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If you have a passion for interior design and are highly creative, you might be well-suited to a career in home staging. This work is in extremely high-demand and skilled home stagers can earn a significant amount for their services and talents.
Here, we’ll take a look at the ins and outs of what it means to be a successful home stager so you can evaluate whether or not this seems like a viable option for you.
What Does a Home Stager Do?
Home stagers provide an integral service when it comes to real estate. Eighty-three percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home (source).
It’s a basic rule of thumb that a cluttered, messy, or poorly styled property will be significantly harder to sell. When prospective buyers view a property they need to be shown its full potential. This means finding the best spacing options for furniture and décor; lighting the property in a way that accentuates its best features; and adding small personal touches that will give a more welcoming and positive feel to the space.
The work of professional home stagers is in consistently high demand because the real estate market is incredibly saturated and competitive. Sellers and real estate agents are willing to go above and beyond to ensure their property sells quickly and for a good price.
As a professional home stager, you could find yourself making small adjustments such as adding in soft furnishings and pieces of artwork to improve the overall feel and aesthetic of the home, or you might find yourself entirely rearranging the home; removing pieces of furniture that don’t compliment the space and bringing in new pieces to improve the look of the space.
The work can be pretty varied and the type of service you offer is entirely dependent on your personal preferences and your target client base. Some clients may provide a budget from which you can invest in new décor and furniture that you feel will maximize the chance of sale; others might simply ask that you use your creative flair to arrange the items within the space in a way that is likely to be most appealing to prospective buyers.
As a self-employed home stager, you’ll be calling the shots. It is entirely up to you what kind of work you take on and the kind of clients you choose to work with.
What Sort of Skills or Experience Does a Home Stager Need?
Firstly, home stagers are likely to be highly creative and have a talent and passion for interior design.
Being able to work with a wide range of different spaces and envisioning how to showcase their best features is a true skill and can take years of practice and experience to master.
With that being said, it’s true that some people are simply born with an eye for interior design. If you have the creativity and imagination coupled with an excellent understanding of spacing, lighting, and current trends, then chances are you could be well suited to a career in home staging.
Secondly, you’ll need to have substantial confidence in yourself, your skills, and your business. This is a competitive field and real estate can be a high-pressure industry. For this reason, you’re likely to find yourself in some stressful situation where you’re forced to adapt and overcome in order to deal with a problem or obstacle. It might be a difficult client, limited available resources, or damages caused during an open house. It’s vital that you maintain a calm and controlled demeanor in order to handle the situation effectively and efficiently.
Should you choose to embark on this career path independently and without the support of an employer or assistant, you’re going to need some basic business and administrative skills. These include time-management, organization and communication skills. You’re also likely to find yourself handling payments and processing invoices, so a basic understanding in this area is also important.
Finally, networking and liaising with other professionals is a vital aspect of the job. In order to maintain a consistent workload, you should aim to build working relationships with local real estate agents. You might do this by offering them discounted rates on the first clients they refer to you or offering to recommend their services to your other clients. However you go about it, networking is extremely important and could mean the difference between making enough money each month to pay the bills, and truly excelling in your new business endeavor.
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Will You Need Any Specific Qualifications?
In the US, home staging is an unregulated industry. This means that home stagers are not required to pass any formal exams or hold any official qualifications before advertising their services.
This is great, as it means that you’re free to get started straight away. However, it also means that the industry can be extremely over-saturated and the skill level of home stagers can vary pretty dramatically. This is another reason to get networking as soon as possible! Clients are much more likely to work with you if they have a solid recommendation from a trusted friend or professional.
Although it is by no means essential, it might be a good idea to invest in some basic training, whether it’s in home staging, interior design, or the logistics of running a business. Not only is this likely to give you an edge over other home stagers in your area without such credentials, but it might also boost your confidence and provide you with some helpful information.
Some other opportunities that might interest you include:
Home Much Does a Home Stager Make?
Home staging can be an extremely lucrative business. Top earners within the industry can charge upwards of $150 per hour, which adds up to a substantial amount of money with a consistent workload. Of course, we’re talking about the most successful home stagers here, so this is not the norm.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual income for a home stager in the US is $48,517.
As we said earlier, the work is in high demand, meaning that clients are willing to pay a lot for top-quality services. If you’re highly-skilled and are able to build a strong repertoire of work and good networking connections, it is absolutely possible to make good money in this line of work.
However, it is always important to be realistic when embarking on any new career path. As a new home stager, you might need to offer your services at a competitive price to start with until you have a solid reputation and have proven yourself to be a highly skilled home stager. Once you have a little more experience under your belt, you can begin to increase your rates.
Carry out some research and find out what other home stagers in your area are charging. Aim to match these or even undercut them slightly, in order to gain clients quickly and establish yourself as a key figure within the industry.
Tips for Prospective or New Home Stagers
1. Invest in Some Training
Some initial training will provide you with a broad understanding of exactly what you are about to embark upon. There are a number of home staging courses available online which vary in price and specialist content.
Even if you don’t feel that you need any training in home staging specifically, it might be worth undergoing some basic business training. Working as a self-employed home stager will call upon a huge range of skills which you might not yet have developed or used. Things like managing finances, advertising your business, liaising with clients and suppliers, and managing a business schedule might sound fairly simple, but they actually require a lot of skill and expertise. These are all things you’re likely to cover in a basic business course or class.
As well as boosting your confidence and increasing your knowledge and skills, having some formal qualifications is also likely to make you appear more reputable and trustworthy to prospective clients.
The online course Styling and Staging Interior Spaces is a great way to learn all the essentials of staging.
2. Carry Out a LOT of Market Research!
As with any new business venture or career endeavor, it’s vital that you carry out adequate market research. This really could be the key to your business’ success.
By researching other home stagers in your locality you’ll gain a clear insight into the overall scope of the industry. Not only will this tell you how many other home stagers you will be up against when it comes to gaining clients, but it will also give you a clearer understanding of how much you should be charging for your service, how best to advertise your business, and the type of work that appears to be popular within your local area.
These days, market research is often as simple as inputting a quick Facebook search. You could also look for any local Facebook groups specifically for home stagers or clients looking for home stagers. Talk to estate agents about their staging needs, attend real estate networking events, and check local news sources for any adverts or listings.
3. Invest in Some Timeless, Essential Pieces (and Maybe Some Storage Space)
This one might be more relevant once you’re a little further into your staging career, but it’s still a good tip to be aware of. Many home stagers choose to invest in a range of timeless home décor pieces which can be introduced to almost any space and instantly elevate the overall aesthetic.
This might include a beautiful armchair; some classic but striking artwork; cushions and soft furnishings in universally appealing prints or colors; or maybe you could build a relationship with a local florist whereby you are able to purchase fresh flowers at a discounted rate for your continued loyalty.
Having some basic items that you can bring in to truly enhance the space will make your job much easier and is also likely to entice more clients when they hear about the lengths you will go to in order to ensure they get the best service.
If you gather a large number of items, bear in mind that you will also need somewhere to store these safely and securely!
4. Network! Network! Network!
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again. Networking is vital in this line of work. Build as many working relationships as possible. Whether this is with real estate agents, furniture stores, local florists or artists, other home stagers, or property investors, networking is a surefire way of securing more clients and building a reputable and respected business.
For those with a passion for interior design and a creative flair, home staging is a great career and provides the opportunity to build a great business that could prove to be extremely lucrative.
With that being said, it does not come without a substantial amount of hard work and effort. By considering each of the points listed here and the tips and tricks we have given, there is no reason that you can’t monetize your talents and build a successful career in home staging.