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Home Staging Before and After Photos, Stories and News

Starting a Home Staging Business

2014-5-12susanbatkablog

Starting a Home Staging Business…

I get this question a lot, “how can I start a home staging business working full time?”  I understand the fear and anxiety that those folks feel because they want to be their own boss, follow their passions and their true talents BUT they need an income…I get it.  Starting a home staging business is not easy!

Here’s a story of someone who was able to go from a full-time management position with guaranteed income to a successful home staging entrepreneur along with her amazing before and after photos…

susanbatka

Hi Audra, Sorry for the delayed response…The good news is that I was super busy working on a couple large staging projects when I received your email.  I struggled with the decision to make my career change for years and I am so happy that I did!
Susan Batka, Professional Home Stager and Redesigner for Aerie Interiors based out of Alpharetta, GA

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What was your background before starting a home staging business and how did it serve you well in this new endeavor?

Educational background: Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Career: 17 years in the Medical distribution field.  Most of my time was spent in Management of the Customer Service Team and later the Sales Team, during the interim of those positions, I ran a successful Sales territory.  I was working full time when I started the HSR Certification Program.

Before Staging

Before Staging

How long did it take you to go through the training/business set-up?  Did you feel well prepared after finishing the HSR program?

I completed my training while still working with my former employer.  I took my time going through the materials and refer back to them often.  I felt that HSR prepared me very well to start up and run my own staging company…In fact, I believe that my sales background paired with my HSR training helped me confidently go in and secure my first staging job.

After Staging

After Staging

It is critical that you go in fearless and confident even if you are shaking in your boots!  My first appointment was with a Real Estate Agent who was looking to sell his 7000 square foot home that he had designed and built!  No pressure there!  He still does not know that he was my first client and that is the way it should be!

Before Staging

Before Staging

How did you begin marketing yourself, what marketing efforts did you find most valuable in your area and why?

I am now just starting to Market my company.  My current clients have found me through my website or from word of mouth.

After Home Staging

After Home Staging

How “busy” are you today?

I have had a very busy Spring so far and anticipate it to get busier because my clients have been so excited with the results and have asked me to redesign their new homes!

Livingroomresized

What (if anything) would you have done differently looking back?

Nothing, I am the happiest and more fulfilled than I could have dreamed of!

LivingAreashots

Are you glad you decided to go into the staging field?

Yes, very much. I would not change a thing!

Before Staging

Before Staging

Any words of wisdom for those just entering into the field?

Believe in yourself, be confident, let your passions be your lauchpad!

After Staging

After Staging

 

 That is the beauty of online training versus traditional classroom style learning.  It allows you to “hit the rewind button” and refer back to the online classroom throughout the course of your business!

After Office Redesign

After Office Redesign

There could be a good month or two between your training and the moment you get your first staging consultation, so being able to go into the online training area and watch the consultation videos again is critical to confidence building!

 

After Office Redesign

After Office Redesign

 

Thanks Susan for sharing!  If you’re thinking of taking the plunge into becoming a home stager, there’s never been a better time to do it!  Here’s a quick video on becoming a stager if you’re interested…

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Seriously Flawed Study

This is not true staging by any means…

 

There was a study published by the Wall Street Journal* claiming that “staging” has no effect on the home’s sale price based on the photo above…seriously?!  The study had a group of people view virtually staged before-and-after photos and asked them whether they would pay more for the beige room (above) over the purple room (below).  Each of the respondents said they would not pay more money for the beige virtually staged room over the purple room.

How can anyone take this study even remotely serious is a minor miracle.  Here are the huge problems with this study:

  • The rooms were “virtually staged” (not real, in person staging which is what “staging” is truly is)
  • They were “virtually staged” by a someone who doesn’t appear to know much about staging from the looks of the “after” photos
  • The “before” photos of a purple room (see below) and colorful furniture look so cartoon like, it’s almost laughable!
  • Ironically, the respondents believed that “other” buyers would pay 3.7% to 4.0% less than value of the home if it’s not painted and fixed up.
  • Virtual stagers are insulted by these photos since they don’t come close to the quality work that a true, virtual stager can do.

 

This isn't even good virtual work!

This isn’t even good virtual work…is this Mickey Mouse’s home?

I wasn’t going to even respond to this study since I didn’t want to bring attention to something so absurd but since there has been some chatter about it, let’s put this matter to rest once and for all.

