The IAHSP® EU proudly brings to you the 3rd European Conference and the 2nd European Awards.
This year, the conference will be held in Lisbon’s Pestana Palace Hotel on the 28th and 29th of May 2022. IAHSP® EU has lined up 7 top industry professionals to share their valuable insights over the course of the weekend. Attendees will have access to inspiring talks on success, time management, design principles and even warehouse logistics, just to name a few! This year’s speakers will be as follows:
Birgit Anich (Warehouse and Logistics: Tips and Tricks to Maximise Operational Efficacies)
Mariah Wayhudi (How to Save Time, Increase Sales and Generate Leads Using LinkedIn)
The full schedule (subject to change), which will include lunches and coffee breaks, can be found here. Everything you need to know about what is best for your staging business will be at your fingertips, and you’ll also be surrounded by like-minded individuals with a passion for Home Staging – the perfect opportunity to network and build connections.
There will be opportunities to meet our sponsors and discuss their products and services throughout the conference. We’re proud to announce this year’s main sponsor as quality furniture brand Kave Home. Our Gold Sponsors are StagedHomes & 221, and our Bronze Sponsor is data insight company Stageflow, whose support is hugely appreciated.
We are also honored to have Stagedhomes.com, Home Philosophy and Staged4More, who share the same vision with us in giving importance to home staging education, as our Educational Supporters.
On the evening of the 28th, the 2nd European Home Staging Awards will take place. This is a wonderful occasion for everybody to come together and celebrate our successes as Home Stagers from all over Europe.
We are looking forward to seeing you all there and are confident it will be a fun, fulfilling weekend. You can find more information about the conference, including this year’s speakers, and buy your tickets here.
The IAHSP®’s European Home Staging Conference and Expo is just around the corner, and we are here to fill you in on those all-important details! You really won’t want to miss out on what is set to be a brilliant weekend for the Home Staging industry.
This year, the conference will be held in Lisbon’s Pestana Palace Hotel on the 28th and 29th of May 2022.
The IAHSP® Europe has lined up 7 top industry professionals to share their insights over the course of the weekend. Attendees will have access to inspiring talks on success, time management, design principles and even warehouse logistics, just to name a few! On the second day, there will be a specialist course on Senior Staging, reviewing Home Staging solutions for more mature adults.
The full schedule (subject to change), which will include lunches and coffee breaks, can be found here. Everything you need to know about what is best for your staging business will be at your fingertips, and you’ll also be surrounded by like minded individuals with a passion for Home Staging – the perfect opportunity to network and build connections. There will be opportunities to meet our sponsors and discuss their products and services throughout the conference.
On the evening of the 28th, the 2nd annual European Home Staging Awards will take place. This is a wonderful occasion for everybody to come together and celebrate our successes as Home Stagers from all over Europe. It is a black-tie event with a Gala Dinner, not to mention the afterparty where we can all let our hair down!
We are looking forward to seeing you all there and are confident it will be a fun, fulfilling weekend. You can find more information on our guest speakers and buy your tickets for the conference here.
by Jennie Norris, President & CEO, Stagedhomes.com, CEO, Sensational Home Staging – We Stage Colorado, Chairwoman, IAHSP
We need to talk about it in order to understand it for our industry, and yet so many stagers are afraid to talk openly about pricing and what their market supports. As such we have an industry under valuing their time, product and service. You don’t want to be the Low Ball Leader.
In general, staging pricing is tied to the price of homes in a region. If an area has higher priced properties, stagers can charge more, and if the pricing is more modest, they charge less. Our industry is hard to explain as it is not based on hourly or salary or even experience per se. If the region has grown and staging is established, there is a benchmark of pricing that is accepted by the clients, and stagers need to be taught what that is.
Some established stagers believe that a newbie should not/can not price their services at the same rate as an experienced stager.What this has done is as new stagers enter the market and are told they cannot charge as much as an experienced stager, the market is devalued and undercutting happens. I have always taught the opposite. New people entering are benefitting from a seasoned stager who established the market. The seasoned stagers should not want a new person to charge less and drive the market down. The public honestly does not always care about experience or even education when it comes to staging – it is pricing and results. We all strive to add value and use our credentials to get business.
