These days, it seems like everyone watches the home improvement shows on HGTV and fantasizes about becoming a home stager. However, if you're ready to stop dreaming and really make staging into a career, the first step might be to get your home staging certification.
To that end, below is a guide to home staging certifications. Read on to learn more about the benefits of becoming a certified staging professional and where to find the best programs.
What is a home staging certification?
As the name suggests, a home staging certification is a designation that most people in the home staging industry seek to receive before opening up for business.
The majority of these home staging training programs include coursework on interior design basics, like color, furniture, lighting, and space planning. Plus, they usually also include instruction on some foundational business skills that are necessary to succeed as a home staging professional.
That said, it's important to note that there is no true licensing requirement to become a professional home stager. There is also no official governing board that regulates the home staging industry, meaning that while certification is nice to have, it's not an absolute necessity and no one certification course is more legitimate than another.
The benefits of being a certified staging professional
However, even if completing a certification course is not a hard and fast requirement to start a career in home staging, taking the time to complete a training program does have its benefits. We've listed them out below so that you can get a better idea of whether or not investing in home staging training is the right choice for you.
You'll receive training
This may sound self-explanatory, but the main benefit of completing one of the many certificate programs out there is that you'll gain important knowledge and skills that will make it easier to get a home staging service off the ground.
Even if you have a natural eye for interior design, there are some crucial concepts that are unique to real estate staging, such as how to depersonalize a home so that it will appeal to a majority of potential buyers or how to pump up a property's curb appeal, which will be important for you to know going forward.
You'll have access to more resources
One other huge benefit of obtaining a certification is that the course you take will likely give you access to some done-for-you resources that you can use to get your new staging business off the ground. While every course's offerings will be slightly different, the resources could include marketing materials, pricing information, or business plan resources.
You'll be connected to a network
Additionally, if you take the time to complete a program, you'll be connected to a network of other home staging professionals. As a student, many programs will connect you with a mentor, a home staging professional from whom you can learn the tricks of the trade.
You'll also likely form relationships with other students as you go through the course. If you keep those relationships up, you'll have colleagues with whom you can problem solve and collaborate as you build your staging business.
You'll have added credibility
Finally, receiving a certificate will give you more credibility with your eventual client base. An added designation on your website and behind your name on your email signature may just be the thing that convinces one client that they should work with you as opposed to another home stager.
Where to find the best home staging course available
There's no shortage of certificate programs in the home staging industry. However, there are a few that are more well-known than others. To end, we've laid out the top home staging course options for your review. Read them over so that you can evaluate which one might be the best fit for you.
Academy of Home Staging and Design
This course comes from the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA). The five-day certification program teaches you practical skills like how to utilize color in interior design and how to order rental furniture. It helps you create important marketing materials, such as a client presentation and an introductory video about you and your services. Plus, successful completion of the course includes a one-year membership to the Real Estate Staging Association.
School of Home Staging
School of Home Staging is a widely-known option. The course breaks staging into practical modules. It includes an introduction to important design principles, step-by-step instructions for how to stage each room of the home, and a business start-up guide.
Completion of the course comes with its own "certified home stager" designation and, for an extra fee, you can receive mentoring from a professional home stager for 60 days. That way, you can receive personalized feedback and advice as you work to get your business off the ground.
School of Home Staging also offers a companion course specifically geared toward real estate agents who are interested in developing their staging skills.
The Staging Diva program has been around since 2005. This 12-hour course might be best for the interior designer who already has a background in design and wants to try their hand at real estate staging. The program focuses on the basics of how to set up a home staging business, the ins and outs of mastering the initial consultation, and sales and marketing strategies.
Taking the Certified Home Staging Professional (CHSP) exam
If you feel like you need even more credentials after you complete your chosen course, consider taking the CHSP certification exam. The exam is endorsed by the Designer Society of America and is seen in the industry as a standard of excellence.
However, you do have to meet certain eligibility requirements in order to be allowed to sit for the exam. You can learn more information on those requirements by visiting CHSP's eligibility page.
How to get a home staging certification
The question of how to get a home staging certification is a tough one to answer. Since there is no governing body for the home staging industry, there is no singular path to becoming a professional home stager. Unfortunately, that means that you'll have to do your due diligence when it comes to finding a program that suits your needs.
Usually, there are a few main factors to consider:
The program material
Do you need a certification program that just covers the basics of starting up a home staging service or would you prefer a program that offers more information on the fundamentals of interior redesign and decorating? While there are no wrong answers, in this case, you'll want to read through each course's informational materials carefully so that you know you'll get what you need out of the coursework.
The delivery method
These days, most home staging courses are offered online, but some involve an in-person component. It's up to you to decide how you learn best and to figure out what level of hands-on experience you need before you feel comfortable launching your own staging service.
Lastly, consider the cost. While some home staging courses can be purchased with as little as $250, others can cost thousands. Again, it's up to you to decide how much you would like to invest in your new career, but before you make your decision, you'll also want to consider the value of what you're getting for your money.
The bottom line
In the end, the choice of whether or not to get a home staging certification is a personal one. If you've been debating about doing some coursework before you start your own staging service, use this as a guide on the best home staging programs available.