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How to Become a Home Stager

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A home stager prepares homes for sale by making them more visually appealing and welcoming to prospective buyers. Stagers make minor and often temporary alterations, such as removing clutter or personal items, to help would-be purchasers better envision themselves in the home. A home stager also adds items to create a specific look. For example, she might hang mirrors to make a room look bigger or bring in floral arrangements to enhance the atmosphere.

Education and Training

There are no set educational requirements to becoming a home stager, and you don’t need special licensing or credentials. You also don’t need formal design education or prior experience in real estate or design, although "Entrepreneur" magazine recommends some preparation in interior design. Several organizations offer short-term training programs that offer certification in home staging, but you can enter the field and call yourself a home stager without a credential of this kind.

Crucial Skills

Even if you don’t complete formal training, you need strong design skills to effectively stage homes. You must be able to visualize how a space can be made more appealing and know how to work with color. For example, an understanding of colors that create a tranquil atmosphere is useful. In addition, you must feel comfortable working closely with people you don’t know well, including homeowners experiencing stress while trying to sell their home. Strong organizational skills and an eye for detail are also important, as is the ability to thrive under pressure and on deadline. You also need to have an interest in real estate and understand how the process works.

Startup Costs

A home stager typically accumulates staging equipment, such as furniture and home decor items, over time. As you launch your business, buy some pieces of high quality furniture and decorative items. If you can’t afford to buy them outright, negotiate with a local furniture company to borrow items. Because it may take some time to recoup what you spend, reinvest your early earnings back into your business.

Business Aspects

Before you can seek out clients, determine how much to charge for staging services. Some stagers charge a set rate, such as a certain percentage of the home’s selling price. Others determine the fee on a case-by-case basis, typically based on how much work the home will need to be ready for sale. Determine a marketing and promotional strategy. Offer to stage the homes of family or friends who are selling their homes, then create a collection of photos to show to prospective clients.

Finding Clients

It might require a good deal of legwork and reaching out to others before you have a steady roster of clients. Start by contacting homeowners directly. Look for “For Sale by Owner” signs, then call the sellers to explain what you do and how staging can help them more efficiently sell their home. Also, contact real estate companies and build strong relationships with agents. They might recommend you to their clients, which could help you bring in dozens of jobs you might not find on your own.