2020 IAHSP Conference and EXPO Live Event has been Canceled effective June 8, 2020

To Our Valued IAHSP® Family Members,

As the months have progressed during this very unusual 2020, we have been able to shift successfully to continue to deliver resources and education to our members. We hope that you are staying productive and want you to reach out to us for any support we can offer during this time.

I know many of you have been waiting and wondering about our 2020 IAHSP® Conference and EXPO that is scheduled for Sept 25-27 in Denver. We have been waiting on making any kind of formal announcement to see if the State of Colorado will provide any clear guidelines on large gatherings. To date, Governor Polis has not shared any information on when or how gatherings will be allowed. 

What I do know is the ability to meet in larger groups will start off with 50 people and slowly increase in size every few weeks or month. We have no idea when the ability to meet in a group our size will be allowed and by my estimates it would not be until the fall.

Because we have no clear mandate on large meetings for Colorado, with the support of our leadership team, I have made the difficult decision to cancel our live conference. As much as I, and everyone else miss you and would love to be able to see everyone in person, it would not be responsible of us to continue to promote an event we are unsure can even be held. 

Furthermore, the survey we sent out about our 2020 Conference had insightful statistics. The most telling one was two-thirds of the potential attendees surveyed indicated even if the larger groups were allowed, they would still NOT attend a live conference. The reasons were concerns for their health during travel, safety of the large gathering, and costs since many industry members business volume has greatly decreased due to Covid19.  Even if the hotel were to guarantee safety and sanitation measures were in place for all meeting rooms, restaurants, etc., 52% of the respondents shared they would still not attend.

Therefore, the cancelation of the event is due to an unforeseen and unpredictable pandemic that in turn has caused a lack of a facility, attendees and revenue to support our event. We do not want to have a reduced event, as a big part of our conferences is our EXPO and the companies that pay to display and meet all of you and they expect large numbers.  Their sponsorships support our event costs, and without them we would not be able to afford what the hotel has required us to pay in our agreement.  Many of our sponsors are also struggling and believe 2020 is not a year they can move forward with the commitments they have made to IAHSP®.

Our event is a production – not just a meeting with speakers. We want it to be memorable, educational and inspirational.  I am extremely sad about this and I hope you support our responsible decision to act in ways that protect our members and association.

We are looking at offering a virtual conference and are working on the details. Another important piece of feedback from the survey was our members are concerned about attending a multi-day virtual event. They shared it is hard to concentrate with various distractions found at home or offices, and if at home, it is a challenge to not be working to earn money versus sitting at a computer or phone watching and listening to speakers. One of the best parts of a live event is the ability to get away and have time to just focus on the event and learn and that is not possible with an online event. 

We are taking the feedback into consideration and will be sharing what we will be doing for 2020 with all of you once it is finalized.  Whatever we decide to do, it will be recorded for those who are not able to take the time to watch it live so all our members have the opportunity to benefit from the education and information.

– Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman

For those who already purchased tickets to the 2020 live conference, your ticket purchase will be applied to the virtual conference or applied to 2021 Conference tickets or to your membership. Your status as a VIP will also be retained. We have already paid money to Keynote Speakers, and deposits to the hotel that they are holding, and we will not be receiving any refunds. The funds raised by ticket sales, paid for these expenses that are due in advance. We do not get these funds back from any of the entities and are working with all of them to figure out how we can best work together. The hotel has shared that anyone who booked a room will be refunded with no penalty. If you have any concerns about this, please email me privately at Jennie@iahsp.com.

The Advanced Stager Training Session will be held for those 6+ figure business owners in a workshop setting and will be done virtually or possibly live in a destination location. If it is live, the dates will not be end of September so we are confident in-person gatherings can take place, and attendees feel comfortable traveling.

Once we have all the details confirmed we will share the plans with you. We are working on the 2021 IAHSP® Conference and EXPO details and will share dates with all of you once agreements are signed. 

Until then, know that I am greatly disappointed to share this news with all of you. Our entire team is disappointed and yet in agreement to postpone any large live events for when it is truly safe to do so. My hope was to be able to see all those who planned on attending our event in Denver and give hugs, laugh, and learn together.  

Until that day comes, know that we are here for you and we are all in this together as a big global home staging family. Let us know how we can best support you as we navigate these unique times. 

If you have any questions or thoughts, please email me directly at Jennie@iahsp.com.

All my best,

Jennie Norris, IAHSP® International Chairwoman

www.IAHSP.com

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RIGHT and WRONG – Is Staging really that Black and White?

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By Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman

There are numerous groups on social media where idea sharing takes place to help provide guidance or tips to industry colleagues.  One of the more common questions or posts I see are from newer Stagers posting pics of properties they are going to Stage or have Staged, asking if what they did is “right.”  The answer to what all stagers need in order to stage a house in the best way is at the end of this article.  This leads me to the question, is there one “right” way to Stage® a room?  Are there a lot of rules that if you violate them, your staging is “wrong” and the house now will not sell? 

In short. No. 

Staging is subjective.  It always has been and always will be.  We need to be careful about boxing in our creativity and assigning one set of rules to every staging. Not only is that restrictive, it is unrealistic.  Things like budget, timeframe, and resources are all factors in how a property is Staged.  It is important we do not compare our staging to someone else’s or judge a staging that may not be as embellished as others because what is not being openly shared is how much of a budget the stager had to carry out the staging.  Of course, someone who has a large budget can provide more than one that has a tighter budget, and the question we SHOULD be asking is, “Did the house sell?” When that answer is, “Yes,” the staging worked, the stager did a great job, and the client got the results they wanted.  Of course, please never stage a house with too few things as it cheapens not only the buyer experience, the house, but our industry.  Better to walk away from a client with too small a budget than diminish your reputation and staging integrity.

