Home Staging and Client Dissatisfaction
About two weeks ago I was browsing a website that publishes reviews about businesses that are generated by the general public. I noticed another Home Staging company that I know really well had a less-than-5-star rating and I was curious about why that was. I know the founder and people who work there because they are the same people who mentored me when I started and they’ll answer any question I have to this day. I know they go above and beyond to serve their clients and if you ask me, they always deserve a 5-star review. They have a proven track record that spans close to a decade, which confirms they’re well-grounded in what they’re doing and how to do it.
Out of curiosity, I read their client reviews and saw a review by someone who gave them a 1-star review, so I was interested in what he had to say. He began his review by saying that he had a “very disappointing experience” with them and he went on to detail his expectation about what he thought they should have provided, compared to what was actually provided. He also gave additional details about how much the surcharge would be in order to provide him what he wanted and concluded his review with “DO NOT hire this company”.
For those of you who know me personally, one of the things I have an affinity for is education. To be honest, there is a lack of education and communication about the intention of Home Staging. Partly because it was founded in the early 1970s and it’s not a common job for people to have. If people know anything about staging, they automatically think of a pretty aesthetic and assume that it is Interior Decorating or Interior Design. The intention of Home Staging is to appeal to the largest number of buyers possible so they can envision the house as their home, therefore the aesthetic typically features neutral-colored furniture with “pops” of color showing in accessories or accent furniture pieces. I’ve also seen neutral-colored furniture and accessories as well and it is commonly used by Home Stagers. I personally cannot live in a staged home because it’s too neutral and commercial for my personal taste and what I like to surround myself with. I’m saying that to say, Home Staging has very little to do with my own personal taste and includes everything that is proven to resonate with buyers, regardless of demographic.
The person who left this company a 1-star review wasn’t educated about what he needed to sell his client’s home. He (and anyone else) could have hired an Interior Designer or Interior Decorator to customize the result to his personal preference and the fee structure would have been completely different. Hence, the surcharge that was communicated to him by this particular Home Staging company was completely different from the original cost to stage the home. It costs extra money to customize a look to a client’s desire because additional furniture pieces and accessories have to be purchased and time has to be invested to source and purchase all of these things. Interior Designers and Interior Decorators have a different fee structure because of the extra effort it takes to customize a result.
If in the future, you want to hire a Home Stager who produces a result that you personally like, find one whose work you like by browsing photos online. Additionally, clarify if the photos you like are in fact photos of a vacant home staging or occupied home staging. The reason is because with occupied homes, we typically stage with the homeowner’s furniture pieces instead of our own inventory. From there, have at least 2 options on hand that you can call when/if you need them. It’s also important to know that you can in fact, hire a designer or decorator to prepare the home for you. Once the home sells, you will have your chosen furniture and accessories to take with you to the next destination.
This blog is all about educating you and anyone else who assumes that Home Staging is Interior Design or Interior Decorating. Any Home Stager worth their salt is passionate about what buyers want to see and we bring that to the table when we produce results. What’s disappointing is when the lack of education on the client’s part results in a reputable company getting a 1-star review when they went above and beyond to sell the home in a timely manner. This is one of the issues within the Home Staging and Real Estate communities and this blog is a result of my effort to “be the change” I want to see in these communities.