I am not a big Facebook person, but I do monitor many stager’s groups to keep a finger on the pulse of our industry. I am a longtime staging/redesign certification trainer and it’s my job to stay ahead of the curve in our fairly young universe.
One burning question that seems to come up again and again is, “What do you have on your contract concerning…?” It could be a question about the pet policy, the de-staging notice, the heating and air requirement, the liability disclaimer. What if your agent is fired? What if he/she makes a decision the homeowner doesn’t know about? So many opportunities for disaster.
It’s surprising to me that trained stagers would need to ask questions about contracts. I know there are untrained stagers out there because I meet them frequently. They take my classes. There are no government regulations for our industry so it’s like the Wild, Wild West out there.
If you are new or it’s been a long time since you attended a certification class, LISTEN UP!! Here are some things to think about if you are unsure about what you need on your contract. Certainly, have an attorney help you with legal verbiage. But here goes…
Obviously, you need – Date, Name, Property Address, Phone, Email, Current Address, (if vacant), Access or LockBox Code
List exactly what will happen, rooms that will be staged, when the lease will end and what happens if it needs to be extended.
Terms must indicate:
Tell them the deposit amount required to put them on the schedule and when the balance is due, whether you take checks, CC, PPal
They must have the home cleaned and ready. No major repairs can be done after staging.
Nothing should be moved or removed without permission.
Tell them that candles cannot be lit or linens used.
Also, get permission to put hangers in the wall. Owner must touch up after removal.
Tell them that you are certified, insured and your team is trained.
You must ask permission to photograph the rooms and use them in your advertising.
You actually need to insist that there is heating, air and running water. I also insist on a knob and a lock on the exterior doors. We sometimes stage flips in unreliable neighborhoods.
No showings should be scheduled on staging day (unless you will finish early).
You must state that the staging day can be rescheduled because of inclement weather. Hurricane Irma put all of Florida in a holding pattern for almost a week in 2017.
The homeowner or agent must provide access to the property. Yes, this needs to be in writing.
State that the style choices are specific to the demographic and may not be their particular taste. We reserve the right to choose what is used.
The agent has permission to make decisions on behalf of the homeowner. __initials__
If the agent is released, the contract is still in force. The contract is in force until destaging.
We need 5 to 7 days notice to terminate the contract or reschedule the appointment. A fine is customary for the inconvenience if they cannot meet this requirement.
We need 5 to 7 days notice to destage.
Both parties agree to hold the other harmless. Any liability is limited to the cost of the staging job.
The homeowner has the right to enter into the contract. (no divorce disputes about ownership of the house)
These are the foundation of our basic vacant contract. The legal language should be written out by an attorney in your state. Additional terms will be needed to customize for different situations. Sometime the contract can be long, depending on the complexity. Our contract for occupied homes is quite different.
Next time, we will visit the liability waiver and unique contract or LOA (Letter of Agreement) used for redesign.
I hope we shed some light on this topic for anyone who thinks that home staging can be a hobby. Protecting your interests is serious business. Consider taking our very reasonable, sale-priced online class to get the benefit of about 28 forms and contracts that you absolutely need. The terms and critical language are spelled out for you in graphic detail. Click on Online Class in the Navigation Bar.
Till next time…