Hiring a Home Staging Professional

Home stagingAt a time when many companies are downsizing or closing, the home staging business is booming. Home staging was listed as one of seven emerging growth industries according to a 2009 CNN report. The growth is attributed to the stagnant real estate market.

With homes taking longer to sell, there ends up being more homes for qualified buyers to choose from, so a motivated seller is best served by hiring a home staging professional to make their house stand out from all the rest.

Homes that are professionally staged sell five times faster and for 5 percent more than homes that were not staged.

So what do sellers need to know when hiring a home staging professional?

Marcyne Touchton of Domaine Staging in Charlotte, N.C., reports that her company had growth of 200 percent last year and this year she is on pace to surpass that rate. She cautions sellers to make sure that any home staging professional has the ASP or ASPM designation (Accredited Staging Professional and Accredited Staging Professional Master). That means they have had training from Stagedhomes.com, the leader in home staging. The Master is when you have received an extensive weeklong training with the creator of home staging herself, Barb Schwarz, who has a legal trademark on the word "stage."

There are different kinds of home staging pros for different situations. Touchton has a warehouse full of furniture and accessories and she specializes in transforming homes that are either empty or have outdated furniture. This type of staging averages $2,500 to $4,000 for a 2,500-square-foot home.

Other home staging professionals, such as Melinda Smith of Balance and Harmony in Mooresville, N.C., specialize in consultations. Smith tours the exterior and interior of the home and afterward presents the client with a 17-page report listing its positives and negatives. This gives them a road map of what improvements need to be made before their home goes on the market. She will also rearrange furniture while she is there, if she feels it will make the home more appealing. This type of staging ranges from $250 to $650.

Smith attributes the growth in her business to real estate agents. They are hiring her directly, offering her service as an added value to homeowners thinking of listing with them. She says it benefits the Realtor in two ways: First, it keeps their relationship with the homeowner strong because they don't risk alienating the client by pointing out their home's flaws. And second, since the homes she stages stand out from the crowd, the Realtors' listings sell faster, which allows their business to thrive in spite of the slow market. Smith adds: "First impressions are everything! Home sellers think that buyers can look past old decor, excess clutter, and empty rooms to see the potential in the home, but most can't."

She says, "Right now, with the abundance of homes for sale, if you want to be the one who sells your home it has to stand out." Hiring a home staging professional is one way to make sure it stands out for the right reasons.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. She creates one-of-a-kind interiors that reflect your taste, lifestyle and budget. Follow on Twitter @thedesigndiva.

Did home staging help you sell your house? Got tips and advice to share? We want to hear from you! Add your comments in the box below.

Want more home staging tips and techniques? These AOL Real Estate guides can help:

More on AOL Real Estate:
Get advice on home improvement.
Find homes for sale in your area.
Find foreclosures in your area.


Want to learn more about home buying and home finance? If so, you won't want to miss
our online discussion with industry experts,
"What Works Now: Smart Moves When Buying a Home,"
created by AOL Real Estate in participation with Bank of America Home Loans.
Watch it now on AOL Real Estate.

Read Full Story

Find a home

Powered by Zillow