 

Anyone with half a brain would look at that “after” photo and never in a million years call this a “staged” room!

In case you were one of those silly people who actually wanted to give this study credence and thought that room was “staged”…here is what “staged” really looks like of a home that sold for $100,000 over asking price in October, 2013 within 8 days of staging:

(This home was staged by Donna Dazzo of  Designed to Appeal in New York City)

Living Room Before

 

Living Room After

Living Room Before

Living Room After 
 

       Master Bedroom Before
 

Master Bedroom After
Boy’s Room Before
 

Boy’s Room After

 

 
Girl’s Room Before

    Girl’s Room After

  
Terrace Before
Terrace After

 

I guess it’s a good thing this home seller didn’t listen to “other” agents who think staging doesn’t work and cite this study…

 

By the way, I could have produced tons of other similar success stories and photos by the many amazingly talented home stagers across the country who have been maligned by this study.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you improve upon a product, you get a better price.

 

XOXO – Happy Staging!

Audra Slinkey

Hope to hear from you!
1-888-563-9271


[email protected]

*By the way, the study was called: “The Impact of Staging Conditions on Residential Real Estate Demand” and the Wall Street Journal article was called: “Home Staging Effect? Not Much.

7 Staging Tips for Difficult Spaces

staging tips

7 Staging Tips for Difficult Spaces

One of the critical reasons to stage a vacant home is to give perspective to buyers.  Empty rooms are lifeless question marks in buyer’s eyes, so merchandising the space becomes essential!  Here are seven staging tips I think you will find extremely helpful in your next staging project…

Donna Dazzo of Designed to Appeal, a New York City based staging company was given one of the toughest vacant staging assignments I’ve ever seen, so I just had to share it.  This 3-bedroom, 4,000 square foot loft in Tribeca was on the market three months without an acceptable offer.

The loft sold at FULL asking price 22 days after Donna staged it!

Check it out…

This was the loft space as you walked in the home and as you can see the large columns are distracting and overwhelming.  The space appears dark, lifeless, cold and definitely not easily able to arrange furniture around!

 

Entryway/Living Room Before

Staging Tip #1 – Create Groupings

Strategically using area rugs, Donna separated the large space into groupings.  A central living and seating area between the columns draws the eye to the seating area and away from the columns.


Entryway/Living Room After 

Staging Tip #2 –Use Reflective Surfaces

The large and well placed mirror brings the eye further into the room immediately while extending the more narrow space. Using a light palette, reflective surfaces and mirrors, the space appears more open, light and inviting.

Here is a view from another angle where you can see how open the space was and how difficult it would be to fit all the represented living spaces in this one great room.

Not only did she fit a living grouping but a dining area off the kitchen as well.

Staging Tip #3 –Use Furniture to Separate the Space

What do you do with a small, seemingly un-useful space off the living area when you’ve already established plenty of seating arrangements?

Separating the space with a bookcase, it becomes an office with a view!

Staging Tip #4 –Proper Scale Needs to Always be Considered

Filled with large, empty space this loft needs properly scaled furnishings to first “fit” between the beams in the living/entry area and now larger pieces to match this large space below.

The cabinets are artfully arranged to add color and symmetry.

Staging Tip #5 –Know Your Buyer Demographic

Staging for Families

Since the buyer demographic for this space was a family, Donna incorporated that lifestyle in her merchandising by turning this cold Den space into a bright, kids play area.

Notice how the brick wall in the vacant space appears to be a detraction while once it’s staged becomes an asset.

“Artful staging can turn even negative architectural elements into positive assets!”

Staging Tip #6 –Use Great Art to Elevate the Space

At this point you’ve probably noticed the amazing artwork that serves to elevate the space and give personality right?  Well Donna cleverly partnered with an art gallery to complete her staging vision.

This bedroom is tricky because all you notice is the long, unsightly heater under the windows.


Second Bedroom Before

Using a highly textured area rug, soft textiles and amazing artwork the space becomes a girls dream bedroom!


Second Bedroom After – Girl


Third Bedroom Before


Third Bedroom After – Boy or Guest Room

Staging Tip #7 –Never Leave Anything Up to the Buyer’s Imagination

Frankly, any kitchen unstaged with cleared countertops will look cold, sterile and bring the eye to the worst architectural feature (in this case the overhanging light on the island).  The “cleared counter top” look is NOT a staged kitchen!

