Part of the appeal of a home staging business is the many variations of ways to work with people depending on the situation they’re in. As home stagers we get to work with real people, in their own homes where they are their most comfortable, natural selves. This is a very welcome contrast from dealing with corporate types in suits in stiff boardrooms.
The beauty of being your own boss is that you can make decisions about how you want to handle situations as they arise. You are in charge and you can set things up however they best work for you in the situation. There’s no need for getting permission from anyone…how cool is that?!
In 7 years of staging homes I have experienced a wide range of possible situations and the important thing to remember is that nothing is black and white.
Earlier this month I posted a home staging dilemma asking you what you would do if called to stage a grieving widow’s home – a home full of ugly furnishings and cat fur.
In this dilemma, I was less concerned with the logistics of home staging as I was with hearing how you would approach the situation of a woman grieving not only her husband’s passing but the loss of the home they shared as well.
The comments I received on that post were fabulous. I couldn’t give better advice than what you will read in those comments. Things like cleaning the furniture and adding slip covers are ideal solutions for this situation. (Catch up on the post and read those great comments here.)
But there’s a deeper issue in a scenario like this one – you have to be very tactful with the homeowner. It’s going to be a gentle process to have her take down her precious memories and depersonalize a home that she shared a wonderful life with her late husband in. I would handle this interaction differently than I would with a 35 year old bachelor or a young couple with children but one thing always remains the same – you must always treat the client with the utmost patience and respect. They need to feel that you empathize with whatever situation they are dealing with.
Staging Diva Graduate, Heather Cook, summed it up beautifully in her comment when she wrote, “Every home owner is different and deserves to have his/her home treated with respect. We never make clients feel as if their furnishings are lacking, we always try to work with what they have but maybe put a new spin or finish on them. If that’s not possible then we move forward with rentals – with the client fully on board – so that we can do what they hired us to do – help them sell their home fast and for top dollar. It’s all about how you treat your clients. That’s what makes your clients open to suggestions and once you’ve done your job well, it paves the way to referrals and design business down the road!”
A project like this can be difficult yet quite fulfilling as it really stretches your limits. It reminds you that as a home stager you have to be part psychiatrist, depending on the scenario. But when you’re able to effectively work with a client like the elderly lady I’ve created for this story, you get a feeling of satisfaction that’s hard to find in a boardroom.
During your career as a home stager you will be faced with a situation like this if you haven’t been already and you’ll be faced with dozens of other situations. Along the way you’re going to learn that nothing is ever black and white and you’re going to be amazed at the ways you find to handle all of the situations you encounter.
Thank you for taking the time to comment on the original post. In part it’s your contributions that make this blog such a great resource for home stagers.
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 Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love.[tags] home staging, home staging scenario, home staging dilemma, home stagers, home staging course, home staging program, staging diva[/tags]