Virtual Reality versus Actual Reality in Real Estate

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

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

That would be a huge mistake.

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

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

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

Home Staging is about the ENTIRE experience for a buyer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


UPDATED INFO ON LOANS:

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

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

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

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

LOANS AND FINANCIAL AID

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

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

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

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

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

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


BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE

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

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

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

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


DEFERRED PAYMENT PLANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

By Jennie Norris, IAHSP® Chairwoman

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

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

VISION – SUCCESS – FOCUS – CLARITY – FUTURE

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


VISION

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

SUCCESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOCUS

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

CLARITY

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

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

FUTURE

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


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


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

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

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

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


JONNY FOWLER

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


RAVI HUTHEESING

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

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

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

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


NEW INDUSTRY DESIGNATION FOR ALL ATTENDEES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IAHSP® Announces Director of Diversity – Deborah Plowden

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


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

– Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman

This new and important role will focus on the following:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

IAHSP Welcomes Two New Country Chapters

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

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

7 Reasons Why Real Estate Agents Should NOT Stage Their Listings

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:

  1. 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.”

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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. 

Home Staging Industry Organization to Serve All Industry Members

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

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. 

WHY?

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.

Why Google My Business Is the Most Important Social Media Platform

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?

From an article that came out in April 2019, from Inman: https://www.inman.com/2019/04/29/google-is-about-to-revolutionize-the-way-consumers-find-real-estate-agents/

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 AWARD WINNERS for 2019 IAHSP STAGING INDUSTRY AWARDS!


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!
















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