If a house is occupied and being Staged using what the homeowner has that is very different than a vacant property where the Stager gets to select all the furnishing and décor to create a look that fits the property and the budget provided.  And when the homeowner is still living in the house, there is the added challenge of maintaining the look of the staging with an owner who is less-than-attentive to detail.

How often does PRICE factor into a Staging?  Every time.  It’s pretty rare that a Stager gets carte blanche for a Staging to charge whatever they want to for their services.  I never have. Eighteen years and 5,400 properties and counting and I have never had a client tell me to spend whatever I wanted to get their house ready for sale.  There is always a budget to consider, and more generous budgets allow for more items and more profit to the stager. The tighter the budget, the fewer options there are for Staging.  And there is a point where all Stagers need to walk-away from a Staging project when they will be losing money.  None of us got into this as a charity to pay our clients for the privilege of getting their house ready for sale.

The rules I see being shared have to do with things like area rug sizes, whether-or-not to karate chop a pillow, how to make a bed, how to dress a table, and how to position furniture.  These are all subjective opinions, and not a reason a house will or will not sell.  And I will share my thoughts and guidelines regarding each one.

Area Rugs: If you want to use a 5’x7’ rug because it fits in your inventory space better, or you don’t have access to 8’x10’ rugs from your inventory provider (most of the rental companies do not provide larger rugs), then use the 5’x7’.  Staging colleagues who share a smaller rug is “wrong” used to use those same sizes when they were newer. When a wood floor is the selling feature in a room, I would not cover up the majority of it with a rug.  This deviates from design principles where you want to have the furniture grouping on the rug and a larger size is preferred.

Logistically, the larger rugs are difficult to store, they weigh a lot, and one person cannot carry them because if they are good quality, they are like a bag of wet sand.  Aesthetically the larger rugs may be preferred by some, however, until I hear the words, “We did not purchase the house because the area rug was not an 8’x10’size, we will continue to use them in properties for Staging, along with our larger rugs for houses that do need a bigger size.  And a TIP from experienced Stagers is use two 5’x7’ rugs that are the same and put them side by side, to create a larger rug.

Pillows: The only rule for pillows would be use them on sofas, accent chairs and beds as way to add layers of texture and color. Ideally you want matching pillows in pairs however the eclectic look is acceptable. Karate chop the middle of pillows with feather inserts or don’t do it.  Either way is fine.  One benefit of karate chopping is if you go to the house and the pillows no longer have that look, you know someone used your pillows, moved them, or sat on the sofa. Buyers do not run screaming for the door when they see a karate chop pillow.

Beds: Some stagers like comforter sets with bed skirts and shams, some like coverlets draped over the bed to the floor.  Some like to layer up the bed and others are more streamlined and minimalist.  Do you use a throw or a blanket folded neatly across the end of the bed? Do you have to make the bed with sheets?  Do you put a tray on the bed?  The answer to the questions is yes or no.  It all depends on what you prefer.  For higher end houses, you do want to take the time to make the bed with sheets and layers.  These are the beds that would be rolled back tastefully to show off the layers.  In other houses, a bed could be made without sheets and layers.  One of the reasons we choose not to dress beds with sheets for all houses is we do not want people “in” the beds and when the mattress has plastic covering on it (for sanitary purposes) and not sheets there is less likely to be fooling around in the bed.  Yes, that does happen.  Stay in the industry long enough and you too will have the pleasure of discovering unmentionables in your beds.

Should you use real mattresses, box springs and frames?  Stagers who share only real beds should be used must have forgotten when they were new(er) and had to make beds out of air mattresses, platforms that were camping cots or boxes or bins. Yes, our industry has progressed, and we do not want to promote cheap-looking staging.  Much like the issue with the large area rugs, for stagers without a warehouse, carrying mattresses and box springs becomes a logistical impossibility.  Good news is third party rental companies provide mattresses and box springs that are reasonably priced. And a TIP from experienced stagers is use two sets of box springs instead of a mattress to save budget.  You can always put a topper on the box spring to create a softer layer before the comforter or coverlet is placed on top.

What about Headboards? They provide a nice, complete look to a bed and dress up a bedroom for a professional finish. There are headboards that fold up but most of them are going to be too large for even a large SUV.  Stagers have created headboards out of foam, fencing, and other creative methods that create the “look” of a headboard without the storage needs.  Sometimes a large piece of art is hung over the bed and shams bolstered up against the wall.  It is all about the budget for the Staging and type of property.

Placement: When arranging a room, a stager needs to consider focal points and function.  An architectural focal point would be a fireplace or a view window.  A living room could have two focal points while a bedroom may not have any and it has to be created with the furniture arrangement.  In general, you want to feature what the room is from the entry way of the room, so placing the main furniture piece across from the entry or in that zone is usually the best option.  Should you angle furniture? Angling furniture helps soften the corners of the room and provides an interesting alternative to having everything squared off.  This may not work for smaller rooms as angling the furniture does create a “dead zone” behind the item and cuts the square footage. It is a subjective choice and harkens back to the notion that there is not one “right” way to stage a room, however there may be a better way.  A Stager learns this with experience and/or moving things around to see various options. 

