How to choose the right home stager

January 8, 2010 | Home Staging, Tips and Projects

Home owners today are well educated when it comes to the housing market.  There is no shortage of news coverage describing current market conditions, interest rates, and the newest trends in decor and design.

With shows such as The Stagers on HGTV, more people are beginning to realize the positive financial impact that professional home staging can have on their home sale.  Real estate experts agree that the presentation of a home is just as important as choosing the right realtor.

Ensuring that a home shows to its full potential is usually directly linked to the final selling price.  Whether the home needs minor edits or more significant makeover, home staging delivers sellers the high impact showings they need.  However, all home stagers are not created equal and choosing the right home staging company is critical to ensuring a smooth and successful sale.

At this point, there is no industry regulation.  There are a variety of training programs and designations, and these vary in their requirements.  Anne Bourne, owner of StagingWorks is a Canadian Staging Professional (CSP).  Trusting the staging of your home to a friend or family member who happens to have a “flare for design” is a large gamble and not recommended.

Below are ten tips to help you interview and select the right home stager.

1) You get what you pay for

Will the cost of the home stager’s work be reflected in the outcome?  Staging is an investment in more effectively marketing your home for sale.  Using an experienced home stager will deliver you superior results and translate to a more successful sale.  In staging you, generally get what you pay for. Be wary of the cheapest quote.  Home staging is a minor expense relative to a price reduction, which is typically in increments of $10,000 or more.

2) Practical Experience

Does the home stager have extensive practical experience?  How many homes have they staged – in your asking price range, in your neighbourhood?  Do they know what your home needs to look like to stand out from competitive listings in the area?

3) Look for an industry expert – not a hobbyist

Is the stager an expert in their field or a hobbyist?  Are they quoted in the media?  What is their reputation?  Do they work closely with well know realtors?  Are they really aware of what buyers are looking for in your neighbourhood?

4) Website

This is a good indication the stager’s sense of style and professionalism.  A good website should clearly explain the staging services the company offers.

5) Portfolio

A reputable home staging company should have a wide variety of photographs of actual projects they have completed.

6) Liability Insurance

The stager should have insurance.  If they do not, the home owner could be held liable for any damage or injury that may occur during the staging project.

7) Clear Contract

The contract should detail the work that will be done, what rooms are included, the staging date and the cost.  The contract should be clear and concise, with rental fees and other terms clearly outlined.

8) Client Testimonials and References

An experienced, well-respected home stager will have client testimonials on their website, and will be pleased to provide references if required.

9) Range of services within your budget

Does the staging company provide services within your budget?  Do they have a complete range of rental items – furniture, art, accessories, etc.?  Do they work with painters, electricians, plumbers, cleaners, handymen and other trades people that can assist with preparing your home for sale, if required?

10) Professionalism

Are they honest and open with you about concerns they may have on home presentation issues that can negatively impact the sale of your property?  If they are a true professional, they will tactfully address any concerns a buyer will have with your home, including offensive smells, clutter or outdated furnishings.

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