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You watched every episode of every home improvement show on HGTV. You redecorated every area of your own home many-many times and are ready to do the same for all your friends and family. By now you’re probably starting to wonder how you can turn your hobby into your dream career. You even understand that there are several different interior design related professions such as interior designer, decorator and home stager. In this article we will cover the last one. 

There are two types of home staging: owner-occupied and vacant. Owner-occupied staging is when homeowners or their renters continue living in the house while selling it. For the most part, a home stager uses the occupants furniture and decor while adding some items from the stagers inventory. Vacant staging is the type of staging where there are no furniture or tenants in the house. In other words, the house is vacant prior to staging. New construction staging is a great example of vacant home staging.The home stager is responsible for providing all the furniture and decor needed for staging such an empty house.

Step 1. Figure out your niche: Owner-occupied, Vacant or both Owner-occupied and Vacant home staging. 

Here are some pros when focusing on owner-occupied home staging:

  1. Arguably less labor-intensive and time-consuming (in reality it all depends on the condition of each home and how clean and organized the home-owners or their tenants are, whether they follow any interior design trends or not)
  2. You will be able to start with significantly less inventory, especially large costly pieces, such as couches, credenzas etc., save money on investing in expensive furniture and, possibly, refrain from using movers

and here are some of the cons of of focusing on owner-occupied home staging:

  1. You’ll have to use whatever home-owners or their tenants already have in their house which could look very different than what you would have chosen based on your vision and taste
  2. Sometimes being a home stager or redecorator won’t be enough, you’ll have to also become a counselor. You’ll often need to delicately convince your clients that the way they furnish for functionality and the way their house needs to be staged to sell is very different. You’ll also need to address their style or lack thereof as it relates to today’s interior design trends.

Here are some pros of vacant home staging:

  1. Final result will be 100% your vision since you used your own inventory (furniture and decor)
  2. Nothing compares to the joy of working on a blank canvas,especially when it’s a brand new home

and here are some of the cons of vacant home staging:

  1. Investing in your own furniture and decor or renting it from 3rd party is very expensive and it might be especially hard for somebody who is just starting out. Don’t forget to take into consideration the cost of storage related to owning inventory
  2. Using movers is a must which adds even more to your expenses 
  3. Possibly less jobs: depending on your market, often there are more owner-occupied homes that need to be staged than vacant homes

STEP 2. Make sure that you realize what the home staging business is all about.

I’ll tell you right now that it’s way more than your love to decorate, more than fluffing pillows and hanging wall art. To make it short: if you love moving in and out and dealing with people all day every day then home staging is for you but don’t take my word for it. The best thing to do is to find a stager with decent volume, significant amount of jobs, to follow around in your area. At least try to invite them for coffee and ask to describe the installation process for you. Sometimes local staging chapters have meetings that you could attend and listen to their experiences. Maybe you could offer your help to a local home stager in exchange for the chance to see the staging business from the inside prior to investing in your own home staging company. 

STEP 3. Know what sells homes in the areas that you’re going to serve.

Staging is a measurable marketing tool that helps people sell homes. Home staging is not so much about your personal taste or the taste of your customers, it is whatever sells homes faster and for the highest price. Professional home staging should sell, meaning it should appeal to the largest percentage of your target audience, biggest pool of buyers. Prior to investing in any furniture or decor that you are going to use in staging, go to your local paint and furniture stores and ask what are their best-sellers. Look at the model homes and the leading stagers portfolios in your area, take notes. Put together a list of top-selling items and only after you figure it out, invest in renting or buying relevant pieces. Happy shopping!

STEP 4. Education. Do I even need it?

In our next article we will cover what staging courses are out there for you and do you really need them to become a home stager?

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TNT Staging 

Charlotte NC 

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