Home staging is somewhat of a new phenomenon when it comes to selling a home. It can greatly reduce the time spent on the market and increase the sales price of your home. Consider these 10 areas when choosing a Professional Home Stager:
1. Pictures – A picture is worth a thousand words… Every home stager should have a Website, Blog, Facebook, or Instagram page where you can view his or her portfolio of homes they have staged. There should be before and after photos, different styles of homes, and multiple rooms. *This should go without saying, but PLEASE be sure it is actually pictures of their work, not some stock photos they found! You can ask for MLS Numbers or addresses to verify authenticity if you feel something is out of place. You can also ask to see pictures of homes that are in a similar market and style as yours.
2. Proof - This goes right along with number one. While every new home stager deserves a chance at success, experience and longevity in the market are a BONUS! Considering everything, it is better to go with someone who has been a home stager for long enough to have a resume to prove it as they have more experience dealing with many different types of houses.
3. Personality- One of the goals of staging a home is to make it less taste-specific and less personal, and instead make it appeal to the broad range of buyers, all while infusing current, up-to-date style that buyers love! Each should be decorated and accessorized for the type of home it is, the location and the profile of the buyer for this type of home. Some stagers have their own inventory of furniture and others use a furniture rental company. Please, DO NOT, under any circumstance hire a home stager who seems to do primarily small vignettes, such as a totally empty room except for a corner with a wicker chair, artwork and tiny plant. This accomplishes nothing in getting a buyer to fall in love with the home.
4. Prevalent - Home staging as a profession has a low barrier to entry, meaning that anyone can call themselves a home stager. Be sure to look for current, up-to-date furnishings and styles. You wouldn’t want your home to look like a second-hand store of furnishings from the late 80’s. Also, beware of the home staging hobbyist, e.g., the wife of a friend of yours who likes to decorate. Staging involves much more than that. It's about downplaying the negative features and emphasizing the positive features of a property. It's about capitalizing on the focal point of the room and making sure there is proper flow within a room so it's easy for buyers to navigate.
5. Popular Presence – Check for testimonials, reviews and referrals. The worldwide web is full of areas that offer the ability to check for reviews. Google, Houzz, Facebook, and of course the stager’s website. You can also ask for the names and contact information of past clients. Contact them and ask them these questions: • Was it easy working with__________? • Why did you hire____________? • Did they respond to you in a timely manner? Professional? • Was the project completed when they said it would be? • Were you pleased with the results?
6. Price - Don't choose a home stager because they are the cheapest of the ones you have called. Seriously consider all of the things listed here. And don't think that the one with the highest fee also means he or she is must be a great home stager. It could just mean that they have found they can charge this price and only deal with a certain clientele. If their bid for a vacant or occupied staging comes in much lower than others, it may be because they will be using inexpensive accessories or furniture or cutting corners to cut their time in the project. Check the facts!
7. Protection- Make sure your home stager has general business liability insurance or professional liability insurance. You can always ask for a copy of their insurance certificate(s).
8. Prevailing- Whether you're a homeowner or a real estate agent, you want to make sure you will be able to work with the home stager. • Do they have the type of personality you would get along with? • Do they appear to be professional? • Have they been responsive to you so far? Did they return calls and emails promptly? • Do they seem organized? • Are they a good listener? • If you are a real estate agent, how do you think they might talk to your clients when it comes to providing advice on sensitive things they need to change in order to get the home sold?
9. Proposal – A Contract or an agreement in writing between the homeowner and the client will protect both parties. And it also points to the professionalism and seriousness of the home stager.
10. People – An excellent home stager who knows good realtors, efficient and inexpensive house painters, handymen, landscapers etc. can be very valuable.