Certification for stagers is as important as licensing for real estate agents. Why? So that consumers know what to expect when hiring a stager.
Real estate regulation has been in place for over 100 years but staging is still in its infancy. The practice of staging has only been around for 20 years. As an industry, staging is only 10 years old. Staging is a female-dominated industry which includes a mix of hobbyists and professional stagers. The professionals have training, business insurance and overheads. They work in an industry with no official measure of talent or pricing. This wild west mentality harbours danger for the consumer.
Staging cannot be done well by everyone who says they are a stager.
There is a perception that all stagers are the same. Shockingly, there are hundreds, if not thousands of “under the radar” stagers conducting business. They’re staging without insurance, measured technical skills and best business practices. The professional stagers’ are taking a beating because the cowboy stagers are plying their trade at rock bottom prices. You might think, “Oh well, natural economics. Competition is a fait accompli”. Well, au contraire!
Even though the staging industry is non-regulated, we work in the regulated real estate industry. Many of the regulations and ethics for real estate agents apply to the stager.
Pricing a Staging Project
Unfortunately, when you don’t know how to select a great stager, you base your decision on the cheapest price. Choosing based on cheapest price jeopardizes the goal of the transaction.
Stagers are in business to make money too. Yes, they love their work, but it’s impossible to work for peanuts. Demanding lower rates will affect outcome.
You might say, “I just want the best price I can get”. Understandable. However, at what cost? Doing the staging yourself or using a cheap stager works against the goal. You may think the goal is to get the house sold. Wrong. The goal of selling property is secondary to securing the most equity for the seller. Demanding lower pricing for staging compromises the number of rooms staged, quality and quantity of items and end result.
Pricing a staging project depends on many things. For instance:
- Size of the property
- Quality and quantity of goods
- Labour and storage costs
- Employee costs
First Impressions are Lasting Impressions
We know that 99% of potential buyers decide which listings to see while on their couch with the swipe of a finger. Therefore, don’t compromise the opportunity to secure quality photographs. It’s the first impression of the listing. Great photos will get the property on the “must see list”. Great curb appeal moves the listing to “I want to see inside”.
Many can’t visualize beyond what they see. Consequently, if there isn’t furniture in the room, they can’t buy the room. First impressions are made in the blink of an eye. Furthermore, 72% of the first impression is made from the threshold.
The average buyer takes three minutes to tour a property and wherever the eye rests, the sale begins. A stager should know how to strategically direct the eye to the features of the property versus the décor. They should understand the neuroscience behind buying signals. They should use this understanding to create subliminal signals of “buy me” throughout the property.
Certification for Stagers Matters
My company, CSP International, has led the charge for professionalism within the staging industry. Above all, we promote best business practices, a code of ethics, insurance, continuing education and a comprehensive certification process. In an emerging industry where there is no official measure of credibility, we feel it’s important to provide a strong measuring tool for excellence. As a result, property sellers and real estate agents shouldn’t have to worry about the quality of staging work they receive.
Working with a certified staging professional is the differentiator. It will help the property stand out in a crowded real estate market.
By Christine Rae, President CSP International™, Real Estate Staging Expert, Coach and Best-Selling Author.
CSP International™ Business Training Academy is a World Leader in Staging Certification.
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