Questions often asked before becoming a Home Stager or taking Home Stager Training:

Before Picture - FAQ

Is a license or certification needed to stage homes?

 How is one Home Stager Training program better than another? 

How do I find Home Staging clients?

Can a home be staged in just two hours? 

Why train the competition?

After Picture - FAQShould Realtors® stage their own listings?

Will the Realtor® & Seller Manuals put Home Stagers out of business?

How “real” are Home Staging TV shows?

Are other services covered in the Home Staging Manual and Training?

Does the Home Staging Manual include sample reports, consultation checklist, price list, contracts and business forms?

How much does a Home Stager earn? 

How can I learn what to do at a Home Staging appointment?

Is the Home Staging Manual or Home Stager Training guaranteed?

What if I have questions after reading the Home Staging Manual or taking the Home Stager Training program?

Q. Is a license or certification needed to Stage Homes?

A. No. Home Staging is not a regulated industry. You need a license to practice real estate. To be a Home Stager you need a car and natural talent.

Buyer Beware: Anyone can buy a trademarked set of letters that they “award” you after you buy their program. Credentials are a marketing gimmick. The argument is that because real estate agents have credentials they will “respect” Home Stagers who have credentials. I have not found this to be true (I can count on one hand the number of people who have asked if I have “credentials” from any of the countless organizations and individuals offering them). Agents have a license because their industry IS regulated; Home Staging is NOT regulated.

In fact, I often receive calls from Agents who say, “I tried a ‘certified’ Home Stager and wasn’t impressed, but someone in my office recommended that I use you.”  The bottom line: you can buy credentials but you cannot buy natural talent. If you can’t assess a home’s contents and envision rooms reconfigured in a better way, the entire alphabet after your name will not be able to keep you in business. If you are good at what you do, people will tell others about their positive experience with you. Earn your “credentials” by providing solid, creative solutions and building a good reputation!  

My lawyer adds, “The terms ‘Home Staging’ and ‘Home Stager’ are descriptive of home staging services and, by themselves, are generally not registrable with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for home staging services. If you are approached by someone claiming to have exclusive rights in these terms for home staging services based on ownership of a federal trademark registration, ask them to provide you with the registration number(s). You can verify the existence and content of trademark registrations on the Internet at http://tarr.uspto.gov.” [back to top] 

Q. How is one Home Stager Training program better than another?

A. I’ve never had anyone ask if I learned Home Staging from this or that organization or trainer. If they’re curious, they usually just ask if I studied interior design. Therefore, don’t base your selection of a Home Stager Trainer on whether the organization is “recognized,” because apparently none are, including my own! 

If I were starting out I would want to know how many homes that a potential trainer had physically staged in real-world situations. In other words, is your trainer in the training business or the staging business? (Note: Do yourself a BIG favor and Google the training company claiming to hire you afterwards. Eye-opener!)

I believe in the importance of knowing what to do once you’re in a seller’s home. When I started out in 1999, no one—including most Agents—knew what Home Staging was! HGTV was a new cable network featuring room make-overs and gardening shows; Home Staging shows came out years later. When I started out no one knew what to expect, meaning, there were no expectations! That’s no longer true. Buyers and their Agents have come to expect the “wow factor” from the homes they tour, so it’s important that Home Stagers know how to affordably create it.

As for me, I am in the Home Staging business: typically three appointments a day, five days a week. I started offering to train others after getting countless requests to “shadow” me. What makes my Home Stager Training different is that it is NOT a classroom setting. It’s you and me at two full days of my appointments, learning in real-life situations, where the Home Staging is not being provided free. These are real homeowners in the throes of selling their most expensive asset, and I am a stranger entering their home who will soon be moving things around that, ten minutes before, seemed just fine where they were!  

Because it’s one-on-one, we can also concentrate on areas where YOU feel you need more support. Essentially, I’m downloading everything I know about this business into your brain.

