If you’re an aspiring home stager, or even a professional one, then chances are you’ve been asked to do consultations with clients and real estate agents. This can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! In this article, we’ll break down how to conduct a successful home staging consultation. Plus, we’ll also answer some common questions people have about the process.
So, whether you’re just starting out or you need a refresher course, read on for some helpful tips!
What is a Home Staging Consultation?
A home staging consultation is a meeting between you (the stager) and the potential client. At this meeting, you go over all of the details about how to stage their home in preparation for sale.
What Does a Home Staging Consultation Do?
What is its purpose?
Well, the purpose of a home staging consultation is to determine what work needs to be done in order to make the house more presentable and attractive for potential buyers. During a consultation, you’ll look at things like:
- Furniture placement
- Light fixtures
- Color schemes
- And other aesthetic elements that could help enhance the overall look of the house.
Alternately, you may be approached by a prospective client who wishes to have a consultation in order for them to determine whether or not they want to book you for the job. This kind of consultation is known as the initial client consultation.
During this type of consultation, you’ll go over your services, pricing and the overall process of staging a home.
What Happens at a Staging Consultation?
Again, this depends on the type of consultation you’re conducting…
How to Conduct a Home Staging Consultation
Initial Client Consultation
During this type of consultation, you’ll start off by having a conversation with your client. The client may either be the homeowner themselves or a real estate agent. You’ll want to provide them with an overview of the services you offer, as well as discuss pricing options.
Moreover, it’s important to ask questions and get to know their needs and preferences.
Questions to Ask Home Staging Clients if They are the Homeowner
- What is their budget?
- What are their goals for the home staging process?
- Do they have any special requests/requirements?
- What is their timeline for the sale of the home?
Questions to Ask Real Estate Agents if They are Your Client
- What condition is the house in?
- What features of the house do you think are most saleable?
- Does the house have any special features that need to be highlighted?
- Do the sellers have any special requests or requirements?
Once you have a better understanding of their goals, then you can move onto discussing the process with them. Explain what they should expect during the staging process, including any potential costs and timelines.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to explain how you’ll be communicating with them throughout the process, as well as any additional services you may be providing (e.g., home organizing, furniture rental).
How to Do a Home Staging Consultation Onsite (a.k.a. the Actual Home Staging Consultation)
Once you’re ready to move onto the onsite staging consultation, there’s more work involved. Before getting started, it’s best to have another conversation with your client to make sure you have a clear understanding of their goals.
Next, it’s time to assess the home. You’ll look at things like furniture layout, color schemes, lighting, and more. During this assessment, you should be making notes and taking photos of any areas that could use improvement or TLC.
Once the assessment is complete, it’s time to sit down with your client and go over your recommendations for staging the home. You’ll also want to provide them with a timeline and budget for the project.
What Kinds of Suggestions are Made at a Home Staging Consultation?
Next, let’s take a deeper look into the kind of suggestions that are made during a home staging consultation.
As we discussed earlier, you’ll commonly be making recommendations on:
- Furniture placement;
- Color schemes;
- Lighting fixtures;
- And other aesthetic elements that can help make the house look more presentable and attractive to buyers.
Additionally, you may also suggest ways to declutter/organize certain areas in order to make the home appear more spacious and inviting.
The Importance of Curb Appeal
You definitely can’t forget about curb appeal either! As part of your job as the home stager, you need to consider how the outside of the home looks, too. After all, this will be the first impression potential buyers get of the house. If the outside looks unkempt and messy, it could turn off buyers from the get go.
So, when it comes to the exterior of the house, you may suggest things such as:
- Lawn/garden care services;
- Pressure washing the driveway;
- Sprucing up the front door;
- Painting the exterior;
- Adding outdoor furniture and decorations;
- And anything else that will help make the outside look inviting and well-kept!
Tips to Keep in Mind During a Home Staging Consultation
- Make sure to listen carefully to your client’s needs and preferences.
- Understand their goals for the project so that you can provide them with recommendations accordingly.
- Be transparent with pricing and timelines.
- Make sure to assess the interior and exterior of the house thoroughly.