FACTORS IMPACTING PRICING:Pricing is a factor of many things – and ultimately, turning a profit of 25% or more is the goal. We have costs and overhead to run our business, not just a project. A stager who has more overhead, has to charge more to cover their costs for their overall company, versus one who does not have a larger operation. The larger operation must do more volume to cover costs and find ways to be very efficient with their staging. However, all stagers need to analyze their operating costs and factor that information in when pricing their projects. It is never just about that one project – it is always about the overall bigger picture of what the revenue is covering.
EFFICIENCY IS A FACTOR: A new stager usually takes way too long to stage – and they do not always factor all those hours into their time, nor should they be paid for all their time because they are slow and learning. However, a stager who is charging less could still be more profitable than a seasoned pro – it all depends on the type of operation they run.
WERE YOU TAUGHT HOW TO PRICE FOR YOUR MARKET? I wish I had one “right” answer but the price vs cost vs value discussion is one we all have and it irks me when I see stagers who have not been taught how to price their services, think, “I got paid $2000 to stage! I made all that money.” Yes – but that is NOT all profit! They rarely take a look at the costs to secure the business let alone the costs to run the project. Did they actually make a profit?
I once had a student in our ASP Masters course and as we broke down business models and talked about pricing, she shared she was getting $4500 per staging project. We were all very impressed. She had a little warehouse that cost her $1700 per month. She owned all her own things. So I was thinking, “Wow – she is doing pretty well.” UNTIL I asked, “How many stagings do you do per month?” Drum roll please. . . . she told me, “I stage about 6 houses – PER YEAR!” Yes – per YEAR! I mean – WHAT? As I looked at THAT fact, it was clear, she was losing money and not making any profit. I shared, if she could add in just 6 more per year – she would at least make some money. She was sort of in shock when we analyzed the reality of her biz – but it was a good eye opener.
Personally, I would not survive on 6 stagings per year. We do that in one week in our staging biz that serves Denver. Now her pricing per staging was good – she did every room (not necessarily needed) and only had one client. In my opinion, she should never have invested in a warehouse at that amount when she did not have the business to support it. We didn’t even get to cover all the other expenses she had: marketing, events, education, insurance, maintenance of her things, etc. She ended up selling her items and moving to a different state to live with her daughter (that was already sort of in the works anyway) and wanted to focus on consultations were there is much lower overhead and good potential for profit.
IAHSP actually has a pricing course that has 7 different webinars, handouts, planning forms, etc. For those struggling with where to price their services, it is worth looking into it – one of the handouts is the hourly price range each major city in the US supports for staging. There are 4-5 ways to price a project and help with coming up with guidelines for your country/region and deciding which model works the best for a staging company is subjective.
Stagers who want to crank out proposals and use a more predictable framework will opt for % of list, $ per sq foot or $ per room. Using actual costs is the 4th method – figuring out what rooms need staging, pricing out what goes in each area – is one half of the equation. The labor is the other part. If the % of list, price per sq ftg or price per room do not cover the labor and create a profit or price the stager out of their market, the actual pricing model has to be used. We use a hybrid method of pricing – a combo between #3 and #4 to price our vacant staging projects.
KNOW YOUR BOTTOM LINE: I believe every stager needs to take a look at their actual costs – and then for expediency can use one of the other models for pricing as long as they know they are turning a profit. We can all framework our own set of pricing that works for us – and it is hard not to compare to others. We do not own their companies so we have no way of knowing if they are making money or not. We do know if something is greatly undervalued such as $500 for staging a 3 room condo for 90 days. Because entities like NAR put out pricing averages for Staging that are not based in reality, the buying public believes our pricing should be that low and it is up to US to educate them.
TEACHING THE VALUE OF STAGING – what the hourly rate should be to calculate the lump sum pricing for the client – SHOULD be shared with ALL stagers so they don’t have to guess. If stagers are using a consistent number, the decisions to use one or another won’t be about price and who is cheaper – but be about quality, availability, relatability, responsiveness, etc. Price will always be a factor as people do not want to overpay, but stagers should be within acceptable range of one another in a market where they understand their value when it is an apples-to-apples comparison.
