7 Reasons Why Real Estate Agents Should NOT Stage Their Listings – by Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman and Professional Home Stager
Did this title capture your attention? In truth, we want all properties Staged before hitting the market. However, if you are a Real Estate Agent, it is important that YOU PERSONALLY are not Staging properties for the following reasons:
You need to use your time wisely.
We all have 24 hours in the day. Taking any productive time away from making calls and connections to bring you a listing or a buyer, is unwise. Talk to any Business Coach and they will never say, “Suck up all your time doing all the work yourself and do not involve qualified pros in your business.” What IS being taught is, “Find qualified people to add to your overall team and process so your time is leveraged.”
Your income comes from closing a sale, not Staging.
As a real estate agent, you are paid at closing for selling a house not staging it. You make FAR MORE when you sell a house and earn your commission than a stager ever will Staging a property. Are you going to do the home inspection, fix the plumbing and landscaping too? Understanding you are the Director in the process and bringing in qualified professionals to do the other work will maximize your earnings and your reputation.
Your clients don’t want to hear you criticize their house.
Why risk the relationship? Do you relish the role of telling a client their house is cluttered, dirty, dated, or smelly? Do you like telling them their pets are too hairy or their housekeeping skills need help? Do you want to manage the angry teens or divorcing couple when it comes to getting the work done? When you are the one sharing with a homeowner all the things they need to do to get their house ready, they hear, “My house is WRONG,” and then think, “This agent does not even like my house – why do I want them to sell it?” Say goodbye to any referrals.
Objective Recommendations are motivating to a Seller.
A Stager is not tied to the sale of the property and is seen as truly objective. When agents recommend sellers spend money the seller may believe it is self-serving and the agent is just trying to get them to spend money so the agent can make more commission. When a Stager makes recommendations, they are perceived as necessary investments to help the seller.
Staging is not just removing personal photos and cleaning up messes or adding décor.
Many agents become “Stagents” when dealing with sellers. Staging involves far more than simply telling a seller to clean, remove photos and pick up the messes or bringing in some décor to highlight surfaces. Room arrangements, flow, updating, adding elements that appeal to the target Buyer – those are all things a Stager provides. Stagers stay on top of trends for paint colors, materials, furnishings, etc. That is part of the value they provide to clients and sharing that information with sellers helps add value to your process as an agent.
Your insurance does NOT protect you and you are at risk.
Think about this – you move a piece of furniture in your client’s house and scratch the floor, you damage their furniture, or you bring an item in that damages their house. Your E&O Insurance does not cover you for liability Staging a house. That activity is on you – and now you are coming out of pocket to pay for repairs and/or replacement of damaged property. Professional Stagers have liability insurance and coverage of their own staging items. They protect the property owner, their business, and ultimately you from liability.
If you cannot delegate your business will never grow beyond you.
When you are not able to delegate or involve others that are skilled in an area, you are LIMITING your growth. Having a 3rd party work with your clients does not mean you are not smart or capable. It means you understand your value and where your time needs to be invested. Trying to control everything and believing only you are qualitied to provide certain services, is limiting your growth. Bottom line, working with a professional Stager makes you:
Look Larger as a company
Appear and act more professional
Smarter in how you run your business
And allows your client to work with an objective entity
The bottom line for most agents is control. Trusting someone else to handle your clients is an understandable concern. You need to find the right people you can trust to put in front of your clients.
Where do you find professional stagers? To find professional Stagers to partner with, go to www.stagedhomes.com and search the directory of stagers who have been trained and accredited in staging. One of the foundations taught to the grads of these courses are to, “Honor the Client and Their Possessions,” which means honoring you as a client, honoring the homeowner, and being kind in how messages are shared. Not all stagers have training and not all training courses teach stagers to be kind, honor the seller and their real estate agent clients.
What should you expect from your Stager? Once you have a trusted relationship in place, your stager will be loyal, should support your business events, and should provide referral opportunities for you as well so the relationship is not one-sided. If a Stager does not understand where they fall in the hierarchy of the real estate process and industry where they serve you as their client, find one who does.
Professional Stager and Property Marketer Organization
An alliance among Industry Associations, Leaders, Educators and Influencers to provide industry standards, self-regulation, protection, awareness and guidelines.
For over two years, the need for industry standards and protection of our members from outside entities that seek to regulate or define how we do business has been tossed around in various associations and by industry members. In November 2017, IAHSP® Chairwoman, Jennie Norris, and HSRA™ Founder, Jana Uselton, realizing we were of the same mindset, began what would become a series of conversations and ideas on what we could do together on this initiative. In December 2018, the two association leaders started to put documents together that would reflect Best Practices and Industry Standards with the goal of establishing an organization that would represent the entire Home Staging industry.
