Please help us by donating to the IAHSP Foundation that funds Worldwide Staging Service Week. The IAHSP Foundation is a 501(c)(3), your donation is 100% tax deductible. Any amount is appreciated.
In the past, we have done fundraising at our conference, and this year we are getting a jump start so projects that are taking place in September (prior to our conference) will have needed funds. WWSSW – Worldwide Staging Service Week – is all about giving back to the communities in which we work and helping those less fortunate or in need.
Since 2005, WWSSW projects have helped many entities and families in need. From Ronald McDonald Houses to Salvation Army Homeless Shelters to battered women’s shelters to foster care facilities, individuals in need, pet shelters, senior centers, VA centers, fire stations, immigrant families, and more – our talented association members around the world give of their time, creativity and passion to help others.
Please click on the link below to donate and SHARE with others. Thank you in advance for your support!
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.
As the months have progressed during this very unusual 2020, we have been able to shift successfully to continue to deliver resources and education to our members. We hope that you are staying productive and want you to reach out to us for any support we can offer during this time.
I know many of you have been waiting and wondering about our 2020 IAHSP® Conference and EXPO that is scheduled for Sept 25-27 in Denver. We have been waiting on making any kind of formal announcement to see if the State of Colorado will provide any clear guidelines on large gatherings. To date, Governor Polis has not shared any information on when or how gatherings will be allowed.
What I do know is the ability to meet in larger groups will start off with 50 people and slowly increase in size every few weeks or month. We have no idea when the ability to meet in a group our size will be allowed and by my estimates it would not be until the fall.
Because we have no clear mandate on large meetings for Colorado, with the support of our leadership team, I have made the difficult decision to cancel our live conference. As much as I, and everyone else miss you and would love to be able to see everyone in person, it would not be responsible of us to continue to promote an event we are unsure can even be held.
Furthermore, the survey we sent out about our 2020 Conference had insightful statistics. The most telling one was two-thirds of the potential attendees surveyed indicated even if the larger groups were allowed, they would still NOT attend a live conference. The reasons were concerns for their health during travel, safety of the large gathering, and costs since many industry members business volume has greatly decreased due to Covid19. Even if the hotel were to guarantee safety and sanitation measures were in place for all meeting rooms, restaurants, etc., 52% of the respondents shared they would still not attend.
Therefore, the cancelation of the event is due to an unforeseen and unpredictable pandemic that in turn has caused a lack of a facility, attendees and revenue to support our event. We do not want to have a reduced event, as a big part of our conferences is our EXPO and the companies that pay to display and meet all of you and they expect large numbers. Their sponsorships support our event costs, and without them we would not be able to afford what the hotel has required us to pay in our agreement. Many of our sponsors are also struggling and believe 2020 is not a year they can move forward with the commitments they have made to IAHSP®.
Our event is a production– not just a meeting with speakers. We want it to be memorable, educational and inspirational. I am extremely sad about this and I hope you support our responsible decision to act in ways that protect our members and association.
We are looking at offering a virtual conference and are working on the details. Another important piece of feedback from the survey was our members are concerned about attending a multi-day virtual event. They shared it is hard to concentrate with various distractions found at home or offices, and if at home, it is a challenge to not be working to earn money versus sitting at a computer or phone watching and listening to speakers. One of the best parts of a live event is the ability to get away and have time to just focus on the event and learn and that is not possible with an online event.
We are taking the feedback into consideration and will be sharing what we will be doing for 2020 with all of you once it is finalized. Whatever we decide to do, it will be recorded for those who are not able to take the time to watch it live so all our members have the opportunity to benefit from the education and information.
– Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman
For those who already purchased tickets to the 2020 live conference, your ticket purchase will be applied to the virtual conference or applied to 2021 Conference tickets or to your membership. Your status as a VIP will also be retained. We have already paid money to Keynote Speakers, and deposits to the hotel that they are holding, and we will not be receiving any refunds. The funds raised by ticket sales, paid for these expenses that are due in advance. We do not get these funds back from any of the entities and are working with all of them to figure out how we can best work together. The hotel has shared that anyone who booked a room will be refunded with no penalty. If you have any concerns about this, please email me privately at Jennie@iahsp.com.
The Advanced Stager Training Session will be held for those 6+ figure business owners in a workshop setting and will be done virtually or possibly live in a destination location. If it is live, the dates will not be end of September so we are confident in-person gatherings can take place, and attendees feel comfortable traveling.