- Suggest ways to improve both the aesthetics and functionality of the house.
- Always be honest and direct with your feedback.
- Suggest ways that the client can save money on the project, if possible.
- Make sure to take photos and make notes of every area you evaluate during the assessment stage.
- Be honest if a client’s budget won’t be enough to cover the entire staging project.
Mistakes to Avoid During a Home Staging Consultation
- Avoid overwhelming clients with too much information.
- Don’t assume you know what a client wants
- Ask for clarification at any point, if needed.
- Don’t be pushy about upselling services that aren’t necessary.
- Try to avoid making any assumptions about the home or the client’s budget.
- Be careful not to overstep boundaries or offer advice outside of the staging consultation.
- Don’t go over the agreed-upon timeline or budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s move onto some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to home staging consultations.
Q: How long does the initial client consultation usually take?
A: The initial client consultation can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. It depends on how many questions they have for you. Remember: they’re trying to figure out whether you’re the right professional for the job! As such, the initial meet/consultation can take longer if the prospective customer wants to be thorough.
Q: How long does the onsite home staging consultation usually take?
A: The onsite home staging consultation can take anywhere from 1 hour to a few hours, depending on the size and complexity of the project. You’ll be walking through each room of the house, assessing what needs to be done in order to spruce it up for potential buyers.
Q: Should you be charging for these home staging consultations?
A: Again, this depends on you and the kind of consultation you’re conducting. For the initial client meeting, you may offer this as a complimentary service or a reduced rate.
However, you should absolutely be charging for the onsite home staging consultation. After all, this is where you’ll be dedicating a lot of time and energy to evaluate the house and make recommendations.
Q: What do you need to bring with you to a consultation?
A: If you’re meeting with the client for the first time and not yet looking at the home itself, then you’ll want to bring a portfolio of your previous work, along with some notes about the services you offer. Plus, you’ll want to come prepared with a client questionnaire to find out what their needs are.
For the onsite home staging consultation, you should bring a camera or smartphone to take pictures of any areas that you’d like to focus on. You’ll also want to bring measuring tape, paper and a pen or laptop to take notes.
Q: What is the best way to present your recommendations during a consultation?
A: A great way to present your recommendations is by having visuals on hand. Take screenshots of before and after photos or create a mood board to show clients what you envision for their space. This will help them visualize the finished product and give them an idea of the cost associated with it.
You can also provide written reports that outline your suggestions in detail, such as furniture layout diagrams, paint colors, and a suggested shopping list.
Q: How should you approach the topic of budget?
A: Discussing money can be a bit of an awkward subject, but it’s necessary in order for you to do your job. So, just don’t make a big deal about it – and simply ask them what their budget is!
When discussing their budget from there, the best approach is to be honest and transparent. Explain to the client up front what they can expect to spend on the project and how you will work with their budget. And if a client’s budget won’t cover the entire home staging project, then let them know so that they can adjust their expectations accordingly.
Q: Are there any negotiation points for a home staging consultation?
A: Yes. Depending on the scope of the project, you can offer discounts or package deals to help clients save money while still getting the quality they’re looking for. You could also offer payment plans or a flat rate fee, depending on their needs and budget.
The key is to be flexible and willing to work with your clients in order to come up with a win-win solution that meets both of your needs.
Q: Should you have a contract signed during a home staging consultation?
A: Absolutely! Before you begin any kind of actual home staging work, it’s important to have a contract in place.
Firstly, this will ensure that both parties understand the scope of the project as well as any additional fees or payment options. Secondly, the contract should also spell out deadlines and how you plan to handle disputes that may arise throughout the course of the project.
Having a contract can protect both you as the home stager and the client. So, it’s important that one is in place before any work is started.
Conducting a home staging consultation is a crucial step in any successful home staging project. In order to make sure that the consultation goes smoothly and you get all the information you need, it’s important to bring the right materials and ask the right questions. Additionally, having an agreed-upon contract in place will help ensure that both parties understand the expectations, budget, and timeline of the project.
By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to a successful home staging consultation!
Do YOU have any questions, comments, or additional tips to add? Leave them in the comments below, as we always love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading – and happy staging!