In July 2019, Board Members and Key Industry Leaders were invited from all three of the largest Home Staging Industry Associations to join together and begin the formal process of establishing the foundation of a “united nations” umbrella organization over the industry. All three association leaders were invited to be part of a unifying initiative and message, and only two have joined forces at this juncture to put in the work necessary to build an organization that truly represents our industry as a whole. Our hope is the initiative will eventually include all three associations in order to continue on this important path.
The Professional Stager and Property Marketer Organization (PSPMO) will provide a collective voice for industry professionals, establish standards for what comprises a professional home stager and property marketer, protect our members, and work to educate the industries we serve.
Our industry was founded without standards, and that meant anyone who wanted to get into Home Staging has been able to get a business license and set up shop. This has resulted in pricing inconsistencies, services that are not clearly defined and members who do not understand the basic premise that staging is a real estate marketing tool and not decorating or design. Our industry should have some entry level guidelines and requirements in order to be viewed as a reputable and professional industry. The PSPMO aims to establish baseline requirements for anyone entering the staging industry and be considered a professional home stager.
Another reason for an organization like this is because of what we see happening within the real estate industry with governmental agencies such as the FTC and IRS stepping in to regulate how real estate agents and companies operate. Our industry members who have been scrutinized by agencies such as the IRS are unable to afford appeals for overly invasive practices or incorrect definitions of our services. An overall organization could have enough resources to lobby and appeal to these agencies on behalf of our industry. We need to do a better job as an industry educating our end users whether real estate agents, builders, investors, or the public about what we do and the value behind our services. A cohesive message and ability to provide statistics and vital information that helps support the value of what home stagers and property marketers provide is needed and the PSPMO will be able to provide that on behalf of the industry. The leaders of the PSPMO will be present at industry events, conferences and discussions where professional home staging needs a voice to correct misinformation and provide a cohesive and consistent message.
There will be requirements that have to be met by any home stager who wants to join the PSPMO. The organization is not a replacement for the associations who serve their members with resources, education and events. The home staging associations will still play a vital role in the organization, providing one of the four criteria for admission into the PSPMO.
The PSPMO will be established as a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization and operate as an overall unifying entity whose mission it is to raise the standards for home staging business owners in order to elevate the industry as a whole, and provide those who work with home stagers a way to better identify those who own and operate professional companies. We will provide ways for all industry members to be recognized as a Professional Home Stager, with paths for foundational education and ongoing education requirements they can choose to achieve. Fees for membership will include an annual continuing education test all members have to complete, and funds will be used to pay for organization logistics (websites, membership directory, marketing) and travel expenses for PSPMO leadership to meet with external agencies, organizations and attend events in order to educate necessary entities.
We invite industry leaders, educators, and influencers to be part of this initiative. The structure of the organization will provide for layers of participation where input, feedback and ideas are welcome. Currently we are working to set up the business entity and it will be facilitated by a collective group with no one person or entity controlling the organization. Our goal is to launch this formally by January 1, 2020 with our website established and information for all industry members.
Please take a moment to fill out the questionnaire to help us identify those who want to be part of the this organization formation and education to industry members:
For more information and to get involved, please email Jennie@iahsp.com or Jana@myhsra.com.
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Pinterest. Blogs. In the age of social media, it is hard to know what platforms we need to be on for business exposure and where to invest our time to gain business. When we own a business and want to generate leads, the goal of social media is not to pollute the internet with information – it is to get business!
Where do we put our time? It can be overwhelming when we already feel stressed about running a business, and working to get exposure.
Google. If you are not able to do anything else, you need to be on Google as a social media platform. What platforms are there for us on Google – that are FREE? Google My Business and You Tube. We are going to focus on Google My Business – because recent articles from real estate industry experts share Google My Business will be the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT platform for our industry over any other platform. Did you know that?
This article was geared towards real estate agents, and can definitely be applied to the Home Staging Industry – as we are part of the RE industry.
“Google allows businesses to load their profile with contact information (address, website, phone number, etc), photos, Tweet-like content posts, FAQs, and more. Profiles appear as pins on Google Maps and gather consumer reviews because online reviews are now the number one source for inspiring consumer trust. Google has quietly become the most trusted review source on the internet.
On top of direct searches, Google My Business has enormous ramifications on broader consumer searches. When I search for ‘best pizza near me,’ Google knows I don’t want Papa John’s. I want Pizza Paradiso or Two Sisters or Paisano’s. That’s why Google introduced the humbly-named Google Three-Pack, and thus we come to that aggregation I mentioned at the beginning.