My Home Stager Training program is intensive. When you have completed it you not only know how to stage a home in two hours, you also know what goes into building a successful service. For some people, the Home Staging Manual is enough. For others, I’ve found that we creative types often learn more effectively when we see, hear and experience, so “reality training” can be enormously beneficial!  [back to top]

 Q. How do I find Home Staging clients? 

A. I prefer to work with real estate agents because, for one, they screen out the whack jobs for me. Seriously. 

Both the Home Stager Training and Manual provide the information to help you become established in your community. That said, I can tell you where my Home Staging clients DON’T come from: expensive magazine ads, other Home Staging Web sites listing Home Stagers in my area, trade shows, etc. [back to top]

Q. Can a home really be staged in just two hours?  

A. Yes, and it truly separates me from the pack. I’ve popularized the two-hour stage-what-you-own concept in the Kansas City / Johnson County area and, I suspect, everywhere else it’s being practiced, due to the popularity of my Manual. The “how” and “why” is covered in the Manual, and you see it in action during Training.  

Staging a home in two hours is one of the keys to my full schedule. “How do I earn a living if I am not charging an arm and a leg for a long appointment?” you might ask. Simple: a successful Home Staging service is defined by more than a hefty fee (IF you can get it!). Personally, I prefer to have a full schedule and be in demand than to wait nervously for my phone to ring with the occasional big-fee inquiry.  [back to top]

Q. Why train “the competition”?

A. Now that real estate Agents know the value of Home Staging there is a demand that I alone cannot possibly meet. This is a Quality Control issue. If an Agent tries a Home Stager and is not impressed, s/he may never try it again. Everyone should have a positive experience when they hire a Home Stager. It benefits us all when the profession has a solid reputation. The better we are, the more valuable we become, which supports the fee that we charge for the hard work and talent we provide, resulting in homes sold for better prices, ultimately affecting MY city, neighborhood, and home value.

The other reason I’m training the competition is that I grew weary of saying “No” to people when they called asking for a job, or to “shadow” me. Someone once said, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” That’s really how I see this whole training thing.  [back to top] 

Q. Is it a good idea for Agents to stage their own listings?

A. Agents across the world have been staging homes since the beginning of the industry. What’s changed is the formality of it. For many homes, it’s not enough to suggest a little de-cluttering and a little cleaning. Buyers’ expectations are much, much higher now. The Internet photos of a home have become critical to determining if the home gets included on the To-See list.  It’s not enough for a home to meet the general “search” requirements. The flat images must work hard to entice buyers!

While some Agents are talented and can stage clients’ homes, “wearing both hats” can damage both credibility and the Seller-Agent relationship. (Imagine trying to tell your sister-in-law that her mauve decor must disappear if she wants her home to sell!) I’ve seen (and admired) the Agents who roll up their sleeves and do everything from clean a home, spend money for landscaping, send a husband and son over to help paint or move stuff out, then lose the listing in the end because the seller sees the Agent as “servant” rather than “expert” and won’t heed expert advice.

A Home Stager’s role is often to play Not-So-Bad Cop to the Agent’s role as Good Cop. Having a neutral, professional, third party make the changes preserves a positive Seller-Agent relationship. The work gets done and there has been no bloodshed!  [back to top]

Q. Will the Realtor® and Seller Manuals put Home Stagers out of business?

A. Absolutely not. Talented Agents who can also finesse the appearance of criticizing a home will rarely if ever call a Home Stager anyway. The Realtor® Manual enhances current skills, just as the Seller’s Manual enhances current skills of a talented seller.   

The Realtor® Manual also contains invaluable negotiating angles unique to their service. Veteran and new Agents alike will benefit greatly from the coaching techniques included, honed from successfully guiding over 7,000 homeowners to take action that will help their home sell. 

As for the Seller’s Manual, it is NOT a guide to assist FSBOs (For Sale By Owner). I am a firm supporter of real estate agents and the service they provide! I have found that some sellers simply want to do everything themselves. The Seller’s Manual is written in such a way that Agents would feel comfortable handing it over to their sellers to read. (Plus, there are parts of the world where Home Stagers are not available.)

