Now back to Ron... do you have a Realtor? If you do I would ask them to help with a report if needed. If not.. then you have some Realtors right here who know what they are talking about.
When I list property I provide a free consultation to my clients with a professional stager. I think if you were to call her directly that service would probably run around $100. She comes in and goes through the house and gives the seller recommendations. The seller can then try to stage using their existing stuff (and getting rid of lots - putting it in the garage or ebay, etc.). If the seller wants to hire her for additional staging services, that can vary based on how much time she spends there, and if and how much stuff (furniture, rugs, place settings, etc) she has to bring in.
To stage an average sized vacant house, generally at the minimum you are likely looking at $800 for the first month - this would include a living room arrangement, dining room arrangement, and master bedroom and some nick nacks in the bathrooms. Additional rooms and time are more...that is a very conservative estimate.
She staged the living room, set up a vignette in another area, staged the dining room, the kitchen and the master bedroom. Not only did this include furniture and rugs, but it also involved hanging artwork and bringing in knickknacks. She staged the front porch, too. This particular home had been on the market through another real estate company for almost two years. After we staged it, it sold within three weeks.
But staging larger spaces and for longer periods of time costs more. Staging is really an art, and home stagers are extremely creative individuals. If you plan to hire a stager, it's a good idea to inquire as to whether the person is an accredited stager and ask about years of experience.
The best way for you to find out is through a Realtor. They should have a list of contacts for staging amongst other things. One thing to keep in mind when staging your home is that some staging companies will let you pay some if not all the fees by close of escrow. Check it out. Good luck.
Yes, stage the house. It is more important than ever since you can't really beat some of the short sales and foreclosures on their list prices (unless you can take a $200,000 hit instead of just a $100,000 hit.)
Get the place really clean, Windows walls, every surface, nook and cranny. Hire professional cleaners to do most of that. I am talking about a lot of work, even if you are already obsessed with cleanliness.
Finally, follow the stagers advice about furniture, accessories, and lighting. They have studied and practiced their art