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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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-Consultations: These 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.
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.
You would analyze the photos and provide a typed summary for the clients to follow.
Email the summary to the client and agent (if one is involved).
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-Previews: These are a great way to provide a proposal for Staging a vacant property without you having to go in person.
Follow the steps above with someone sending you photos of the property.
You prepare the proposal for recommended areas and send to the client.
Follow up on the phone or via a video call.
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.
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:
Keep hand-sanitizer by the front door for all buyers to use.
If you are an agent bringing buyers, make sure you all use the sanitizer before anyone enters the home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keep all doors open throughout the house. This will minimize the chances of other people touching your door knobs where germs can be present.
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.
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.
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
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. 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. 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.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 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.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.
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 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 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:
About major cultural groups and what their expectations are in business
Do’s and Don’ts in working with various cultures and ethnicities
How to approach sensitive issues related to Staging
Why Diversity and Inclusivity are linked together Our Speakers for this session will provide expert insights on the topic.
‘Tis the Season for Giving and IAHSP has some SPECIAL GIFTS for you! Whether or not you are a member, you can take advantage of these gifts and Save $$! Click on this link to take advantage of your gifts! https://iahsp.com/holiday-promo
GIFT 1: Save $35 OFF the Luxury Home Specialist and/or $35 OFF the Buyer Trends Specialist Courses – Dec 16-17 only!
GIFT 2: DEC 18-19 ONLY! Save $50 OFF your Las Vegas Market Tour – Jan 27th, 2020! Learn how to shop with the pros as part of the IAHSP Wholesale Buying Program that saves the MOST $$ of any industry program!
GIFT 3: DEC 20-21 ONLY! Save 25% OFF VCON – Virtual IAHSP Conference 2019! You can watch ALL the Speakers at your leisure and learn! Don’t let your lack of attendance make you miss out on key education!
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.