So you want to start staging cottages. There are lots of reasons why potential clients are looking to sell their home away from home. Perhaps they just inherited the property and don’t want to keep it. Maybe they’re moving to another city. Or they just don’t like maintaining two homes. Whatever the reason, it’s time for you to become a home stager in cottage country!
Keep reading to learn about the steps for breaking into the cottage market…
Is this really what you want to do? Make sure this is something you’re committed to and motivated to keep at because it isn’t necessarily going to be smooth sailing. It can be especially difficult to succeed if you chose a niche (like cottages) and there isn’t much demand for what you do. Depending on where you live, the climate might prevent you from having any staging jobs at all in the winter. Many people will seal off their vacation homes for the coldest months of the year. And since it’s not usually high season for the cottage market in winter, there aren’t many showings in the blustery, cold weather.
You don’t need to have your career plan completely figured out, but you should be realistic with yourself. Don’t set yourself up to fail by jumping into a career change too quickly, which leads us to our next point…
Get to researching
Research the housing market where you live. If you live in a landlocked area where the closest cottage area is a 6-hour drive away, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of this career choice. Are you going to move closer to cottage country? When you factor in your travel costs, will you still be charging a competitive rate? Are you okay with traveling a long distance every time you secure a new client? Again, this is about being realistic about your thriving potential as a cottage stager.
You also need to think about your cost of living. How much do stagers in your community make? Are there many established staging companies that you’ll be competing with? Are there any real estate companies looking to hire/partner with stagers? Is there a way you can differentiate yourself from others? At this point, you might be thinking this article is just a list of questions with no answers. But, you need to ask yourself some tough questions to evaluate the market.
Before you stage a cottage, you obviously need to know how to do it. Although we doubt you’ll find a home staging certification specific to cottages, a vacation home is essentially a second home. So an accredited home staging course is going to set you in the right direction to be successful. At a good school, you’ll learn everything from the basics of color theory to small details that will elevate your staging jobs.
Here are just some ways a certification will teach you:
- The theory behind staging homes
- Basic and advanced design principles
- How to make a professional portfolio
- De-cluttering homes
- How much to charge for your services
- How to start and run a business
You’ll also learn trends and what not to do in different settings. Anything from the aspects of the home that need color to how to enhance curb appeal. You don’t need a certificate to stage homes. However, to really thrive and have the know-how to become a successful and profitable home stager, you must invest in your education.
It’s essential to be listed in public directories and have an online presence. This way, your name will pop up at the top of the Google search results list. But word of mouth is the absolute best way to sell people on your services. Many people think they can stage their homes by themselves. So having people actively singing your praises will get you more business. Although it can take some time to see some real results—not everyone is looking to sell their homes at all times. Ultimately, it could be faster and more efficient than waiting for someone to find you online.
If you’re already a home stager, keep in touch with past clients. When adding cottage staging services to your repertoire, ask former clients if they have a cottage or know others who might be looking to sell theirs. Keep great relationships with past clients mean they will likely be more than happy to promote your services to other people.
Another great way to get referrals is to partner with a real estate company that specializes in cottage properties. Many real estate businesses don’t have employees who are certified in home staging. Often, real estate agents stage the home as best they can without any formal knowledge. If you can sell yourself as being useful to their business, they will recommend your services to their clients. After you work your staging magic, the agents will be able to sell homes for a higher price and the buyer will be thrilled. It’s a win-win for everyone involved and a really efficient method of getting work!
Get settled in
It can be a long road to success. It’s important to be patient when nurturing your business. Your portfolio, referral network, online presence, and client list need time to grow. And you need time to develop your reputation in the cottage market.
The first day you advertise your cottage staging services online, you won’t be on the first few pages of Google. You might not have many jobs in the first few months, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful in the long run! With training, dedication, passion, and patience, you can and will succeed. Cottage country better be ready for you because you’re about to make a splash!
Are you a cottage home stager with more advice on breaking into the vacation home market? Leave us a comment with any tips we missed!