Your real estate agent has suggested that you need a home stager. Usually one of two things is occurring: either you’re getting ready to list your house for sale or you’re already listed and lingering on the market. Hopefully, you’ve selected an agent that has a team of professionals with a home stager being one of them.
The first place to start is to understand the definition of home staging, especially since you’re being asked to do it by your real estate agent. Home staging is not decorating, interior design, showcasing collections, nor about your personal style and taste. Home staging is a two-part process: The act of preparing and showcasing residential or commercial property for sale. It is a systematic and coordinated methodology in which knowledge of real estate, home renovations and creative design principles are applied to attract a buyer based on their demographic. Home staging is “merchandising” your house to sell.
In the Central Florida market, home staging has traditionally been used for the luxury home market. Luxury homes are those homes valued and priced roughly three times the norm for the area. I do, however, want to emphasize that home staging is for every price point of home — not just luxury. When you prepare your car to trade in, whether it’s a Kia or a Mercedes Benz, you’re going to go about detailing it and giving it the same amount of love before you sell it or trade it in. You want to get the most value for it.
Preparing and showcasing your home also involves giving it some love through the act of cleaning, de-cluttering, updating and repairing. Once you have completed these steps, then you want to show off your hard work by arranging furniture, accessories, art and light to play up its best architectural features. Preparing and showcasing your home is “home staging.” I always recommend to clients to stage at a minimum the key rooms. They are the first room you see when you enter the house (usually the living or family room), the kitchen, the dining room, the master bedroom and bathrooms.
Now that we know what home staging really is, how do you find a home stager and what do you need to know when hiring one? Ask your real estate agent if they currently work with one and who they recommend. If not, do some homework on the web and use the keywords “find a home stager”. Make sure the one you select is used to working in your area and understands who’s buying homes in your area, i.e. type of people or families. Ask if you’ll receive a detailed report with photos so you’ll know exactly what needs to be completed. Make sure you read the stager’s contract so you know what to expect, what you’ll receive, and what fees are charged. Beware of stagers who bid low as you may receive less than acceptable furnishings and results. A good stager and real estate agent will help you achieve fewer days on market. Many of the homes selling now are receiving bids over the asking price. Make sure the stager’s portfolio is not their work as a student; also make sure it is their work. A stager’s own work is watermarked with their company’s name. Ask the stager for references; read their customer testimonials. Find out if they’re insured and what their insurance covers.
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RESA’s Consumer’s Guide to Real Estate Staging (scroll down on the page to get your FREE guide)