St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging


It's not USED furniture. No I will not sell my home staging furniture cheap.

If you own home staging inventory, you probably are asked, at least on occassion to sell your furniture, artwork or accessories.  It's difficult not to.  After all, we create spaces that both the buyer and seller love.  It's not the least bit uncommon that we've dialed in the buyer so well that they feel it should come with the house.  The part that never quite gets funny is when they seem to view it as "used furniture".  I suppose their view is that it's not new from a store, therefore we should sell it at a drop dead discount (read garage sale pricing). 

Charleston Home StagingRecently, I had a customer call about a sofa that was in the home they were purchasing.  It was a great little Haverty's sofa.  It sold at a bargain price of $699 in the store.  When I told the seller that we would sell it to him for $699, what was charged in the store he was shocked.  I carefully explained that typically not only do we charge the cost of the item but typically add on a shopping and delivery fee and the only reason we would consider selling this at cost was because we already have a duplicate one. 

This particular buyer called me seven - yes seven (7) - times to ask about this sofa.  He really wanted to buy it for $400, but would go as high as $499.  You know, if only we could be reasonable.  It is after all "used" furniture. 

This may actually be one of my most frustrating moments in the job.  I'm not sure exactly what buyers think, but one illusion they really need to get beyond is the fact that the items in these staging jobs are NOT gargage sale prices.  Last year my company spent over $80,000 in inventory, and this was the least amount we've spent in a year yet.  We carefully choose the items that go into our staged inventory.  We pick them based on overall appeal, ability to work in multiple styles of homes, quality and durability (to handle the moves, not so much people living on them).  Once they are in a vacant home, they sit.  No one sits on them, or at least it's unusual.  They may have a bump or bruise from multiple moves, but really, it's still pretty much new. 

Buyers, if you buy my sofa, rug or artwork, I have to replace it.  That costs me money and TIME.  Just like any other business, I'm going to charge you for that.  If you don't want to pay retail, don't ask the stager - go to a garage sale or thrift store.  Still, you'll have to figure out how to get it home. 


 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).


Comment balloon 13 commentsMelissa Marro • July 28 2011 05:14PM


Well said...important to point this out.

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) almost 8 years ago

I think I wouldn't have those conversations... I'd just say no. 

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 8 years ago

Melissa- I think that it's not as cut & dry as your buyer would have it.  If, for example, you got a good deal at $699 and it would cost you more to replace it, then why would you sell it for less!  It all depends on how much you value the sofa.  And, if you wanted to charge what it would cost you to replace it, that's your prerogative as well. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 8 years ago

Again goes to show how uneducated most buyers are about the whole process of preparing homes to sell and especially staging.  

Posted by Connie King almost 8 years ago

Kathy's right...the cost to replace it is what he needs to understand.  You just can't get through to some people.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) almost 8 years ago

Melissa - Another point to make is that this sofa was chosen for this particular space by a designer.  That makes the sofa worth that much more because it takes an expert eye to choose the right style, shape and size for the space.  At cost is a bargain.  The sofa should really be charged out at 3 times its value.

Posted by Sally Weatherley, Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C (EXIT STAGE RIGHT) almost 8 years ago

Well stated, Melissa.  I hope that "potential sofa buyer" doesn't call you again!

Posted by Diana Young (Staging Seattle, King & Snohomish Counties) almost 8 years ago

Hi Melissa--the buyer can spend hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars on a house and argues about a $200 price difference on the sofa?  Amazing.  One thought that might curtail this desire to bargain on the part of a buyer is not to discuss the original purchase price or length of time a piece has been in inventory but just quote a price as your "book value" or "depreciated asset value".  After all any gain or loss on the sale of the piece is calculated from that and most people won't get into a conversation with you about how you depreciate your inventory. 

Posted by Janet Jones, Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii (Just Your Style Interiors, LLC) almost 8 years ago
Thanks everyone. For the record I do t advise them of depreciated value, etc as I haven't depreciated it. I do explain that if we sell it that we will just have to go out and buy a replacement and if we sell for less than we are losing money. It just amuses (and frustrates) when they don't get it. In the case of this sofa, I told him exactly where to get a replacement and how much it would cost. We didn't sell it and it went immediately into a newly staged home. Because of shopping time & our quick turnover of staged properties, unless we are making a good price for shopping we don't want to sell it. We will, if it helps our clients, or if it lands a bigger shopping deal for the rest of the house, but ideally we do not want to be constantly buying new stuff.
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 8 years ago

Hi Melissa, this is brilliant. Great topic for a post.

I am sick of hearing clients (or perspective buyers who have inspected the property) get all excited about the way the property is styled, talk about how much value it adds and how beautifully it has come together and then ask if they could have a quote to purchase the stock and then when they receive it, complain that it cannot cost that much.

I purchase my stock wholesale, as any home stager should. But like all home stagers I hand pick all my pieces to fit into my inventory and work well with all stock. This takes time, it means knowing the right supplier, making the order, processing payments and arranging distribution/shipping.

On top of this, once I sell this item, I have to go through that process again to arrange another item to replace it.

So your $699 sofa that you may have picked up wholesale or on special is worth so much more than that regardless of how many times it has been used in a property.

You certainly deserve to recover your purchase price and time for locating the right item.

Posted by Adam Luttrell, Shift Property Styling - Hobart, Tasmania (Shift Property Styling) almost 8 years ago

Amen Melissa!! We have had the same situation a number of times happen and then the client tries to whittle the price down. Sadly for them, we're not willing to take a hit on the price to please them as we will HAVE to replace that item and stores won't sell it to us at thrift store prices!!

Posted by Heather Cook, Quality Home Staging (Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc.) almost 8 years ago

OMG.. this happens all the time. My furniture is is almost brand new and when they ask me, I always charge replacement value plus a % over. If they don't want it... its still mine ;)

Posted by Lori Kim Polk, Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento ( Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services) almost 8 years ago

I have to laugh.  Clients love what I have and then realize that the reason they like the items is because they aren't "cheap".   I make some beautiful items,..and people are shocked when they find out that the greenery in the urn they love so much sells in the store for over $100,..easily.   The pillows which they love,  are selling for $75-100+, EACH in Scottsdale. 

I just got some beautiful chairs that I'm refinishing.  I was told they were high-end.  I got them at St. Vinneys.  They are gorgeous, but have some scratches and a little dirt,..but they are in excellent condition.   I also got a beautiful bench that was in pretty rough shape that I restained.  It looks wonderful, and I have already been asked "how much do you want for that".  

I guess I should be happy I have my creativity.  Hopefully it will pay me in the future.

Posted by Liz Murray, Professional Home Stager (Renaissance Home Staging & Redesign) almost 8 years ago

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