All 3 Manuals—Stager, Realtor® and Seller—provide a room-by-room approach to preparing a home for sale. They include the “whys” and the “hows” for doing the many different things that are necessary to get a home ready to sell. [click here to see a Table of Contents for the 3 Manuals]

Finally, even the talented Realtor® will occasionally need to call for “back-up.” The Realtor® as Stager Manual very clearly spells out when that might be a good idea!  (Frankly, the coaching information alone is worth the price of the Realtor® as Stager Manual!)   [back to top]

Q. How “real” are Home Staging TV shows?

A. One way they’re not: Budget! (Always missing from the “total money spent” are the contractors’ fees!) I’ve found that most sellers are not able or willing to spend money on a home they’re leaving. A Home Stager needs to know how to help sellers spend as little money as possible for maximum impact, as well as how to determine whether spending a chunk of money will be worth the investment.

I do appreciate how the shows have educated sellers on the importance of presenting a good product to the market. When a little budget money is available, both my Home Stager Training and Home Staging Manual describe how to use it wisely.

Regarding the Interior Redesign shows: Personally, after watching some of the redesigns I’m left wondering about how the rest of the house is now filled with “problem rooms” after being ransacked to create the one fabulous room. With Home Staging, ALL of the rooms must look as good as possible!  [back to top]

Q. Do the Home Staging Manual and Home Stager Training cover Interior Redesign and other services for people not moving?

A. Both explore many ways to grow your home staging business in related areas, including interior redesign.  [back to top]

Q. Does the Home Staging Manual include sample reports, consultation checklists, price lists, contracts and other business forms?

A. The Home Staging Manual includes an actual consultation report done for a client. It also includes the detailed thought process that goes into creating a report. All homes cannot be treated the same. An older home competing with other older homes often requires a different approach compared to a home competing with new construction. The Manual teaches you how to prudently use a seller’s limited budget. The Manual also includes a list of items for creating your own report, with guidelines for making it as detailed or generic as you prefer. There’s also an argument for NOT providing a standardized report!

While the Manual provides guidelines for creating your business forms and marketing pieces, the Literature Package includes  samples of invoices, forms, price list, a business plan, brochures, flyers…all sent via E-mail. They can be used as templates or guidelines for creating what you need. They show you how to determine your services, price them, and describe them.   [back to top]

Q. How much does a Home Stager earn? 

A. This is one of those crystal ball questions that cannot be answered until you read my Home Staging Manual or take my Home Stager Training program. Both help you first define your Home Staging service(s) then determine your fee(s). Many variables can go into your income potential including the different services you will offer, how many hours you want to work, your courage, and your specific market. As with all new business ventures, it is recommended that you have financial back-up as you are building your Home Staging service.   [back to top]

Q. How can I learn what to do at a Home Staging appointment?

A. This question addresses confidence in your God-given talent. If you have an eye for balance and beauty—and you can be diplomatic, I’ve created a systematic approach that can be easily learned via the Training and Manual. I address consistent problem areas—room by room, feature by feature, person by person—and how to work with them. Even though each home—and seller—is different, I approach them all the same in order to enjoy the creative process, achieve the best results, and share the positive experience of Home Staging with as many sellers as possible!

Regarding God-given talent, if you are wondering if you have it and are willing to hear the truth (good or bad!), feel free to E-mail me photographs of your home. There are things I know intuitively after having staged 7,000+ homes, and can save you a lot of frustration, or encourage you to get started TODAY!   [back to top] 

Q. Is the Home Staging Manual or Home Stager Training program guaranteed?

A. With my Manuals and Training I guarantee that you will receive detailed, inside information that can help you build a Home Staging service. What you DO with that information is up to you! Due to the proprietary nature of the information being provided, there is NO money-back guarantee. Essentially, I cannot retrieve the information from your brain. The Home Staging Manual is priced in such a way that there is little to lose if you decide Home Staging is not the right path for you. Read what others have said after reading the Home Staging Manual and completing the Home Stager Training.  [back to top]

Q. What if I have questions after reading the Home Staging Manual or taking the Home Stager Training program?

A. I am available for one-on-one coaching. Contact me if I can assist you!  [back to top]

Articles reposted on other Web sites include:

http://akarismaticlife.blogspot.com/2007/01/dozen-quick-fixes-or-short-cuts-for.html

http://www.theheritagehometeam.com/whats-hot-and-whats-not-in-selling-your-home/

http://leslie-reecenichols.blogspot.com/

http://www.mytwinbees.com/2010/11/real-estate-photos/

http://robellermanteam.blogspot.com/2011/08/pet-peeves-of-home-stager.html