In my opinion, the word “rule” needs to be changed to “guidelines” and then to “preference,” and when asking for feedback on social media, at some point you need to learn the answer to the question posed at the beginning:  Gut Instinct and experience.  Those two elements will provide you the confidence you need to successfully stage any property and trust your choices.

This I know…

Resiliency. Belief. Thrive.  Pivot.  Adjust.  Mindset. Hope.

OR

Deflation. Skepticism. Survive. Wither. Resist. Fear. Doubt.

Words have power and impact. And we MUST CHOOSE which ones we will allow in our minds and hearts.

I know our BELIEF dictates our ATTITUDE and our ATTITUDE impacts our ACTION.  And ACTION leads to PRODUCTIVITY.   And PRODUCTIVITY leads to PROFIT

I know these words lead to HOPE.  And HOPE gives us a FUTURE and our FUTURE is about MINDSET and POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS.

I know our MINDSET is impacted by what we listen to, read and watch.  

I want to challenge all of us to stop watching the news as it is propelled by FEAR and FEAR is the enemy of PRODUCTIVITY.  I am not saying ignore what is happening in the world but at some point we have to say, “ENOUGH!”  We get it! Covid19 is bad. Countries are suffering economically.  People are suffering emotionally.  Sick are dying. Sick are recovering. We have to tune out all the negative. We need to tune into something positive every day!  

I know like most everyone I have my fill of Netflix or Prime or TV to pass the time and binge watch shows at night… but how much TV or YouTube can we watch without at some point deciding “I have to do something else!”

Choose to READ positive books or business strategies that propel you forward. LISTEN to music that feeds your spirit. ENGAGE with other like-minded people. Set up a call with colleagues and friends.  Have a fun time for yourself.  Be KIND to one another on social media.  And keep working towards your FUTURE as we WILL get through this and we will RISE!

What are YOU going to do to overcome the MINDSET of FEAR that has so many paralyzed with INACTION?  I do the only thing I know how to do… PRAY and PERSEVERE.  

I pray for this virus to lose its hold on our world and for those who are sick to get proper treatment and thrivr. I pray for my family, friends and colleagues around the world who have isolated for months and are dealing with loneliness, depression, and yes, fear.  I pray against the deliberate destruction of our economies for the personal gain of entities poised to make billions off this crisis.  And I persevere because I have made a CHOICE that we will RISE and be BETTER once this is over.

I know I can keep my ATTITUDE up by doing what I can to stay VIABLE.  I work to provide added education that can help colleagues earn income and pivot to add services so they NEVER again will be in a position of NOT being able to earn income!  I do what I can with my time and force myself on some days to move forward with tasks when all I really feel like doing is staying in bed. I have too many people counting on me for their livelihood and for leadership and guidance for me to curl up and retreat. 

I know I cannot and do not take my roles lightly. I CHOOSE to EDUCATE myself so I can help disseminate and provide synthesized information to members, colleagues and friends.  If one thing I share helps one person get through this or get some help for their company or family, then it is all worth it. 

I know I must EXPECT the BEST and plan for it.  Adding services, working on marketing and being poised to handle the expected flood of business that I believe is coming for all home stagers keeps my FOCUS FORWARD – not backward.

I know we will look back on this time with PERSPECTIVE and remember how we all came through the Pandemic of 2020 and how we CHOSE to keep our POSITIVE MINDSET and to push RETREAT out of our minds.  This takes FAITH. Faith is BELIEVING in things we cannot see.  Seeing is not believing.  Believing is Seeing.

I know the sun will rise and set. The moon will glow. Flowers will bloom. Trees will grow. Birds will sing. Oceans will ebb and flow. Nature is having a reset and rest and is better for it. The air is cleaner. Waters are purer – dolphins are swimming in the Venice canals for the first time in decades and that is just one example. And our HUMAN SPIRIT also needs this.

RESET.  RESTORE.  REVIVE. 

I know we will CHOOSE to RISE And we will be standing STRONGER TOGETHER as a result of this experience that has made the human race come together for a common goal. VICTORY over ADVERSITY.  

WE will KNOW how RESILIENT and RESOURCEFUL and STRONG we are as people with a common PASSION and PURPOSE.

I look to the future with anticipation when we can all be together and we can HUG and LAUGH and REJOICE! 

Jennie Norris – IAHSP Chairwoman

This I know.

I am grateful for you – my home staging family . . .

Jennie

Virtual Reality versus Actual Reality in Real Estate

by Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman, Owner of Sensational Home Staging – We Stage Colorado

Virtual Reality can be traced back to 1935 as a science fiction and movie tool that was not used in the real estate industry to any major effect until about 3 years ago when Matterport hit the scene. The idea of being able to tour a house “virtually” was appealing for buyers who wanted to be able to experience a house before seeing in person. Was virtual reality for real estate really meant to eliminate the need to see a property in person? Is that where we want the industry to head? Eliminate all personal experience and use robots and machines to sell and buy properties?

That would be a huge mistake.

Technology is great to make our lives easier to manage and but has also made our lives more complicated and demanding. The reality is we do live in a tech world however real estate needs to be REAL. Not fake. Not virtual. Some may disagree, however for most people, owning a property represents the largest asset they will own in their lifetime. To leave this decision up to virtual reality is a big mistake. A 3-D tour helps a buyer visualize a layout and features but statistically a very small number of properties are sold without a personal visit.

Furniture looks fake. Placement is wrong. Why would you BLOCK the selling feature of the built in and storage? A Professional Stager knows NOT to do this.
Proper placement of a REAL grouping. House sold to the FIRST BUYER who saw it after it was professional Staged!

