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  • Writer's pictureNedra D Hines

Educating Potential Home Staging Clients

I think Home Stagers in general, do a subpar job of educating clients about Home Staging versus Interior Design and Interior Decorating. I know at least most of us, when we’re first starting out, automatically assume people know what Home Staging is and how it works, and that’s not the case. Because it’s still relatively new, a lot of people have never heard of it and conflate it with Interior Design or Decorating.

I very recently had a situation where I created a formal Home Staging quote for a potential client based off the property’s floor plan and emailed the quote to his Listing Agent. It may be worth mentioning that during our initial discussion, the agent mentioned that the client “had an issue with his last staging company”. Like a dog, my ears perked up because I was interested to know the cause of the issue and the agent confirmed that she didn’t have insight on the situation.

A few days later, she emailed me back to ask if I could visit the property because the seller is “a visual person and wants to get the visual of how the property will look”. When there’s an invitation to possibly collaborate, the person is in the mindset of Interior Design or Decorating. I knew that was the perfect opportunity to educate them about the difference between Home Staging versus Interior Design and/or Interior Decorating. One of my mentors puts a cute spin on it and shares that “Designers and Decorators spend your money; Stagers make you money!” I love that statement and to expand on that, Designers and Decorators collaborate with the client to create a result that suits their preferences and lifestyle, because they will be living in the property. The home isn’t being sold and they’re free to provide whatever feedback they think will help them achieve the result they want. The furnishings purchased belong to the client for their personal use.

On the other hand, the Home Stager is the expert and one that is trained will assess the architectural features of the property, as well as get an idea of who the target buyer is. The goal is to attract target buyers so they can make an offer to purchase the home. It’s a marketing tool, which means the way furniture is placed will cater to the Real Estate Photographer’s camera, so they can get the best shots for the MLS. Furniture isn’t placed based on how people will live in the home, and we’re surely not concerned about where the TV will go. It’s all about selling square footage and capturing amazing marketing photos. Besides, when people live in homes, they aren’t living “photo ready”.

Also, Home Staging companies stage with the inventory they have on-hand at the time the contract is signed, and inventory changes often, happening when a staging or de-staging takes place. The result is one that attracts buyers from every walk of life, and it may not align with the seller’s personal taste.

Back to the story . . .I made sure to educate and knowledge share as much as possible, to minimize disappointment with the seller. The agent also confirmed that he’s “very picky”, which as a human, I do understand very well. Oftentimes picky clients have issues with staging companies because they don't fully understand how they operate. Like I was saying earlier, people conflate it with design and decorating, and assume it's a collaborative effort, and it's not. I wanted to be mindful of his expectations and make sure he has a great experience, no matter what staging company he uses.

Just like I did it for him, I like to do it for others as well. I read so many stories from Home Stagers venting about a situation that has gone wrong and I know that the contribution to educate clients starts with us. I hope you’re able to glean some value from this post because the more people know, the better choices they can make for themselves, even if they decide to hire a Designer or Decorator to stage their property.

They do have that right, you know.


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