Creating that "first impression"
Home sellers have always tried to clean up, fix up and do whatever they could to improve the looks of their home before inviting a prospective buyer to come check it out. Most home sellers are interested in getting the most money for their home that is possible. A homeowner knows that the home must look it's best before the first prospect shows up. Anything that makes the home more appealing or attractive to the buyer must be done. Most of the time, a homeowner just can't imagine or visualize what their home would look like with another family's furnishings. Yet, that's exactly what needs to happen. Buyers usually decide how much they like a house by picturing their own possessions in each room. A home seller needs to assist in making it possible for the buyer to imagine living there.
That is what a Professional Home Stager can do: assist the buyer's imagination. A home stager can help tremendously with that buyer's "first impression". Homeowners always arrange furniture to fit their needs and desires. The home also usually contain years of clutter and knick-knacks. Also, most homeowners aren't interior decorators or designers. It is just hard to do-it-yourself and get it right.
So how will a home stager help?
A home stager can come in, take a tour of the home, and get a feel for different arrangements of the furnishings, take out distracting items, and add items to enhance the ambience. Simple things like lighting, flowers, or a new picture can alter the buyers' perspective. A home stager will also identify potential problems and make recommendations for improvement. Sometimes, they will suggest a different theme for certain rooms. Current homeowners may have always used a room as a kid's bedroom but buyers might see it as a study or office. Home stagers can visualize this and make the best use of the space.
Home stagers can also make a vacant house seem more livable. The home stager will bring in furniture, accessories, rugs or other items to make the house look it's best. Sometimes they will rent the items they bring in and other times they will use the homeowners belongings. Some home stagers even keep their own supply of various furnishings and accessories. Others will rent them.
How much does it cost?
A professional home stager can charge for their services in various ways. Some quote a flat rate for the service and others charge by the hour. A home seller will usually get several estimates. An estimate should state exactly what service will be performed, such as whether the home stager will simply provide a consultation or completely run the project. The estimate should also include any rental fees or purchases that will be made as part of the project. An estimate should always be free and it should be fairly close to the actual final cost of the project.
How can I become a home stager?
Achieving success as a home stager requires a balance of artistic skills and customer-service skills. There are no formal requirements such as education or state certification. You will need a business license in most states. There are numerous training courses and seminar programs available. As with any small business, being self-employed means you must be very good at managing a business. You must be good at, or become good at, marketing your skills and services, communicating your proposals and explaining your estimates, managing the finances of a business, and be tenacious at building the business. You must build strong realationships with other businesses and individuals who can be an asset to you, i.e., real estate agents, furniture rental companies, building contractors, and, it would probably pay to have a handyman available for small fix-it projects.
How much money will I make?
As with any small business, your income can vary greatly. And, it depends on how good you become. Fees can range from $75 for an initial consultaion to $500 for an entire project. Jobs can usually be completed in several hours. Some home stagers start out part time. As with any business, successes and referrals from satisfied customers can greatly increase you business. There will be times that you'll need to work at night or on weekends to meet a client. Your appointments will usually be set around their schedule. However, this work does allow for flexibility in your schedule which can be a great thing.