Once we have all the details confirmed we will share the plans with you. We are working on the 2021 IAHSP® Conference and EXPO details and will share dates with all of you once agreements are signed.
Until then, know that I am greatly disappointed to share this news with all of you. Our entire team is disappointed and yet in agreement to postpone any large live events for when it is truly safe to do so. My hope was to be able to see all those who planned on attending our event in Denver and give hugs, laugh, and learn together.
Until that day comes, know that we are here for you and we are all in this together as a big global home staging family. Let us know how we can best support you as we navigate these unique times.
If you have any questions or thoughts, please email me directly at Jennie@iahsp.com.
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.
The Coronavirus or Covid19 has been sweeping the world with unprecedented economic hardship and health consequences. In some ways it has brought the world closer together as we experience the same situations and face this challenge together.
As a Small Business Owner who may have had to cease or reduce operations and have no or limited revenue stream until the crisis is over, what are your options for receiving HELP? This post will share some tips and resources for you to explore and further the path to getting back on your feet.
UPDATED INFO ON LOANS:
Received this from a business lender: As of the time of this writing, March 29, 2020, the SBA has not formalized the application process for the new “Paycheck Protection Program” or “PPP”, the program that got signed into law Friday as part of the $2 Trillion CARES Act. At the moment, we are all waiting for guidance. Once I get clarity on that, I will likely fill you in with another update. Businesses CAN apply right now for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan…it is an application you can file on line direct with the SBA and do not need another lender involved….go to https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance to apply.
Keep in mind, that there is a HUGE demand for all of these products as most businesses are affected in some way over this virus. So there is going to be delays at SBA and especially with the banks and lenders who will be called on to administer the new PPP Loans. So be patient.
Your COUNTY needs to be listed on the Disaster Loan Application site for the SBA for Covid Declared Disasters. If your county is NOT listed, we encourage you to contact your Governor’s Office via phone and email and ask them to submit ALL counties for their state so people can get financial help. The Governor is the only one who can request for the counties to be added.
You will need to indicate ECONOMIC INJURY as the reason for filing.
Some states have funding and even municipalities so please check on your state and local government websites to see what they have for funding assistance. Some of the funding is for government entities only, some may be for brick and mortar stores/shops/restaurants forced to close.
BEWARE of predatory money lenders who are hard-money loan sharks looking to capitalize on “desperation.” These lenders usually charge very HIGH interest rates with possible daily payouts and should only be used as a last resort after other options have been exhausted.
BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE
You may be eligible for Business Interruption Insurance from your business insurance carrier. You need to review your policy or have your insurance agent help you with this to see if the Covid19 is covered. KMRD Partners shared via webinar what to do with insurance and questions to ask your carrier.
You need to keep good records of any economic hardship you are facing as a result of the Covid19 shutdown. Know the payouts will not be quick and as with any agency, they will probably try to dispute your claim to avoid paying out on the policy. KMRD has offered to assist those who may need help with their policies whether or not they are policies set up through KMRD. They are our ADVOCATE for insurance coverage.
We encourage you to reach out to any creditors you owe money to and ask for a reprieve for payments. MOST entities are being understanding and will defer payment for 1-2 months with a provision to contact them if more time is needed.
IF your bank, auto loan, credit card companies, lenders, property managers are NOT being cooperative, we suggest sending that information to the Governor of your State and also to your local news station. This is a time when EVERYONE need to be helped to the degree they are impacted and for entities to take a hard line on offering any support or assistance is not right. These companies need to be exposed. The pressure they receive might make them change their attitudes and approach to their customers.
Ask your creditors what they are offering
Negotiate terms that work for you
Keep track of what you have agreed to so you know when your payments will resume and at what amounts
Stay in touch with all of your creditors – they like communication and most are available via phone and email.
WHAT ABOUT MY CLIENTS AND PROPERTIES WHERE I HAVE MY STAGING FURNISHINGS INSTALLED?
If you are getting calls to waive payments for your furnishings, you have a right to not lose the income. You can agree to the terms providing the seller/client has enough equity in the home to pay the deferred amount at closing. We do NOT recommend going to a pay at close option for the duration – agree to only 2 weeks or 1 month and then re-assess.
The prediction is clients will resume their jobs and income once the Covid19 crisis is over – and current estimates are by mid-April we will be able to resume our business activity. Your other option is to pick up your items and return them to your warehouse for use in future projects. If the property gets put on temporary-withdraw status, this means the house will be put back to active showings once the crisis is over and real estate activity can resume to normal.
