While staging homes in Portland, Seattle and Palm Springs for over nine years, I've heard some pretty funny questions. Below are the seven that stick out most in my mind.
1. Can you only use stuff I like?
We most certainly can use stuff you like, but what would be the point of that? If you are looking for someone to design to your tastes, then please hire an interior designer. Their entire job is to design a space for you to live in that you love.
This however is not a home stager’s job.
A home stager is hired to design a space to appeal to as many people as possible. In fact, of all the people in the world who might buy your house, you are not one of them. Just take a few minutes and think about who your client is. (Hint… it’s not you.)
When it comes to selling your home, you are, in fact, a small business owner with one product to sell. As a small business owner myself, I can tell you my entire business is geared to provide the best experience for my client.
Shoot, if I was building a business for me as a client, there would be a lot more cocktails delivered to me by men in Speedos, for sure. But alas, it is difficult to make money if you are your only client, so the Speedo idea was doomed from the start!
2. Your job sounds like so much fun! Can I come work for you?
I get this question a lot and I find it rather flattering as it is my job to make the process seem like a load of fun. If I am doing my job correctly, it should seem like I simply wave my hand and beauty happens.
The truth of the matter is there are only two types of people who work for me:
The first lifts and moves furniture all day long. They are extremely detail oriented, full of energy and have the ability to physically move sofas, chairs and tables with extreme precision from one place to another. They are strong, willing and able.
The second has this same ability combined with a degree in design.
When it comes down to it, when we hire new staff we commonly receive hundreds of applicants. Of these applicants we interview ten or fifteen and eventually we might hire one.
While I would love to hire each and every person who wants to have a fun job, it just isn’t feasible!
3. Can the photographer just come at noon?
Our promise is to stage just about every home in one day. We tend to start installing between 8:30am and 10:30am and are done by 6:00pm. In order to start so early, we actually arrive in our offices and warehouses by 7:00am. Our first meeting is with our managers at 7:15am followed by an all-staff meeting at 7:30am. We are loading trucks by 7:45am and out the door no later than 10:00am.
In a measly eight hours we are able to fully furnish an entire house. Think about the last time you moved into a place. How many days, weeks or months did it take you to finally feel completely moved in?
We are getting the same thing done in just a few hours and we need every minute of it. If you send in your photographer at noon, you are going to get two things:
A very frustrated photographer
Really bad photos
My request is simple: We only ask for one working day. Please help us help you by keeping all trades, Realtors, cleaners, photographers, aunts, uncles, sellers, pets and friends off the job site until we are done.
4. Can I come to your warehouse and pick out my own furniture?
No. You hire a home stager based on their ability to correctly visualize merchandise for your housing market. As discussed above, we are not designing for your taste. and ultimately, you are too emotionally invested to do this yourself.
Seriously, I would not even stage my own house! I would ask somebody else to help me because I am WAY too biased towards my own tastes, in my own home. If you just need some extra furniture and feel you have the ability to properly stage your own property, please allow me to recommend Cort, Aarons, or Peoples.
5. Can I just pay you out of escrow?
Yes. That’s right, you heard me… yes.
We will simply double our fee.
Here’s the thing. In order for a vendor to have construction lien rights, they must attach something to the property- a painter attaches paint, a plumber attaches pipes and fixtures, and so on.
As a home stager I have no lien rights because I do not attach anything to the house.
Our furniture simply sits in the house and can easily be removed. Because our fees are so low, it would cost us nearly double the amount to hire an attorney to sue for payment should somebody decide not to pay us.
There is also a very good chance that we’ll stage a house and after it is staged the seller decides not to sell. What happens then? There would be no escrow for us to get paid out of. We would have to collect our furniture and move on to the next project having worked a ton with absolutely no reward.
6. Can you store your furniture in my house?
Seriously? I have actually been asked to “store our furniture in the house until it sells.”
I probably should have said “yes” and then delivered 100 mattress sets to the house to make sure no one can enter the house at all! C’mon people. I get paid to “store” my furniture in houses! If I “store” my furniture in your house for free, how can I get paid to “store” my furniture in someone else’s house?
If you are considering asking a home stager this question, do yourself a favor and put the phone down.
7. Can you give me a price without knowing anything about my house?
Sure. $4,000,000. I can stage just about any house for $4,000,000.
Seriously though, it really helps to know little things like:
Where your home is located?
What is access like?
Are there stairs?
How many rooms does it have?
Does your home have built-in shelves?
Is there an outdoor area to be staged?
What are the finishes like?
There are many variables that will affect the cost of staging. While we can ask you lots of questions over the phone we can only come up with a budget.
The best way to get an accurate home staging price is to click the “Book a Consult” button on our website and schedule your free consultation today. It doesn’t cost anything, it only takes an hour and you will have a fixed price in less than 24 hours.
How great is that?!