i recently came across this article "weekend businesses for domestic gods & goddesses" from entrepreneur magazine. frankly i am appalled by the inaccuracies in this article.
1. first of all, this is NOT a weekend business. this is why there is a strong surge of home stagers on the market who are not qualified. i have been doing this for almost a year now and there are a lot of issues that a stager goes through that these articles do not address. such as:
- liability -- what if someone sues you? i know a fellow stager who placed a candle in the home. the open house agent (not even the listing agent) lit the candle and forgot all about it. guess what? the candle burnt down part of the house, and because it was HER inventory, it was HER liability.
- storage -- where do you store 5 couches, 8 coffee tables in various sizes, 6 queen size beds, 22 sets of bedsheets, 13 different sizes of silk trees and......?! your garage can only hold so much (trust me, i know!)
- movers -- like i commented about in my previous blog entries, how do you find reliable movers who won't bang your furniture around and will arrive on time, as well as delivery your goods as promised? i have known a stager who have their own trucks and movers which solved that problem, but one day her truck that was loaded up with nice furniture ready to stage was stolen from the parking lot! how do you deal with such inventory loss?
- theft -- speaking of loss, how do you deal with someone steals or damage your inventory? i know a stager recently had her staged home broken into because one of the realtors on tour forgot to lock the back door. all her furniture, gone! i have had lightbulbs stolen out of my lamps. (ridiculous, isn't it? but people do it!)
- inventory-- how do you track inventory? how would you inventory your pillows? and sheets? and....?
2. all these are just the tips of the iceberg. trust me, staging is a full time job. you have to work at it to get results, much like losing weight. many realtors know this as well, if you don't prospect, you can die in this industry, doesn't matter how good you are. if you don't know your stuff either, you are going to buy yourself into debts. i go out every week to research inventory, aka research shopping and bargain hunting. frankly i have not spent anything on me lately (*tearrrr *i miss h&m), it all went into my business. having a small business takes over your personal life. it's always a challenge to strike a balance between your personal and business since you are your own boss, as well as your book keeper, your mail clerk, your own janitor and more..
3. the article also says "some house stagers set their price according to the sale price of the home--1.5 percent." 1.5%?! that is insane. for a home that is $800,000 LP for example, the staging fee will be $12,000! i am sorry, it should not be so costly to stage a home. one of the things i really like about the principles of the ASP and IRIS training is that staging is NOT costly. it is about utilizing what you have and make the best of it. at 1.5%, home owners will be broke before they get their home on market! not to mention LP (listing price) is usually NOT the final selling price. at the current market (at least in sf bay area), homes are sitting from 40-60 days at this time and many are taking price reductions. i cannot fathom even asking homeowners to pay that price myself. i remember watching bravo's million dollar listing and a home was staged for $30,000. i remember thinking to myself, that's a brand new car! (perhaps this price is true in other places but not in sf bay, at least with most stagers i know)
4. the article also recommends to have some sort of interior design background which i feel that's true, you should have a general sense of design, but it is not necessary to go through expensive and lengthy trainings for interior designers. staging is NOT interior design, it is about de-personalizing. the way you live in your home is very different from living in it. when you sell it, it becomes a product for the public. you want to appeal to the public so you can get a good price, correct? interior design is about personalizing your space. someone may think zen living is great, but others may just think it's new age frills. so how you live in your home is very different from how you will sell your home.
but anyway, enough ranting today. it's just that i personally feel that the inconsistencies in the industry frustrates me and it is what gives home staging a bad rap. this is another reason why i got involved with iahsp, because not only i want to establish a community for support, ideas, etc. to grow each other's businesses, moreover, i feel there needs to be a consistency within the industry (at least in the regional area) so the customers will recognize as legit professionals.
Cindy Lin, Founder + General Manager
Staged4more Home Staging & Redesigns
As featured and seen on HGTV, San Francisco Chronicle, San Mateo County Times, CBS 5 News, Forbes.com, Examiner.com and many other notable presses and publications.
Proud winner of Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur Award, Make Mine A Million, CSP Green Business of the Year and finalists to Innovator of the Year, Stager of the Year Awards from Real Estate Staging Association.
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