TIME IS MONEY: I know we run a tight ship and can get staging done quickly and efficiently. This means I am more profitable than a stager who takes all day to stage a property when we can get it done in 1-2 hours. Time is the great equalizer. And if I can make MORE than another stager because we are faster, that is a good thing. If I can get it done in 2 hours and can charge as much as someone who takes 8 hours, and win, I just made 6 hours of profit that was not needed. It also provides me with a buffer to negotiate if a client comes back to me and asks for an adjustment. I want to win the business, not at any cost, however I am willing to negotiate within reason. Sometimes that might be doing a little less, taking out a room, or making a little less profit. I NEVER go in knowing I am going to lose money. I know what my walk away price is: The price where I am essentially paying the client for the privilege of Staging their property. I refuse to start off at a loss. There are times things go awry on a staging, and we do end up costing ourselves more than planned, however that cannot be the norm.
Stagers need to be focused on making as much as possible, not just enough to cover their expenses. There are clients where I know I can pad the proposal, and then times where I know I have to be tighter. If you are reading this and are not sure what your rates should be, ask a colleague. If they are not forthcoming, take a look at sister industries and other affiliates who are part of the overall process of buying and selling a property. A stager can take a look at the hourly rate for interior designers in their region, and then fall in below that number as designers are usually seen as expensive. They can also take a look at what other pros involved in the sales/buying process for a property charge: what does an appraiser charge, and what a real estate photographer charge, etc. In other words, look at the others involved in the sale of a property and make sure for the service we are providing in the real estate industry, we are on par.
PRICING PSYCHOLOGY:The psychological factor of pricing is also important. $1950 sounds and looks a lot less than $2010 and they are only $60 apart. If I am adding up our pricing and we bump up just over $2000 or $3000 – I will see if I can get it down to just under the next thousand level. I stay away from round numbers – never add up to something with “00” as psychologically it sounds too perfect, like you didn’t really add up anything for their property quote. Look at $1987 versus $2000. If you got a quote and saw one or the other, which one seems like a better price? Visually 1987 looks a lot less because it has a “19” in the front. Once you bump up over that next threshold, the client’s see it as a lot more.
THE ETHICS OF PRICING: Having open discussions about pricing and agreeing from an ethics standpoint that a stager will not knowingly come in and undercut a market is key. Having recourse for stagers who deliberately do this is key. There are stagers in every market – who stage “for fun,” who don’t actually care about making money – and they will charge less, drive a market down, and do not care they are leaving LOTS of money on the table. A Stager who is NOT money motivated will ruin it for the pros that are out there. The good news is eventually, running at a loss year over year, will become a problem for that stager as the IRS does not like seeing a loss for more than 3-5 years.
Additionally, the adage, “You get what you pay for,” rings true and their quality will suffer, they will be forced to take a look at their poor business strategy and whoever is bankrolling their operation and allowing them to just do whatever they want and lose money, will wise up – after all that person does not want to lose thousands year after year. If that cheap stager exists in your market, go after the higher-end listings as the cheapo cannot stage them to the standard of expectation of a client – and so they will not go after that biz. The investors or agents who don’t care about quality, will hire the cheapo, and when the clients start seeing the lack of results and find themselves having to supplement stagings with their own things or not getting the results they expected, they will start to seek out a true pro.
Edify the industry.
Encourage others to price according to their value and their market.
Focus on how you can be most efficient to reduce overhead.
And be strategic with who you target for business.
When real estate prices are climbing and everyone involved in the sale is making more (Realtors, Lenders, Title companies, photographers, appraisers, etc.) why shouldn’t Stagers? If we truly are tied to the value we bring to the process of listing and selling a property, we should be making MORE as the markets grow stronger. Not less.
If you are an interior designer, decorator, professional organizer or feng shui practitioner looking to add Staging to your business, watch this 1 hour complimentary webinarthat shares what it takes to add Staging to your business. Having an “eye” is not enough. The business goals are totally different, process is different and factors such as front-loading furnishings is a necessity not found in these sister industries.
Decorated with honors such as Innovator of the Year, five consecutive Best of Home Staging Awards, multiple individual awards for her staging work, and the only two-time winner of the Staging Award of Excellence, to say that Jennie Norris lives and breathes the art and science of home staging would be an accurate statement about a woman who has had her hands in over 5,700 staged properties and dedicated 20 years of her life as a preeminent authority in field. She is a changemaker, a torchbearer, and a champion of the industry. Recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the Home Staging Industry, Jennie is an international expert and speaker on the subject and the author of the go-to sourcebook for anyone working in the field: Marketing Made Simple – A Guide for the Home Staging Industry. She is an Accredited Staging Professional Master® (ASPM®) Stager trained by none other the Creator of Home Staging®, Barb Schwarz, and part of the elite group of professional home stagers to have earned the rare double certification of ASP® and ASP® Master.
