FAQ's: Home Staging as a Career
By Dana J. Smithers
So you think you would like to become a Home Stager? My name is Dana J. Smithers and I have had the privilege of teaching Redesign & Home Staging to some very talented and amazing people – mainly women, for the last 4 years. I offer a 5 Day Certified Professional Redesign & Home Staging course and I am a founding member of the Canadian ReDesigners Association.
'HOME STAGING' is a fairly new business and term in Canada although many homes have been 'staged' for selling over the years. There are also many terms for home staging such as House Fluffing, Real Estate Staging, Showcasing Houses for Selling, Property Enhancement, etc. and new terms are emerging as the business takes off.
Definition from Sun On My Back Redesigns:
"Home Staging encompasses everything involved with preparing a house for selling. The end objective is that the house has broad buyer appeal so that it will sell sooner and for more money than a house that is not staged."
How I Got Started
I went through the same process and stages that many of my students who are looking for a career change have gone through. My previous work experience included a very successful 20 year corporate career but I always had 'hobbies' that involved decorating and provided a creative outlet for me. When I was approaching my 50s I decided I wanted to change careers and do something that I really really loved. So, I got my interior decorating diploma and became a certified Redesigner. I built my client base by starting part time and those initial clients not only wanted decorating and redesign advice, they wanted me to help them get their houses ready for selling. It was a 'no brainer' for me! And the rest is history...
FAQs Home Staging As A Career
There are many common questions that I get asked when people are looking into this as a career change for them. I would like to share their questions and my answers with you.
- How do I know this is the right career for me? You will know if you have a gift for this type of work or not. It is something that will bring you joy and you are most likely doing it for family and/or friends for 'free' right now. They all tell you how good you are at it. Sound familiar?
- How do I get started? The very best way to get started is to do some RESEARCH. Research can be done through a variety of resources. A very good one is the Internet. You can do a www.google.com search or a www.yahoo.com search and get great information on line. Another method is by conducting Informational Meetings with home staging business owners. Attend Networking Meetings – find out who knows someone in the business or a related business. Talk and meet with Realtors and other real estate professionals such as Mortgage Brokers, etc. Email or talk with graduates of Professional Home Staging Training programs.
- Do I need to have a degree or training in interior design or interior decorating? Absolutely not. I do recommend that you continue to educate yourself in related fields. The more services that you can offer your clients the more revenue streams you will have. Your strategic alliances can be another source of revenue for you as well.
- How do I know if I will be successful or not? My standard answer comes from a professional development course I took a few years ago – "How you do anything is how you do everything; how successful you have been in the past is a good indicator of how successful you will be in creating your future."
- How much money can I make? This is the million dollar question! When asked this question I put the questions back to you - How much do you need to earn? Will this be a part time or full time business? How willing are you to put forward a 100% commitment to grow your business? Do you have a business plan? Currently a professional home stager's earning potential is being compared to that of an interior decorator. Because this is a fairly new profession there are not statistics to support what a Home Stager will make annually.
- What kind of start-up costs will I have? The wonderful thing about this business is that the start-up cost is very minimal. You will incur some costs for registering your business as any new business would. Your main expenses will be for tools which can be as low as $150. There are many things that you can do for 'free' such as getting your business cards, creating a website and advertising. Other costs can be reduced by belonging to a professional redesign & home staging association.
- Are credentials and a designation important? YES! As this business grows awareness about home staging is getting the recognition it deserves. Many home sellers and realtors will ask a home staging what their credentials are and who they took their training through. You can become accredited and certified and obtain a designation through investing in a professional training course.
- What professional training courses are recommended? Selecting the right course for you will be a personal decision. Do your research and determine what you want your outcome to be from the course you are taking. There are several types of courses now being offered in Canada and the United States. Some involve classroom theory and business start up learning, some are all teleclasses and offer no hands on. Some of the 3 day courses offer limited hands-on while the 5 day courses offer 3 full days of hands-on experience in real client's homes.
- What happens after I take the course? Many instructors offer mentoring to their graduates formally and informally. Many associations have monthly meetings and networking events for graduates. If business coaching is offered after the course this is something worth looking into.
- Any other questions? Email or phone me and I will answer them for you. Remember what the Law of Attraction says "Focus on what you want, speak about it and act upon it; have faith and believe it is possible and you will achieve it."
About the Author
Dana J. Smithers, President of the PRES Staging Resource Centre is the author of Start & Run a Home Staging Business, and has written several eBooks for the DIY Home Seller. She appears regularly on television, international radio, podcasts and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences. She left a successful 20 year corporate job to pursue her passion of decorating and teaching and fell in love with the results one-day home makeovers could bring. She launched her first solopreneur business, Sun On My Back Redesigns over a decade ago and now thrives on teaching her certified professional PRES® staging training courses on-line and off-line. She offers business support through coaching and mentoring home stagers worldwide; professional development courses, teleseminars and webinars so graduates are supported and the learning is on-going. In 2002 she was a founding member of the Canadian ReDesigners Association and several years ago launched her own PRES® Staging Resource Centre. She is passionately committed to the success of women entrepreneurs in the home staging industry and is expanding her reach to other countries around the world where home staging is just becoming known.
Article Re-print Permission: You may use this article for your own web site, blog or printed material. Please be sure to include the "About the Author" resource box in all uses of this article.