You can learn more about home staging by visiting the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) Web site, http://www.iahsp.com, and by reading books about the field. Another good way to learn more about the field is to study your own home and think about how you would improve its presentation if your parents decided to put it up for sale. Finally, talk to accredited staging professional (ASP) home stagers about their careers by contacting them through the member directory at the IAHSP Web site.
Home stagers are given the task of preparing a home to go on the real estate market. Challenges may include correcting walls painted a variety of colors, with a different color scheme per room; adjusting decor and furnishings to fit a room's size; and eliminating an overload of daily clutter.
Before putting their homes on the real estate market, smart sellers consult with home stagers—specially trained professionals who ensure that the property is in top condition, both physically and esthetically. The extra help pays off; according to Stagedhomes.com, 94 percent of homes staged by an accredited staging professional sell in 29 days or less.
Home staging is not about interior design. Many home stagers view a property—whether it’s new construction, a single-family home, loft, or condominium—as a stage to prepare and set, similar to creating a scene for a play or musical production.
Depending on the scope of their business, home stagers have additional duties such as marketing their services to prospective clients and real estate agents, completing continuing education classes, preparing written consultations for sellers or bids for sellers of the staging work the stager will do, acquiring inventory or rental pieces, and billing.
The first step to home staging is the consultation. Home stagers meet with prospective clients and go through a checklist. This list is used to compile necessary improvements or upgrades to elevate the house’s sales potential. Clients can choose to accept the checklist and make suggested improvements and repairs themselves, though many give the responsibilities to the home stager.
Stagers use a three-step program to make sure every part of the property is scrutinized.
Home stagers insist that the house be as clean as possible. They suggest carpets be shampooed and kept up with regular vacuuming. Draperies should also be cleaned and repaired, if needed. Windows and glass doors must be washed, both inside and out, as well as mirrors or glass accents inside the house.
Home stagers review the house, from top to bottom and suggest ideas to stage the property. Some ideas are minor, such as painting the walls a neutral color or replacing cabinet hardware. Other suggestions are more time-consuming and costly, for example, modernizing outdated light fixtures or replacing cabinet doors.
Home stagers zero in on the flow of a particular room. They suggest or make changes such as the number of furniture pieces or even furniture placement. Oftentimes, they remove large or extraneous pieces of furniture. By doing so, the room appears larger and more spacious. Home stagers also discourage the use of personal items such as collections, memorabilia, family photos, and other items, which create a cluttered look. They advise the sellers to rent storage units to house extra pieces or collections while the house is on the market.
Home stagers de-clutter kitchens and bathrooms, removing unnecessary items—cookbooks and canisters from countertops, makeup and brushes from vanities, magnets from refrigerators, and knickknacks from side tables—in order to create a cleaner and more spacious look.
Since dark or unusual colors make a room look smaller, home stagers often suggest walls be painted a soft neutral color. They are also concerned with details and final touches. Certain items such as color-coordinated towels, a pretty vase of flowers, or a single statement piece are often used to create a scene. However, home stagers are trained to use pieces sparingly, in order to allow buyers to visualize the house with their own things.
When working with new construction, or other open spaces, home stagers use their inventory of furniture or staging pieces, or rent items to complete the property’s look.
The home’s exterior is another area for which home stagers make suggestions—where they also apply the same clean/repair, declutter, and color/overall look concepts to tackle landscaping, patios, or other areas. Larger projects such as planting, pruning, and cleaning roofs and gutters are referred to professional landscaping companies or building contractors.
When the home is finally ready for sale, home stagers complete the scene by recommending all lights be turned on and the addition of soft music in the background whenever potential buyers are present.