You’ve probably seen pictures of staged homes in real estate and weekend newspaper house and garden sections. The rooms look perfect, welcoming, and emotionally neutral.
Creative staging with a few pieces of furniture and decorations can help prospective buyers envision a property as their home, filled with their belongings.
What is Home Staging?
Home stagers are individuals who prepare a residence for sale or rent by making it appear attractive and appealing to prospective buyers.
Staging may be a simple process of rearranging a few pieces of furniture to maximize space and improve the flow of traffic from room to room. Or, it may be complicated, requiring many steps to make a property more presentable and sell- or rentable.
Do you have that instinct for decorating and placing things just so? Perhaps you should put your decorating instinct and talents to work as a home stager.
Educating the Home Stager
There is no mandatory licensing or formal education requirements to become a home stager. However, many professional stagers (and some real estate agents) have taken courses, completed certificate programs and/or interior design degrees to learn the fundamentals of interior design, decorating, color schemes, window treatments, and furniture placement.
Building a Home Staging Career
Home staging was listed as “one of the best jobs for 2013 and beyond.”
However, becoming a full time stager is not necessarily a fast process. It may take a stager several years to develop sufficient skills, experience, clientele and a reliable full time salary as an independent business person. Some stagers work with large real estate agencies, setting the stage for home showings and open houses. Others work with construction companies and modular home manufacturers.
Staging is a deadline-driven business that requires the stager to be able to quickly “see” or envision a staged home before work has even begun. Stagers must be mobile and flexible as clients’ needs can occur on very short notice.
A home stager’s income will depend, in part, on location. An average salary may range from $50 – $150 per hour (according to the Accredited Staging Professionals). The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a stager’s average earnings per job as $75 for a consultation and $500 per house.
Higher incomes are found in areas where there is more expensive real estate (on either coast and in larger metropolitan areas). Home stagers on the east or west coast are reported as charging $250+ per hour. Hourly job rates in more rural areas can be as modest as $30 per hour.
The Value of Staging
The value or Return on Investment (ROI) should not be underestimated. Industry observers have published studies showing that:
- Staged homes, on average, sell between 50 – 80% faster than homes that are not staged.
- Staged homes generally sell for more than unstaged homes – by about 7%.
- Buyers tend to decide within 15 seconds of first seeing a property whether they will have continued interest in viewing the house.
To be a home stager is to creatively reinvent the appearance of a home to help prospective buyers see the excellent qualities of a property and to help the seller realize the most advantageous purchase price possible.