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So you’re thinking of becoming a home stager? That’s great!
As a home stager, you’ll be offering professional advice and services to beautify your clients’ homes. Your work is especially important when your client is listing their property on the market. A well-staged property could give a pleasant impression to potential buyers, thus lead to a higher selling price.
How to become a home stager in California? To become a home stager in California , you should obtain proper training from an experienced home staging coach, set up all the business essentials, then join home staging and real estate related associations.
In this post, you’ll find the step-by-step process to become a home stager in California, the income figures, and other important info about this profession.
5 Steps to Become a Home Stager in California
Step 1: Take a home staging course
Believe it or not. You do not need to obtain any license to become a home stager in California. Unlike other real estate professions such as appraisers or agents, there is no official entity regulating the home staging industry.
However, just because anyone could “say” they are a home stager, doesn’t mean everyone can gain trust from their clients and excel in this profession. Take a course from an experienced home staging coach would be a sensible start. A well-developed program could guide you with concrete steps on how to start in this career. I prefer online programs so that you could always go back to the materials whenever and wherever.
Don’t just choose any random course provider. You should find a coach who has tremendous experience but still active in the home staging industry. Review their students’ ratings and make sure this is a high-quality program.
If you are seriously considering to become a home stager, be sure to check out this resource page on our site. You’ll find a FREE training course that is taught by an experienced and professional home staging coach.
Step 2: Gain work experience in the field
Now, you have equipped the knowledge to start in this career. It’s time to put what you learned into practice. At the initial stage, you probably do not have any clients to work with. Therefore, if you know any friends or family who are selling their property, you could volunteer to stage their home. With their content, you may take photos or videos of the before-and-after project. This is an excellent approach to building your staging portfolio and boost up your confidence.
If you are still uncomfortable offering your services without any field experience, you may consider working as a home stager assistant first. Talk to home stagers and see if anyone is hiring. You could try connecting with them on LinkedIn or through home staging associations. (I’ll talk more about it later in this post.)
Once you get hired, you’ll be working alongside a home stager, and proceed according to their instruction. During this period, you should observe every detail on how they run the business. For example, the systematic approach they use in working with clients. How do they resolve obstacles?
However, some employers might require you to sign a non-compete agreement. It is a way to ensure that you will not be using what you learned from them in taking over their business. It typically will state that you cannot work as a home stager within their territory for a specified period. (i.e., two years.)
Therefore, be sure to look out for those details. To overcome this issue, you could approach home stagers where their servicing regions are completely different from yours in the future.
Step 3: Setup the business essential
As a home stager, your work is not just staging homes for clients. You are also running a business, which would require tons of preparation. Below are some essential items you need to take care:
- Register the business
- Trademark your company name and logo
- Software to keep track of income and expenses
- Business bank account and credit card
- Obtain liability insurance
- Connect with service providers (i.e., furniture rentals, storage, moving companies)
- Set up a business phone line
- Have a business mailing address
- Design your website
Step 4: Get clients
Without a significant volume of clients, you just have a hobby and not a business. One effective way to get referrals is by connecting with real estate agents. After all, they are the one who frequently deals with potential sellers. Your work could make their client’s property much more appealing, which tremendously eases the job of the agents.
Start by outreaching the real estate salespersons in your servicing regions. Alternatively, you could join the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). They have over 1. 3 million members, which consist of mostly real estate salespeople and other real estate professionals. Let them know that your home staging work may complement their services.
Most people would not refer business to you immediately. Therefore, you should keep in touch with them regularly. An effective way is to include them in your email list so that you could keep them posted with your updated home staging portfolio. But of course, you need to get their consent first before you add them to your communication list. Once again, if you haven’t built up your portfolio, you may volunteer to work on a few properties.
Step 5: Join Home Staging Professional Association
To maintain growth in the long run, you’ll need to sharpen your business and home staging skills continuously. Joining home staging trade associations would be an excellent choice. These organizations usually would provide education and industry updates to their members. You’ll also have the chance to connect with other home staging professionals through networking events in the local chapters.
