When I was growing up, my salesman father used to tell me: “Pick a job you love, and it won’t feel like work.” That’s been true of every job I’ve held during my working life, and it’s especially true of my new career as a home stager.
When I was growing up, my salesman father used to tell me: “Pick a job you love, and it won’t feel like work.”
That’s been true of every job I’ve held during my working life, and it’s especially true of my new career as a home stager. I started doing this work for fun a few years ago before knowing it was considered a real job.
Since then, I launched my own business called Simply Staged Inc. My client base of homeowners, Realtors and people in the building industry is expanding. I was excited to help prepare three of the new homes that were featured in this year’s Parade of Homes. While my business is growing fast, it still feels like too much fun to be considered work.
Looking back, I have to say that every job I’ve done has contained more reward than drudgery. After getting associate degrees from Rockford Business College with specialties in the legal, medical and executive secretarial areas, I went to work at Wesley Willows. I became executive assistant to former CEO Robert Ash. He and his wife, Sharon, who also worked there, became my mentors. They taught me invaluable lessons about the professional world, including how to deal with all kinds of people and how to market a specific product.
When my daughter, Taylor, was born, I took a break from the formal world of work to tend to her. For a time, I did licensed home day care, which was tremendously rewarding. When my daughter went to school, I returned to Wesley Willows for a while before I started looking at other opportunities.
New horizons opened a couple of years ago when my friend Becky, the wife of home builder Sean Adams, asked me to help prepare a new home that was being featured in that year’s Parade of Homes.
My skills and confidence grew with each parade and spec home I worked on. That ultimately gave me the courage to launch my own business. To that end, I took courses that taught me how to create a business plan, market the company and work with clients.
Staging is a relatively new concept in the Midwest. It means preparing a home for showing in a way that helps it sell quickly and for top dollar. If I’m staging an empty home, the process is different from working on a home that’s occupied while it’s on the market.
New homes always show better when they are not completely empty. Good colors along with a few well-selected furniture pieces, lamps and decorating accessories define living areas for potential buyers in a way that helps them envision themselves in the home.
People who are trying to sell homes while they’re living in them may need help figuring out how to get the house ready for market. Home staging deals with color selection, furniture placement, decluttering and home organization, necessary repairs and curb appeal. By addressing these items, the home will stand out from the competition and effectively compete with model and spec homes.
I work within the seller’s budget by using decorating items the homeowner already has on hand, keeping purchases to a minimum. Often, updating a look is just a matter of eliminating certain items and using others in a different way.
A properly staged home enhances the positives and neutralizes any negatives of a property. It will make a home seem bigger, brighter, cleaner and, most importantly, like home.
My goal is always the same, and that is to help the homeowner or the builder sell the home as quickly as possible at the desired price.
One client whose home I staged said it looked so much better she wished she didn’t have to move. She fell in love with her house again, and her real estate agent said it made a huge difference in showing the home.
That gave me satisfaction. It made me feel that I had done my job well.
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