Using algorithmic magic — including review frequency and rating, geography, popularity, content frequency, and a bunch of factors we’re not privy to — Google computes and presents the three most relevant businesses to me in a map-based search with listings underneath, effectively creating a local marketplace. “
Agents should be less concerned about their websites, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social accoutrement that encompasses the status quo of an online presence. Throw out the playbook, burn it, recycle it if that’s your thing — Google My Business will soon be the single most important piece of content for the real estate agent’s digital footprint.
It will also take a huge bite out of word-of-mouth referrals.
To create a profile, you can do this on your phone or one your computer. You need a gmail account – and if you do not have a google account – GET OUT OF THE DARK AGES – and get one if for the only reason to GET BUSINESS EXPOSURE on the #1 Search Engine platform for businesses – Google.
You have the ability to set up a profile, add images, services, and the key is POST TO THIS CONSISTENTLY. You can add 1 photo or a video per post. And then it is ALL ABOUT THE HASHTAGS. The hashtags you use translate into meta tags and keywords the public uses to find you for business. It is LESS about what you post and MORE about the hashtags.
Set up your profile now – you build it with photos, descriptions- like a website – and then you can post from your computer or cell phone. The key is consistency and hashtags. You can do a CALL TO ACTION as well – send them to your website or to your phone -for immediate response. DO IT – START POSTING. AND WATCH THE CALLS AND REQUESTS COME IN!
Article by: Jennie Norris – IAHSP Chairwoman, Marketing Guru, and Business Success Fanatic
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE AWARD WINNERS from the 2019 IAHSP CONFERENCE – STAGING INDUSTRY AWARDS! There were so many talented industry professionals nominated and these are the WINNERS based on the voting for each category! We are pleased to be able to share them with you – and help elevate the industry standards by encouraging and recognizing Staging excellence for all the types of properties we Stage and how we serve the industry!
JOIN US IN DENVER – SEPT 25-27 FOR OUR 2020 CONFERENCE & EXPO!
The IAHSP-LHS Designation that was issued at our IAHSP Conference & EXPO is now available to attend ONLINE! This is your opportunity to ADD this skillset and qualifications to your services as a professional Home Stager or as a Real Estate Agent.
Once you watch the entire session, you will receive your IAHSP-LHS attendance logo. You will have to email Jennie@iahsp.com to receive it. THEN you will have to turn in 3 projects that qualify as LUXURY properties in YOUR market. You will learn what those are once you take the webinar. You will submit your 3 properties for review and when they are approved, you will receive your CERTIFIED LHS Logo.
You will receive the link to the recorded webinar session on your order confirmation page. Once you attend you will be sent your LHS Logo and a PDF handout of all the slides.
For questions, please email Christa@iahsp.com or call 844-IAHSP99 (If you earned your LHS in the past and would like to take this webinar as a refresher, please email Christa@iahsp.com so we can validate your designation and send you the link for the webinar.)
Check out some of the testimonials from attendees: “I just completed the Luxury Home Specialist Designation Course. This course includes a significant amount of very useful information. I now understand what constitutes a Luxury Property and how to market my business in order to obtain these types of projects. The resources we have through our IAHSP Vendor Program are invaluable to help control costs while providing a high-quality, upscale look. I found the visuals to be very relevant and helpful. This course was well worth the investment!”
“The LHS (Luxury Home Specialist) webinar was fantastic. The presentation was extremely informative and interesting. I am a seasoned Stager and I learned so much. Well worth the money and your time to stay up with today’s market and break into the Luxury Market. You owe it to yourself and your clients to be informed on the latest market niches and income opportunities. Thank you IAHSP!”
At the close of our annual Conference & EXPO we reveal the location and dates for the NEXT year! IAHSP® is pleased to announce the locations for our 2020 IAHSP® Conferences & EXPO are LISBON, PORTUGAL – IAHSP® EUROPE Conference and DENVER, COLORADO for IAHSP® International Conference & EXPO!! We are bringing the conference to IAHSP® Headquarters and are already making plans to bring the BEST content, speakers, vendors and overall experience to attendees!
SAVE THE DATE: SEPT 25-27, 2020!
SAVE THE DATE: MAY 23, 2020
Get READY to gain a VISION FOR SUCCESS for your Business including Business FOCUS, Growth CLARITY AND Plans for your FUTURE
Advanced Stager Training will be Sept 28-29, 2020.
Certified Consultation Specialist Designation – IAHSP-EUROPE Conference – May 24th, 2020 – Register to earn this special Designation as part of your attendance at the IAHSP-Europe Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. This course will be an added half-day and will be taught by IAHSP International Chairwoman, Jennie Norris.