Color was essential to move away from the hospital feel and the contemporary barstools draw the eye away from our light fixture while providing the sleek, cool feel associated with this space.

Empty bedrooms add nothing to a buyers decision.  They become quick “walk-on-bys”

Add the color, textiles and life…now the buyer lingers.

Another view of the master bedroom and incredible artwork!

Thank you Donna for sharing your talent!  Staging is essential for buyers to really “see” the value in a home…otherwise the seller is leaving cash on the table.

Not all professional stagers are equal!  Our HSR Certification training was the first and one of the only staging and redesign training programs that has been third-party, accredited by the Real Estate Staging Association, so invest in the best!

Ready to Become a Successful Home Stager and Redesigner?

Artist Becomes Home Stager – 3 Keys to Her Success

One of the things I talk about a lot in the training is the importance of branding yourself, knowing what you’re about and putting that personality into your website!  As you can see from Jenna’s website photo, she loves what she does, she loves her pup and she’s smiling about her business!  Just looking at her photos makes me smile too! 

 

http://spacestoinspire.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/DSC_62654.jpg

When I sat down and chatted with Jenna about her business and it’s immediate success, she had a lot to say, as well as a lot of helpful tips to share with other stagers…

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I can’t tell you how much HSR has truly helped me achieve my dream in owning my own home staging and design business!  I started my business in the beginning of March 2012 in the Northern Virginia area. With the help of HSR, my business has been booming since a month after I started!!

Spaces to Inspire, before and after room

Spaces to Inspire, before and after room

1.  Networking is Essential

Through BNI (Business Networkers International), I have joined a chapter and am a part of a networking team of partners that I work with regularly. Through BNI and local business chamber events, I have met and partnered with many key people, which has helped my business soar exponentially. They key is to be able to meet people and sit down with them to discuss your business and what you stand for. By gaining these relationships, professionals WANT to refer you to people, instead of taking a shot in the dark with someone they don’t know much about. Once I joined BNI and started attending networking on a regular basis, I have gotten to a point where I am having trouble keeping up with all of the work that is coming in!

http://files.photosnack.net/albums/images/2cc0be0eeec71b2c2a8992i134934686/scale-750x750

Custom Painting by Jenna

2.  Expand Your Services

Another thing I think helped me in getting started, was offering a broader range of services. Since I have done custom paintings and faux finishing for years prior, I included that in my services. I also grew up very savvy with furniture finishing, and included that as well. By adding these values to my repertoire of home staging, design, and shopping services, I was able to give people additional reasons to “try me out”.

Jenna Galich of Spaces to Inspire - album

3.  Focus on What You Love To Do!

Now that I am so busy, I am able to refine the serves that I provide, and focus strictly on the ones that bring me the most profitability… and the ones I enjoy the most. 🙂
All in all, the beginning can be tough- but network, network, network! A familiarity with your face at these events will start to land you some great opportunities!

 

I’ve Just Got to Brag…

Creating a successful home staging business is not easy, so when I see stagers do great things in the industry…I just have to brag about it!

  • Congratulations to our long-time veteran, Carol Streeter of Model Perfect Staging who was featured in three episodes of Flip or Flop on HGTV!  All of her stagings sold quickly and in one of the homes, the buyers bought all the furnishings with the home.

A Staged Bedroom by Model Perfect Staging

 

  • Great job Paige Earles of Pearle Staging and Design who moved her business from Atlanta to Memphis and already has been featured in the Memphis Daily News for her wonderful work!

Click to view the article in the Memphis Daily News on Paige!

 

  • Look at the fantastic job Jeanne Ross of The Polished Home did in these wondrous staging before-and-after photos!  I also love how Jeanne created a website that really brands her beautifully!  Check it out…

gall2v2

gall5v2

  • Leslie Causey of LC Home Staging and Redesign  breathes new life into this space!  I personally love the koi fish canvas over the couch!

 

  • Theresa Wright of Designed to Show Off  gives perspective and vision to buyers in this vacant staging before and after series….

 

I could literally go on and on with fantastic before and after photos to show you what amazing work home stagers and redesigners can do in a home!  The success is in the photos!

 

XOXO – Happy Staging!

Audra Slinkey

Hope to hear from you!

1-888-563-9271


[email protected]