Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What Most Home Staging Courses Won't Tell You

A glimpse at Shauna Lynn's upcoming book! The following is an excerpt from the only home staging book of it's kind - learn the truth about the home staging industry!

Expected release date: Fall 2016

Most home staging courses will sell you on the big picture, selling you on the opportunity to put your creative style to great use by transforming homes and producing magical masterpieces, but the truth is that there is a lot more to it than that. While I list the following as the “cons” of the business, the truth is that they can actually be the best part of the business; they’re simply not the part that gets most new home stagers excited. I can remember the first time I booked multiple consultations on the same day – I had truly arrived! My business was really picking up, and I was getting more and more comfortable with each client meeting. I still wasn’t doing a great deal of larger projects, but I was enjoying watching these houses transformed, and I knew that I was providing a valuable service to these homeowners. I was establishing myself as an expert in my field, and homeowners and agents were taking my recommendations as intransigent. I was enjoying meeting the homeowners, learning their stories, and assisting them with preparing their homes, regardless of the scale that I was doing this on.

The Cons (Things you may not be expecting as a home stager)

Consultations are your bread and butter

We all want the dramatic transformations, but every large staging job starts with a single consultation. Your main bookings when first starting out are generally owner-occupied home staging consultations. This means that the homeowners live in the house, and will continue to live there for the duration of the listing until the house sells, and it is your responsibility to advise them of the areas that they should address in order to increase the value and sell-ability of their home. In these cases, it is generally not practical to remove all of their current furnishings and accent pieces to replace them with the pieces of your choice. Ideally, it is best to work with what they have where you can, and replace only what is necessary. This means that walking into every consultation your end sale may only be the price charged for that consultation (depending on your location, this can range from approximately $150 to $400). In a consultation, you are simply advising the homeowner on what they should do, but you are generally not actually implementing the recommendations on their behalf. You may offer this additional service, but most will choose to simply do this work themselves.

In cases such as these, it’s easy to feel like you’re not a part of the process the way that you had hoped to be. You’ll need to ensure that you provide the homeowners with clear direction for your vision, and some will interpret this information better than others. In most cases, you likely will not have a return visit prior to the formal listing of the house, so your opportunity to review the changes made will be through the online listing photos only. As your business grows, you may find that you are selling more and more additional services that will allow you to return to assist with the final preparations, but if it is not cost-effective for the client, they will choose to simply go it alone.

Not every house is clean

This was actually incredibly shocking to me, though it seems like such an obvious expectation in this business. I had been in some not-so-clean houses growing up, but nothing prepared me for what I would see. I’m not talking about the houses that have too much clutter and piles of stuff everywhere, I’m talking about absolute filth. Socks are a part of my company’s dress code and must be worn for every client meeting. While my stagers may not always understand and appreciate this, they certainly do when they find themselves standing in a pile of dirt, beside the dirty diapers left on the floor, and whatever the dog has left behind. The most amazing part to me is that all-too-often the homeowners in these cases really don’t realize that this is not an acceptable standard of clean to their potential buyers. This requires a firm but sensitive hand, to help them to understand the importance of cleaning, what that standard of clean is, and how to get their home to a higher level of clean. An effective stager is one that is respected by their clients, while they proceed to tell them everything that is wrong with their house. If you can leave the home on your terms without having the clients toss you out, and still manage to get your point across as to what is needed to be done, you can consider your efforts a success. In my bartending days, I was known for getting the highest tip average from the guests that I cut off. It is not a skill that everyone can master, but those that do will find the most success. read more, you'll have to wait for the release of the book! Stay tuned for details!