Thinking about becoming a Home Stager? Consult with the Pros first.

By
Home Stager with ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC

If you are deciding whether or not a career as a home stager is right for you, then you have some HW to do.  The internet is the perfect place to begin your search.  Make sure you have some paper and a pen ready to take notes.  A nice cup of coffee would work well, too!  Take your time because you are considering starting a business and these things take time.

The first thing that will jump out are the numerous home staging training companies.  Research them carefully to find out which one works best for you, your needs and your budget.   Please note that professional home stagers do not need to be 'certified' or 'accredited' in any way.  It is still an unregulated field.  Any certification essentially becomes a big part of your marketing...that's it. 

Organizations, such as RESA and ASHSR, are great ways for newbie stagers to network with more experienced stagers in their geographical area, regardless of training background.  Take advantage of what they have to offer!

An important thing one can do is to research the NEED for a home stager in your targeted market.  If you find your market is already flooded with home stagers, you can guarantee that you'll be working your butt off to market your newbie staging business in the shadows of the other established companies.  You aren't Starbucks...and even they realized they didn't need to open up shop on every other corner!  The area you target should have plenty of room for you.  A healthy competition is good for everyone's business.

The second most important thing is to consult with real estate professionals that you know.  Do it BEFORE you start up...not AFTER.  There's no pressure involved!  Limit your time to ones that are good at what they do. 

  •  
    •  
      • Pick their brains...see how they feel about home staging. 
      • Do they currently use a home stager? 
      • If they do, find out all that you can about their experiences. 
      • Ask them how they feel about home staging services for your target market.

The last suggestion is actually one of the first things I did when doing my research prior to starting my home staging company here in Atlanta.  My husband and I met with his friend Dave and his wife LuAnn.  LuAnn is a well-known agent in Atlanta's luxury-home market and Dave is a corporate consultant.  LuAnn was gracious enough to give me honest answers to all of my questions and as a result thoroughly encouraged me to pursue my home staging business. 

Ironically, LuAnn is staging realtor (ASP, I think) although she does work closely with a top stager in Atlanta (and, no, it's not me!  lol)  She truly believes in the power of home staging which I'd guess answers why she's so successful.  As a result, she's become the go-to person from her colleagues regarding home stagers.  At a recent caravan one agent asked another agent if she knew of a stager who conducted Home Staging Consultations.  The agent said no but referred her to LuAnn, stating she'd know of one.  Now, that's networking...gotta love it!

And, thanks for that referral, LuAnn.  =)

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
299,310
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Great points Abby and anyone just starting out or thinking about this business would be wise to follow your lead.

August 21, 2008 09:18 PM #1
Rainer
54,664
No Longer Active in Staging. No Longer Staging
Hickory, NC

Abby - An excellent post with fabulous advice.. It was a great thing for LuAnn to encourage you and now she can refer you.. God bless,

August 21, 2008 09:31 PM #2
Rainmaker
309,434
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles & Pasadena, CA

Abby: This is great advice for anyone thinking of becoming a stager. Thanks for posting it.

August 21, 2008 10:24 PM #3
Rainmaker
486,417
Kathy Nielsen
http://atlantahomestaging.net - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Awesome advice, Abby.  I especially liked the suggestion to consult with REA's before you start your business.  As you said, there's no pressure at that point and an excellent way to gain insight.

Kathy

August 22, 2008 07:16 AM #4
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Great advice and pointers Abby.  Researching the many forms of training that will best suit their needs is important. 

August 22, 2008 07:21 AM #5
Rainmaker
181,895
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging

Abby -- this is excellent -- you should submit it to ezine articles.

Featured in the Group -- http://activerain.com/groups/RealWorldHomeStaging

 

August 22, 2008 08:37 AM #6
Rainer
52,986
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

Karen O, Cheryl, Michelle M, Kathy, Michele H and Karen D:  Thanks you for stopping by and for your comments!

Karen D...you know I had an Ezine account for a year and did not submit one thing.  Maybe I'll consider that!  =)  Thanks for the suggestion!

 

August 22, 2008 09:21 AM #7
Rainmaker
208,127
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CEP Realtor, Etc.

LuAnn is my kind of staging Realtor.  Many of us touting that label are just like her.  We believe in staging but are smart enough to know where our expertise lies.  ANd, the client gets a little confused about who is taking care of their real estate, their signs, their contracts, their showings if I am schlepping furniture and can't take a call.  IF I stage, I bring a professional stager, I am the hobbyist, she is the professional in that arena.  I am a Realtor and I am clear about that.

The only disagreement I have is the education issue.  Actually as a Realtor, designations DO mean something.  They mean something to the Realtor who spends time and money getting their designations and the client who feels you at least took a course that had a criteria and in a regulated industry that's important to them.  I think it's even more important in an unregulated industry (although RESA is paving the way for self regulation which makes the public feel more secure too, but that's another blog post). 

Just my opinion of course.  Good thought provoking post and very good advice for someone wanting to start a staging hobby business.

August 22, 2008 09:36 AM #8
Rainmaker
660,136
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Abby ~ Excellent post which should be required reading for anyone thinking of getting into the home staging business!  One thing I've noticed in our area that many realtors have taken that 2-day staging training class which makes them think they can "stage" properties, but all they do is add a few plants and towels and candles, etc. and don't have the expertise to stage the way fulltime, professional stagers do.  Unfortunately, they even offer their services to their office colleagues -- so their clients get the short end of the stick.  You can tell instantly from the online photos that the house was staged by a realtor and not by a professional stager.  As Terrylynn pointed out -- good realtors are too busy marketing and showing properties. 