As chairwoman of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals® (IAHSP®), Jennie is the energic, passionate force driving the largest home staging industry trade association in the world—and she’s determined to help its over 4,000 members of real estate professionals and stagers across the globe to thrive in ways they never imagined. For 22 years, the IAHSP has been dedicated to advancing the education and staging excellence of the home staging industry—and it’s the only association that requires quality education to join. It’s also the only organization led by home staging experts who currently own and operate their own successful businesses—Jennie among them. She is also the president and CEO of the world’s leader in home staging training and education—StagedHomes®. It goes without saying, if anyone knows the intricacies of the industry, it’s Jennie.
After serving in leadership roles in the organization since 2003, Jennie took the helm of the IAHSP in 2016 and, with her team, worked to double its size, expanding into 20 countries to answer the growing demand by industry members. She’s also the imaginative mind behind its wildly popular conferences, attended by thousands of members each year. These lively, star-studded events are replete with keynote celebrity speakers—Jonathan and Drew Scott, better known as “The Property Brothers,” Jeff Lewis of Flipping Out, and HGTV stars Carson Kressley, Thom Filicia, and Candice Olson, to name a few. From speakeasies to champagne diamonds, awards dinners to dancing till dawn, for guests who manage to grab a “golden ticket” to these galas, it’s a night to remember.
As Jennie prepares for this year’s blow-out SOAR Conference with the awards gala set in the Great Gatsby theme and welcomes the steady wave of new IAHSP members, she took a few minutes to sit down with Top 100 Magazine to share more about how the industry is evolving and how she and the IAHSP are helping to propel its members—and the industry—into the future.
With home staging videos across the Internet and TV reality shows, why has a formal education and credentialing in home staging become critical for staging and real estate professionals?
Successful home staging is much more involved than what is depicted in 30-minute video tutorials or TV shows. The staging industry has evolved, and real estate agents need to understand that staging is a key market differentiator for them to get business. Staging is no longer an option—it’s a critical necessity for both their success and that of their home sellers. The impact staging has on a property is proven with statistics that have been tracked since 2003. There are an estimated 10,000 professional stagers worldwide and several million real estate agents, and staging makes a positive impact on 20% of the real estate sold each year just in the U.S. alone. This means properties sell faster and/or for more, making REALTORS® more successful, sellers happier, and buyers excited about the houses they purchase.
Real estate agents need to seek out education on how home staging can help them differentiate themselves and increase their business by using it as a key listing and marketing tool. I wrote The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to the Home Staging Industry, available on the IAHSP.com site, to help agents understand how and why to include home staging as part of listing a property, process, pricing, and where to find a Pro-Stager™. Home stagers need a professional education in staging so that they know how to own and operate a successful staging business, including logistics, pricing, services, marketing, and growth. They need to understand how to communicate their value, and to understand the partnership they have with REALTORS®, builders, and investors. Credentials also give us credibility and clout with our clients and separate us from the masses of untrained hobbyists who watch HGTV or YouTube videos and market themselves as home stagers. A reputable staging course greatly shortens the learning curve and the struggle cycle so many business owners enter when they do not invest in a proper foundation for success.
We’ll get to the IAHSP and its mission to provide these critical credentials. But first, the burning question on the minds of many readers right now—how can real estate agents and stagers benefit from taking your accredited courses?
In addition to being a key listing and marketing tool, staging impacts the agent’s reputation. Many agents believe they do not have to stage a listing because we are in a strong seller’s market. Agents are tying their reputations to a product that should never be for sale and shown publicly, and it makes them look bad. Many are afraid to tell sellers the truth about their properties, opting to remain silent instead of partnering with a pro-stager who can be their liaison with the seller and help preserve the client relationship. A REALTOR® has a fiduciary responsibility to get the most in the sale of a property, and staging helps them achieve that. Our ASP®-RE course increase their confidence, teaches marketing strategies, provides scripting and role playing, and supports agent productivity and profit.
Our stager graduates rank in the top 2% of all home staging company owners in the world as far as success and revenue, and it has been one of our grads that launched staging in every major market in the U.S. and Canada. To run a successful business, stagers need to understand how they fit in the process and why a client would hire them. Staging is not decorating or design, and people who enter the industry believing that based on what they see on TV need to adjust their perspective quickly in order to obtain business. Our courses teach them how to market, manage and maintain a thriving and lucrative business.