The use of virtual technology has spilled over into Home Staging and the results are not good. Virtual staging is a cheap alternative to real, professional Staging, and it actually backfires on agents and sellers who are focused only on price. Sure, the photos may look halfway decent with a virtual photo shop addition of furniture and décor. That would be great
if home staging was only about a photograph. But it is not.

Home Staging is about the ENTIRE experience for a buyer.

From the time they preview a house online to the moment they step in the front door the Staging is pulling them in emotionally. The aesthetics with color, placement, and style of furniture and décor used are all strategically utilized to attract the target buyer and maximize the sales price for the owner.

Placement is WRONG. Furniture style is WRONG. The scale is WRONG. The virtual staging did NOT work to sell this property. It was a visual DETRACTION and a mistake
PROPER placement and furniture that shows actual SCALE AND SIZE of the room used and house SOLD to first buyer who saw it in person post Staging.

When a buyer sees a property online they expect to see the same look when they walk in the house in person. When they walk into an empty house, they feel duped by the virtual rendering online they are greatly disappointment. The buyer is going to translate that disappointment into criticism of the property. It is natural for anyone seeing a property
to start looking around and their eyes will notice flaws when there is nothing else to draw their attention. What is shown online should be the SAME as when a buyer walks in the door. It is all about expectations. NAR® has gone so far as to share virtual staging borders on deceptive marketing and has issued cautions to agents not to alter the interior of a property with virtual photo shop as it poses a risk to the seller and the listing agent for false advertising.

A listing agent or seller who believes a buyer can translate what they see in a photo into an actual real-life experience inside the house is mistaken. Statistically, less than 10% of the population is visual and a buyer is not able to picture how their furniture will fit, let alone get excited about a house that is empty and echoes with sadness.

Even though the virtual table and chairs are OK looking, when buyers went in person, the house felt cold and austere, and did not sell.
A REAL furniture grouping adds warmth and appeal, helps the house not to echo, and shows a buyer what will ACTUALLY FIT in the rooms. The sellers went under contract within 10 days of the REAL STAGING being done.

At its core, virtual staging is a deceptive marketing tool that cheapens the entire selling and buying process. Ask any experienced, professional stager, and he or she will tell you they have staged many properties that were virtually staged, did not sell, sat on the market, and then were professionally staged, and went under contract in a short time.

Jennie Norris – IAHSP Chairwoman
The furniture is NOT to scale and has been shrunk to fit the photo. This is DECEPTIVE. Furthermore where the photo shop jockey put the chairs BLOCKS visual and the access to the room. The FOCAL point is the FIREPLACE and they have completely missed that aspect that a pro-stager would make sure was featured.
Professional Staging included furniture that was the right scale and style, as well as placement that appropriately highlighted the selling features of this room.

This COSTS the seller far more than if they had professionally staged their property from the start because in the time they sat waiting for a buyer, they have had to continue paying the carrying costs of that property and possibly experienced a price reduction. A price reduction will be 5-20x the investment in real staging.

Furthermore, according to NAR®, REALTOR®s have a fiduciary responsibility to get the MOST in the sale of the house. Are those just words on paper or is this something they are actually held to as a standard?

Agents in stronger markets will share, “I have not had to stage my listings.” The fact is they DID have to stage every listing – they just didn’t because they were probably in a market where things were selling quickly. When a seller can net thousands more in the sale, and they are not being told how to accomplish that with home staging and are even being dissuaded from staging by their agent who just wants to get a house on the market as soon as possible, it is not serving the seller. Staging is not a secret. REALTOR®s know about it and need to educate their sellers about why it is important. If the seller then decides not to stage, the agent is protected because they did advise them about the service.

This room had too much hard surface, tile, and custom colors buyers did not like.
Staging helped create proper groupings of furniture, provided buyers with an idea of how to use the space and downplayed all the hard tile.

A final point is agents who include staging as a key part of their listing and marketing strategy to sell a house earn more than those who do not. When a property sells for more, the agent makes more commission, and statistically houses that are Staged sell on average for 1-17% more than the un-staged competition. This adds up to thousands more an agent will earn over the course of a year with added income as well as spending less marketing dollars on a property.

When REALTOR®s are fighting for their own viability in an industry that is trying to push towards I-Buying and I-Selling, backed by big money conglomerates who don’t care if they are harming the real estate industry, making sure a full-service REALTOR® is using every tool available to net the most for their sellers would be a no-brainer. Agents can’t have it both ways. They want to get rid of the trend towards eliminating the in person buying and selling experience, but then use virtual staging. Sellers can’t have it both ways either where their properties are not professionally staged, yet they expect to sell at the best price. Support and use REAL Reality. Real in person service. Not robots. Real Staging. Not photoshop.

Then the REALITY will be a successful sales experience that benefits everyone involved and supports the real estate industry being a reality-based service.

Important Information and Resources for Small Businesses impacted by the Covid19 Crisis

The Coronavirus or Covid19 has been sweeping the world with unprecedented economic hardship and health consequences. In some ways it has brought the world closer together as we experience the same situations and face this challenge together.

As a Small Business Owner who may have had to cease or reduce operations and have no or limited revenue stream until the crisis is over, what are your options for receiving HELP? This post will share some tips and resources for you to explore and further the path to getting back on your feet.


UPDATED INFO ON LOANS:

Received this from a business lender: As of the time of this writing, March 29, 2020, the SBA has not formalized the application process for the new “Paycheck Protection Program” or “PPP”, the program that got signed into law Friday as part of the $2 Trillion CARES Act. At the moment, we are all waiting for guidance. Once I get clarity on that, I will likely fill you in with another update. Businesses CAN apply right now for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan…it is an application you can file on line direct with the SBA and do not need another lender involved….go to https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance to apply.

