Start a House Staging Business

By Eric Hammer

With the economy the way it is and with housing prices still pretty low, desperate homeowners are increasingly turning to a house staging business to help them sell their homes. The idea isn't really to lie about what the home looks like, but instead to present it in the best possible light.

For example, if you were to run a house staging business, you might bring in nicer looking furniture to replace the furniture that's already there (or to put furniture in if there is no furniture in the home to begin with). You would also advise homeowners on the best way to make their homes look presentable.

For example, as a house stager, you might suggest to homeowners that they arrange for the outside of the home to be painted and for the lawn to be carefully manicured. Again, these are all things that the new owners might be able to do themselves, however, a house stager simply sets the scene so that the place looks nicer than it might otherwise.

How Much Can You Make?

According to FabJob, a house stager may earn anywhere from $35-$75 per hour for their services. Of course, if you also arrange to rent out furniture and the like rather than simply setting up what's already in the home, then you may be able to charge more money for the rental as well.

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If you like the concept of house staging but feel like you'd rather have a longer term effect on a home, consider working instead as an interior designer. This is similar to house staging, though not identical. As an interior designer, you are trying to make a home appear in its best light as the owner sees it. As a house stager, the owner's personal tastes are not important. What's important is making the home more appealing looking to a broader subset of people so that they will want to buy the place.

Remember that you will be working with people who are desperate to sell their homes and as such may not have much money to spend. Sometimes, you can offer a contract where you do the work for free in exchange for a percentage of the sale price (typically 1 or 2% -- on a $300,000 home, that still works out to between $3,000-$6,000).

Qualifications / Requirements

There are no formal requirements to start a house staging business. Anyone can hang out a shingle if they choose to do so. That said, it is often a good idea to take courses from your local community college or online in home staging to help you in this business.

First Steps

Start by reading about house staging. A number of books are available on the subject (one is mentioned below). See if you feel you could do this professionally. Then, walk around your neighborhood looking for "for sale by owner" signs. Contact one or two owners and offer to work on commission - if they sell their home within a month of your efforts, you get paid. If they don't, you get nothing. Assuming you know what you are doing, you should get your first sale or two and then you'll be on your way. You can then go to real estate offices and offer your services and continue to contact owners who want to sell their own homes.


Check out these helpful resources to find out more about starting a house staging business:

Home Staging that Works: Sell Your Home in Less Time for More Money by Starr C. Osborne Amacom, 2010 - While the book was written primarily for homeowners rather than people who want to start a house staging business, the advice here will benefit you as well.

Decorate-Redecorate: How to Start a Home Staging Business - While they are trying to sell you their courses, there is some good information here as well.

eHow: How to Start a Home Staging Business - Another basic introduction to becoming a home stager.

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