The IAHSP is the only organization that requires education. Why is this important, and how are you helping home stagers and real estate professionals keep up with the evolving trends of the industry?
Home staging is our passion and helping our members succeed is our purpose. Since 1999, IAHSP has advocated for education, excellence, and ethics, and our members adhere to a higher standard in these three areas than any other staging association, alliance, or organization. No one else requires education first, and that means our base level of membership is elevated and stronger.
I believe strongly as an industry we all must establish and strive for higher standards and professionalism to make sure the public can differentiate between untrained hobbyists and educated experts. By increasing our professional standards, we will increase the visibility of our industry and the impact we make in the real estate industry as a whole. We also increase the viability of the industry for future members.
We offer our members resources and education for business success and growth, the opportunity to network and engage with industry colleagues through our member chapters and online social media groups. We host educational events that teach vital topics to help business owners thrive.
Since 2003, IAHSP has hosted educational conferences for our members that are truly a celebration of our industry. From quality speakers teaching on topics vital to all business levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced), to our Vendor EXPO, where we bring key companies directly to our members, to our Industry Awards Gala Dinner that honors members for their staging quality in various categories, to the relationships that form from meeting colleagues from all over the world—no other group hosts an event like IAHSP. And they’re a blast!
The IAHSP has experienced astounding growth under your leadership. To what do you attribute this?
When I took over as chairwoman in 2016, I opened up our association to the entire industry, where previously only graduates of one educational course could be a member. I felt that as the leaders of the home staging education industry, it was incumbent upon us to support all members across the growing home staging industry and the real estate agents they serve, plus mentor and groom the next generation of industry leaders. We expanded into Europe in 2018, and now have members from 20 countries as we continue to make a global impact.
I also believe that people are looking for a place where they can connect and are accepted, a place where the negativity often found in the world is gone, and members are supported, encouraged, and cheered for their growth and success. That can only be accomplished by leaders with a heart for helping others. All our IAHSP leaders have a spirit of giving back. We either volunteer time or are paid very little compared to the number of hours we invest. We give back because we are passionate about our profession and we want to ensure our industry—and the members we serve—thrive now and for decades to come.
Unlike other staging organizations, you and all the leaders of IAHSP currently run your own staging companies as well, is that right?
That’s right! My entire leadership team, our IAHSP Board members, and I all own and operate staging companies. Collectively, our leadership team has over 150 years of experience and over 20,000 properties staged, so we not only talk the talk; we walk the walk. No other industry association can say this. We have a personal stake in the longevity and viability of home staging. I believe to understand what a stager experiences, a person has to live it themselves. We do not just teach theory or tell someone what they hope works—we teach what we know works.
In what other ways is IAHSP different from other staging organizations?
Because we believe education is critical to the success of industry professionals, IAHSP reviews and accredits home staging courses for quality and content. We do not charge for this service, so the public knows we are truly objective, and it is not a “pay to play” scenario where the course provider has paid us to say they are a quality course. We also provide resources, such as industry statistics and informative guides to the public and clients we serve so they can see the data behind the dazzle. In early 2020, we were the first to respond to the issues surrounding diversity and inclusivity and formed the Staging Industry Diversity Coalition (SIDCglobal.com) to support our minority members now and into the future. Lastly, IAHSP has heart. Our members truly care about one another and our leaders care about our members. We are a family and that is why one of our slogans is: “IAHSP® is Your Home in the Home Staging Industry®.”
You mentioned that you’re not paid much for your work as the leader of IAHSP or StagedHomes. What drives you?
That fact may surprise people, but it is true. I lead these organization because I feel that it’s my calling. I had worked in the field for 14 years before assuming the role here at IAHSP, so people look to me for guidance. My whole mission is to help people succeed, and I’m passionate about it. I am dedicated to an industry I love that has supported me and my family for years. The reason I devote the hours I do to both the IAHSP association and StagedHomes is I feel a responsibility to carry the mission forward that was passed to me by the founder of our industry, Barb Schwarz, who was my personal mentor for years. This is why I’m in this industry, and this is what drives me every day.
The IAHSP conferences are the most unique and popular events in the industry. I understand this year’s theme is SOAR—Seek Opportunities and Rise—with your gala awards dinner theme of Roaring 2021—The Great Gatsby, complete with a speakeasy, is that right?
