I am making a big decision in my life about starting a new career. I have been thinking about it for a long time but recent events made it seem a better time than ever to pursue. That career choice would be....Home Staging and Organization. I have staged two homes that we have sold in down markets and rather quickly.
The first was 10 years ago and I hardly knew it as "Staging". I was just decluttering, deep cleaning, and designing with a minimal approach to show the house to the best potential. It was a downturn in home sales in that area and we ended up selling within 6 weeks. Our realtor was wonderful and even then, took full advantage of the internet to show the house. We had many compliments from the realtors after the open house and although I don't remember exactly how many lookers we had, there weren't many before it sold.
Then the most current home we have sold I have already blogged about...we got an offer after 5 weeks on the market. Even with lots of snow, foreclosures selling for much less in our neighborhood, and very slow market, our house sold. From the initial meeting with two realtors to decide who to have sell our home to the final realtor for the buyers, I got complimented on how I had decorated the house to showcase it well. Of course, painting and deep cleaning played a big part, but the ultimate way the home looked to potential buyers was critical in the selling process. How the home was staged let buyers see the house as spacious and envision how their things would look in the space. There were no personal items visible or pictures of family to distract the lookers, only minimal furniture and well chosen decor; like walking into a model home.
I already have a realtor that is writing me a letter of recommendation; the buyers realtor from the home we just sold! She was happy to write one and told me I would make a great stager!
Now for the questions...any advice on how to proceed? I've been looking into staging classes online and books, but it is hard to know if the money spent is worth it. Should I be certified or just start without it and maybe work towards that goal? I have been a sponge for a long time on any articles on home staging and organization online and in printed media. Should I start out with freebies to add to my portfolio or is that necessary?? Advertising ideas? Services to provide?
My first thought to do is to buy and study books. With the knowledge I get from them, make contracts and an information packet/portfolio. I need to decide on a business name and register it; then get business cards. I'm looking into cheap or no cost advertising like Craigslist and Penny Saver type papers. I know that getting the word out to people I know that I am starting this business is important. I think a website is critical to success, so that would be worked on also. Then networking, networking, networking... All of this is coming off the top of my head right now, but is that a good start?? I want to also provide customers with a list of small companies that could do painting, repair work, carpet cleaning, etc. in the area.
So now I go to you... to ask for your comments to give me advice, encouragement, and knowledge in this adventure. Any recommended websites or schools for staging that are good and not too expensive? It is hard to decide, when I'm not sure if the classes are going to benefit me or just take my money. I will continue searching and studying in the meantime.