When you’re trying to sell your home the ability to appeal to a buyer is your main goal.  Staging your home is the process of setting the “stage” to market each room in its best light.  A home stager will help you determine what parts of your home are assets and which areas need to be minimized.  Throughout this process your home will ideally be transformed for home buyers to want to purchase it for their own.  In order for you to hire a home stager that is right for you and your home, consider these 10 tips.

1.) A home stager is not the same as a Realtor: Before you hire a home stager remember they are hired to “market” your home visually and through home buyers’ senses. Unlike a Realtor who is hired to help you through the buying and selling process, and the legalities of both.  When you hire a home stager make sure you consider this distinction so you don’t hire a stager thinking they will promote, guarantee, or provide realty information.

2.) Seek referrals first: Similarly to finding a doctor or a mechanic, seek the advice of neighbors or Realtors that have used home stagers in the past.  They will be able to explain what to expect as well as save you time and energy searching aimlessly for a professional stager.

3.) What to ask when a home stager visits your home: A consultation or first meeting will take place at your home for the home stager to walk through your home and give you feedback on their observations.  Questions to ask should include: *Do they use your existing furniture/decor, or do they bring in new furniture/decor? * Do they charge by room or by level of detail? *What homes have they staged in the past?

4.) What will be expected of you: When hiring a home stager, many will give you tips on how to keep your home in the staged condition after they finish.  It is important to note that unless you don’t live in the home while selling it, there will be work for you. Discuss this thoroughly before agreeing to have your home staged. Make the most of this investment, as it will eventually lead to a home sale.

5.) Ask for advice to bring the price down: For your benefit, and for your home stager to quote you the lowest price, declutter and purge items in your home before they visit. Once the home stager visits ask if you can paint, clean, etc…spaces of the house yourself to bring the cost down of their services.

6.) Ask the home stager to walk through the steps: Ensure clear communication in the beginning of the relationship with the professional. Ask them to outline steps through the duration of the project so you know how long the process will take. Unlike home and garden television, one weekend may not be sufficient!

7.) Redesign may be an option instead of staging: Some professional stagers also do redesign to market your home.  This involves moving furniture for better flow through a space, or placing furniture to take advantage of better views. Often time’s pieces of furniture can be swapped from other rooms of the home. Redesign generally is for homes that have very few major interior design issues: changing colors on walls, replacing fixtures, etc.. Redesign is more cosmetic and generally costs less than staging.

8.) Curb appeal is important: A good home stager will also be concerned with marketing the exterior of your home.  Ensure that they walk around your property and give you advice as to what strategy they will suggest for your yard, walkways, entry and exterior of your house.

9.) Interview several people: If you aren’t convinced with one interview with a home stager, interview a few others to compare recommendations, price and strategies for your home.  You also should write down advice, as several items you can probably do yourself.

10.) If the house is vacant, it will take more work and money: All of the before mentioned steps are assuming that you are living in your home. If you have a vacant home to be sold, speak with the stager about costs for furniture, if you need to rent or if they have their own inventory. Ask questions about time to stage, and consider only having key rooms staged if cost is an issue. The master bedroom, dining and family areas are priority for home staging.

Selling your home is a process you want to end as quickly as possible.  By considering hiring a home stager, statistics show your home will sell quicker and possibly for a higher amount than your competition.  Follow these 10 steps when hiring a professional stager, and your offer on your home may come sooner than you expected!