Guest House is using its recently raised $3 million to expand its house staging business and integrate services needed to fully list homes for sale.
The funding for the Denver-based startup came from several institutional investors, founder Alex Ryden said. Among the investors were Range Ventures, a Denver venture capital fund, and Sam Hinkie, former general manager of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.
The startup began staging homes with furniture provided by local companies that Guest House also listed for sale for potential homebuyers. But it has just begun offering more extensive home listing services for Realtors, including photography, videography and creating virtual walk-through tours.
“Sometimes a Realtor’s job ended up being a big project management endeavor,” Ryden said. “Now it’s much simpler. We’ll do all the hard work for them to get all the vendors lined up and to get the home listed.”
Although the listing volume of homes declined by 50 percent in the past year, Ryden said, Guest House’s revenue increased by 215 percent from July 2020 to July 2021. Ryden declined to provide specific revenue numbers.
Homes that Guest House staged are selling for up to 25 percent over the asking price, Ryden said.
Stan Kniss, a Realtor at Slate Real Estate Advisors, worked with Guest House on its first staging job in 2017. Guest House staged a condo in the Denver Four Seasons that Kniss listed after two brokers tried to sell the property. Within an hour of showing the staged condo to Kniss’ first client for the space, it was purchased, he said.
“What (Guest House) does is a big deal,” Kniss said. “They’ve got this uncanny ability to walk into a place and really tell us the personality of the property.”
Guest House has staged around 30 homes for Slate Real Estate, Kniss said.
Stacie Staub, founder of West + Main Homes, said properties that Guest House staged sold faster and for more money than those staged by other companies or not staged at all.
“We help clients at all price points and with all types of properties, so Guest House isn’t appropriate for everything. But for those listings that are special and really have the interior to really complement Guest House staging, we do try to use them,” Staub said.
West + Main has 200 agents across the Front Range who independently choose stagers, but Guest House is frequently used by the agents, Staub said.
The startup is also using the money it raised to continue Guest House’s expansion into other states. It began staging homes in San Diego in June and is planning to expand to more California cities. Since being in San Diego, Guest House has staged a dozen homes.
Guest House currently has 13 employees, but is using some of the funding to hire more employees, including software engineers and a chief-of-staff.
Those interested in listing a home with Guest House can receive a quote from the company’s website based on the home. Guest House did not provide specific staging costs.
The company also recently began selling discounted furniture with slight wear and tear used in the staging jobs but declined to give prices. Revenue made from furniture sales varies, Ryden said, because it is based on a commission structure.
Ryden said while there are many staging businesses in Denver, he sees them as partners and hopes Guest House’s model of staging homes with furniture for sale can help staging companies adapt their business model.
“There’s a lot of great stagers in Denver and we’re fans of all those businesses and have tons of respect for everyone,” Ryden said. “I see them as competitors but also friends and partners and we see a huge opportunity to give them the resources we have long-term to help them grow their businesses.”
Guest House’s warehouse is located near downtown Denver, and its 13 employees work remotely.