Home Staging in a Bad Housing Market
As a new home stager, you’ve probably heard the terms ‘good housing market’ and ‘bad housing market’, but you may not have had the chance to work in each of them yet. Right now, many places in North America are experiencing a bad housing market. This means that, because of things like unemployment rates, people are buying and selling houses much less frequently. If people can’t find steady employment they’re less likely to make such an expensive investment. Housing prices drop as a result because no one can afford to buy them at their original values. Homes are harder to sell, and those that were previously valued at high prices become cheaper in an attempt to encourage buying. When it comes to a ‘bad housing market’, the term alone puts some design professionals on edge depending on their area of expertise. What does a bad housing market mean for home stagers? What can you do to try and maximize business during a bad housing market, rather than suffering? How should you navigate the process of securing new clients during such a climate? Here are some tips for succeeding as a home stager in a bad housing market!
Keep up your visibility
Even in a bad housing market, buyers do exist! As long as there are buyers somewhere, there will also be sellers and it’s very likely that they will need your help. A bad housing market is a good time to stay visible and make sure that people know your services are available. Use things like online social networking to your advantage and let people know the value of your services and how you can help them! These networks have a wide reach in any economic climate, but online tools will be especially useful for both you and your potential clients in a market where people are having so much trouble selling and are therefore actively seeking information and assistance.
Know who your buyers are
Even in the best of markets, knowing who your buyers are is important for tailoring your services to the needs of your sellers and working with them to the best of your abilities. You already know that your clients are sellers whose houses aren’t being bought because of the state of the market. In order to help them, it’s also important for you to identify who it is they’re marketing their product (in this case, the house that they’re trying to sell) to. The people who are most often encouraged to buy in a bad housing market are young, first-time buyers who intend to invest in a home that they can live in long-term. By doing this, these buyers get a bigger, better quality home for a lesser price, and it’s okay if the market doesn’t pick up again for a few years because they aren’t looking to sell right away. For buyers intending to keep the home for a short time and then ‘flip’ it, buying that large home in a bad market is unwise because it might take many years for the value of the home to increase back to what it’s actually worth. If they sell it too soon, they won’t make as much of a profit as they’d like. By recognizing that your buyers might be young, first-time homeowners you will be able to style your staging to that demographic and help your sellers increase the chance that one of these buyers will be interested!
Find the ‘hot pockets’
Just because an area is experiencing a bad housing market doesn’t necessarily mean that every single neighborhood in that area is following suit. Often, there are ‘hot pockets’, or areas where houses are being bought and sold for decent value at a fairly normal rate. Keep an eye on these areas if business slows down elsewhere. While it’s true that troubled sellers are more in need of your services, hot pocket areas might have even more sellers than elsewhere because they can put a higher asking price on their home and have more of an expectation that it will sell. An area with a high concentration of sellers means an area with more people who could benefit from your home staging services!
Always remember to network
You may not experience as drastic a decline in business as other home-oriented professionals, but you should still invest some time in networking within the industry during a bad housing market. In the event that business does slow down for you, you can benefit from things like positive referrals from past clients to create new business relationships. Additionally, if the bad housing market actually creates a lot of work for you because so many people need help selling, home stagers can benefit from networking with each other. Perhaps one stager has taken on too many clients and can refer some to you? This is mutually beneficial, giving one person more business while also saving another person from tarnishing their professional reputation by having to cancel contracts or juggle too many jobs at once.
As a home stager, your services are proven to help people increase the value of their homes, thereby increasing the chances of actually selling them. This means that a ‘bad’ housing market might actually be a good market for you! Sellers need all the help they can get, and if you are prepared to take them on with a positive attitude and a good work ethic, you might secure more business than at any other time. Don’t let the terminology scare you out of working harder than ever!