Get PRIORITY Seating (formerly known as VIP) and lock in the lowest price for registration! Take advantage of our Easy Payment Plan option to help spread out your dollars, and secure PRIORITY status!
Do you have a TEAM you would like to attend? This year we are providing special pricing for groups of 2 or more – helping you SAVE $$ on registrations for added team members.
The home staging industry was birthed in 1972 and it was not until 1999 that any sort of organized entity was formed to help guide the industry. The first industry association, The International Association of Home Staging Professionals® (IAHSP®), was started by the Founder of the industry as an entity to help guide the industry relative to education, ethics and excellence. IAHSP® helped set standards for the industry, hosted the first educational conferences, and launched the first regional chapters to serve members.
It was not until 2007 that a second association, RESA®, was formed by people who used to work at IAHSP®. At that time, IAHSP® remained the only association requiring education as a standard of membership. In 2008, HSRA™ was formed in answer to a need for a more focused business building resources and support. In 2016, IAHSP® came under new ownership and opened its doors for the first time to approved credentialed industry members. The requirements for membership in IAHSP® remain rooted in education as the leadership team and members believe education is the key to promoting the professionalism of our industry to not only help all those entering the industry understand how to be successful, while not diminishing or diluting the professionalism of those who have invested in their business from the start.
Now with several associations operating within the industry, how does an industry member know which group is right for them?
Will there ever be just ONE association for the industry? Let’s examine some terminology that is being shared and what it really means and then look at ten things to expect from your home staging association.
What is a Trade Association?
DEFINITION: noun. an association of people or companies in a particular business or trade, organized to promote their common interests. A Trade Association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. An industry trade association participates in public relations activities such as advertising, education, publishing, lobbying, but its focus is collaboration between companies. Associations may offer other services, such as producing conferences, holding networking or charitable events, or offering classes or educational materials.
Is IAHSP® a Trade Association?
Yes, it is. When you look at the definition above, IAHSP® clearly is a Trade Association for the Home Staging industry. So is HSRA™.
Does a Trade Association have to be a not-for-profit entity?
No, it does not. The key to remember is that “not-for-profit” is a tax status, not a business strategy. Setting up a tax-exempt entity is a tax strategy to avoid paying taxes. It is not a business strategy that somehow makes this entity more legitimate than others who are not set up as a not-for-profit. To share otherwise creates fear and confusion as a strategy to build membership.
Why isn’t IAHSP® set up as a not-profit entity?
When IAHSP® was founded, it was set up as a part of an overall corporation and currently is a DBA under an S-Corp. That was the choice of the founder. There is no legal requirement that an industry association must be a not-for profit nor does it mean it is any less reputable than an entity who opted to set up as a not-for-profit for tax purposes. IAHSP® is not a profit maker for the corporation. The funds paid to the association through memberships and events, are used to support IAHSP®’s mission, outreach, and events. A not-for-profit is required by the IRS to file annually and returns are public record (if they are missing this legal requirement by the IRS ask why they are not posted) and you can see the revenue that is left at the end of the year.
The question members need to be asking is, “Where are the funds I pay being used by this association?”
IAHSP® uses the funds to support our events throughout the year that we host such as our Conference & EXPO, Market Tours, European Conference, Affiliate memberships with industry entities and pay for staff that help run our association. The annual IAHSP Conference & EXPO is not a fund-raiser for the association, unlike other groups who use ticket sales to fund their association’s operation and pay salaries.
Ten Things to You Should Require of Your Home Staging Association:
1 SOLID STRUCTURE AND LONGEVITY
Consider the structure of the association you are considering joining. How many years have they been in operation? Is their membership growing? Do they have a mission and vision statement that is congruent with how they treat their members and other industry professionals?
IAHSP® has been in existence since 1999. It has always had a mission of serving its members to provide ways for continued growth and education. Our association has doubled in size in the past two years, due to the varied resources we provide and the warmth of our membership community. We are attracting members who are seeking true community and family, as well as business support. The Founder of IAHSP® ran a successful business and then began the first home staging training company.
The current leadership team and owners all own and operate Staging companies and have a vested interest in the longevity of the association that serves the industry in which they work. That is a big differentiator from other associations whose executive leadership have never been successful as a home stager.
MISSION: “The International Association of Home Staging Professionals IAHSP® is dedicated to advancing the education of the professional Home Stager and real estate agent as they prepare homes for sale. IAHSP® members strive to serve the public to the best of their ability built upon the principles, practices, and education of approved Home Staging courses and designations.”
