Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making Decisions on a new career...Any Advice??

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.



Hopemore Studio said...

Cindy, It sounds to me like you really have a great idea here. I would go ahead and get the books, see if there is some kind of certification you can complete.

I think another way to drum up business is to work with the realtors. They will always have clients that can't see what needs to be done and they can offer you up your services as a consultant. I did this last year. My realtor offered it as a service, we could just do a consult (which we did) or go with all out staging, this gal provided it all. Go for it!!

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Hi Cindy, the realtor that is writing you a letter of recommendation, see if she will use you to stage other homes. Tell her you will do it for a much smaller fee than usual. This will build up your portfolio AND you will then be a "professional" because you have been paid for your services (even if it is less than you would normally charge). Find out what the normal cost is for staging and work up a price sheet of services you will offer. This is what I would try first. Once you have 5 or more homes on your resume you can send a cover letter with your resume of homes etc. to all the realtors in your area. Thats my opinion for what it's worth ... you will find if God is in this the doors will open (())

Tara said...

I have always though this would be a fun job. I love the show on HGTV that does that.I would imagine the toughest part would be dealing with the clients!

Thanks for coming by and entering my giveaway. Good luck and have a terrific week!

Vicki said...

Congratulations Cindy!
You are the winner of my giveaway.
I am leaving to go out of town today and should be
back on Wed. or Friday.
Please send your mailing address to
I will send you an e-mail when I get back in town.

Brenda ~ The Heminger Farmhouse said...

Hello Cindy, Stop by my blog when you get a chance, as I have some EXCITING news for you :)

Warmest hugs, Brenda

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Cindy! You won my Cottage Charm Giveaway!!!! Yay, you! : ) I will have a post going up announcing you as the winner at 8:00 tonight. Meantime, please send me your full name and mailing address {when you get a chance} and I will get the table runner and clip it out to you next week. My email is kathyp(at)creativehomeexpressions(dot)com. Congrats!

Linda said...

Cindy - congrats on all the giveaways you won!I think you you would really enjoy staging from all that you are saying and the advice given above seems pretty sound. Go with your heart but don't forget your head!
Blessings, L