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If you are considering getting into the home staging business, one question that you may ask yourself is “do I need to be certified or licensed to be a home stager?”
Technically, the answer is no, you don’t have to be certified or licensed.
There is no licensing requirement to be a home stager. The home staging industry has no official governing board, and it isn’t regulated by the government. So we won’t talk about licensing anymore, because there is no such thing.
There are, however, certifications you can get for home staging. Again, you don’t need to get certified to be a home stager, but there are benefits to getting certified.
Keep reading to learn the certification company that we recommend at the end of this article…
Top 5 Benefits of Home Staging Certification Companies
If you are new to home staging, or want to enrich your career, getting a home staging certification can be a great move.
In order to get a home staging certification, you typically need to go through training from the company offering the certification. These trainings are led by experienced home stagers and trainers.
Home staging is a skill, and home stagers are entrepreneurs. So one major value that you get from training is to take your “good eye for decorating” and translate it into the skill of staging to sell a home. The other major value that you get is to learn how to set up, market, and run your home staging business.
Most certification companies have likely trained a large number of other home stagers, and will continue to train home stagers. This means that they have a large network of certified home stagers that you can ask questions of, get staging tips from, and learn how to build and grow your business from their proven best practices.
Networks are important, but not all networks are created equal.
You have access to all of the resources provided by the certification company for as long as you maintain your certification. Sometimes these resources are available to you forever, and sometimes you have to maintain your certification by paying an annual fee.
Most certification companies have a directory of all of their members who choose (sometimes pay) to be in the directory. This gives you one more potential channel to get found by someone in need of a home stager in your area.
Having a certification logo on your website and business cards gives you credibility. Chances are, your potential client doesn’t know the difference between certification companies, the certification criteria, or their training methods. But a certification does provide comfort to that potential client that you are trained and are a legitimate home stager.
4 Considerations for Home Stager Certification
The next step is deciding which home stager certification company is right for you. Here are some things to consider as you research companies:
1. Certification Accreditation
There is no master body that accredits certification companies. That means that anybody can offer a home staging certification, even you!
That also means it is up to you to do your due diligence to ensure the training and certification company fulfills your needs.
2. Training Accreditation
This is where it gets a little tricky.
There are two primary home staging associations in the United States: the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) and International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP). The RESA accredits home staging trainers. In order to meet the RESA training accreditation, training companies must meet the RESA objective “To review Staging Training provider programs as well as administrative procedures to ensure they meet a minimum standard of educational requirements determined by RESA.” The IAHSP is a little different, in that in order for you to be eligible to join IAHSP you must have a training course designation from an approved list of real estate trainers.
Is accreditation important? That’s up to you to decide.
Home stager certification companies are businesses, and they are in business to make money from the service they provide. The training and certification costs money, and there is sometimes an annual fee to maintain the certification.
You are likely finding that there are a lot of costs in starting your home staging business. Training and certification is really one of the more important costs you will incur. However, all courses have different costs, and if you plan to train on-site rather than online, then you need to also account for your travel expenses.
4. Other Services Offered
Certification companies typically offer other products and services aimed to provide you with a comprehensive package of many things you might need as a home stager.
While it might seem logical to treat the certification company as a one-stop-shop, understand that their expertise is home staging when considering other products and services that you might need.
Are they necessarily experts in building websites or any other additional service they offer? Expect the upsell, but make sure that the certification company is the best option for you.
Final Thoughts on Licensing and Certifications for Home Stagers
Anyone can be a home stager. There is no industry licensing, like there is to be a Realtor. Getting a home stager certification has significant benefits, but a certification is not necessary. You can learn more about onsite training in person, or about online training on this Stager Sidekick website.
Deandra Coleman wrote a great article titled “5 Pro Business Tips To Being A Successful Freelance Home Stager“, where she offered advice for those considering a certification:
“Stop obsessing over being a certified home stager. Yes, there are certain skills that you will learn going through a credible home staging certification course, however, the main skill you need is talent. Having an eye for what works well in a space in order to highlight it in its best light is what will get you hired. At the end of the day, staging companies, real estate agents and homeowners only want you to prepare their home for market so it can sell as quickly as possible for top dollar. They could not care less about your certification if you are moving houses like the wind for them.
Finally, we are here to share our recommended training and certification provider. The Staging Studio provides online training for new home stagers to take at their convenience. They also provide a Master Course at their headquarters in San Antonio that can be taken after completion of the online certification.
To sign up or just to learn more about The Staging Studio courses, click here.