We are all incredibly excited for this year’s conference in Denver, Colorado—The Mile High City! We added the words “Family Reunion” to our event as it is a time where our industry family comes together to learn, celebrate success, and forge strong friendships. “The IAHSP Family Reunion Conference & EXPO” is the official title. Last year was a challenging year for all of us. We were unable to meet in person, many businesses were hampered with shutdowns, and for many it was a scary time not knowing what to expect. The anticipation of this event gives people hope and joy as they look forward to being together!
In addition, we are the only group that hosts a big gala awards dinner with a fun theme. This year our theme is “Roaring 2021–Great Gatsby Gala,” and attendees are encouraged to come in costume, enjoy a great dinner and hopefully win some awards! We have a VIP Speakeasy planned and dancing to wrap up our three-day event. We have keynote business and motivational speaker Chris Widener, sharing on Making a Big Impact in Business and Life. He’s written 22 books, worked personally with Zig Ziglar and Jim Rohn, and is ranked in the Top 50 Best Motivational Business Speakers in the world. We also have one of the best social media experts I have ever heard, Jonny Fowler, as our keynote marketing speaker. We have Ravi Hutheesing, cultural catalyst and former band member for Hansen, speaking on staying viable as an entrepreneur. We’ll have over 25 speakers total and will cover a wide variety of topics with general sessions and breakout sessions by topic and business level. We also have our Advanced Stager Training (AST) workshop for six-plus figure business owners. This training is held the two days following our annual conference and the conversations and discoveries that take place with the advanced business owners is incredibly valuable.
That sounds like a lot of fun! Tell us about some of your past conferences. I understand one of them involved a massive diamond giveaway of sorts?
It did! In 2019, we held our live conference in Nashville with the theme “ROCK Your Business in Music City.” Our gala theme was “Denim and Diamonds.” I actually got a two-carat diamond and 99 cubic zirconias, put them all in individual glasses of champagne and sold them to attendees as part of a fundraiser for the IAHSP Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation that supports the World Wide Staging Service Week® initiative. Since 2005, our members around the globe have completed service projects to give back to their communities.
In 2018, we were in Charlotte with keynote celebrity speakers Jonathan and Drew Scott, better known as “The Property Brothers.” In 2017, we held our conference in Fort Lauderdale and welcomed Jeff Lewis from Flipping Out as our keynote celebrity speaker. In 2020, our conference theme was “Vision for Success: Focus, Clarity, Future,” and we delivered the best virtual event given the remote limitations and everyone had a blast—and learned a lot! So, each year, we bring quality industry pros sharing on educational topics, and then add a little fun or flair with a special guest speaker.
Tell us about StagedHomes and how you’re helping stagers and real estate agents thrive.
StagedHomes is the world’s largest and longest-running home staging training company. It was founded in 1999, and I took over as president and CEO in 2016. To date, tens of thousands of real estate agents and stagers around the world have taken our courses. Education is the key that unlocks the understanding of the importance of proper presentation of a house for sale. Staging is no longer optional—it is critical. First impressions matter, and as the old adage states, “You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make it a good one.” We help all levels of stagers and real estate professionals gain the knowledge they need to capture these dollars and provide the best service possible to their clients.
Can you give us some details about the courses and credentials StagedHomes offers?
I’ll be happy to! We offer four core courses. The Accredited Staging Professional® Stager Business Course is for those who want to build a successful staging business. Our Accredited Staging Partner® Real Estate Agent Course is for agents who want to learn how to use staging as a key listing and marketing tool for their business. It teaches the process, foundation, and communication skills agents need to get sellers to say yes to staging, and then they know who to partner with them for staging their listings. We offer the Accredited Staging Assistant® Course for those who want to plug into an existing company and stage for them versus running the entire operation. Lastly, we have the Accredited Staging Professional Master® Course, which is the advanced-level training for stagers who want to increase their success, profit, and knowledge. These courses are taught worldwide and anyone can attend from the convenience of their home and learn with a virtual live course with one of our Certified ASP® Course Trainers or a self-paced recorded webinar. All graduates receive a full-year membership in the IAHSP and get access to the private Staging University®, the only online resource for our industry with forms, templates, agreements, and the ability to obtain leads for business with our exclusive online directory.
