The old adage “First impressions are everything” truly applies when selling real estate. In general, buyers decide within the first 30 seconds of entering a property whether or not they are interested. That is why home staging is so important, as it allows the home to be presented in the best possible light in an effort to wow prospective buyers.
According to home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®, there are several things to keep in mind when hiring a professional home stager:
1. While some home stagers claim to be “accredited,” there is no independent organization that grants such accreditation.
Some home stagers have essentially purchased their “credentials” by taking a weekend course open to anyone. There are no exams or criteria for being “accredited” other than paying for a course. And unfortunately, these courses often give their students a portfolio of before and after photos to claim as their own work.
2. Ask for references and photos of projects the home stager has actually worked on.
If you are planning to sell your home for $200,000 or more, the home stager you hire should have a track record of homes they have staged. Have they worked on houses in your price range and in a variety of styles? Do they have reliable suppliers that they can refer you to? If you have a limited timeframe before your house hits the market, you especially want to know if the person has had experience working under a deadline.
3. Try to determine whether the home stager is recognized as an expert in the field.
Are they quoted by the media? Do they speak at events? Have any of their projects been featured on TV or in print? Do they teach courses or publish articles on the subject?
4. Home staging is more than decorating or de-cluttering.
Real estate staging is more than just “decorating” or “de-cluttering.” It is merchandising a home’s best features, downplaying its flaws and understanding the psychology of what makes a person fall in love with a home.
5. Real estate knowledge is critical.
Before you hire a home stager, find out how much they really know about real estate. Have they bought and sold their own homes in a variety of market conditions? Do they really know what it takes to turn a house into a “hot property”?
6. The home stager should understand that preparing to sell your home is a very stressful time.
As with any major life change, preparing and selling your home can be very stressful. Undoubtedly, many fears are triggered.
- Which real estate agent should I list with?
- Will the house be ready on time?
- Are we making the right decision?
- What if we get stuck owning two houses?
- Where can I put all this stuff?
- What will the home stager think of me when she sees this mess?
- Why didn’t I decorate before now?
- Who can I get for repairs, gardening, painting and cleaning?
- Do all my rooms need to be furnished?
- How will I cope with showings?
When you hire a professional real estate stager, part of their role is calming these anxieties and answering your questions. Before hiring a stager, ask yourself whether they seem organized, calm and in control, and whether they listen to your needs.
7. Avoid being penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Beware of hiring a home stager based on price alone. You may save yourself a couple of hundred dollars only to lose tens of thousands of dollars you could have earned if your home was staged properly from the beginning.
If you are in the market to sell your home, one of the best decisions you can make is to use the services of a professional home stager. But before you hire anyone, ask lots of questions. You will be working closely with this person during the project, and this is your chance to see if you will feel comfortable working together.
Red Barrinuevo | Your Toronto Home Stager
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Programwith over 4,000 students worldwide. Gould is the author of four home staging guides and offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar. To learn more, visit www.stagingdivadirectoryofhomestagers.com
Written by internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®, www.stagingdiva.com. © Copyright Six Elements Inc. Used with permission.