Anyone who has not had their head in the sand for the last few years understands that there is “no set price” for a home. The real estate market is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows but one thing remains the same, buyers will always be looking for that “ideal vision” for their family AND will always be willing to pay top dollar for it!
You see, staging is NOT about de-cluttering and cleaning but at it’s essence, it’s an “art form” born from extreme expertise in merchandising and designing a “vision” that buyers will fall in love with! Staging done correctly, provides the “props and vision” for the buyer to mentally “move-in” to each room while emotionally connecting them to the home as a whole! Once connected, the offer is made and not usually broken.
Great staging starts with understanding first “the who” and merchandising for that particular vision. Who is the buyer demographic for that home, what will they desire to see in each space? HSR Certified stagers are trained to research six “cues” to determine the typical buyer demographic, as well as converse with the agents in the area.
Is this a “contemporary zen” home and lifestyle we are staging for?
What will our buyers be “hoping” to find when they step through that door and how can we create the lifestyle they dream about in each room?
I would argue that many homes on the market today are what I call “half way there” homes because they have been stripped down but not “dolled up”. They are like a cake with no frosting and will never get the best price for their home in that condition.
Essentially, these homes are leaving money on the table!
An agent might argue, “who cares if they get the best price, so long as it’s sold quickly” but that’s short sighted.
I imagine most of us would not be too happy to see the competing agent down the street selling our neighbors house for $30,000 more than we got because they took the time to bring in a great professional home stager. Agents build their reputations not only on quickly selling homes but on getting the BEST PRICE for their clients!
Based on the information we have for our buyer demographic, we are able to create a profile of what we are designing for and a plan for the seller. The plan starts with taking the time to understand the benefits of staging and realizing that a little work today, saves you a lot of headache in the future. For example, if my neighbor made $30,000 more than me on the sell of their home, how does that $30,000 translate to real earned dollars? With capital gains it means that it’s pure cash, so I would probably have to make $50,000 to realize $30,000 cash realistically.
How many hours do you have to work to make $50,000? Definitely more hours then the amount of time, energy and expense of correctly staging the home first!
Which brings me to another very critical aspect of staging and that is photos! Correctly trained stagers know that it’s not only about the “walk-in” but very critically about the photo for online marketing!
If 95% of buyers are online first looking at photos before they decide to visit the home, how important do you think staging for the photo is in the sales process? As an agent, how important do you think the photos are to your image and reputation?
Great staging involves the total package! Starting with the research, creating the plan and communicating a vision that seller’s can understand financially, then finishing with marketing output that makes the buyers fall in love BEFORE entering into the home.
Gregg Churchill, an HSR Certified Stager and Designer in Australia gives his 5 best design and staging tips:
What makes great design is up to your own interpretation, but I do know that when I see great design it hits me right away. We all have different styles and thoughts on our own personal design which is often influenced by all the new TV Star Designers e.g.: Sarah Richardson, Candice Olsen; Martin Lawrence-Bullard; Colin and Justin etc.) and all the inspirational shows they have on our TV screens, brought right into our own homes. I watch and record all the TV shows to learn as much as possible from them all.
The 5 best design or staging tips I can offer are the following:
- Professionalism That is the first & most important tip I would advise anybody when going out and selling your services. This includes punctuality; dress sense; tone of voice; facial expression (smile and be sincere) etc. Be professional every minute you spend with your clients, whether it is face to face, via emails or telephonically. Its sounds obvious, but so many refuse to adhere to this basic tip. Know what you are selling inside out and backwards. Nothing worse than being ignorant of your own subject you are trying to sell.
- Keep it simple – Don’t overthink the redesign of the interior of the house or try to get to too fancy, apply what you have been trained by HSR to do and you will never go wrong. Study the bones of the property and the space allocated and complete your furniture arrangement. Never stop trying to improve your talent and keep abreast of new styles and fashion colours/hues etc.
- Accessorize – Bring out your creative side! Wall art, vases, ornaments, pictures, small furnishings, faux indoor plants etc. are the jewelry on your staging creation, especially if you buy items that repeat a rhythm in that space or compliment the colour scheme. Always buy the best accessories that you can afford, its pays always! Don’t panic – Stick to your budget plan, and your interior themes.
- When styling multiple rooms, use a colour thread throughout to bring cohesion to connecting spaces. It isn’t necessary to use the exact same colour in each room. Applying layers of the same colour, varying the hue, makes the space feel connected and less intentional. Accent colours can be used from neighboring rooms to link them.
- Know that less is more. Be careful not to over accessorise every corner of a space, especially when its functional needs are simple. Too much clutter in a space kills the design and makes the eye jump all around the room causing confusion. I do all my vignettes in my store room before I do get to the staged property, so when I get to the vacant property, I know exactly what goes where and it saves time too. Great to also use an iPad for planning purposes.