All graduates receive ongoing education resources that come along with their training, including over 100 hours of the Home Staging Talk Show Live segments, over 20 hours of FAST Track Sessions – Focused Accelerated Stager Training, and other niche-specific courses taught by industry professionals. We can never stop learning, as the industry is always evolving. If a person stops learning and advancing their skills, they fall behind and become stale. It is never “one and done” with staging, and that is why we continue to update and develop new curriculum based on where our industry is headed, and not remain stuck in the past.
Let’s end with a somewhat personal question. What do you find most fulfilling about your work?
I often ask my students and colleagues what their “why” is. It has to be more than money to keep a person committed long term to their business. What you do in life has to be a passion—and that will drive a person to continue forward even when they’re facing challenges. I knew when I discovered home staging way back in 2002 that I had found my passion. I have a degree from UCLA in Psychobiology and was pre-med. I realized that I didn’t have it in me to continue the long—and expensive—journey to med school and found my way into marketing and business development for environmental companies. I was using my science background, I loved marketing and working with people, but it was not my passion. When I found home staging, I was excited as it combined my love of helping others with my passion for creativity. Plus, my marketing background made understanding how staging is used to help make properties more marketable. My “why” is that I truly am about helping others succeed.
My whole mission is to empower business owners to success—whatever that means to them. If a person wants to learn how to make seven or eight figures in staging, I can show them how. If they want to have a smaller business, I can show them how to accomplish that. No matter the size of their dream, I know I can help someone achieve it. My “reward” is the joy I get from seeing our industry advance, the satisfaction I get from helping launch and support new business owners, and the pride I have in our team and leaders who are my colleagues and my staging family.
(article written by Heather Andrews of The Top 100 Magazine – from an interview with Jennie Norris)
THE Home Staging Industry Event of the YEAR is coming to you LIVE in Denver – Sept 24-26, 2021.
The IAHSP Family Reunion Conference & EXPO brings TOP Educators, Expert KEYNOTE Speakers, Topics that will INSPIRE, MOTIVATE, EDUCATE and CHALLENGE you to RISE above your competition and bring in MORE business!
We chose our conference theme carefully based on what we all experienced last year with not being able to travel, to see our colleagues and friends in person, to shift to stay viable, and more.
SPACE IS LIMITED! Do not wait to register. We have to share numbers with the host hotel – and plan for food, space and hotel rooms. You can pay 50% now and 50% later – just get registered! Go to www.IAHSPConEXPO.com and get EXCITED about what you will LEARN and who you will MEET at this year’s conference!
Make your reservation now – don’t wait as the hotel block with our special rate goes away August 23rd! You can reserve your room – and then if you need to change things, you can with no penalty (based on hotel terms) when canceled within the time permitted by the hotel.
THANK YOU TO OUR CONFERENCE SPONSORS! These wonderful companies will be at our conference to meet YOU – and you can learn about the products and services and SHOP while at the conference!
Check out this GUIDE for people who want to be Home Stagers and have a successful business. It includes all the important information you need to know to make the right choices when considering establishing a staging business and working in the home staging industry.
If you want to be part of a growing community of professional Home Stagers worldwide, check out the International Association of Home Staging Professionals®. This association is comprised of real estate agents and pro-stagers from around the globe and is the largest and longest-running industry trade association. Since 1999, IAHSP® has set standards of education, excellence and ethics, and continues to lead the way to elevate industry standards by providing timely resources and communication to our industry members and those we serve.
If you are a member, check out the latest issue of IAHSP® Magazine. This month we featured COLOR – from how to work with properties and specify color to how colors make us feel to predictions for colors trends for 2021 and beyond. Full links to this publication are found in our private FB Groups and is emailed to all active members.
IAHSP® Magazine is an EXCLUSIVE benefit for our members – so what are you waiting for if you are not part of IAHSP? Join today! Only $195.00 per YEAR for those who qualify, and if you are from a country outside the US – make sure to check to see if there is reduced pricing for you to join, All graduates of the Stagedhomes.com courses receive membership in IAHSP® as part of their course tuition.
Our latest benefit for our members is a guide we want to share with real estate agent clients, their offices, office managers, brokerages, leaders and all who need to know how we work to support them and the real estate industry, and what to expect when working with a Pro-Stager. From protecting a Real Estate Agent’s Commission to the Process of Staging, Who to Hire, Where to find a Pro-Stager, Pricing and Stats, and more – this is the quintessential guide to help understand how to incorporate Home Staging to maximize profits in selling a property.
You can share the link or download the guide and send.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.