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For most people, staging a house before a sale usually involves a good cleaning, a fresh coat of paint and maybe a $10 orchid from Home Depot. But for the super rich, getting a home ready for sale has become a high-priced production. Today's mansion stagers are dressing up their clients' homes with custom furniture, expensive artwork, table settings and even sports cars for the garage. "We do everything to dress the house so that it looks its absolute best and it sells for the highest price as quickly as possible," said Heide Ziecker, head of design at Meridith Baer Home, which stages high-end homes.
Costs range from a "small job" of $5,000 to more than $100,000. Yet Baer insists the price is worth it: a staged property on average sells 88 percent faster and for 20 percent above asking price, it said. "When you think about a home of this value and the carrying costs," Ziecker said, "you have every month that it doesn't sell, it really is a small investment. If your home sells even a month earlier than it would have not being staged, on a home this size and this budget, it ends up being really worth it for homeowners."