A Day (or two) in the Life of a Home Stager
What does a Stager REALLY do?
I’ve decided to answer this question that a lot of people are asking by giving a play by play of a typical staging of a house for the market.
It all starts with a phone call, text or email. ‘Can you help me? I have a listing that needs help.’ OR by a home owner ‘Can you help me? I’m selling and don’t know where to start.’
The typical first question is ‘How much do you charge”?
And that is a very difficult answer to answer without seeing the house first. For vacant homes in staging condition I can often give a ballpark, but for partial stagings, occupied stagings, model home stagings I will need to see the property first. In the case of occupied stagings I will need to do a detailed consultation. But here I will digress a little.
Price should not your biggest concern.
Just remember that not all stagers are equal. Is your stager qualified? Is this a full time job or a hobby? Does your stager have a great portfolio of ‘before & afters’ of THEIR OWN work? Do they have client testimonials?
So back to the subject at hand. I will give you a play by play of a new, vacant staging first. After the phone call, usually from a Realtor or developer, I will drop by to see the house to determine what needs to be done. I will take some photos, measurements, and discuss the scope of the job. I will email the owner with my estimate within 24 hrs. If the proposal is accepted I will draw up a contract outlining all the particulars of the job. AFTER the contract is signed and I receive a 50% deposit I begin the process of finding suitable furniture to rent. This can take a whole day, depending what is available at the different rental agencies. After all the furniture is picked out and a delivery time settled upon (1-3 days), I will begin to move my own inventory of small furniture pieces, rugs, window coverings, bedding, plants, cushions/pillows/throws, art/mirrors, bathroom and kitchen accents and lots of other accessories. It will usually be 2 or 3 SUV loads of my inventory. Sometimes, if I can get the key, I will begin moving those things in before delivery day for the furniture.
AFTER the furniture arrives, it will take 4-8 hrs to put it all together and get that WOW look. This involves a lot of activity…running up and down stairs, lifting, hanging, reaching, etc. It is not a very glamorous job! By the time I’m finished I have had a real workout.
So, you can see, it can take two or more days to effectively stage a new average size vacant house.
An occupied house that is going on the market requires a consultation first. I will visit the house and tell the homeowner what needs to be done beforehand. That can involve repairs, updating, painting, cleaning etc.
After the homeowner completes all the recommendations they plan to do, and after the contract is signed, I will come back and stage the house using proven staging techniques to make it ‘Open House’ ready. This can include removing, re-purposing, re-arranging the home owners furniture and accessories. It also usually involves renting some items from me, to help tie everything together. Occasionally, I may need to rent some furniture as well. The time needed to do all that is required depends on the size, condition and scope of work agreed upon. I have had to spend 3 days at a large house and 6 hrs at a small, ready to stage house.
But this is usually the result!