In real estate, time is of the essence, it even says so on the purchasing agreements. Having well-defined goals will help you maximize your home staging investment. Regardless what kind of home staging services you are purchasing, you should do your homework before meeting with prospective home stagers. This will help you decide who to hire, what to screen for and ultimately save you valuable time and money down the line.
To create the best environment that best serves your listing, home stagers need to know who your potential buyers are, how they may use the space and what are the lifestyle trends are. This is part of the buyer psychology and sales process.
To help you prepare for your first call or meeting with your prospective home stager, here are the questions you should be able to answer about your listing before your meeting:
1. WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET FOR STAGING?
I generally give prospective clients a range of what home staging may cost for their listing. There are many factors that influence the pricing, such as location, the age of the home (older homes have smaller doors, so sometimes we may have to take doors off to move furniture in), floor plan, the amount of inventory that I have to bring in, prep time, etc. So it is usually best practice to provide prospective clients a range for pricing.
What I often find is that most homeowners have a baseline pricing for their staging needs, but sometimes the budget expectations can be unrealistic. If the price quoted by the home stager is more than what you had planned for staging, do a little research to see if your budget is realistic and on par with the market rate. If the price is within market rate, discuss with the stager to see how they can work with your budget. Most stagers will work with reasonable budget expectations.
2. WHAT IS YOUR TIMELINE?
When are you going on the market? Knowing your repair and work timelines is important because it will dictate when home staging will take place. Work delays are common, so it is important to make sure your home stager know the range of dates that you are looking at. During peak seasons, we often get booked 2+ weeks in advanced. If the client missed their ideal booking time, they may have to wait 2 weeks for our books to open up. It is important to make sure that the prospective home stager can accommodate your timeline.
An example of vacant home staging.
3. WHAT KIND OF HOME STAGING SERVICE ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
These are the 3 most common and major kind of services a stager will provide (These are general terms. Depending on the stager, you may see hybrids or only certain types of services.):
Vacant home staging services: You have already moved out of your home and now the house is vacant. A home stager will move in all the furnishing, lifestyle accessories, artwork and soft goods (textiles, bedding, accent pillows) to create a welcoming space that will be attractive to your buyers.
Occupied home staging services (sometimes also called redesign): You are living in the home while you are selling. Generally, home stagers would bring pieces like accessories, artwork, furniture, etc. into the home on a needed basis and work with homeowners’ existing pieces.
Consultations: These can range color consultations, finishes selection, and home staging walkthroughs where the home stagers will walk through your home with your, provide you with a list or a comprehensive report on what needs to be done to get the house ready.
Depending on your needs, you can always ask what other services the home stager provides. Knowing the scope of your project will also help.
4. DOES EVERY ROOM NEEDS TO BE STAGED OR JUST THE KEY ROOMS?
If the homeowner is budget conscious, I always suggest staging the key rooms, which includes basically the main / common areas plus master bedroom (or en-suite if it is available). This will keep the cost down for staging and still make an impression on the buyers.
5. WHO IS YOUR BUYER? IS THIS THE BEST STAGER FOR THE TYPE OF BUYER?
Depending on who your buyer is, the staging will need to have the look and feel that appeal to your buyer. If your listing is in a trendy area, it may not be ideal to have a stager who is used to staging traditional homes. You can generally figure out who the potential buyer is by looking at your current neighbors, who they are, what kind of work they do, what kind of lifestyle appeals to them, what type of magazines or furnishing they have in their homes, etc. Then take a look at the portfolio of your prospective home stager and determine if he or she is the best fit.
Lastly, there are no standards for pricing or required licenses, education in the home staging industry. When you are in the process of hiring a home stager, ask as many questions as you can to make sure you are completely comfortable with the home stager and with the process. Read our blog here if you are interested in hiring a home stager.
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