Here is a link with a helpful run down on the SBA assistance loans that are currently available: https://files.constantcontact.com/27483c98001/ab3a54bd-48b0-423b-b845-cb3d2ed735e8.pdf  

And another link to help you understand what you qualify for:  https://files.constantcontact.com/27483c98001/5549b8bb-7ea1-4c06-9817-28d88045dfce.pdf

Keep in mind, that there is a HUGE demand for all of these products as most businesses are affected in some way over this virus. So there is going to be delays at SBA and especially with the banks and lenders who will be called on to administer the new PPP Loans. So be patient.

LOANS AND FINANCIAL AID

The SBA has loans available under the Disaster Relief Act from the Federal Government. https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

Your COUNTY needs to be listed on the Disaster Loan Application site for the SBA for Covid Declared Disasters. If your county is NOT listed, we encourage you to contact your Governor’s Office via phone and email and ask them to submit ALL counties for their state so people can get financial help. The Governor is the only one who can request for the counties to be added.

https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Declarations/Index

You will need to indicate ECONOMIC INJURY as the reason for filing.

Some states have funding and even municipalities so please check on your state and local government websites to see what they have for funding assistance. Some of the funding is for government entities only, some may be for brick and mortar stores/shops/restaurants forced to close.

BEWARE of predatory money lenders who are hard-money loan sharks looking to capitalize on “desperation.” These lenders usually charge very HIGH interest rates with possible daily payouts and should only be used as a last resort after other options have been exhausted.


BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE

You may be eligible for Business Interruption Insurance from your business insurance carrier. You need to review your policy or have your insurance agent help you with this to see if the Covid19 is covered. KMRD Partners shared via webinar what to do with insurance and questions to ask your carrier.

The video is here: https://www.facebook.com/178677998855566/posts/3140169152706421/

You need to keep good records of any economic hardship you are facing as a result of the Covid19 shutdown. Know the payouts will not be quick and as with any agency, they will probably try to dispute your claim to avoid paying out on the policy. KMRD has offered to assist those who may need help with their policies whether or not they are policies set up through KMRD. They are our ADVOCATE for insurance coverage.

KMRD Partners, Inc.
2600 Kelly Road, Suite 120
Warrington, PA 18976
866-957-5673
http://www.kmrdpartners.com


DEFERRED PAYMENT PLANS

We encourage you to reach out to any creditors you owe money to and ask for a reprieve for payments. MOST entities are being understanding and will defer payment for 1-2 months with a provision to contact them if more time is needed.

IF your bank, auto loan, credit card companies, lenders, property managers are NOT being cooperative, we suggest sending that information to the Governor of your State and also to your local news station. This is a time when EVERYONE need to be helped to the degree they are impacted and for entities to take a hard line on offering any support or assistance is not right. These companies need to be exposed. The pressure they receive might make them change their attitudes and approach to their customers.

  • Ask your creditors what they are offering
  • Negotiate terms that work for you
  • Keep track of what you have agreed to so you know when your payments will resume and at what amounts
  • Stay in touch with all of your creditors – they like communication and most are available via phone and email.

WHAT ABOUT MY CLIENTS AND PROPERTIES WHERE I HAVE MY STAGING FURNISHINGS INSTALLED?

If you are getting calls to waive payments for your furnishings, you have a right to not lose the income. You can agree to the terms providing the seller/client has enough equity in the home to pay the deferred amount at closing. We do NOT recommend going to a pay at close option for the duration – agree to only 2 weeks or 1 month and then re-assess.

The prediction is clients will resume their jobs and income once the Covid19 crisis is over – and current estimates are by mid-April we will be able to resume our business activity. Your other option is to pick up your items and return them to your warehouse for use in future projects. If the property gets put on temporary-withdraw status, this means the house will be put back to active showings once the crisis is over and real estate activity can resume to normal.

  • IF the house is still listed online, you should be paid for your items that are being used to showcase the house. You can decide if you will charge a reduced amount as a courtesy. You have a legal agreement in place with your client that needs to be honored however if you are able to adjust things to work with your client that will go a long way for future business opportunities.
  • IF the house is de-listed temporarily, this is where you can defer use fee for 2 weeks and then resume payments. We are not charities and as micro-businesses we are not in a position to lose income as we have bills to pay as well. Make sure to keep track of lost income.
  • IF the house is removed from active listing altogether – pick up your items. Make sure to keep on top of important dates such as when the REALTOR no longer has access or you no longer have access, etc.
  • Check with the listing agent on the strategy – the sellers may be moving back, they may decide to rent, or other options. You don’t want to let your things sit at risk when a contract has been terminated.

Houses are still being purchased and sold which means sellers are still able to get their house to close during this time.

  • You want to make SURE you submit your invoice to the TITLE company with clear instructions on how you are to be paid.
  • Ask the client who that entity is for the transaction or;
  • Ask the REALTOR who is handling the sale about the Title Company. Make sure the REALTOR knows what your plan is so they are in the loop.
  • Call the Title Company and explain what you need to do – and ask about any other payouts on the property to ensure there will be revenue left to pay you.
  • Stay on top of the CLOSING DATE and the day prior, call the Title Company to ensure you are on the LIST for payout/settlement.

If you do choose to waive payments and let items remain in a house, make sure to KEEP TRACK OF ALL LOST INCOME as that would be part of the Economic Injury Claim.


