While not every home seller and real estate agent believes in the power of home staging when selling a home, there are those who do, thanks to the proliferation of shows on television and real life success stories.
So, if you have made the decision to hire a professional (and that is a key word, “professional”) home stager, then what should you be looking for?
There are a number of things you should consider:
1. Portfolio – every home stager should have a website (this in itself is something you should look for) where you can view his or her portfolio of homes they have staged. There should be before and after photos for occupied homes and at least the after photos for vacant homes.
And make sure it IS their portfolio, not some stock photos they purchased, or worse, photos they have stolen from another home stager’s website (this has been known to happen). While it may be difficult to prove the photos are really the stager’s, one way you might be able to tell is if some of the photos look amateurish and others look totally professional and expensive.
You can also meet with the stager and ask to see their printed portfolio of before and after photos. And in particular, ask to see pictures of homes that are in a similar market and style as yours.
2. Experience – This goes hand-in-hand with number one. While every newbie deserves a break, experience and longevity should be given high consideration. All things being equal, it is better to go with someone who has been a home stager for awhile and has the portfolio to prove it as they have more experience dealing with any stumbling blocks. Also, think “survival of the fittest”. how to become a home stager
3. Decorative Style – one of the goals of staging a home is to make it less taste-specific and less personal, and instead make it appeal to the broad range of buyers. Having said that, every stager usually has some unique decorative style.
However, what you want to make sure of is not every home they stage looks just like every other home they stage. Each should be decorated and accessorized for the type of home it is, the location and the profile of the buyer for this type of home.
Home stagers have their own inventory of furniture and others use a furniture rental company. The advantage of using a furniture rental company is that there is a wide selection in terms of both price and style.
However, some home stagers are forced to use their own furniture because there are no furniture rental companies in their area. So make sure they have an extensive inventory.
Lesson: Beware of the cookie-cutter stager.
Also beware of the home stager who seems to do primarily small vignettes, such as a totally empty room save for a corner with a chair, lamp, artwork and tiny rug. This accomplishes nothing in getting a buyer to fall in love with the home and want to live there.