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How to choose a Home Stager


When preparing your client’s house to be listed, you wouldn’t hire an unlicensed electrician, or a neighbor kid who says he wants to be a gardener when he grows up. You hire professionals for the important jobs that will make a difference in how well and quickly the home sells. Since home staging, if done well, can dramatically improve selling price and level of buyer interest (and if done poorly can do the opposite), it’s worth a bit of your time to do your research and hire the right home stager.

In this video, Ana Hitzel of Accent Positives Home Staging and Redesign talks about the things you should and shouldn’t look for when hiring a home stager. For example, letters after someone’s name may mean less than a quality portfolio and references. Additionally, while you may have known that the industry is unregulated, did you know that there is a professional association for home stagers, RESA, which, among other requirements and services, provides ethics training and continuing education for its members.

That, and there are plenty of nice pictures of well-staged homes in this video, which you know you want to look at…

There are a lot of misconceptions about staging as far as “it’s all about decorating,” and it’s not. It’s all about flow and functionality, room purpose, and just being able to visualize how the space can be utilized. It’s not all about fancy knick-knacks and decorations. In many cases, especially with occupied properties, it involves a lot of editing, putting things away. But there’s an art to that. You can put too many things away, and then the place looks sterile and everybody feels cold and uninvited when they walk in the door. So, to have a professional do it is always recommended, like with any, anything else, you don’t want a rookie real estate guy, right? You don’t want someone who’s not licensed and doesn’t know what they’re doing. The same goes with the profession of staging. They’re mainly unregulated right now, so you have to be very careful when you’re looking for a stager. Make sure that they’re professional and that they have a business license and they have some training under their belt or pictures of their work that it’s actual work they did and not like stock photography.

Like with any subcontractor, you want to, you want to check ‘em out. You don’t want to just go and call ‘em up and say “come stage my house” without doing any type of research. Most professional staging companies have a website where, as we do, a website where you can view the stager’s work, a little information on the services they provide, and any organizations and continuing education that they participate in.

One good resource, if you’re looking for a stager, is the Real Estate Staging Association. We’re just now, we’re a member-governed trade organization. Hopefully, we’ll be, you know, as big as NAR someday, because, as I mentioned, staging is totally unregulated. You’ll have stagers that have alphabet soup behind their name; that really doesn’t mean anything other, it only means the courses that they took. So, when somebody tells you, “I’m an accredited staging professional,” that doesn’t mean anything on the surface. All it means is “I took a course from that company.” And some of those companies teach business practices, some just design, some do both. What we at the Real Estate Staging Association do, we take stagers from all different designations. We have people that have no training, that are just raw talent, to people that have taken a lot of training, to interior designers, and we even have real estate agent members. And we are governed by ourselves. We have ethics, we take ethics exams and there’s continuing education courses we offer. And then on the client side of it, we’re able to offer discounts because we have partnerships with businesses like Beacons and PODS and other type real-estate-related services that somebody may run across the need of when they’re selling their property.

You can find us online at www.realestatestagingassociation.com, and the directory’s by state, and you can punch up your state and find, you know, stagers in your local area that you know that are really professional and into advancing the professionalism of the industry. It’s not all HGTV like everybody thinks it is, it’s a lot of work.

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