In summation I would recommend that what every avenue you decide to pursue in your Home Staging career, always have fun and enjoy every minute of what you are doing. Try and specialize in one category for best results e.g. vacant home staging.
Always have something different to offer your clients study your opposition from time to time and see what they are offering and you may not be or never thought to. Stay abreast, keep up to date and never stop learning. Learn from as many people as you can and you will always be the best in your chosen field. Enjoy!
Escaping the Daily Grind!
Gregg Churchill of Mr. Home Staging in Perth, Australia is truly a talent! Recently he as featured in Design Shuffle and I’ve got his gorgeous photos mixed in with his incredible story…
My story is a simple one. I have always had an itch to get into both interior design and decoration, even from a young age and have always been interested in being creative and designing interiors. I am fascinated why and how the inside of a home is planned and how and why we live in that space.
I was a Project Designer for a major international food retail company for 10 years, and as their in store project designer. I firstly learnt how to draw plans the old fashioned way, on a drafting board and then got into CAD to design the inside of supermarkets and in store coffee shops and restaurants which was great fun as there are a lot of the interior design elements and fundamentals that I needed to understand to design and plan a pleasant in store shopping experience. I then ventured onto my own and acquired a retail franchise from the same international retail company and ran my own 1200 square metre supermarket with 55 permanent staff and 25 casuals for the weekends. After 5 years of burning the candle at both ends, working 16 hours a day for 7 days, I decided to sell up and have a change of direction. That is when I stumbled across HSR on the internet.
I did heaps of research on the subject and decided to join up with HSR for a number of reasons. I found the site to be very user friendly and made me feel like I wanted to belong to this company. I found the other companies who offered a similar course, didn’t offer it in a professional way. I found they just were not as professional in there sell to me as a prospective future client. I also liked the name HSR, as it exactly what the name described, a resource for home staging. The staging videos were very warm and friendly as was Audra’s recorded voice.
I would never recommend getting into Home Staging without this HSR qualification as you are entering a world where the general public are very sensitive and guarded when you go into their private domain, we are all sensitive about our homes. You HAVE to have a recognized certified qualification behind you and know what you are recommending to the public, as after they are paying you for this advice and expect good sound design advice. The many forms on offer from HSR are priceless as without them, I would have been lost and to even begin to try and do them yourself would be impossible. They are a short cut to starting your career right away, looking the part and they gave me a lot of confidence right from the very beginning.
Here in Perth Western Australia, our main economic industry is mining and it is booming at the moment, especially with the huge exports to China and the east. The property market has recovered in a big way, interest rates are at their lowest, and properties are selling in weeks instead of months. The WA public were a bit slow in adopting home staging 2 years ago, but this year I have seen a huge demand in business, especially before holidays like Easter where I was turning work away as everybody wanted their homes staged before Easter weekend.
The longest I have had a staged property on the market is 3 weeks and the shortest was 4 days (That property had been standing vacant for 42 days & once staged sold in 4 days) so I advertise that fact. I have, to date, a 100% success sold rate with my staged properties….This year, I was getting a lot of people contacting me, but for interior design, so at the beginning of this year I began an Interior Design Diploma course and am almost completed with it.
See Gregg’s 5 Best Design or Staging Tips!
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Having trouble watching the video below, click here to watch in separate screen.
Are you not getting the amount of business that you would like? Are your marketing efforts falling flat? I find that success in business comes from avoiding these five common pitfalls and thinking in “out of the box” ways to create additional income. In the HSR Training I have an hour long video detailing these alternative income streams but before I get to those, I need to also detail the problems I see most people do in their business that keeps them from having success…
1. Don’t Be A Copy Cat
One of the first things I have people do in my training is to list their strengths and how their background strengths can help their new business. I also have people list their weaknesses which will be “threats” to their business if they are not careful. The encouraging truth is that there are several ways to market yourself in the staging and redesign industry but what may work for one personality, may not work for another.
The key is to take your previous “life’s talents” and embed them into this new business and venture. For instance, I have ex-teachers who focus on agent presentations and classes in order to market their staging business. I have my outgoing personalities follow my “Open House Assessment” formula in order to market their business face-to-face. For those who are introverts, I teach them advanced ways to market their business online so traffic comes to them. The key is to focus on your strengths in order to market your business.
>>Know that whatever your background or current situation is, there is always a way to capitalize on it as a new entrepreneur!
Tori Toth of Stylish Stagers in New York used her prior experience as a TV Reporter to create video that helps to market her business and success!
2. Don’t Be A Renaissance Business!
Would you go to a restaurant advertising great burgers, tacos and sushi? Then why are we trying to be all things and talents to all clients and markets? It’s okay to expand your business within the staging and redesign world but to also say you’re an expert in Feng Shui, Organizing, Windows, Upholstery and an Artist is a bit overdone and cheapens your core talents.