IAHSP® serves not only its members, but the public as well who are looking for qualified professionals who can help them get their properties sold. IAHSP® provides recourse for clients who may be unhappy with a service provider and can act as an intermediary between our member and the customer when necessary.
IAHSP® has a traditional corporate structure with a business advisory and leadership board in place. IAHSP® uses a third-party CPA to prepare tax returns, has attorneys review important documents, and has a business plan in place for measurable growth initiatives. None of the Leadership Board is paid a salary for their roles except for the Chairwoman, who is paid a very low 5 figure income annually to run the association. The association has members who volunteer to serve in leadership positions for the association at the regional, state and local levels.
In our social media platforms, IAHSP® has a standard policy of not allowing unkind, snarky, or negative remarks. Information shared needs to be helpful and positive, and those who want to engage in negativity are unwelcome on our platforms. It is not that we don’t have challenges, there is a way to share that does not entail tearing another person down in order to boost ourselves up. We have a policy of speaking kindly about other colleagues and using “the Golden Rule,” when topics are brought up publicly and on social media. Learning lessons from the past and understanding life is too short to engage in negativity, IAHSP® chooses to set a positive example for current and future members.
An association should be run by people who have actual success and experience in the Home Staging industry running a company. An association leader should love the process of Staging. Ask your association leaders, the ones who run the daily operations, “How many years have you owned a staging business? What is your favorite part about the Staging industry?”
Association leaders need to understand first-hand what their members need as their businesses grow. You cannot teach what you do not know and cannot truly understand the issues a staging business owner faces unless you have personally experienced it. Association leaders need to have a passion and love for the industry they serve.
Do you want to be part of an Association whose leaders cannot relate first-hand to what you do and have publicly shared they dislike the service and process of Staging?
When you ask that question of IAHSP® leaders, we will share we have been at this for years – some of our leaders are going on 18 years actively owning a staging business – and we love helping our clients and seeing the transformations that take place with the properties we stage. We are committed to this industry. We are leaders in the industry, setting standards for excellence with our work. Because our board members own and operate successful staging companies, we understand what our members need to succeed. We also have a vested interest in the longevity of the industry and will do what is needed to ensure our industry is protected and preserved.
What types of resources are provided as part of your membership? Do you have an opportunity to network and learn from colleagues? Do you have business support materials provided and included in your membership?
IAHSP® was the first association to start industry member chapters. In 2003, our current Chairwoman launched the first chapter to help collaborate and pool resources in order to better brand the service of Staging in her market. Since that time, many member chapters have been launched by IAHSP® and other associations. Providing a place where colleagues can meet and discuss areas of interest, challenges and learn is vital for longevity. In 2008, IAHSP® created the first “Remote Chapter,” for association members who lived a distance away from any physical chapter. This meant no matter where a member lived in the world, they could attend a chapter meeting using technology such as conference call or go-to-meeting.
IAHSP® has business resources from marketing materials, business support documents, staging agreements, and added education provided to our members at no added cost. Members need to log in to the IAHSP member portal and they have access to many resources to help them grow and thrive.
4 RECOGNITION – UNBIASED AND COMPLIMENTARY
A trade association needs to provide recognition opportunities for its members. One of the best ways an industry professional can share their expertise with their client base is through recognition. Recognition should not be monetized.
We submit to win and receive awards to be appreciated by our colleagues and show our current and future clients we are outstanding in our industry. As a marketing tool, it helps us gain added business and expand our reach. An association needs to provide ways for its members to receive recognition and create ways that allow any member to be considered, and not recognize the same companies and/or individuals each year.
Charging for submissions for awards means only those who want to “pay to play,” will win awards. With funds being raised by memberships, and the cost of an average nice quality cut glass award between $20-$35, an association should provide these as part of their overall annual business plan, not charge members even more money to participate. Whether on principle or affordability, members who are not able/willing to pay the fees are not considered for awards therefore the awards are not representative of the association let alone the industry.
In 2003, IAHSP® gave the first awards to deserving individuals who were making a difference. IAHSP® recognizes individuals in various categories with the “Staging Industry Awards,” given at our annual Conference & EXPO. Winners are awarded in various categories from vacant and occupied staging, individual and team recognition and specialty awards. The awards are open to anyone in the industry, regardless of affiliation and are without bias. IAHSP® does not charge its members to submit or nominate a colleague and absorbs the cost of producing the awards and paying staff to facilitate the process.
In 2017, IAHSP® launched “Best of Home Staging” to offer recognition to industry members for Leadership, Customer Care, and Staging Excellence. The awards were created in direct response to Best of Houzz, which is a design site, to provide a focus for the Home Staging industry members who deserve recognition. The awards are without bias, and individuals have been recognized regardless of affiliation with an association.
