In case you were still wondering how many people have heard of home staging, here’s further proof that this is a well established field. It seems the scam artists are starting to crawl out from under their rocks to see if they can con home stagers into sending them money!
This is a twist on the “send money to a foreign country to rescue a dying relative” or “assist a diplomat who needs help getting millions out of the country and you’ll be rewarded” — this time with a script rewritten for home stagers and decorators or interior designers who might do work for home owners who are living abroad.
In this scam the interior designer or home stager is contacted by an out-of-country “homeowner” by email. The sender leads you on about a project and tries to build a rapport all in the hopes of tricking you into handing over your money.
In the specific case I’ve heard about, the stager said the man was very vague around details of the home. He wouldn’t answer the stager’s questions. Instead, he seemed focused on whether or not she had credit card processing abilities. Even though the stager didn’t provide an estimate for staging fees (because she didn’t have enough information from the “client”), he told her that she was to charge $16,000 to his credit card, keeping $8,000 for herself and sending $8,000 to his “artist.”
Thankfully, this home stager didn’t fall into the trap of being blinded by the promised $8,000 fee, and when she questioned this arrangement she never heard from the man again.
Look out for schemes like this because unfortunately, some of people are just too trusting and they will do something like this, trying to help someone out. Otherwise, email scams would not still be so very prevalent.
Has anything like this happened to you in your home staging career? Real estate agents, do you have any similar experiences from "out of town buyers"? Share your thoughts and/or experiences by leaving a comment below.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is President of Six Elements Inc. and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. An entrepreneur for 20 years and author of several guides, including the Home Stager's Guide to Twitter, Debra has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate and uses her expertise to train others worldwide.