There are so many home staging programs out there these days. How do you choose the right one? How do you find the best home staging course?
Home Staging Certification
First, determine whether you want to get a home staging certification. Bear in mind that there are pros and cons when it comes to home staging certification. Here are the main things to consider:
- There is no official industry-wide certification in home staging.
- Schools offer certifications as a way to make their own program seem like the one you MUST choose, when this isn’t the case.
- Certification may help you get noticed by agents and homeowners, but it isn’t a guarantee.
- Certification programs are more expensive.
- Certification programs are sometimes not very thorough in terms of the education you receive. In other words, it can be more of a “rubber stamp” than anything.
- Home staging certification is not a requirement in the business.
Now that we’ve covered the hot topic of home staging certification, the next thing to consider is whether you want to take a program in person or online.
Home Staging Seminars
It used to be that the only way to learn home staging was either on your own by winging it or in person at a seminar. Seminars are pricey, with a weekend easily running several thousand when you factor in tuition, travel expenses, food & lodging, and incidentals.
Not everyone has the budget, let alone the free time to attend one of these seminars.
Furthermore, what would the class actually be like? Is it in a hotel conference room? Will that be an effective way to learn home staging?
Would you be assigned a good instructor? Sometimes the instructor is new, or sometimes it’s someone who isn’t a good fit for you, and then you’re stuck. Even if you do get some background info on your assigned instructor ahead of time, last minute changes have been known to happen.
Would the class be too full for you to get much attention?
Would too much class time be spent on questions that you find lead to unnecessary discussions? You don’t always know ahead of time what kind of class size you’re getting into.
If you have previous experience or are a fast learner, you may find the classroom setting a little slow for you. Also, think about your personality. Are you more of an introvert?
Maybe you don’t really want the whole social aspect, you just want the material. Nothing wrong with that at all, and the great thing is that now you have plenty of options for online, home-based home staging training.
Online Home Staging Courses
Lots of schools, institutes, and other venues offer home staging courses that you can take online. Some are expensive and some are pretty affordable. Some have been around for a long time and some are pretty new on the scene.
The key to choosing the right online course is to spend some time researching your options until you feel comfortable making a decision. You’ll usually get a gut feeling about which program is right for you, and it won’t always be about price or how quickly you can fly through the program. (Not entirely, at least.)
Check for testimonials or a student portfolio that you can look at on their website. What kind of materials will you be learning from? If you have to watch a bunch of videos, is that something that sounds good to you?
Or would you prefer more reading material, or a mix of both? We all have different learning styles and only you know what delivery methods will work best for you.
Personally, I can watch a video here and there but I learn best by having material to read, supplemented with photos as needed. I like simple course material that is uncomplicated, and not dependent on a fast internet connection or whatever other tech stuff needs to be happening for it to work.
Staging is visual but it’s also extremely logical, so for me just reading the “how to” stuff always makes a lot of sense. I’ve seen home staging compared to following a recipe and I use that analogy myself when helping new stagers. Just follow the steps in order and you can’t go wrong!
Call the school and talk to them. See if you can get an instructor on the phone. See how they treat you, if they return your call quickly, and if you like them as people while you’re talking.
Sometimes you think you’ve found the right thing and then you get up a little closer and realize it wasn’t for you. (So true in life across the board!)
See if the home staging school seems credible. Is it a real business? Where are they located? Is there a money-back guarantee if you don’t like the program? What kind of certification will you actually receive, and who is the person issuing it?
How much instructor feedback will you receive during the course? Some schools offer pretty limited access to your instructors, unfortunately. Or you may have to pay extra for personalized feedback.
Look online for complaints about the company, just to be on the safe side. You never know what might turn up.
To be fair, I just want to remind you again that you absolutely do not need to have any kind of certification to become a home stager. Your portfolio will make your phone ring a lot more than whatever certification you may have. A lot of homeowners don’t even know what the certifications are all about anyway. Agents do, but not always.
So take some time at the research stage, but not too much time. Don’t forget to take action. The best way to learn how to do things is to do things! (I didn’t come up with that.)
Also keep in mind that with online courses, you have to be good at working independently and staying motivated.
Choosing the Best Home Staging Course
You can reach your goal of becoming a home stager — whether you do it the old fashioned way and learn it as you go, through a seminar, or by taking an online course.
Home staging education has come a long way in the ten or twelve years (who can keep track…) since I got into the business. You have plenty of options, and when you do your research and trust your instinct, you’ll end up with the right home staging program!
For the best staging training program that does not offer certification, go with the Staging Diva program.
If you do want certification and want a program that’ll get you up and running quickly, go with the School of Home Staging home staging certification course.