As an agent there is constant pressure to secure new listings.

Marketing and branding are a critical component to any agent’s arsenal, and while there are tried and tested marketing techniques, there are always new and innovative marketing strategies being offered to help one stand out from the crowd.

One such marketing strategy we have seen used successfully more recently, is the offer of free home staging when you list with a particular agent or agency.

You have probably heard the pitch or seen a billboard:

“If you list your house with me, I will style it for FREE.”

Before we dig in, we think it’s important to mention that as a Home Staging company, we don’t have an issue with someone offering staging services for FREE. However just like with any other business incentive, there is a good way and a not-so-good way to approach it. We are here to share our thoughts on both.

There are three different ways of Agents offering FREE Home Staging (that we’ve seen in Brisbane):

1. The Stylist is an Agent

Stylist first, Agent second. This person usually owns and runs their own Home Staging company, providing real estate services on top. Because they use their own resources for the staging, and offer it as part of the sales package, they advertise free staging as an incentive to attract new vendors.

It’s worth noting that this staging company/agent combo is very uncommon, and we’ve seen it implemented successfully only once in the Brisbane market. There are some who claim to have staging capabilities in-house (see the next section) but are not professional stagers.

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In this case, the agent is using Free Staging as a marketing tool, while also delivering professional staging that focusses on Return on Investment. They have our full support!

2. The Agent is a Stylist

From the outside (and to a vendor) these agents might look like the first section – they offer Free Staging as part of their sales campaign and claim to have the professional staging capabilities in-house. When you look under the covers, they are quite different.

We can break these agents into two subcategories:

a) Agents who do all their own staging

In this situation, the agency generally keeps a few accessories in their office, which involves small decorative items like cushions, lamps, vases, etc., and maybe some small pieces of furniture.

b) Agents who do some partial staging

The idea behind this is to add the final touches to the presentation of the property by rearranging & prioritising the space with smaller décor. The Agents who offer this service know and recognise the value of staging, so if the opportunity comes up where the job becomes too big for what they currently have in stock – they do not hesitate to engage the help of a professional Home Staging company.

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In this case the focus has shifted from Staging for a Return-on-Investment point of view, into a perceived value add from the agent to secure the listing. This focus generally isn’t in the best interest of the vendors property. It’s where we see recycling of the same cheap pieces in every listing the agent has, effectively reducing the quality, uniqueness and personality in these homes.

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We work with a few Agents who offer this as a part of their service, and we LOVE their confidence around having open discussions with their vendors about the importance of staging. On the flip side, the one thing we keep hearing from these Agents is how time-consuming it is on their end, distracting them from the ‘more important’ things.

3. Agent pays for the styling

There are a small number of Agents in Brisbane who are offering free staging to every homeowner who lists their property with them. They engage a professional stager and pay for the service on behalf of their vendor.

It a good marketing campaign and we’ve seen it being used quite successfully, but there is one important thing that needs to be taken into consideration.

You get what you pay for.

In this case, the agent has a vested interest in the price of the staging service, which in our experience means there’s pressure to focus on the cost instead of the quality of the staging.

For this model to work, the agent engages a budget staging company that agrees to reduce their cost per home in return for a volume agreement.

These budget staging companies have found a wonderful business niche, but to stay profitable and meet the pricing agreed to in their volume agreement, the overall dollar value of their inventory needs to stay low. This is done in two ways:

  1. Sourcing low-cost, major retail outlet inventory (Kmart, Big W, Fantastic Furniture, Super Amart)
  2. Reducing the amount of ‘fluff’, artwork, furniture and accessories incorporated into the staging of the home

This approach often manifests itself into an overall cheaper appearance of the property, which can adversely affect the offers put forward by prospective buyers.

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This one is a bit tricky to rate because there is a lot of potential in this marketing strategy, but unfortunately it has not yet been executed well, at least here in Brisbane. From what we’ve seen, the Agents who are currently offering this service are closely working with the low-cost companies, which is sustainable if you are targeting the matching demographic, but won’t work in a lot of locations. It also indicates that the agents are focused on the marketing impact of ‘Free Staging’ and less so on the ROI of the staging.

Note: This article is about the business model of these lower cost Home Staging companies. They have identified a niche that works great for them, but as every other volume-based business they have to meet certain budget criteria – which means their stock must be within the expected price range. 

For Agents:

How to Win the Listing from Agents Who Offer FREE Staging Service

If you are a Real Estate Agent based in the south-side of Brisbane, chances are you have lost some business to these Agents. You know the feeling… you’ve done the presentation, built a fairly good rapport with the vendor, but when it comes time to follow up – they tell you they’re going ahead with someone else because they are throwing in the staging for free.

At Foxy, we are increasingly seeing this happen, therefore we’ve decided to address this topic and give you some talking points to bring up in your next conversation.

Important to Remember:

  • Marketing vs Value

Some of these ‘Free Staging’ strategies are being used for their marketing impact – it’s a great differentiator from other agents to include staging in your package. But in our experience, these agents aren’t focussed on the value of staging from a Return on Investment point of view (or worse, don’t believe in the value at all). They have a ‘something is better than nothing’ approach, which we couldn’t disagree with more.


Remember, not all agents are created equal, and the same goes for home stagers – if you’re competing with an offer of Free Staging, combat it by focussing on the discussion of quality, impact and ultimately, value to the vendor.

  • Professional Stylist Vs Part Time Agent

Don’t underestimate the power of promoting bringing in a professional. To put this in perspective, here’s a great analogy we’ve come across recently – ‘Women do their make-up every day of the year, but when they get married – they get a professional to do it.’

The same rule applies for home-staging. Your vendors can declutter their house and make it look presentable every day, but when they are selling it – they should get a professional to do it.

  • Don’t avoid talking about home-staging

Some Agents tend to avoid this topic altogether in fear of putting off the client because of the added cost. First things first… Home-Staging is not an expense – it is an investment. Secondly, if the vendors don’t hear about home staging from you, they will hear it from someone else, maybe even someone who will offer it for free if they list with them. Be one step ahead!

Topics to Incorporate Into Your Sales Pitch

Home Staging is becoming an essential part of the selling process with more and more people recognising the concept (thanks to Australian TV shows like The Block or House Rules to name a couple).

If you are adequately prepared to talk about professional Property Staging to the point when you can confidently answer any questions – you’ve won half the battle. These are the two main topics you should always address when the conversation turns to the topic of Home-Staging.


There are many benefits of home staging – increase in sales price, decrease in time on the market, positive ROI, etc. Be confident and have examples ready to show – Before & After pictures, case studies, etc. If you don’t have any – send us an email to and we will be more than happy to send you some, we have plenty!


The quality of the styling stock should represent the quality and the desired sale price of your vendor’s home. For most homes, this means limiting items from big retail outlets. Why? Items in these stores have overly saturated our market. Once they hit the shelves of Kmart, they are a mass produced item that most people are only willing to pay a budget price for. If we fill our home with Kmart, we are associating our biggest asset with Kmart branding and Kmart pricing.

Thank you for reading and we sincerely hope you it was (or will be) useful to you. If you still have any questions for us – please do not hesitate to reach out here or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram!

If you are more of a visual learner, here’s our FoxyTV Episode covering this topic.

Fast forward to 8:42 if you want to watch just the part about free home staging.

If the upfront cost of home-staging is still an issue for your vendor, check out our No Sale – No Pay package – FOXY FIRST CLASS.

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