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I’ve often heard it said there’s value in “getting a job done right the first time.” Whether it’s a home seller choosing to hire a professional real estate broker to sell their home or apartment or someone hiring a professional interior designer to design their home or a professional home stager to stage their residence to sell, there is a proven value and track record related to hiring a professional.

As a professional, ASID, NCIDQ certified interior designer and certified staging professional, the value I bring to a project beyond my own professional style and design aesthetic is experience and education. Professionals and those in specialized fields have distinct training that those who don’t simply do not possess. For example, when I renovate and re-design homes, would I purchase a do-it-yourself book on wiring and plumbing and attempt to do all of the electrical and plumbing work myself? Of course not! I would hire a professional electrician or plumber, an individual who has spent years honing his or her craft to perform the work. As ridiculous as it may sound for a lay person with no skills to possibly perform electrical or plumbing work, one may ask why would someone with no skill set or experience attempt to design or stage their home themselves. “Oh, THAT’S easy” you say? Wrong. Interior design is a specific and distinct profession in which interior designers are required to spend years in school, apprentice under licensed professionals and pass rigorous exams. Interior Design is also a profession that is licensed by the State of New York along with other professions like physicians. On the home staging side, most home stagers have taken a series of courses in order to earn a credential and have a certain level of experience.

Selecting the right Interior Designer

A lot of people don’t realize this, but there is actually a significant difference between someone being able to call themselves a “decorator” versus an “interior designer”. Essentially anyone can call themselves a decorator regardless of their education, training and experience. However, in order to be able to call oneself an interior designer, one must have completed a certain level of achievement in the areas known as the three “E’s”, education, experience and examination. Holding the distinction of ASID is often recognized as the industry standard, because in order to be able to use the ASID distinction one is required to complete a minimum standard of 2-4 years of college coursework through a FIDER accredited interior design program, have achieved a minimum level of experience in the field and successfully passed a rigorous examination known as the NCIDQ exam which measures a designers level of competency as it relates to health, welfare and safety in interior design.

When selecting the right interior designer for you. I would suggest interviewing approximately three different designers. Be sure to ask to see samples of their work, nearly all interior designers have websites with numerous portfolio photographs posted. You may also wish to call an interior designers’ references as well as see their work in person. Don’t be afraid to ask an interior designer specifics about their education and credentials. These credentials can also be confirmed through sites like http://www.asid.org and http://www.ncidq.org.

Beyond an interior designers credentials and work “on paper”, making your interior designer selection, may just come down to personality and whether or not you feel that you can trust and would enjoy working with this professional for what may be as long as a year or possibly longer.

How Interior Designers charge for their services

Most interior designers either charge a flat design fee or hourly. Hourly fees typically range from $100.00 to $300.00 per hour, based on the designers experience and years in business. In addition to a design fee, designers also charge a certain percentage for items that are sourced or purchased through them, typically between 10 and 35 percent. Expect a professional interior designer to also charge for such extras as drafting services such as creating construction drawings, renderings, shopping, phone calls and overseeing construction management.

Hiring a Professional Home Stager

Home staging is very different from interior design and the two professions and skill sets are quite separate and distinct. With home staging, it is solely and entirely about creating a marketing tool in order to sell real estate. Home staging is not about expensive fabrics, trims and kiln dried furniture frames. It is simply about creating an enticing environment in order to showcase a property in its best possible light so that potential buyers notice the true potential a property has to offer.

How Professional Home Stagers charge for their services

What is so wonderful about hiring a professional home stager to sell your home (if you are a home seller) or your listing (if you are a real estate broker) is that you can hire a professional home stager to do as little or as much as you would like. For example, you can hire a professional home stager for consultation purposes only. A consultation only service with a professional home stager typically consists of a service in which the home stager provides his or her analysis of the space providing a “blueprint” for the home seller to follow in order to properly prepare their property for sale. The cost is typically between $300 and $500. The other and more common way in which home sellers and real estate brokers typically hire stagers is to hire a stager to perform full staging services in which the stager creates and oversees the entire preparation and staging of a property for sale. Home stagers typically an average price of $1,000 to $1800 per day for such professional services.

Through my own interior design and home staging company, I have personally helped to sell almost $100 million dollars worth of real estate. Hiring a professional not only brings added value it should also bring peace of mind.