5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Stager

A professional stager can help you set your listing apart. Here are some questions you'll want to ask to find the best person for the job.

April 1, 2010

A staged home makes a great impression on buyers. But if you’re not up to the task, how do you find the right person for the job?

Property Merchandiser Anthea Click of Nashville, Tenn., says the answers you get to these questions will tell you a lot.

1. Can I see your portfolio? It’s not enough to ask a few questions over the phone. Meet stagers in person and review their portfolio—it’s a sneak peek of their capabilites.

Are their example pictures attractive? Are they presented neatly? Does the home you want to stage mesh with the style of the staging pro?

2. What is your training and background? The home staging industry is largely unregulated, so it’s important to find out if stagers have been trained and what their certifications mean.

Is their background in in real estate? Have they staged homes in your seller’s price range? Do they know the conditions of the market and what it will take to get the house sold?

3. Do you have a specialty? Many stagers specialize in a specific type of home, such as lofts, condos, starter homes, or luxury homes. Do your homework to make sure the stager’s specialty is what you’re looking for; high-end décor might not look right in a lower-priced listing.

Think proportionally, as well. If stagers usually work in large, more spacious homes, their furnishings may be too big for a smaller, urban condo.

4. How do you communicate with home owners? Make sure the stagers you hire have a sense of tact; they should be able to speak with your clients professionally and compassionately.

When it comes to a person’s home, the discussion can get sensitive fast. Request that your stager go over the presentation and talking points with you before meeting the sellers. "Your stagers are representative of your business," Click says. "If they don’t communicate well with your clients, it doesn’t look good."

5. Do you have other marketing ideas to bring to the table? Some stagers see their role as going beyond simply prepping a home for sale; they often have other strategies for piquing interest in the property. "If buyers aren’t walking through the door, the staging means nothing," Click says.

Ask if there are alternative ways you can work together. For example, rather than a traditional open house, Click has cohosted cooking events with practitioners.


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