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So Many Stagers, So Little Time

February 16, 2010

Something most Home Owners and Realtors may not be aware of,  is that  currently there is not an independent or national oversight organization such as NAR for Realtors, that certifies or licenses Home Stagers, and no government oversight or licensing in most areas.  There ARE member based organizations which enforce a strict Code of Ethics for its members and communities such as the Real Estate Staging Association.  That being said, here are few questions that will help you to choose the RIGHT Home Stager for you.

1.     Find a Stager with the most experience in actually Staging homes:    There are many training, “certifying” and “accrediting” companies which, within just a few days, or a couple weeks, can turn anyone who takes their course into a “certified” or “accredited” home stager.  Since there is not currently any government or
oversight,  ANYONE can “become a stager” almost overnight. Don’t hire “just any” home stager; Experience and professionalism trumps “certification”.

2.      Does the Stager have a printed portfolio or website with before and after photography?    If they don’t have a current staging portfolio, they may have never done a staging job, or very few.  

3.      If they have a website, you need to get past the first page. 

In other words; make sure that their portfolio contains photos that are of their own work.  Not of stock photography purchased over the Internet, supplied by the “certifying” training course or “shared” before and after photos in a centralized web-site.   Does their website have current information on recently staged properties or successes in today’s market and economy?

4.      Do they offer a range of Staging options and styles, or is it “one-style-fits-all”.  An experienced and professional Home Stager should have the resources to transition their staging to the style of the HOME and the market demographics in your area to target the Buyers in your area.

5.      Ask for references, and then check those references. When did they work with the Stager? Were they pleased with the results? How soon did the property sell? Would they hire that stager again?  And ask for more than just one professional reference: Home Owner, Realtor, Developer, etc

6.     Do they have a valid business license and are they insured? Self explanatory


Once you have done your due diligence, you’ll be able to make the confident decision that you have chosen the right Home Stager.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2010 4:59 am

    I completely agree with all of this. Experience and a track record trumps any certification if you are hiring a stager. All that certification means is that you are certified as “having completed” a particular staging course. I certify that the graduates of my staging training program have completed it but I clearly tell them that all it means is that they are dedicated and professional enough to want to enhance they education. It doesn’t mean they have years of experience and every training program is different.

    As a stager with 27 years experience merchandising homes to sell, the only question this leaves in my mind is, where does a new stager get their start? We all had to start somewhere. I’m thinking maybe apprenticeship with an experienced stager would be the way to go? I’d love your thoughts on this. The bar on home staging is continuously being raised as it is becoming more and more mainstream and in demand. It’s ever evolving! Thanks for this great post and shame on anyone who uses stock photos!

  2. February 17, 2010 5:24 am

    Good for you, Allegra, with being completely honest with the Students who take your course and the meaning of “certification”. This blog was more to educate the public about what a “certification” in our industry actually means. Especially since so many “new” certifications (a different one from any Stager who thinks that can now teach a class) that Sellers and Realtors are getting confused. Some “certifications” come straight from reading a course on the Internet, watching a few videos and they offer NO hands on training.

    That being said; You’re right, everyone new to their industry has to start somewhere. A mentoring program has been mentioned to my company on several occasions and discussed at legnth on Active Rain.

    I have no problem having someone shadow/intern with us on a particular job, however there are many stipulations to that agreement. Such as being at the warehouse the night before to load and pack the truck. Being at the jobsite the following morning at 9:00 am to Stage the home and WORKING until it is done. As well as then returning to the warehouse to unload the truck & supplies and put it all away. (Makes for a l-o-n-g day) Ultimatly the final finished product is our decsion (not their work entirely) and pictures are the sole property of Platinum Home Staging, Inc. as well. The mentor program will give them experience, but not neccessarily “proof” they might be looking for.

  3. February 17, 2010 5:29 am

    But it sure would separate “the men from the boys” so to speak! It’s a good way to garner experience and confidence. I think the best way to learn is by doing. All food for thought.

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