IF the house is still listed online, you should be paid for your items that are being used to showcase the house. You can decide if you will charge a reduced amount as a courtesy. You have a legal agreement in place with your client that needs to be honored however if you are able to adjust things to work with your client that will go a long way for future business opportunities.
IF the house is de-listed temporarily, this is where you can defer use fee for 2 weeks and then resume payments. We are not charities and as micro-businesses we are not in a position to lose income as we have bills to pay as well. Make sure to keep track of lost income.
IF the house is removed from active listing altogether – pick up your items. Make sure to keep on top of important dates such as when the REALTOR no longer has access or you no longer have access, etc.
Check with the listing agent on the strategy – the sellers may be moving back, they may decide to rent, or other options. You don’t want to let your things sit at risk when a contract has been terminated.
Houses are still being purchased and sold which means sellers are still able to get their house to close during this time.
You want to make SURE you submit your invoice to the TITLE company with clear instructions on how you are to be paid.
Ask the client who that entity is for the transaction or;
Ask the REALTOR who is handling the sale about the Title Company. Make sure the REALTOR knows what your plan is so they are in the loop.
Call the Title Company and explain what you need to do – and ask about any other payouts on the property to ensure there will be revenue left to pay you.
Stay on top of the CLOSING DATE and the day prior, call the Title Company to ensure you are on the LIST for payout/settlement.
If you do choose to waive payments and let items remain in a house, make sure to KEEP TRACK OF ALL LOST INCOME as that would be part of the Economic Injury Claim.
We hope the information shared is helpful to you and answers questions you may have regarding how to deal with our current, unprecedented situation. For more information or to contact us please email email@example.com
The International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) is monitoring the current health pandemic with great concern for all our members around the world. We are hopeful none of our family is impacted personally with this virus and pray for all those who are to date as we continue to see the spread globally. As the home staging industry association leader, we wanted to share guidelines specific to how you can remain viable and earn income during this time while not risking your health and safety.
VIDEO-Consultations or E-Consultations: These are a great way to provide necessary information, guidance and support to homeowners who want to prepare their homes for sale now. The steps to accomplish this are fairly simple given today’s technology.
Start with having them send you photos of each room in the house from the doorway, and from all corners (if possible). This will allow you to assess the room as a whole versus from just one vantage point. It allows you to see what is on the walls, in the corners, and see how the room and furniture is positioned relative to other parts of the house.
You would analyze the photos and provide a typed summary for the clients to follow.
Email the summary to the client and agent (if one is involved).
Call the client or do a face-time chat on your phone, use Zoom or Skype or WhatsApp to do a video call. This is recommended so you can see their reaction to the guidelines you shared. If you are not able to see them or them see you the important part of “rapport” is lost and they may not agree to do all you recommend.
Note: We are doing our best NOT to use the word “VIRTUAL” as we are opposed to Virtual Staging as a cheap alternative to real Staging, and as such we do not want to be using that word in conjunction with our services. Alternatives are “E-Consult” or “Tele-Consult” or “Video-Consult” – which all indicate the type of services being provided.
E-Previews: These are a great way to provide a proposal for Staging a vacant property without you having to go in person.
Follow the steps above with someone sending you photos of the property.
You prepare the proposal for recommended areas and send to the client.
Follow up on the phone or via a video call.
The Staging can be scheduled and installed as long as your state/region allows you to be out OR you get things set when bans will be lifted.
Tips for BUYERS: Buyers are still out looking for properties and have to purchase for work or lifestyle decisions. A property that is Staged shows great online and in person showings can be done taking these precautions:
No open houses are being done to protect the public and homeowners. Tips to share with buyers:
Keep hand-sanitizer by the front door for all buyers to use.
If you are an agent bringing buyers, make sure you all use the sanitizer before anyone enters the home.
Do not touch door knobs, cabinets knobs and light switches. Do not use the restroom in the house. If there is an urgent need, please make sure the homeowner knows this was done so they can take disinfectant measures.
If anyone in the buying group is not feeling well, do NOT go to a home to look in person. Stay home. Let someone else be your eyes.
Tips for SELLERS: Your house is for sale and Buyers need to see it in person to make an important decision to purchase. If you are in an area where showings are allowed, take these precautions to ensure your home is protected from potential exposure.
Keep hand santizer in a basket outside the front door. Make it mandatory that any agents and buyers use the sanitizer before entering your home.
You can provide disposable gloves for buyers and agents to wear as an added precaution. Keep a small trash can outside your front door (or in other discreet area out front) for buyers and agents to throw their used gloves away once they exit your home.
