Jan Van Horne of Coldwell Banker in Minnesota says homebuyers like or dislike a property within the first 10 seconds of entering a home, so appearance is important in real estate sales, according to RealEstateABC.com. Home stagers prepare homes for resale, decorate model homes for developers and work with homeowners, real estate agents and property managers to create attractive residential environments. They eliminate clutter, arrange furniture and accessories and advise on curb appeal. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies home stagers as interior designers, although home staging is an emerging career in itself while interior designers perform home staging as a part of a larger range of services.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't report on home-staging professionals specifically but reports on them under the occupation of interior designers. It estimates that interior designers, including home stagers, earned an average of $52,100 in 2010, with top earners making as much as $85,000. Top-paying industries for interior designers in 2010 paid between $58,000 and $73,000. Barb Schwarz, president of StagedHomes.com and expert in staging, says home stagers in the Midwest charge an average of $1,300 to $1,800 per job, with a consultation of a couple hundred dollars, then about $100 per hour to complete the project. For full-time work with two home-staging projects per week, a home stager can make a six-figure annual income.
Training and Education
Home stagers benefit from experience in real estate sales and interior design training. An associate degree in interior design, an interior design license or certification in interior design all provide qualifications and credentials for home-staging professionals. Advanced degrees include bachelor's and master's degrees in interior design or interior architecture.
Most home-staging professionals are trained in interior design and many have a background or a current career in real estate. The BLS estimates faster-than-average job growth in both interior design and real estate jobs, with 14 percent to 19 percent growth between 2008 and 2018. Many home stagers are entrepreneurs who are self-employed and rely on business referrals and relationships with real estate agents, home builders and property managers. Their job outlook depends on their business and marketing skills and ability to move a property through successful staging or meet clients' needs for improving the appearance of their properties. Related occupations with similar earnings potential include artists and related workers, commercial and industrial designers and fashion designers.
Wages in the interior design industry vary by geographic location. In 2010, states with the highest employment levels for interior design included California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois, with wages from $50,000 to $56,000. The top-paying states for interior design included District of Columbia, Utah, New York, Nevada and Rhode Island, with wages between $62,000 and $73,000. The top-paying cities for interior design included Albany, New York, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Worcester, Massachusetts, with annual wages in the $70,000 range.