We hope the information shared is helpful to you and answers questions you may have regarding how to deal with our current, unprecedented situation. For more information or to contact us please email info@iahsp.com

Coronavirus-Covid19-Recommendations for all home staging industry professionals

The International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) is monitoring the current health pandemic with great concern for all our members around the world. We are hopeful none of our family is impacted personally with this virus and pray for all those who are to date as we continue to see the spread globally. As the home staging industry association leader, we wanted to share guidelines specific to how you can remain viable and earn income during this time while not risking your health and safety.


VIDEO-Consultations or E-ConsultationsThese are a great way to provide necessary information, guidance and support to homeowners who want to prepare their homes for sale now. The steps to accomplish this are fairly simple given today’s technology.

  1. Start with having them send you photos of each room in the house from the doorway, and from all corners (if possible). This will allow you to assess the room as a whole versus from just one vantage point. It allows you to see what is on the walls, in the corners, and see how the room and furniture is positioned relative to other parts of the house.
  2. You would analyze the photos and provide a typed summary for the clients to follow.
  3. Email the summary to the client and agent (if one is involved).
  4. Call the client or do a face-time chat on your phone, use Zoom or Skype or WhatsApp to do a video call. This is recommended so you can see their reaction to the guidelines you shared. If you are not able to see them or them see you the important part of “rapport” is lost and they may not agree to do all you recommend.

Note: We are doing our best NOT to use the word “VIRTUAL” as we are opposed to Virtual Staging as a cheap alternative to real Staging, and as such we do not want to be using that word in conjunction with our services. Alternatives are “E-Consult” or “Tele-Consult” or “Video-Consult” – which all indicate the type of services being provided.

E-PreviewsThese are a great way to provide a proposal for Staging a vacant property without you having to go in person.

  1. Follow the steps above with someone sending you photos of the property.
  2. You prepare the proposal for recommended areas and send to the client.
  3. Follow up on the phone or via a video call.
  4. The Staging can be scheduled and installed as long as your state/region allows you to be out OR you get things set when bans will be lifted.

Property Showings:

Tips for BUYERS: Buyers are still out looking for properties and have to purchase for work or lifestyle decisions. A property that is Staged shows great online and in person showings can be done taking these precautions:

No open houses are being done to protect the public and homeowners. Tips to share with buyers:

  1. Keep hand-sanitizer by the front door for all buyers to use.
  2. If you are an agent bringing buyers, make sure you all use the sanitizer before anyone enters the home.
  3. Do not touch door knobs, cabinets knobs and light switches. Do not use the restroom in the house. If there is an urgent need, please make sure the homeowner knows this was done so they can take disinfectant measures.
  4. If anyone in the buying group is not feeling well, do NOT go to a home to look in person. Stay home. Let someone else be your eyes.

Tips for SELLERS: Your house is for sale and Buyers need to see it in person to make an important decision to purchase. If you are in an area where showings are allowed, take these precautions to ensure your home is protected from potential exposure.

  1. Keep hand santizer in a basket outside the front door. Make it mandatory that any agents and buyers use the sanitizer before entering your home.
  2. You can provide disposable gloves for buyers and agents to wear as an added precaution. Keep a small trash can outside your front door (or in other discreet area out front) for buyers and agents to throw their used gloves away once they exit your home.
  3. Keep all doors open throughout the house. This will minimize the chances of other people touching your door knobs where germs can be present.
  4. Wipe down all switch plates for lights and turn on all the lights in the house so agents and buyers do not have to do this. Instruct agents NOT to turn off any of the lights.
  5. Fold your toilet paper end into a point in every bathroom. If you return home and the end is not folded anymore, you know someone used the bathroom and you will want to sanitize it.
  6. Keep plenty of lysol and disinfectant wipes on hand to wipe down doorknobs, cabinet knobs, and light switches.

SYMPTOMS and TIPS to help minimize the exposure and impact of this virus.


If you suspect you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor. Do not immediately go to the ER as the hospitals are overwhelmed with patients. To find a location for testing in your area, GOOGLE your city and state/province/country as there is not one site that has the information pulled together by state or country.


If you or someone you know is struggling due to this pandemic please let us know how we can support you through this challenging time. Email Jennie@iahsp.com

Why Seeing Your Path Clearly is the KEY to Business and Personal Success

By Jennie Norris, IAHSP® Chairwoman

Text Box:
Have you ever gotten in your car and just started driving along with no destination? Have you ever gone to the airport and taken a random flight to somewhere? 

For most people, the answers would be, “No,” unless they were on some random adventure quest.  We don’t want our businesses to be a random adventure quest.  We want our business success to be strategic and predictable based on our efforts.

VISION – SUCCESS – FOCUS – CLARITY – FUTURE

All of these words have a common thread – being able to see clearly and know where we are headed.  And these are the words for 2020 for IAHSP® – and the theme of our conferences in Lisbon, Portugal and Denver, Colorado. Our theme and these words were chosen in October 2019 as we started thinking about 2020 and what our goals were as an industry, an association, a business owner and person.  These are great words and we hope you take the time to think about what they mean to you.


VISION

VISION.  We are already into our second month of 2020 – do you have your vision for the year mapped out?  Vision is not only what drives your effort every day, it is also about having goals that support your overall vision and mission.  What is the vision for your company – what is the message you want prospective clients to know and understand about what you do? Why do you do what you do? Do you have your marketing strategic monthly plan to support your goals? Do you know what your revenue goals are for 2020? Do you need to increase sales or reduce costs and if so, how are you planning to accomplish that?