August 22, 2008 09:47 AM #9
Rainer
11,270
Gail Alexander
Setting the Stage, LLC - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Stager

Abby...Somehow your post should be at the top of EVERY goggle search for  anyone looking to get into this business!  There is a world of difference in trainings and that is why RESA is so important and something we all need to support and become involved in.

Terrylynn   You and LuAnn are Realtors and Real Estate Professionals in the true sense of the word and know what is best to help your clients get their homes sold.  It's no wonder you are so successful.

Maureen...Seattle has the same problem you do with many Realtors thinking they can stage.  You can spot those photos a mile away but they say they are doing their clients a service, when in actuality they are doing their clients a DIS-service!  Even other REA make comments about it.  And then they complain that they can't make it in the real estate business.  I saw a print-out some time ago that a Realtor had put together about how many hours it took to list and sell a home and it is mind boggling.  Sure don't know when they have time to "stage," if they are properly servicing their clients.

I'd love to see a post from our awesome Realtors with that breakdown again.

August 22, 2008 10:20 AM #10
Rainer
52,986
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

Hi Terrylynn, You are right and I value your opinion. 

I do think training is very important for any prospective stager I just feel they need to do their HW when researching the training available to see what information is being offered, the cost, etc. rather then getting caught up what letters are most important.  I don't want anyone to lose sight of what they need to get started. 

Thanks to RESA for making the strides toward regulation.  =) 

Thanks for commenting.

August 22, 2008 10:31 AM #11
Rainer
52,986
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

Hi Maureen, what I love about an agent like Terrylynn, and LuAnn, is that they are knowledgable about what the home needs to be staged properly.  They can call upon the right person to do the job they know needs to get done.  IMO, I think that is what these courses really should be for.  My grandmother always said, when we complained about helping her clean, "If you had a housekeeper, how would you know the job was done right if you'd never done it yourself?"  You need to be in those shoes at some point to know if something was done right or wrong.  Thanks for commenting.

Hi Gail, oh thanks!  =)  that was nice of you to say!  Although I'm not a member of RESA {yet!} I know what they are doing is instrumental to the long term success of this industry (and our businesses!) and fully support Shell and the others for what they are doing.  Hat's off to RESA, for sure!

August 22, 2008 10:44 AM #12
Rainmaker
137,338
Beth Lester
Home Staging Designs of California - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

Thanks for the great post.  When I was looking into starting my business, I did try to research my area.  I didn't find too many stagers on the internet or phone book, so I thought it was pretty wide open.  Since then, I have found there are quite a few that are well-established.  However, there are literally hundreds of realtors in my area, so I believe there is still room for more. 

August 22, 2008 11:35 AM #13
Rainmaker
420,174
Melissa Marro
Watson Realty Corp - Saint Augustine, FL
St Augustine, St Johns, Ponte Vedra

Abby - Well said!  Too few wanna be stagers actually do their research.  Some, when they do, forget to pay attention to what they learned.  It is all very important.. both the research and the actual paying attention...

August 22, 2008 06:00 PM #14
Rainmaker
270,523
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA
ASP, IAHSP, RESA Danville, CA

I am sending emails and information to a new stager in New Jersey so this is very timely and helpful for me.  I sent it to her-thank you so much!!!  Great Post! 

August 22, 2008 06:24 PM #15
Rainer
52,986
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

Hi Beth, True and if you think about the sheer number of homes that are for sale...I bet the % of them that are actually staged is really small, so there's PLENTY of room for more stagers.

Hi Melissa, yes, you are right about that.  I think Tom Scanlon recently said in one of his posts that retook the course 3 or 4 times because he didn't think he got it all the first time.  That's actually impressive that someone would do that...means he was serious about the success of his biz!

Hi Cathy, Awesome!  hope it helps her.

August 22, 2008 07:21 PM #16
Rainer
18,513
Peg Prather
Vancouver, WA
Vancouver, WA

I gave my neighbor a bid to stage her previous house which has been on the market for a year. I just found out tonight that I lost the bid, which by the way was very low as a courtesy to my neighbor....the maddening thing is I lost it to a Realtor who will "stage" it for free.  I'm too mad to comment any more tonight!  But I think I'll go out tomorrow and declare myself a realtor...and offer real estate advice for free if I can stage clients homes. 

I cannot wait to see the pictures once they are posted. (I'll be better by tomorrow.)

August 22, 2008 10:54 PM #17
Rainer
52,986
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

Aw, Peg!  I'm sorry but you made me chuckle even though I see your frustration!  So sorry to hear that!  I'm sure we'd love to see the link to the listing once it's up...hehehehe.... 

Feel better...keep your chin up...maybe it was best you didn't 'work' for your neighbor anyway.  Things do happen for a reason.

August 23, 2008 09:45 AM #18
Rainer
18,513
Peg Prather
Vancouver, WA
Vancouver, WA

Thank you Abby, you are right. I just feel that respect is the number one criteria for being in business. I respect the training and qualifications of Realtors. I know they have worked to become experts in their field. But so have stagers, and the respect needs to go both ways. Glad I made you chuckle...I'm smiling now. Onward and upward I always say!

August 23, 2008 10:26 AM #19
Rainer
71,926
Marian Lake Walker
Staged 2Gain - Inverness, FL
Home Stager Florida, Home Staging Central Florida

Thanks Abby,

Having a realistic view of what you're getting into is just as important for this business as it is for any other.

Research and the right training, then what Melissa says is so true..."paying attention to" what we learned. 

With regards to Peg, just another reason why we need to work for credibility and respect for our industry--look at the online photos of so-called staged homes and see all the missed opportunities and cold, sterile rooms...  

August 23, 2008 12:33 PM #20
Show All Comments
Rainer
52,986

Abby Roselli

Staten Island Home Stager
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