Home Staging Around the Globe
We talk a lot about the nitty gritty of home staging in the US, but home staging is a global, growing industry. As we know ‘all real estate is local’ and that means each location does it a little differently.
Annie Doherty is an expert home stager, trainer, and mentor who has worked in both the US and the UK. She is currently a Master Consultant for the House Doctor team, based in the UK.
At the 2019 International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) Conference, Melissa Marro, owner of Rave Home Staging, sat down to chat with Annie. While the design standards—and the relationships with clientele—are largely the same, there are a lot of differences between home staging in the US and home staging in the UK.
One of the Originals
Home staging, as a practice, has been around since the 1980s. But it didn’t really get popular until the early 2000’s.
That’s about when Annie Doherty became involved. In 2003, she transitioned from interior design to staging. She fell in love with the way Ann Maurice, host of the first House Doctor TV show, popularized home staging.
Annie became one of the House Doctor’s early trainees. Getting more and more involved from there, she gained time on stage and eventually became a Master Consultant for the House Doctor staging team.
Working with Sellers, not Agents
The home buying system is entirely different in the UK. In the US, many home stagers work to develop relationships with seller’s agents, who can encourage their clients to use our staging services. In the UK, there are no buyer’s or seller’s agents, no MLS listings, no caravans of agents going around and looking at houses. The dynamic between agents, sellers, buyers, and stagers is very different from what it is in the US.
Agents in the UK are typically very protective of their listings. In the UK, it’s all up to a single agent to sell a house, and with such high stakes, many are hesitant to insult or disappoint a buyer by suggesting home staging. They usually get a 1.5-2.0% commission, while in the US, about a 6.0% commission gets divided among the seller’s agent, the buyer’s agent, and the broker.
Sometimes, estate agents will actively seek to work with home stagers, especially the younger ones who want to differentiate themselves. But most of the time, UK home stagers take their message directly to sellers.
A New Generation of Stagers
Like Melissa, Annie is a firm believer in educational marketing. Word of mouth is one of the biggest sources of clients for home stagers, closely followed by repeat business, good digital marketing, and networking.
People need to hear about your business, but if they’re going to use it, you need to teach them how. Home staging used to be seen as a secondary career, but it’s quickly growing into a home selling necessity, largely thanks to an enthusiastic generation of young stagers.