5 VENDOR PARTNER AND WHOLESALE BUYING PROGRAM
A Trade Association needs to cultivate relationships with companies who support the association members. As part of their mission, expanding programs that help members operate businesses more successfully and strategically is key.
IAHSP® has a robust Wholesale Buying Program (www.iahspwbp.com) and because of our large membership numbers, we have been able to negotiate discounts and incentives usually reserved for large retail stores or other large order entities. We attend the wholesale furniture markets and provide tours for our members to learn how to shop wholesale, and easily set up accounts with our partner Vendor Companies. (www.ShopWholesaleMarket.com) These are paid to help support the efforts of the staff who are present to conduct the tours and support transportation. It is not a money maker for the facilitators, and we do not charge extra for access to the Wholesale Buying Program.
Our EXPO at our conference is the largest industry expo in the world. Our vendor partners are excited to work with our association as they see the value in having access to our active membership through our focused marketing program and follow-through.
6 EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Do you have added educational offerings that are included? Can you earn added industry credentials to help advance your business success? Are there resources for all business levels? Is your association looking for ways to incorporate education beyond their capabilities?
IAHSP® provides added education included with membership. There are 12 FAST Track Sessions (13 hours) any members can watch and learn to help them with both business building and marketing. We have over 65 hours of added education through the weekly Home Staging Talk Show found on our YouTube channel and at www.HomeStagingTalk.com. Industry Designations such as Buyer Trends Specialist, Color Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, and Investor Staging Consultant are some recent educational advancement offerings provided by IAHSP®.
IAHSP® offers business information for members as well as an Advanced Business Portal for those members who are six-figure and above income earners. Our members have access to power points and education on a variety of topics from our past conferences.
IAHSP® is the only industry association that provides NEW credentials each year at our Conference. These designations are taught by industry professionals and experts and are targeted to an industry niche service in which our members have indicated they would like to earn specific credentials.
IAHSP® has paid to provide outside speakers at its conferences, recognizing the need for external and unrelated experts to share on topics outside the realm of membership expertise.
Is the Association working with other leaders and reaching out to build bridges of cooperation and collaboration?
If a trade association is unwilling to participate or its leadership is not able to contribute due to lack of personal experience, that would be a cause to pause.
You want to be part of an association with leaders who are paving the way for industry growth, recognition and success. The leadership of the association you choose as a member needs to value and incorporate other educators and influencers and be able to work with them for the betterment of the entire industry. Industry leaders need to build-up and edify others in the industry and be an example of bringing our industry together.
IAHSP® was the first association to provide a combined collaboration with other associations, educators and influencers. The Advanced Stager Training (www.AdvancedStagerTraining.com) brings together industry educators, association leaders, and influencers to help provide six-figure and above business owners with added knowledge and resources to continue to grow their businesses.
Instead of looking at other associations, educational companies and influencers as a “threat to membership,” IAHSP® has taken the approach that “more means more,” and none of us knows it all. By bringing together other people who have expertise and wisdom, it allows us to provide a more fully formed educational offering for our members.
IAHSP® recognizes the talent of many educators and leaders in the industry and has officially aligned with entities offering added education in color, photography, decorating, mentoring and coaching resources and more. We have officially partnered with HSRA™ because we have the same mind-set pertaining to the future of our industry and how we want to serve our association members.
IAHSP® is collaborating with real estate and staging industry influencers from Inman, NAR®, International Market Centers (IMC), and others for education and strategic alliances. In order to cultivate these professional partnerships, IAHSP® leaders network, speak at and attend key industry events to meet with important influencers. HSRA™ is strategically engaging with the same entities and by partnering together, IAHSP® and HSRA™ are forging key relationships that will be used to help support our industry standards initiatives.
8 VARIED MEMBER BASE
Why is it important to have a variety of members? How is the association working to attract different types of people?
IAHSP® has the most diverse base of membership of any industry association. We are truly global with over 20 countries on 5 continents represented in our current membership and growing. We have members from all age groups, sexes, backgrounds, races, faiths, and family statuses. We do not discriminate based on any of these factors and encourage the exchange of ideas that helps better the industry and members. We share ideas and learn from each other’s cultures and backgrounds, making IAHSP® a global force for the home staging industry. We work to attract members with our online social media presence, events, and interaction with industry colleagues. Like attracts like, and IAHSP® is known for being warm, welcoming and inviting to members. Our slogan, “Your Home in the Home Staging Industry,” is not just words – it is a core value and motivation for our association.
The ONE thing our association members do NOT vary on is the foundation of education as a requirement for membership. All our association members have made an investment in their education to help further success and longevity. All IAHSP® Board Members own and operate successful businesses and have invested in their education as part of their growth.