This same truth holds for real estate agents who also want to be expert home stagers. Do you think your clients believe that you are awesome at both when each require very separate skill sets?
>>Pick One or Two Specialties and Be Awesome At Them!
3. Don’t Be A Renaissance Market Specialist!
Many people enter into the staging industry believing they have to invest in lots of furniture and accessories to make a go of it which couldn’t be more false. There is plenty of non-vacant business out there for everyone (I’ll list some ideas in my “Out of the Box” article). The truth is, there are several different “markets” (vacant, investor, occupied, high end, cottage, neighborhoods, commercial, styles) that we can “specialize” in yet too many stagers tend to not pick a niche or specialty in any one market
>>Consider a Niche Market and Be Awesome At It!
I have to brag here about my friend Ryan Dressel, of Staged Right Design who I often feature in our newsletters because he truly “gets it” and did not fall prey to these two common pitfalls. His focus is the investor market usually within the new construction arena and he is AWESOME at it. Here is a quick video to just one of his transformations:
Hopefully this article helped to add clarity to your business!
XOXO – Happy Staging!
“THANK YOU!!! Your course is just amazing and you really made the whole process so enjoyable and easy even when I thought I could never do something like this! I was always afraid to start my own business and thought it would be way too complicated, but you made it all possible! I love your sense of humor too:) Your videos were so enjoyable to listen to. As a single mom now, being a realtor was way too hard scheduling wise and I really only loved making the homes I had listed beautiful! All the contracts and legal stuff I could do with out! This is just perfect for me Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful forum for women (and men!) to have a fun and fulfilling career!”
I love to hear the story of someone who finally decides that a career in staging and design is for them, they pull the trigger then BAM…they are assaulted with work! Keep in mind, this doesn’t happen most of the time, since having a business is about marketing BUT when it does happen…I can’t help but feel these people are FINALLY in their CALLING.
What’s Your Calling?
I know what you’re thinking, you’re equating the term “calling” with a religious association but I’m here to tell you that “callings” can be any form of work/activity that you were born for. You feel in the zone. You have non-stop energy and you can’t help but think, breath and live it 24/7. I know, because I’m in my calling…for now. I know because most importantly, I hear it everyday from those who are finally taking advantage of their amazing design talent and doing what they were meant to do…stage and design.
All I can say is WOW! let me give the quick version…..I purchased your Training on Dec. 31 st after looking on and off your website for about a year. After getting access to the website I knew I had made the right decision, so I plunged in and had the goal of starting my business By March 1st.
I ran into a friend who is an agent at the Apple store the last week of Feb and updated her on my new training and she was excited…..3 days later she called and said their was an agent in her office looking for a stager and she gave her my info….the rest is history...I staged my first home on Monday 3500 sq ft with a Realtors tour yesterday and had amazing feedback and great marketing. I have my second scheduled for this Friday, vacant 3200 sq ft my third scheduled for Monday 4000 sq. ft vacant home. My 5th scheduled for two weeks from today 4000 new home Builder. And two redesigned consultations scheduled. Needless to say I am happy, excited, and did I mention worn out! I am truly loving my new company!
Mary Hatch www.thisstagedspace.com
It’s no wonder Mary has done so well, check out her inspiration files in Houzz!
Great job Mary!
XXOO – Happy Staging!
I don’t know about you, but it takes me at least two hours just to create a simple “thank you” form much less the 100+ plus forms you will need for your staging and redesign business! Mixed in the with details of training, staying on top of design, connecting with trade vendors and all that is “staging” that is one thing I don’t have the time to do!
The good news is that now we have created all the forms you will need for you and offer specific training on each form if you had questions about it’s use.
I get the question a lot….what kinds of forms do you offer in your training? Yep, it’s official, we have 100 forms available, so that our members are never having to reinvent anything! We offer all of our forms in Word, so that all they need to do is open the form and tailor it to their business.
Ellen Boetcher, a veteran stager who had staged over 2500 homes by the time she joined HSR in 2008 had told me unequivocally that the forms in the training alone would have saved her over 200 hours worth of work!
I also created a video that shows how they can make those forms really shine electronically by creating a gorgeous and custom business header. We provide over 100 header images for them to use (all matching their websites), as well as access to a free header software program which makes our members stand out professionally in all that they provide. These are just some of the small details in the training that help stagers and redesigners focus on the most important thing…DESIGN!
XXOO – Happy Staging!
Tori Toth of Stylish Stagers, a New York based home staging company really knows how to take her prior experience as a TV reporter and bring it into her staging and redesign business! In fact, she markets her homes via video for maximum exposure.
Tori sent me this video she created for HSR that explains our program best!
She really described the importance of training, picking a good trainer and what to look for better than I every could…thanks Tori!
XXOO – Happy Staging!