clutter and address issues she sees in the house. After a week, she brings in props and accessories from her Fountain store, but normally uses whatever furniture is already in the house.

Toscano is not the only company to see success in the industry. Cathi Rios of Front Range Stage specializes in vignette staging — a form of lightly staging a home — and brings in small pieces of furniture to create cozy nooks or elegant spaces. For other homes, she adds a complete decor to attract sellers.

In the current market, lower-priced houses are selling too quickly for owners to pay for a professional decorator like Front Range Stage.

“The homes are selling so fast that, by the time you get anything in there, the house is going to have multiple offers on it the first day or the first week,” Rios said. “For someone who stages a $100,000 home — they can put a bowl of fruit on the table, and it will sell.”

Rios says the competition for buyers is definitely in the upper end of the price range — and that’s what she builds her business around.

“There’s still competition in that price range when you get to the $450,000 and above level,” Rios said.

Rios said she has seen a 50-percent increase in full-furniture staging and a 50-percent decrease for vignette staging in 2017.Front Range Stage uses leased furniture that is professionally moved in and out of the homes — creating an atmosphere that attracts more Realtors and online buyers.

Candance Toscano was hired to stage a $430,000 vacant home, located on Orion Drive, after it hadn't sold for 30 days.
Candance Toscano was hired to stage a $430,000 vacant home, located on Orion Drive, after it hadn’t sold for 30 days.

Staging can yield higher bids

Rios said everyone involved in selling a home could benefit from staging.

“Sellers will sell faster — a lot of times get more money — and it makes a Realtor’s job easier as well,” she said.

RE/MAX Realtor Lisa Robinson, who has been selling homes in Colorado for 21 years, recommends that all her clients have a staging consultation.

“I think every home can benefit from staging, especially vacant homes,” Robinson said. “[Buyers are] more likely to be serious about [a staged] home because people are very visual.”

She added that while homes in the $200,000 price range sell easily because of the current high demand, the goal is still for sellers to make as much as possible.

“People say ‘It’s going to sell anyway,’” Robinson said. “Yes, that’s true. But are you leaving money on the table? My answer is yes.”