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Many of you know my history in the Home Staging industry. I started a company in 2008 right at the beginning of the staging acceptace trend (thanks to HGTV) In a short time period I created Ottawa's number 1 home staging company doing as many as 40 consultations a and another 10 vacant stagings per month.
If you read my last blog about how not all real estate agents are created equal highliging that during my years in business i've had quite a few say to me "I don't care you have the best company Kristy, I work with xxx company because they are cheaper and I use them to just say I offer the service." Now I'll never name names because that's not very professional so I'll focus on educating the public on what to look for in a quality company and the cheap realtors will be obvious to find.
Here are some signs your Real Estate Agent may have hired a cheap stager to just say they "offer staging"
Hobby Stagers: I'm always leary of working with a "hobby stager" these are typically indivduals who enjoy playing with decor and discussing how to prepare homes. They take on very few appointments and typically have a very limited schedule. These individuals don't run a BUSINESS that has expenses such as staff, office expenses, inventory (and if they do have inventory its stored in their home and only accessory based) These stagers are hired because they are very inexpensive because they don't need the money it's "fun" for them. WHY AVOID? These stagers should be avoided for a bunch of reasons however the biggest ones are they don't have enough experience of doing multiple homes / situations to truly know how to prepare a home specific to that location and targered buyer. They generally don't have insurance (so if something breaks who pays for it?). They also aren't growing a business so what vested interest do they have to truly help you proprly prepare your home for a profitable sale. Ultimately, many hobby stagers are there for fun on their own time.
New Stagers: I am all for giving the new person a shot, however there is a time and place for everything. Most agents hire new stagers because they are cheap. This is a major issues for a few reasons. First being they have ZERO experience on how to properly prepare a home in a way that is TARGETED to a buyer based on the price point of the home and the location. A 300k home in Nepean will have a different buyer demographic over a $900k home in a different part of the city. Many new stagers "blanket stage" they do the same tricks on every job they get because it's all they know. This is not staging.....and does no one any good.
Non RESA Members: RESA is the Real Estate Staging Association and is the primary body for the Home Staging industry. Staging is not a regulated industry but this body helps train & unify standards of professional stagers across North America. RESA is a paid membership by staging business owners. Anyone who is not a RESA member in my opinion are not business minded and don't care to invest in their own business / professional standards and should be avoided.
Not Educated: Many stagers watch a few HGTV show's and then open up their own business. I always suggest working with professionally trained individuals who have a certification from a recognized staging company like QC Design School, APSD, CSP, etc there are many out there now of days. Don't be afraid to ask stagers where they obtained their certification from. Staging has many principles that are required knowledge and not obtaind from an HGTV show such as
Target Market Knowledge: Who specificially is buying in that area & price point?
Balance to ensure photography is not distracting.
Texture appropraite to the home, location & buyer.
Focal points or distraction points.
Traffic flow for the HOME not for the sellers.
Brightness principles in the right area.
Appropriate Colour Patterns FOR the targeted buyer (because all colours DO NOT appeal to everyone.)
Objectively reviwing the home from a buyers perspective. Many uneducated / hobby stagers will set up a home based on personal preferance. THIS IS NOT STAGING.
Cheap Stagers Publicize: It's true, some stagers pride themselves on being cheap but based on experience CHEAP IS NOT SUSTAINABLE FOR A BUSINESS! I much prefer to work with quality professionals that charge what they are worth so I know they will be in business come the following year. $75/hr is not a sustainable fee for any business owner to charge. I've seen more stagers go out of business because they were not educated on staging principles, they charged very low unsustainable fees and treated there busienss like a hobby. I don't know about you guys but with one of my BIGGEST ASSTES I OWN my home.....I want only the A players involved to help me maximize my value.
Hope this helps highlight what a cheap staging company looks like. Their is absolutely zero benefit to working with a cheap agent or a cheap stager. Some people will argue that they'll save on the listing commisison % but when in reality when you work with sub par indivudals they end up costing you MORE than the 1-2% you think your saving. Quality agents are worth what they charge which is how I've been able to sell all of my past properties with top quality agents all for profit after our updates and staging!
Real Estate Consultant | Retired Award Winning Stager.
Investor, Mentor, International Speaker.