SUCCESS

SUCCESS.   What does Success mean to you?  The general definition is the achievement of a goal. 

What were those goals for you in 2019?  Was it to increase in the number of clients you serve regularly or to maintain your same level of business and revenue? Was it to focus on increasing the number of houses you Stage or types of properties you stage – vacant, occupied, consultations, etc.? Did you have unexpected success?  That is a great type of success – however if it was unexpected, why was it not planned as part of your strategy? This could be recognition or awards you received or something else that added to your revenue or client base.  We need to think about all aspects of our business and there is nothing wrong with planning for recognition or added revenue.

As the old adage says: Fail to Plan then Plan to Fail. We need to set goals for where we what we want to achieve, make sure they are measurable, assess our success quarterly and make any adjustments, and be open to adding to the plans where it makes sense.

If someone were to ask you the following questions, could you answer them?

  • What is your ratio of consultations to vacant staging?
  • How much revenue did you generate? 
  • How did that compare to 2018?
  • Did you have goals for growth, or did you want to maintain status-quo and refine your process? 
  • What was your net profit?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of costs to run your company?

In order to assess and quantify success – and measure it – you need to know the data from your business.  As a business owner you cannot use the excuse that you are not a details person.  You may have had measurable goals and did not hit all of them – and that is OK as long as you know why you did not achieve the goals and put measures in place to get back on track.

Our past can give us keys to our future.  So many people are afraid to look at their business and analyze the good and the bad as they are afraid of feeling like a failure.  Or they don’t really want to know what is going on and go through each day with business blinders on – not really seeing the impact of their actions or attitude and are on the proverbial hamster wheel of work.

Embrace the past as a learning experience or example of what you are capable of and be sure to not let it confine or restrict your potential.

FOCUS

FOCUS. When our Focus is blurred, our path it not clear. Have you ever tried on glasses that were dirty so you could not see through the lens or put on a pair of glasses that were the wrong prescription?  In both cases, you cannot focus or see through the blurry lens and if you do wear the wrong prescription, you can get a headache. Things that can blur our vision and focus are distractions in both action and attitude.  When we encounter something that begins to blur our focus, we may have to take time to handle the circumstance, and then get our focus back on track.

CLARITY

CLARITY.  Clarity is about having Clear purpose behind our actions and attitude.  Our WHY is the biggest motivator for getting us up every day to continue to work in our businesses.  What is your WHY?  Clarity is about removing anything that might cloud our vision or distract us from our goals.  When we have clarity about our intent, our focus, and our goals, our actions and attitude will be alignment.  Focus and Clarity go hand in hand.

It is not a coincidence that CLARIFY and CLARITY are spelled almost exactly alike – one leads to the other.

FUTURE

FUTURE.  We live in the present and plan for our futures. None of us are guaranteed a future but we do need to plan for it and put actions in place that have a positive impact for us and our businesses, for our families, friends, and colleagues.  Every action we take has a reach and impact on others.  Things we do today whether Staging a house, running a business, being part of industry leadership and planning for standards – the impacts are far reaching as what we do impacts others. Our goal is to be an Impact Player for the betterment of life experiences for all we have the pleasure and opportunity to have in our lives.


As opportunities present themselves, we need to assess whether they are in alignment with our overall vision for our lives, and our goals for our business.  We must remain open to adding things that support our vision and adjusting our path for success as needed and taking risks in order to experience the rewards.  It is important not to put blinders on as then we miss opportunities to add to our path for success.  Rewards are not monetary – they are intangibles.  The relationships we receive, the opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life, the ability to guide an industry for the future, these are responsibilities we need to take seriously.


To be part of the Vision for Success: Focus, Clarity, Future that IAHSP® is providing to the industry and our members, go to www.IAHSP.com.  IAHSP® is your Business Support Association® and Your HOME in the Home Staging Industry®.  We have FAST-LEAD Workshops being held live in major cities, our two conferences that bring you high level education and the largest Vendor EXPO for our industry, and the opportunity to meet colleagues from around the world.

Announcing First Two IAHSP® Conference & EXPO Keynote Speakers PLUS NEW Industry Designation!

IAHSP® Conference & EXPO – the Home Staging Industry Event of the YEAR is bringing exciting, knowledgeable and quality KEYNOTE SPEAKERS to you! We have 3 we have lined up – we have announced TWO so far! The THIRD one will be announced soon!

Go to www.IAHSPConEXPO.com to register now before prices go up! Lock in PRIORITY ATTENDEE STATUS and be first in line for KEYNOTE Meet and Greets, Premier Seating, and Special Exclusive Speak Easy during our Awards Dinner Great Gatsby Gala!


JONNY FOWLER

JONNY FOWLER: Jonny is a marketing and social media guru. Jonny founded Hancock Mortgage and has helped grow a thriving business. One of his main passions is marketing and social media, as an Industry Leader Professional Speaker Social Media Specialist and Industry Innovator. Jonny shares in-depth, timely information that works to bring you business. He understand how platforms like Facebook and Instagram work and teaches how to work the system to outsmart algorithms that limit our exposure. You will learn not just what to do but HOW to do it. His two-hour keynote session will be one of the BEST you have heard to help your business grow and thrive.


RAVI HUTHEESING

RAVI HUTHEESING is an international keynote speaker and cultural
catalyst. He empowers businesses, educators, and millions of
people worldwide to pivot and transcend cultural and generational
divides, and his incomparable life story keeps audiences on the
edge of their seats.

