A few weeks ago I posted a home staging business dilemma asking what you would do if you walked into a home staging consultation to find a nightmarish scene with fur-covered furniture from the 70s – the place where knick knacks go to die.
I asked what you would do, knowing that the woman is a widow who you can tell is grieving not only the loss of her husband but also the loss of the home they’d shared.
I want to thank all of you who left a comment on the original post (read the post and the comments here) and after reading through the feedback, I don’t have a lot to add!
As a home stager you must be comfortable dealing with a grieving homeowner – not necessarily someone who has lost a loved one, but someone who is having to give up their home. It really can be a grieving process.
This situation, like many others, requires you to trade your home stager hat for your therapist hat and respect the emotions of the homeowner.
One of the things I recommend in the course, Taking the Mystery Out of Home Staging Consultations is that you begin with a walk through of the entire home before making specific recommendations in any one room. There are several reasons for doing this, but one of them is that if you keep an eye on the body language of your client, and listen to what they say in each room, you’ll have an idea which rooms are more sensitive than others.
For example, I was doing a home staging consultation for a widow who was moving to a new condo. When we got to a study filled with books, she mentioned this was where her husband had worked and that this was his library. There was no point in my jumping right into editing and telling her we needed to style the shelves. She would not have been responsive and it would have put her on the defensive throughout the whole staging consultation. Instead, I left this room until last. By the time we got to it, I had built up a rapport with her and I could then more gently ease her into the need to pack up her late husband’s books “in preparation for her upcoming move.”
Here are other suggestions you can make for the inevitable challenges you will run into staging a home for a grieving homeowner:
Rather than telling her the knick knacks are tacky, you have to remember they were probably gifts from grandchildren that have been cherished over the years. Tell her that because you would hate to see anything happen to them, you think it’s best to pack them up and store them somewhere safe while the house is on the market.
Instead of making a big deal about the cat fur everywhere, tell her that some buyers may have allergies to her beloved feline and he should go somewhere else to stay while the house is being shown.
If you have no room in your budget for rental furniture, tell her how nice it will be to have freshly cleaned furniture to bring with her to her new house or to hand down to her grandchildren and suggest a good professional steam cleaning.
There are some wonderful comments on the blog. Check them out for further learning.
Please share any special challenges you have faced dealing with grieving homeowners and how you handled them by leaving a comment below!
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Debra Gould knows how to make money as a home stager and she developed the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love.[tags] home staging, home stager, home stagers, home staging, home staging consultation, home staging dilemma, home staging priority, staging diva[/tags]