Home staging is one of the hottest businesses to start to get rich quick - or so the media says. If you combine all the publicity the home staging industry is getting with all the women out of work, plus add in all the people who think it's fun to decorate - you get a stew with a lot of rotten potatoes.
Take your city for example. Go online to Google and type in your city name and "home stagers." You will likely get several pages of results. And some of the home stager's web sites you will find are quite snappy! The photos look great and the written material sounds enticing. The blogging is quite good with scores of expert information. But can you be sure about this person? Are the photos their own? Is the written information coming from their own knowledge - or is it just rewrites of published articles?
The truth is the majority of home stagers have only been in the business for a short time. Even if they've been in the business for a couple of years, they may only have actually staged three or four properties - or less.
Some people trying to break into the home staging business are so desperate to get started that they go around begging REALTORS and property owners to let them work for free in hopes of appearing legitimate.
Home staging takes training, dedication, and time. There is wisdom in experience. Home stagers who have been in the business for several years will tell you that they've learned a lot as time has gone by. Don't risk wasting money on someone with little or no experience without proven results.
Don't be fooled by the person who's a great speaker and full of book knowledge. Show me the money!
Ask them to list all the properties they've staged and sold- how long they were on the market before and after staging - and the selling price. Anyone can boast "Offer in 2 days!" This can be a jokester coming through open house saying he'll give $500 for the property.
Ask to physically visit a home that this person currently has staged. Make sure you visit a staged property in the same price range as your property. And if you're looking to have a vacant property furnished, make sure the staged property you visit was also a vacant property before staging. If you don't know what to look for - take someone with you who does. A good source to find a professional is stagedhomes.com.
Check references, check insurance, check education and training, and re check the properties this home stager is claiming to have staged and sold.
Joan Inglis, Master Accredited Staging Professional, interior designer, REALTOR www.LakeWylieHomeStaging.com
"Trusted Throughout the Carolinas Since 2004"