9 INDUSTRY STANDARDS
Why do standards matter? Should the industry have standards and who is responsible for enforcing them?
IAHSP® values ALL industry members and does not want anyone to struggle in their business journey. A firm foundation in education is well worth the investment and that is why education remains the base requirement for membership. To allow anyone to join without any standards, puts the focus on money and numbers versus standards and quality. We need to encourage anyone interested in starting a Home Staging Business to get education FIRST. Just like the real estate industry – agents cannot sell houses without education first and passing a test and maintaining their license with continuing education.
If we are part of the real estate industry, shouldn’t we also have baseline standards for education and business practices?
Encouraging those interested in being part of the industry to obtain credentialed education uplifts and enhances the industry in its entirety. To do the opposite, makes the weakest link the standard for all other business owners who are part of that association. It lowers the base standard of our industry and allows those who want to be successful but have not been taught how to run a staging business, to gain legitimacy as part of an association. It hurts this individual who may not know better and causes them to struggle needlessly in their pursuit of success. Because the industry was not established with standards at the start, it is up to associations to provide the guidelines to those desiring to enter the industry.
Home Staging is not interior design, decorating, feng-shui, professional organizing, or a hobby. It is a professional real estate industry service provided by expert business owners who understand how to create a marketable product for home buyers.
When it comes to the topic of “Neutrality,” challenge any association who claims they are 100% neutral.
History and common sense have shown they act in the best interest of their association, and the industry at large is secondary. The only way for an association to be completely neutral would be for all its leaders to be disassociated with the home staging industry and the board members not paid by the association they represent. A third-party entity that represented ALL associations and groups would be the only true unbiased entity directed by its members with equal voices for all influencers and leaders.
9.2 APPROVED STAGING COURSES:
IAHSP® approves educational courses and providers and does not charge for this process. IAHSP® does not benefit monetarily from those requesting review and approval, and it is the only association who is truly unbiased when providing this service. The leaders in IAHSP® have more experience to evaluate an educational program than any other association because they are home staging educators and know what is needed in a quality program.
A “pay to play” process where the association takes substantial revenue from the education provider is a profit maker. The process for review is subjective, and not necessary to take days or weeks to review course content. A qualified reviewer can tell whether a course is qualified or not, and at most a few hours is needed to review course content. Charging over $2,000 to course providers seems a steep fee to pay for a review and seal of approval that other entities are willing to provide as a courtesy.
An education provider who does not want to pay money is often downplayed as a course by associations who get paid for review, which is hardly an even playing field for education providers. Many of the approved education providers funnel their membership to the association that was paid to approve them, which presents a possible conflict of interest where the association being paid to approve the course is benefiting monetarily from the course itself.
An Association should not compete against the educational courses they approved.
Courses that teach real estate agents about home staging, that have been developed by the association that has stagers pay a fee to the association for the ability to teach real estate agents, and who then compete against 1 and 2 day training courses offered by educational companies who paid to be approved by the association represents a conflict of interest.
Taking business from the course providers who have been educating real estate agents for years is something IAHSP® will not do. Education offered through IAHSP® are courses and designations that are added education to advance the home staging professional, not baseline education provided by qualified training companies and schools.
9.4 DE-VALUATION OF OUR INDUSTRY
Courses that are offered by approved instructors that are free to the real estate agent undermines our industry value.
When an agent can learn about home staging for free and even receive continuing education credits for their license renewal, it plants the impression that staging has no value, and feeds into the issue home stagers deal with regarding agents/clients who do not want to pay fairly for our services and want things for free. There is no value in free.
An association who is intent on raising the standards for professional home stagers understands this fact and does not endorse or recommend free education with continuing education credits for any agent course. Educating agents about Home Staging is important and should not be free.
10 FUTURE FOCUSED
An Association should be future-focused and anticipate changes to the industry and do what is in the best interest of their members.
IAHSP® leaders have been working with HSRA® leaders, industry educators, coaches and influencers to discuss how to establish professional standards for our industry and address the increased interest and visibility the Home Staging Industry is attracting from government entities such as the IRS and FTC.
The Professional Home Marketer Alliance (PHMA) is an organization that will bring the industry together and provide standards for those who want to be recognized as professional home stagers.
There are four fundamental baseline qualifications professional stagers need to have in order to be seen by the clients we serve and outside regulatory agencies as professional business owners with standards.
The standards will include: • initial staging business education from one of the approved entities or qualification under “the exception rule” • adherence to a code of ethics and best practices guidelines • membership in one of the approved industry associations • and continuing education annually through conferences and online education from approved providers
The alliance will have equal representation from influential industry entities, and will be headed by a third-party, outside individual who can act without bias.
