You asked and I’m answering! It’s all about staging FAQs today.
Hey friends, today it’s all about staging! I get a ton of questions regarding this topic so I thought I would just compile them all on a blog post. If you have any other additional questions, just add them to the comment section at the end of this post and I will add them to the blog post. Hopefully this staging FAQ post will answer all your questions.
If you have no idea what I’m even talking about, let me explain. For over a year now, I’ve been staging homes for sellers. I am hired by realtors to help homeowners get their home ready for listing. I usually do an initial consultation with the realtor and homeowner. This is where I give advice on what needs to be done before I come in and stage their home.
How did you get into staging homes?
One of my college friends saw my work online and asked me to stage one of her listings. That one home became two and I can’t even remember how many I’ve done this past year alone. I kind of just fell into it after showcasing my work online. This is also how I’ve started working with private clients over the last couple of years.
Who pays you?
The realtor or home owner
How do you charge?
I have an hourly rate I charge for all of my design clients and this is the same thing with staging. Most homes are an average of 10-20 hours of my time and so I just add my hourly rate to that. Since I’ve started design work, I’ve increased my rates twice.
If there are people living in the house, do you stage it just for the open house or till it’s sold?
I leave all of my staging decor until the home has passed the due diligence period. I usually stage the home a day or two before the photographer comes to take pictures for the listing. But we advise the owner to keep everything the way it is until the house is sold. I tell the owner to take photos of everything so they know how to put it back if it gets messed up. IE: pillows, tablescapes, etc If my decor stays longer than 2 months, I charge a monthly rental fee.
What is one thing that surprised you about staging?
It’s a ton of physical labor. You are constantly carrying and lifting heavy containers. There’s the staging part where you have to pack up all the stuff and bring it to the home. Then there’s the destaging part after it’s sold. After that, you have to unpack and reorganize everything again at home. Jimmy helps me pack the car for every staging job and that helps me a great deal. I also hired my oldest daughter during the summer and she was a great asset!
Interior design is a lot of manual labor and since I do things mostly on my own, it can get taxing. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the pretty After photos. I always think about it as getting getting extra exercise. I exercise at least 4 times a week and this helps me stay strong and physically able to do my job. I try to never stage homes back to back because of my back.
Do you rent furniture?
No. I only own small pieces like end tables and console tables. If the owner or realtor wants larger pieces of furniture, we have to use a third party to rent them but I work with the furniture that’s already in the home.
What paint color is best for staging?
White is my paint of choice because it’s clean, fresh and goes with every home. I’ve had to stage so many different kinds of homes and there was one that had green paint in every single room in the house. I’m so happy it sold! I love green, just not in every single room.
What white color paint do you recommend?
I love a variety of white paints and it really depends on your home, the lighting that comes through, furniture and cabinet color, etc. But I love working with Alabaster and Dover White by Sherwin Williams. White Dove and Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore. Again, it depends on your home and how soft or cool of a white tone you want. Sampling the paint on the wall is always recommended! If you can’t do white, try to stick with a neutral color.
What are your go-to items for staging kitchens or dining tables?
I always create tablescapes in the dining room and breakfast table with pretty dishes, chargers, napkins and stemware. It really makes a difference. Think about the model homes you’ve seen in a new neighborhood. They always have tablescapes. People like to imagine how they would entertain or host a party even if they aren’t into that stuff. For the kitchen, I always add trays and little areas like a beverage station, coffee bar area, etc. I want it to be styled practically and beautifully.
Should all personal items be removed before staging?
Yes, this means all photos and even important valuable items should be stored away. I always provide an initial consultation before staging and this is where I tell the owners what things need to go. You want to remove all visible clutter on surface areas especially in the kitchen. See that panini maker and rice cooker? Move it out of sight! Appliances don’t photograph well and you want that valuable real estate AKA your countertops to shine! Since you’re planning on moving, go ahead and start boxing up your things. The less stuff you have out, the less you need to worry about packing it later.
Where do you typically acquire the furniture and decor accessories for staging?
My main source is Homegoods and Target. Again, I don’t buy large furniture. I don’t want to spend too much on decor since there’s always the potential for it to get lost, stolen or broken. I also like to hit garage and estate sales when I have the chance. Those are great places to buy dish and stemware.
- Where do you store all your stuff?
In my home! It’s a bit crazy and I’ve had to constantly readjust and organize. I recently invested in some bookshelves and it’s in the guest room holding a ton of accessories. I also have them stored in my office, closet, bonus room and garage. Basically, it’s everywhere.
How do you have enough decor to stage?
I’m always buying things. If I see an art piece, lamp or decor piece I love, I will purchase it. I’m constantly building my inventory. One rule of thumb I like to use is I only buy things I would put in my own home.
Do you stage vacant homes?
Yes. I have staged a bunch of empty homes and I decorate the kitchen, bathrooms, foyer and mantles. I install art work and try to still add decor to not make it feel or look so cold.
- What’s the craziest thing that has happened while staging?
This past week, I got stung by a wasp in the home during a consultation. The homeowner was an urgent care physician so she applied ointment on my face and provided some meds that completely knocked me out! Thankfully, I had little swelling but I was drowsy all day.
- I would like to go into staging and don’t know where to start. What should I do?
Start a portfolio of some sort. It could be your own home. Photograph your work and share them. You will be more likely to be hired if your work has been seen. Then, connect with local realtors in your area. Show them the value of your work and how hiring you can lead to faster sales. Currently, the time frame between listing the homes after staging and selling them is so short.
I really do believe staging adds a ton of value because of how quickly homes get sold. I’ve staged a number of homes where they were sold on the first day of listing and with multiple offers. If you have amazing photographs of a nicely styled home, statistics show that buyers are more likely going to go see your home. You will also need to start building inventory so start slow and buy smart. On average, I can have 4-5 homes staged at one time so my decor gets circulated quite a bit.
The first two years of staging will be about building your inventory. As you build your business, you will also have to put money into your business. For me it’s inventory but also buying and investing in organizing tools that keep me sane and efficient with my time.
I hope this was helpful in answering your questions. If you are interested in doing this as a side hustle, go for it! The real estate is hot right now and it’s a wonderful way to make money and practice decorating and styling. I love it for the fact that I get to decorate a different home each time and it really gets my creative juices flowing. And I get paid for it!
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave any more questions! I’m more than happy to answer them. Tomorrow, I’m partnering up with Google and taking my kids to a really cool event. It’s free to the public so if you’re in Atlanta, come out and play some mini golf and have a chance to win a free Google home! Follow along on my Instagram stories and I’ll be doing a fun giveaway with one of their products really soon on my Facebook page!
Let all that you do be done in Love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
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