The first American-born member of the family that created and
governed the world’s largest democracy for over 40 years, Ravi is
the grand-nephew of Jawaharlal Nehru (India’s first prime
minister) and the cousin of prime ministers Indira Gandhi and
Rajiv Gandhi.

His worldwide visibility skyrocketed in 1997 when he became the guitarist for triple Grammy nominee, Hanson, whose massive millennial fan base catapulted them to the White House, Madison Square Garden, Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Saturday Night Live, and more.

in 2014, he was invited to serve as a cultural diplomat for the US Department of State and went to Russia to give presentations on arts, entrepreneurship, and youth leadership. In 2016, he went to Indonesia and created songwriting and cultural entrepreneurship programs that bridged
the most severe cultural and religious divides.
As a global citizen, Ravi continues to pivot and grow. He shares his experiences and revelations in an effort to increase cross-cultural understanding and create a pathway to world peace.


NEW INDUSTRY DESIGNATION FOR ALL ATTENDEES!

We have industry experts sharing on this topic. Ravi Hutheesing will be part of this designation education.

All attendees at the 2020 IAHSP® Conference & EXPO will earn their IAHSP®-CDE – Cultural Diversity Expert Designation.

We are in a people business and Staging is a global service. Our cities and communities are becoming more diverse with multi-cultural influences from people from all over the world.

Misunderstandings or misimpressions about differences can offend people by mistake and we need to understand cultural differences, nuances and traditions in order to better serve our clients.

The IAHSP® Cultural Diversity Expert Designation (IAHSP-CDE®) will teach you:

  1. About major cultural groups and what their expectations are in business
  2. Do’s and Don’ts in working with various cultures and ethnicities
  3. How to approach sensitive issues related to Staging
  4. Why Diversity and Inclusivity are linked together
    Our Speakers for this session will provide expert insights on the topic.

Go to www.IAHSPConEXPO.com to register now! Prices go up soon! Call 844-IAHSP99 for information!

IAHSP® Announces Director of Diversity – Deborah Plowden

IAHSP® – The International Association of Home Staging Professionals® is pleased to announce the addition of Deborah Plowden, ASPM, IAHSP-Premier, to our IAHSP® International Board in the position of Director of Diversity.


IAHSP® is always looking for ways to be inclusive, collaborative and provide opportunities for success for all members of our industry. With the focus on issues of diversity, inclusion and concerns related to racism, sexism and ageism that is in our society, we need to take a responsible approach to how our association and leadership addresses and represents diversity and promotes inclusivity not just for IAHSP® but for our industry as whole.

– Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman

This new and important role will focus on the following:

  • The Director of Diversity will assess potential barriers and develop strategies focused on recruiting and retaining a diverse International Association of Home Staging Professionals.
  • The Director of Diversity will help to maintain cohesion along the dimensions, of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, sexual orientation, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
  • The Director of Diversity will help to dispel any negative sterotypes and personal biases about different groups and cultures and help to build bridges of trust, respect, and understanding across cultures.
  • The Director of Diversity will assess potential barriers and develop strategies focused on recruiting and retaining diversity among IAHSP membership.
  • The Director will design training initiatives on cultural competency, gender differences, disability, sexual harassment, and other topics designed to increase awareness and support of equity and inclusion values.
  • The Director of Diversity will serve to help maintain international and global diversity within IAHSP.
  • The Director of Diversity will serve as a referral person to all IAHSP members in the area of maintaining diversity.
  • The Director of Diversity will help plan, guide and advise President and executive officers on diversity, equity, and affirmative action matters of IAHSP.
  • The Director of Diversity will work with other educational providers to ensure a path to Home Staging education for all socio-economic, race and ethnicity groups so Home Staging is an industry available to all those who desire to be part of it.

For information on joining IAHSP, go to www.iahsp.com. For more information on this program and what we offer, please email Deborah.plowden@iahsp.com


Deborah Plowden, founder and CEO of Debonair Home Staging & Redesign LLC, is the only Professional Home Stager that’s an Accredited Staging Professional Master® (ASPM®) and Staging Design Professional™ (SDP™), located in Houston, TX and the surrounding areas.

Deborah combines staging and apply design principles, as well as her own unique natural design talent, to every staging project giving her clients maximum results such as offers in as little as one day, receiving  multiple offers and selling over list price.  

Having moved numerous times herself while serving in the  U.S. Military, Deborah understands the importance for all homeowners to sell quickly and get top dollar for one of their biggest investments.  By providing impeccable customer care while demonstrating her expertise and professionalism on every staging project from start to finish, Deborah has received the International Association of Home Staging Professionals® (IAHSP®) Best of Home Staging Customer Service Award.

With her leadership skills and passion to help her fellow colleagues succeed,  she pours countless hours into guiding and mentoring many members of the Greater Houston Chapter IAHSP® while committing herself to various positions as President, Education Chair and Membership Chair resulting in her being a recipient of the IAHSP® Best of Home Staging Industry Leadership Award.

Deborah has appeared on Real Estate radio talk shows, taught many Home Staging classes and been featured in local newspaper articles.

Great design brings harmony, great staging brings equity!” – Deborah Plowden  

IAHSP Welcomes Two New Country Chapters

We are excited to announce the addition of Russia and Australia as country chapters! Membership fees have been adjusted to account for the discrepancies in foreign country currency strength compared to the US.

If you live in either of these countries please contact us to learn more about what we are providing to you for resources for growth in home staging. To join IAHSP go to http://www.IAHSP.com.