PLANNING FOR REGULATION AND STANDARDS:
Leaders from three largest industry associations (IAHSP®, RESA®, and HSRA™) were invited to participate in the process of forming a “United Nations” for home staging. In order to bring us together and unify the staging industry under one common goal, PHMA is comprised of equal representation from the major associations. Because current associations are not going to walk away from what they have built, turn over leadership and revenue, the only way to accomplish this is to create a neutral organization whose focus is to create a structure for regulating who is called a professional home stager, and provide resources for petitioning, lobbying and protecting our industry from invasive regulations and scrutiny from external agencies.
To date, only IAHSP® and HRSA™ have agreed to work together on this initiative, along with industry educators, coaches and influencers who agree with the common goal. RESA® was invited and opted not to participate.
It is important those in the industry know all leaders from the major associations were invited to join, to participate, share ideas, and be part of this process, and RESA executives declined. On three separate occasions (once live and two times on the phone) the attempts to share the goals of the PHMA were met with disinterest and RESA executives declined to join in a discussion with the executives of IAHSP® and HSRA™, which was disappointing. Those who are part of the process will move forward for this necessary initiative.
CONCLUSION: Where do you belong?
Home Staging industry members need to align with an association who truly understands home staging businesses, has the best interests of members at heart, are doing what is necessary to bring members together and establish professional standards that will raise the level of expectation of our clients we serve.
Your Association needs to protect our industry now and into the future, help protect your business, provide education and resources to advance your business success, have a mission and purpose rooted in serving others and giving back.
Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman and John Norris, Sr Exec VP, shared an article with Inman that was published on September 30th. The article covered what is an Improvement versus Maintenance when selling a home.
Many of you are probably wondering “WHY would I want t attend a conference – I mean what am I going to learn that I don’t already know? I am successful, I have a good run rate and activity in my business, so these conferences are not really anything I need to attend, Right?”
KNOWLEDGE is POWER. Have you ever heard that saying? Do you believe ALL the info on our industry has already been learned? Do you have any struggles with your business or want to expand into other areas?
Jennie i have a very established staging company with an 8000sf warehouse, box trucks vendor relationships, team etc. I don’t currently belong to any staging organizations and have never had any specific training. I believe there is value in collaboration with other successful stagers but wonder what do you believe is the biggest value in attending the Nashville conference?
Her answer= Where do I start? 😁 We have topics that are helpful for any biz owner and sometimes we get so focused on our daily grind we forget about feeding ourselves with things that keep us motivated and inspired. I love attending and seeing colleagues – it opens up my eyes and mind when I meet others and can have discussions.
Every stager has challenge areas and struggles and I sometimes feel that we don’t share those as readily as on the outside looking in it appears that, “wow this stager has it all dialed in!” And we feel we need to keep that impression but secretly we are struggling just like others whether it is how to manage growth or deal with clients or logistics…. some days I feel like I am barely hanging on and other days I feel like, “man! I got this! Life is good and everything is happening the way it needs to be!”
There are newer stagers who struggle with getting clients so they want to learn about marketing and/or pricing. There are stagers who want to advance their biz and learn how to get to that next level and that means biz planning and adding team members or other service and there are established stagers who also news to know what to do to manage their growth and biz processes… there are topics for all levels. It is about learning – sometimes a different perspective or something that validates what you are already doing…
We provide added credentials to help stagers position themselves to develop a market niche which is important for continued growth. In the room will be stagers with 20 and 30,000 sq ft warehouses and some just starting out. The vendor EXPO piece is so valuable- saving 40-60% off retail for furnishings is huge…
The 6+ figure workshop allows us to delve deeper into the areas of challenge an established stager deals with and is very beneficial.
So it all depends on what you need for your biz… if systems and organization or biz structure…. or creative topics…. or marketing and branding (that is a biggie for any biz owner)… u will learn all of that.
Plus it is Fun! It is one time a year we get to combine learning with a celebration of our industry and get away to learn, connect and enjoy our colleagues and refresh our WHY.
GREAT ANSWER! I am proud to be profitable but know there is always room to learn, grow and share!
I appreciated this person reaching out and I provided an honest answer. I have been in this 17 years and I do NOT claim to know everything about running a business. I do know a lot about Staging, marketing, and success – and each time I attend an event where I can hear from another person who may be proficient at something I need, I am open to learning and applying the info in my business.
Check out this useful article about developing referral networks. Does most of your business come from referrals? This article is about creating a referral network that actually produces referrals and we thought that you might be interested in it.