Reality Strikes: The Staging Behind Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing

With a television audience topping one million, Bravo TV’s real-estate reality show “Million Dollar Listing” is showing the world what it takes to sell high-end homes in New York. Every Tuesday, viewers watch as three young brokers- Fredrik Eklund, Michael Lorber, and Ryan Serhant- sell multi-million dollar apartments and properties in some of America’s wealthiest neighborhoods.

What is the real secret behind their success? Professional home staging. Home staging is defined as “the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace” (Wikipedia). In several episodes, the brokers utilize the services of industry-leading home stagers.

There’s no doubting the effectiveness of home staging (also known within the industry as “lifestyle merchandising”). A recent Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) report revealed that professionally staged homes sell an average of 78% faster than un-staged homes. When you think about how much money is lost on a multi-million dollar property sitting vacant, home staging translates to tens of thousands in recovered homeowner costs.

So how much do Fredrik, Michael and Ryan really spend on staging for their high-end properties? Staging companies typically set their rate as a percentage of the home’s listing price. Let’s look at some sample numbers from a premium property featured in Season 1 Episode 1:

Listing price: $2.2M

Home staging fee: 0.925%

Cost for home staging services: $20,350

While $20k may seem like a shock to most homeowners, selling luxury real estate requires staging to showcase a million-dollar lifestyle. If the brokers can move in a new tenant or homeowner just two months quicker, a home staging cost of $20K will be justified. Otherwise, the homeowner is losing $10K+ a month in mortgage payments in a vacant home. Whether your home is worth $2.2M or $200,000 – staging is a worthwhile investment.

About the author:
Paul Prudente is the vice president and COO of Moco, Inc., which provides tenant and employment screening services under the MyScreeningReport and Moco Inc, The Information Source brands. They have provided property owners and employers with high quality residential and pre-employment screening services since 1989.
My website is at:


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