Staging a home to sell faster and for more money is an important field and an often misunderstood one.
Barb Schwartz is probably the best known and has been in the business longer than most anyone. She is the "Godmother" of staging. Here's what she says staging is and is not
"Home Staging is NOT decorating, fluffing, interior design or redesign! Home Staging IS detailing, decluttering, depersonalizing and preparing a seller's home to give it a "model home" appearance so that the potential buyer can "see" themselves living in the home."
Barb's course information is here: http://www.stagedhomes.com/
I intend to take her course the next time it's anywhere close to Knoxville.
Another lady, Jackie Riggins, who is a former employee of Barb and a former Realtor has a great staging course that I have taken and earned her staging designation for Realtors.
This is Jackie's website: http://www.propertystagingconsultants.com/
During Jackie's course we had a day of classroom training and then we actually went out to a house for sale and staged it. We spent the day moving furniture around, decluttering, and putting a lot of excess 'stuff' in storage. I have some photos of our class project on my website.
Our recommendation is to not put all of your eggs in one basket. We like the combination of a real estate license and supplementing this with home staging.
During difficult times, people are able to get by by diversifying. This marriage should open doors on both sides.
Good luck with your new undertaking.
The Eckler Team
I'm an ASP Home Stager based in Northern Virginia and I highly recommend the course offerings at http://www.StagedHomes.com. I am also a mentor for our local IAHSP chapter, and am contacted frequently and asked the exact same sort of questions from others looking to get into the business. I'd be happy to speak with you regarding my personal experience, what I've learned, and what I wish had known before getting started.
You can reach me at 571-291-0614.
Leigh Newport, ASP, IAHSP
Staged by Design
Hope this helps,
Mary Venn, HSR, ASHSA, RESA
Prepare to Sell Home Staging & Redesign, LLC
Check out the Real Estate Staging Association and the various staging groups at Active Rain for more information.
As far as I know there are no licensing boards for stagers, however, there are many certifications offered. Barb Swartz has been in the business for quite some time as Jim has mentioned and is a good rescource. StagingDiva.com is another website you might want to consider. Good Luck!