Your Staged House is Under Contract! What to Know to Schedule De-Staging & Breakdown

Your Staged House is Under Contract!

What to Know to Schedule De-Staging & Breakdown


With the privilege of serving hundreds of Realtors and their clients over the years, as a Real Estate Stager, I hear about the celebratory news when homes go under contract. This is the best part of our job! I believe professional staging plays a major role in helping each home to influence its buyer which leads to an offer and results in a ratified contract.


Now that the ink is dry, however, you may ask: what is the best practice for scheduling the removal of furnishings at the staged property? Generally, there are home inspections and equally, a repair list involving the need to move furniture. But, normally, the seller is responsible for the furnishings while it is on the property, so it is reasonable to believe the staging company should be called in to remove furnishings as soon as due-diligence and home inspections have been completed, right? Not so fast.


In my experience, I have seen de-staging occur too early in the contract process and for reasons such as loan issues, further inspection or repair problems, or other various reasons, a contract falls through. Then, the seller is left with a vacant home that once had beautiful staging, drawing in buyers to connect and fall in love. This cold, new vacant reality does not serve the listing that once held such great potential with staging in place. Neither the client, nor their agent, are usually willing to pay for home staging again, and therefore, the home's potential to get another contract is reduced because it does not have the attraction factor it once had with staging in place.


Because of this, I recommend leaving staging in place for as long as reasonably possible, perhaps to just a couple of days before closing, if not the day before. In fact, the most seasoned investors we work with will not de-stage under any circumstances until the day before closing because they have experienced a deal falling through at the last minute. They know and understand the value of home staging, and that the cost of staging again is not worth it if closing did not occur. While home repairs might need to be made, the seasoned investors ensure that the furniture is not at risk and want to be 100% confident that the sale will take place before scheduling a de-stage.


You may be thinking about the added cost of keeping home staging in place when it is no longer needed. Most contracts with professional home staging companies are set up in 30 or 60-day terms, so you have the benefit of staging to end of that term without added fees. I encourage you to have this knowledge in hand, so that the closing date and the term date can be reconciled. Many stagers, like myself, pro-rate staging after the initial term, so even if staging remains in place after the term ends, charges may only apply to the specific number of days in the month before removal.


Often, Realtors have the added responsibility of managing the staging, repairs, and other vendors involved in the sale process, but may not be privy to the details of the staging contract that the seller has signed. To that point, many home stagers also require a notice period to de-stage without additional fees, which could be 7 days or longer. This notice period allows for effective coordination of the de-stage, including scheduling, staffing, and other logistics to provide smooth and effective removal.


It is tempting to believe that once a ratified contract has been signed, staging should be removed. I advise Realtors and sellers to:

         Wait as long as possible in order to ensure that all the i's are dotted, and t's are crossed in the transaction.

         Consider the terms of the staging agreement and fees associated with an extended duration of one to two days before closing.

         Review any fees that could be charged without giving the staging company contractual notice for de-stage and be sure to provide appropriate notice to avoid any fees.

         Have near 100% confidence in a closing occurring and weigh the cost of re-staging the property when tempted to coordinate de-staging early.



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Lorelie Brown, M.A., CPRES, CID is the Owner of Showhomes Charleston in Charleston, SC.

A RESA-PRO member, an HSRA-Elite Member, and a member of IAHSP. She is passionate about the power of home staging and has staged over $290 million in real estate.