Here are two associations you may want to take a look:
Real Estate Staging Association (RESA)
The RESA was formed by a group of 600 real estate stagers and numerous home staging training providers back in April 2007. Their goal is to advance the professionalism, maximize well-being for consumers, and profit potentials for industry professionals.
In addition to the networking opportunity and education materials, one thing I like is their RESA Buying Group. The collective purchasing power from all the members could give you substantial savings on the staging inventory. (i.e., Furniture, decorative items.)
The International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP)
The IAHSP is one of the longest-running home staging trade associations. They started back in 1999 and have thousands of members worldwide. When you become their member, you’ll have access to their home staging courses and the wholesale program. Also, they have a massive annual expo where business owners and real estate professionals, affiliate vendors would come together and network at the event.
One thing unique about them is their global-wide coverage. IAHSP does not only have members in the US, but they also operate in Canada, Europe, Japan, Latin America, Israel, and South Africa. Every culture could have a distinct preference when it comes to home decoration. Therefore, joining IAHSP could be helpful if you ever want to connect with real estate stagers from other countries.
The RESA and IAHSP both have local chapters across different cities. You may click here to see if they are available in your region.
Related Questions about the Home Staging Career in California
How much can you make as a home stager in California?
Home stagers in California make an average of $48,885/year. Although the income range of home stager mostly falls between $28,579 to $45,333, some high earners are making as high as $79,333/year. (+)
The real question is, what can you do to become part of the top-earning group. Here’s an article where I will uncover the income of real estate stagers in different states, how do home stagers charge their fee, and practical tips to increase your earning.
(+) Source: ziprecruiter.com (Dec 5, 2019)
Is there a demand for home stagers in California?
California has a population of nearly 39.75 million and has steadily grown over the years (*). According to ZipRecruiter.com, the market for the Home Staging in California and the surrounding region is very active.
Furthermore, in the NAR 2019 Profile of Home Staging report, 83% of buyers’ agents indicated that staging does help a buyer to easier visualize the property as their future home. So whenever there are sellers wanting to sell their property at a higher price, there is always a demand for real estate stagers in California.
However, when you are choosing your target niche, you may consider homes in a higher-priced neighborhood. To illustrate my point, a 5% increase of a $200,000 is only $10,000, whereas a 5% increase of a $500,000 house is $25,000. Therefore, owners of a more expensive property may be more willing to pay a bigger premium for your services.
Also, you need to consider the population of different cities. After all, you can only have businesses when there are people in your servicing area.
(*) Source: WorldPopulationReview.com
Here are median home values and population of the top 10 cities in California
|Cities in California||Population||Median Home Price|
Source: Zillow.com and WorldPopulationReview.com
Do you need a license to be a home stager in California?
No, you do not need a license to be a home stager in California. But you should consider taking a course from an experienced home staging coach. A well-designed learning program could save you years of trial and error in the business.
Do you need a degree to be a home stager in California?
No, you do not need a degree to be a home stager. However, it would be an asset if you have taken college/university courses that are related to interior design or real estate.
How much does it cost to start a home staging business?
The cost to start a home staging business is relatively low if you are comparing to bricks-and-mortar types of companies. The total cost of the essential setup (i.e., business registration, website) we discussed before could be in the range of $1000 to $2000.
At the initial stage, you probably do not have any staff on a fixed payroll. Also, you may want to rent the staging decoratives rather than purchasing inventory.
Furthermore, it could take months or over a year before you see a significant inflow of income. Therefore, you should have at least six months of savings to maintain your living.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free.
(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our website, RealEstateCareerHQ.com, will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
- Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) (Source)
- The International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) (Source)
- NAR 2019 Profile of Home Staging (Source)
- World Population Review – Population of Cities in California (Source)
- Zillow.com – California Home Prices and Values (Source)
- Ziprecruiter – Home Staging Salary in California (Source)