It's important to me that my clients know I will always try to have their best interests at heart. I develop relationships for the long haul, to benefit everyone; believing that what I give out, I usually receive back. Believing this and in fact recognizing it as a core value of mine has helped to shape the way in which I conduct business. This is important information, because it has helped to frame a policy my company has regarding a practice most home stagers are involved with and one in which I not only differ, but do not offer to prospective clients.
The practice I refer to is the use of before being staged photographs of occupied properties. My reasoning is this: If my entire goal is to draw attention to and highlight a property, why on earth would I ever take the risk that a potential home buyer would ever see that same property in anything less than the optimal condition the home is or has been in?
Additionally, there are people that live in that home; people with feelings and not all of them are adult; some of them do not want their not so proverbial dirty laundry aired. Take a good look at your own home on its very worst day and ask yourself and your family if you would like that image of you, your family and your home displayed for anyone.
It seems amazing to me that I can click on a button and gather information on a home that will tell me all public data that is available on a specific property. I can click another button and zoom in on a swing set in theback yard. Is it that far of a stretch to imagine, some day, the possibility of someone collecting all the images ever posted on a particular property and compiling them into the same database? Mmmmm....not that hard for me to imagine. And, it's not in the best interest of my clients for me to participate in this practice.
I am able to display before and after photos - I just do it a bit differently. I use my digital camera. Yes, I said digital camera. You see, when I provide a no cost bid I'm able to convey my care for my clients, explain my company's policy and the reasoning behind it and then I take just a short amount of time to "stage" a small room, say a bathroom, or set up vignettes in the kitchen or stage the breakfast area. I take the before image and then the after image. I display, via the camera screen and in person, the before and after's. Thus far, it hasn't hurt me a bit.
Should I encounter a potential client that is insistent on those before and after photo's that most other stagers use, I'll be happy to refer them on - I do after all have to protect the best interests of my current clients.
*** NOTE: After reading and agreeing with important principles in Carole's blog Post found here, I've amended my wording on the "always" found in this post. I also believe that Jackson West brings a great amount of validity to his perspective that is found in the comments below and they tie in well with Carole's post. Thank you to both of you for expanding my own "never land"!
Jackie Peraza is the Principal of Perceptions AdverStagingTM, LLC - A Home Staging, Redesign and Dewey Color Consulting Firm located in Framingham, MA.