It’s up to professional home stagers to dress a home for sale. Improving the home can include any number of steps, like banishing clutter, making repairs, and removing personal items.
When it comes to flipping homes (the process of buying a home that needs repair and fixing it up before reselling it), staging is one of the most effective tools! Clients will look to you, the home stager, to prepare their home for a quick sell.
But you can do the flipping yourself, too – after all, you’ve earned your staging certification and can put your expertise to great use. Read on for our guide to flipping homes with your online home staging certification!
Evaluate the space (and the client!)
Before beginning any design project, it’s essential to get to know the space you’ll be working with. This is especially important before staging homes – you need to understand the best features before you can make any attempt to highlight them.
Perhaps the dining room has high ceilings that are reminiscent of a cathedral, but is overcrowded with furniture. Or, the home’s front entrance features beautiful flooring, but the railing that leads upstairs is coming off its hinges. These are details you need to be mindful of right from the get-go. The furniture in the dining room needs to be arranged in such a way that the space appears large and comfortable. Wobbly staircase railings fall under the umbrella of repairs, and there may be more than one to contend with.
Becoming familiar with the space is one thing, but you also need to get to know your client! Everyone is different, and a home stager will undoubtedly run into clients who are clueless, yet critical. You might also meet clients who are simply not ready for changes to be made in their living space. Or, there are the clients who are totally disconnected from the process (and that’s how they like it!).
You’ll need to navigate these different personalities, expectations, and conflicts while doing the best staging (and flipping) job you possibly can. Remember, your clients want to turn a profit in as short a timeline as possible, so they’ll be expecting you to hit the ground running and know what needs to be done.
Narrow your focus
Obtaining your online home staging certification was hard work, and you should be proud of your accomplishment. The great news about flipping homes is that you’ll gain some seriously hands-on experience and you’ll build your staging skills.
When you flip a house as a home stager, you want the prospective buyer to feel an immediate connection. This desired reaction needs to be carefully calculated, and while the entire home needs to be staged, there are specific areas that are much more important than others. Focusing your energy and money on certain areas will ensure that they have that “wow” factor that the potential buyer is looking for, and you only have a few moments to create that magic.
Consider the impact of excellent curb appeal – this is truly the first impression of the home, as the prospective buyer will be sizing up the property from the moment they lay eyes on it.
Anyone qualified in staging homes knows how important a home’s exterior is. The grass needs to be kept healthy, driveway cracks need to be filled in, and you need to ensure that the house looks neutral enough that it can appeal to the masses. To really take a home’s curb appeal for a test run, stand across the street from the home and look at it with a trained eye. Does it stir up any emotion for you? Do you notice anything about the property that needs to be perfected? Before putting the house up for sale, you need to ensure it is as good as it can possibly be.
Once the prospective buyer has walked through the front door, the first three rooms in the home are where they are going to focus their attention (and where you should, as well!). The living room, kitchen, and dining room (or bathroom, depending on the flow of the home) should be where you apply most of your staging expertise.
This doesn’t mean you should neglect the rest of the home, though. Bedrooms, home offices and hallways need care too – there are some great quick fixes you can employ in these spaces to ensure they are in the best shape possible for potential buyers!
Know what to expect
Your home staging courses taught you the skills you need to help your clients sell their homes quickly, including decluttering, depersonalizing, and how to work with real estate agents. This knowledge will prove extremely valuable as you start flipping homes! However, there are other items to keep in mind, which are as follows:
- The Timeline: Flipping homes is seriously time-consuming! As the home stager, you need to be realistic, both with your client and yourself, about how long the process of flipping the home will take. Figuring out how to highlight the home’s best features, creating a style for each room, and improving curb appeal are all pieces of a much larger puzzle that can take several months to accomplish. And you don’t want to rush through them! You also need to have inspectors come into the home to ensure that it complies with building codes, which could result in an even longer timeline if it isn’t compliant. Just be prepared for a long road when it comes to flipping homes!
- Patience: This one is tough. Even the most easygoing home stager will run into moments of impatience and frustration during the flipping process and later, the selling process. A home will need to be staged before it can be put on the market, and your clients will never get a second chance to make a first impression. This puts a great deal of pressure on you to organize a highly appealing space that buyers can envision themselves living in. The home needs to be stunning, and even when you’ve done your best and invested a great deal of time and money into the project, it can still take time to close the sale. Showing your clients that you are patient and positive throughout the process will demonstrate your professionalism and abilities as a certified home stager.
- Prepare for the worst: There is nothing easy about flipping a home. Your home staging certification has prepared you for tricky situations related to space planning, working with clients, and depersonalizing, but you still need to brace yourself for situations that you never anticipated. Like any large-scale project, flipping a home is incredibly rewarding, but the journey to the final product will likely be bumpy and challenging.
As a professional home stager, look at this as excellent experience to have under your belt. Be confident in the fact that you’ll overcome these challenges and be a much better home decorator in the end!
Getting your staging certification is only the first step in launching your career! Here’s what you can expect in your first year as a home stager!