Selling your home is one of the most important financial transactions you can make. It’s a valuable asset that needs to be showcased to perfection if you want to receive the highest return on investment.
How do you accomplish this? You hire a professional home staging designer.
Like anything else, all staging designers are not created equally and it’s safe to say that you get what you pay for. Anyone can claim the title “home stager/staging designer,” however, while many are able to declutter and decorate, a professional goes beyond the basics. There are specific research based skills and industry tested strategies required to effectively stage a home for sale.
Professionally stagers have obtained the formal training necessary to properly and effectively get the job done.
The key to finding your perfect stager is in your research. A professional stager has market knowledge, knows your property value and buyer demographic to design the most appropriate staging for your specific property.
Here are the Top 5 Things To Look For In A Professional Home Stager:
1 – FORMAL TRAINING & INTERIOR MARKETING EDUCATION
Your home stager must be professionally trained in home staging. Many decorators, interior designers and even realtors can offer to stage your house. If this is the case, be sure to ask if they are professionally trained in home staging. A good decorator or interior designer does not always equate to a good home stager. Staging requires market knowledge and targeted lifestyle design skills. Interior design and home staging have completely opposite goals. Interior design personalizes a space to reflect the owners, whereas, home staging depersonalizes a space to appeal to the home’s targeted demographic. (More on this in another blog)
Home staging courses teach valuable marketing tools (particularly in real estate) that are specific to home staging. A trained professional stages with the intention and focus for it to appeal to your buyer. To be clear, staging is not just about decluttering and good decorating. The stager you choose to hire should clearly be able to convey this knowledge in your first consultation.
2 – INDUSTRY CREDENTIALS
The home staging industry’s has trade associations such as RESA (Real Estate Staging Association) and IAHSP (International Association of Home Staging Professionals). Be sure to check that the stager you choose is an active member of one of these associations. It shows they are recognized in their industry as a professional.
3 – PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE
First and foremost, before hiring a professional stager it’s a good idea to do your research online. Find a stager with a professional website that includes their portfolio, bio, credentials and a few testimonials from satisfied clients. Never hire a stager that does not have a professional website. Once you’ve found a couple professional stagers you like, an important question to ask them is, “Are all of the photos in your portfolio rooms that you have staged?” This is a great way to confirm that what you are seeing their work and not stock photography or someone else’s work.
4 – INSURANCE & CONTRACT
Two very important documents your professional stager must have are proof of insurance and a legally binding staging agreement/contract. Be sure to ask that they have these before you hire them. You’ll want to be sure your home and anyone who enters is (stager, movers, assistants, etc.) are all insured. A professional will also have a contract appropriate to the service you need (vacant or occupied staging) that legally covers themselves, their inventory and your property for the business you will do together.
5 – CONNECTION
Yes, a connection. This may seem silly, but don’t underestimate the good or bad feeling your instincts give you. Once you’ve found your top 2-3 stagers who meet all of the above requirements, it’s important that you are able to “connect” on some level when you meet them. After all, this is someone you are trusting and allowing into your home. They don’t have to be your best friend by any means, however, you should definitely feel confident that they can get the job done and be able to trust they have the proper skills needed to reach your buyer demographic as well as be respectful of your home.
If you have have a bad feeling, no matter how great someone may look on paper, keep looking. Selling your home can be a stressful time and hiring the right stager will make the process easier and faster.