Lori Pedersen’s journey into staging
Staging before and after
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, one of the top interior design podcasts, Nick chats with Lori Pedersen, a Canadian home stager. Lori talks about how she got into home staging, what her business looks like today, and even answers some audience questions.
Lori Pedersen has been a certified home stager for four and a half years in Toronto, Canada. She loves wine, including sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio. Lori has been more adventurous lately in enjoying a vacation to Alaska where she was greeted with beautiful scenery and fresh air. She can’t leave home without her phone, a cold bottle of water, and her project bag.
How Lori got into Staging
Lori always loved and admired beautiful homes and she always had a creative streak. Early on, Lori was able to work under Miriam, her mother’s interior designer. At the time, Lori was not in the position to go back to school, but she wanted to get to work. Home staging was her next best option.
Lori called home staging real estate marketing. Staging is de-personalized. It highlights the selling features of the home, but interior design is focused on the individual and decoration of the space.
When Lori listed her home for sale, her agent said her home was ready and she didn’t need a stager. This agent continued to send jobs to Lori after she was certified. Real estate agents are Lori’s top clients. She consults on a room by room basis to maximize the value of the home.
What Lori’s Business looks like
Lori mentioned that staging is impossible to do by yourself. Her assistant, Sonja, keeps her focused as well as 8-10 certified professionals she can bring out to projects. Lori warned to be careful of overhead and recommended to keep costs variable. There can be peaks and valleys that follow the real estate market.
How does Lori get the word out
Lori and her team have established an online presence and continue to network with agents, investors, and flippers. She mentioned that the best marketing is word of mouth and referrals.
Online, Lori uses Facebook and Houzz as online portfolios. She also wants to get into blogging.
Q: How do you make vacants cost effective?
A: Vacant homes look small, cold, and uninviting. Staging usually pays for itself four times over. It is cost effective that it’s an investment.
Q: How do you charge?
A: Provide a proposal for every property since they are unique and custom curated rather than a flat fee or hourly rate. It is determined on a case by case basis as a combination for hours and rental cost, but one line item for the client.
Q: What does your inventory look like? Fixed inventory? Rent?
A: Own inventory of soft goods, accessories, but rent in large items. Starting out it can be intimidating or if you don’t have many resources or are remote, you may need to carry more inventory.
Q: Does staging ever lead to customers asking to design their new house house?
A: Yes, it’s an honor to be asked. Every day is completely different. The goal is to make clients happy by selling staging items for the new home or staged items as part of a sale. It’s a good way to fill in less busy times.
Q: What’s the hardest part of running the business?
A: Delegating. As staggers, you have to be a control freak so it is hard to let go, but it’s the only way to grow the business. It takes a conscious effort.