It Pays to Hire a Professional

There are 4 stages of a learning curve:

1) You don’t know what you don’t know Stage 2 You know what it is you don’t know Stage 3 You grow and know and it starts to show Stage 4 You simply do something because of what you know

2) You know what it is you don’t know Stage

3) You grow and know and it starts to show  You simply do something because of what you know

4) You simply do something because of what you know

The meaning of “art & design” is so vague and subjective that those with little to no knowledge of the field are at stuck in stage 1 and are at a major disadvantage when picking the right home stager they want to work with. They unfortunately, don’t know what they don’t know. But don’t worry, it is not your job to know design inside out to hire the right stager. Here are 4 signs to look out for to ensure your home stager isn’t making costly mistakes that are hurting the home seller. Let’s get right to it!

1. They are decorating vs. staging
There is a big difference in approach and strategy when preparing a place for selling vs. dwelling. Interior design can be very personal and customized to the tastes of those who will be living there. Staging, however, needs to cater to a wide demographic. Think of it as packaging your product to sit on the aisle and compete with other products for attention. If the packaging turns away potential buyers, no matter how good your product, it is not going to attract any interest and hence, won’t sell well. Ensure that your stager is preparing your property with a relatively broader theme. Bold and bright colors for art accessories or furniture is a big no!

2. They are finding it difficult to work with what they are given
Sorry sellers, sometimes that gray couch from the 1980s needs to go to the garage temporarily, just until you sell the house. Sometimes, not always. If your stager is mostly asking you to get rid of all your furniture to bring in rented pieces, something is not right. An experienced, skilled stager when working on an occupied (being lived-in) property, should know how to make the furniture work. Our true skill lies in identifying hidden treasures in your house, arranging and accessorizing them to give it the look and feel of a dream home. A well-staged home doesn’t need to break your bank.

3. They don’t know how to handle a sensitive issue so they avoid it
I have been in those situations. An accent chair, which has been in the family for 60 years, simply must go. A large fish tank in the dining area needs to be moved because it won’t cater to everyone’s taste. And this can be an awkward conversation with those who are emotionally attached to the pieces. Is your stager avoiding this conversation with the home sellers or addressing it, in a polite, tactful manner to help the owner see the other side of the coin? A professional and experienced stager would address this to do justice to the space, so ultimately the realtor and the home seller can benefit from it.

4. They fail to motivate the client
It is critical to give the home owners an effective action plan based on recommendations to make changes around the house. It is even more important to bring them on-board with it. With everyone working 50-hour workweeks, with an abundance of other responsibilities, you don’t want to leave them feeling like you just added more to their to-do of the week. If you feel that the home owners are often de-motivated or don’t take much action based on the recommendations, the stager missed out on a key part of the job. Showing them the importance and impact of the end results is critical. Without motivation, your time and money invested in hiring and working with a stager is wasted.

Success story:
A few months ago, we were approached to stage a property in Thornhill. Despite the clutter, staging the property was the easier part, convincing the owner that the property needed to be staged took longer. As someone who had been living there for 20 years, the owner had accumulated a fair bit of belongings but he wasn’t willing to move or arrange them to make his listing market ready. He believed the buyer should understand that the home is being lived in and so shouldn’t have a problem with a mess. Also, why bother moving around the furniture they were going to throw it all out after the sale anyway. That sounds fair from his perspective, but which buyer would be willing to shell out close to a million dollars for anything less than a dream? Our consultation, which usually takes 2-4 hours, on this occasion took 6 hours. While the realtor waited, I had a one-on-one with the homeowner about the importance of staging and how this was going to pay off, in terms of both money and time. Once I had him on board we were able to get started with the process.

Fast-forward one week, the property had sold within 3 days of being listed, for $140,000 over asking price and the home buyer wanted to buy it as it is! You read that right – he paid extra to buy the furniture the home sellers were going to “throw out”. That is the power of staging when done right.