Keep all doors open throughout the house. This will minimize the chances of other people touching your door knobs where germs can be present.
Wipe down all switch plates for lights and turn on all the lights in the house so agents and buyers do not have to do this. Instruct agents NOT to turn off any of the lights.
Fold your toilet paper end into a point in every bathroom. If you return home and the end is not folded anymore, you know someone used the bathroom and you will want to sanitize it.
Keep plenty of lysol and disinfectant wipes on hand to wipe down doorknobs, cabinet knobs, and light switches.
SYMPTOMS and TIPS to help minimize the exposure and impact of this virus.
If you suspect you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor. Do not immediately go to the ER as the hospitals are overwhelmed with patients. To find a location for testing in your area, GOOGLE your city and state/province/country as there is not one site that has the information pulled together by state or country.
If you or someone you know is struggling due to this pandemic please let us know how we can support you through this challenging time. Email Jennie@iahsp.com
Have you ever gotten in your car and just started driving along with no destination? Have you ever gone to the airport and taken a random flight to somewhere?
For most people, the answers would be, “No,” unless they were on some random adventure quest. We don’t want our businesses to be a random adventure quest. We want our business success to be strategic and predictable based on our efforts.
VISION – SUCCESS – FOCUS – CLARITY – FUTURE
All of these words have a common thread – being able to see clearly and know where we are headed. And these are the words for 2020 for IAHSP® – and the theme of our conferences in Lisbon, Portugal and Denver, Colorado. Our theme and these words were chosen in October 2019 as we started thinking about 2020 and what our goals were as an industry, an association, a business owner and person. These are great words and we hope you take the time to think about what they mean to you.
VISION. We are already into our second month of 2020 – do you have your vision for the year mapped out? Vision is not only what drives your effort every day, it is also about having goals that support your overall vision and mission. What is the vision for your company – what is the message you want prospective clients to know and understand about what you do? Why do you do what you do? Do you have your marketing strategic monthly plan to support your goals? Do you know what your revenue goals are for 2020? Do you need to increase sales or reduce costs and if so, how are you planning to accomplish that?
SUCCESS. What does Success mean to you?The general definition is the achievement of a goal.
What were those goals for you in 2019? Was it to increase in the number of clients you serve regularly or to maintain your same level of business and revenue? Was it to focus on increasing the number of houses you Stage or types of properties you stage – vacant, occupied, consultations, etc.? Did you have unexpected success? That is a great type of success – however if it was unexpected, why was it not planned as part of your strategy? This could be recognition or awards you received or something else that added to your revenue or client base. We need to think about all aspects of our business and there is nothing wrong with planning for recognition or added revenue.
As the old adage says: Fail to Plan then Plan to Fail. We need to set goals for where we what we want to achieve, make sure they are measurable, assess our success quarterly and make any adjustments, and be open to adding to the plans where it makes sense.
If someone were to ask you the following questions, could you answer them?
What is your ratio of consultations to vacant staging?
How much revenue did you generate?
How did that compare to 2018?
Did you have goals for growth, or did you want to maintain status-quo and refine your process?
What was your net profit?
Do you have a clear understanding of costs to run your company?
In order to assess and quantify success – and measure it – you need to know the data from your business. As a business owner you cannot use the excuse that you are not a details person. You may have had measurable goals and did not hit all of them – and that is OK as long as you know why you did not achieve the goals and put measures in place to get back on track.
Our past can give us keys to our future. So many people are afraid to look at their business and analyze the good and the bad as they are afraid of feeling like a failure. Or they don’t really want to know what is going on and go through each day with business blinders on – not really seeing the impact of their actions or attitude and are on the proverbial hamster wheel of work.
Embrace the past as a learning experience or example of what you are capable of and be sure to not let it confine or restrict your potential.
FOCUS.When our Focus is blurred, our path it not clear. Have you ever tried on glasses that were dirty so you could not see through the lens or put on a pair of glasses that were the wrong prescription? In both cases, you cannot focus or see through the blurry lens and if you do wear the wrong prescription, you can get a headache. Things that can blur our vision and focus are distractions in both action and attitude. When we encounter something that begins to blur our focus, we may have to take time to handle the circumstance, and then get our focus back on track.
CLARITY. Clarity is about having Clear purpose behind our actions and attitude. Our WHY is the biggest motivator for getting us up every day to continue to work in our businesses. What is your WHY? Clarity is about removing anything that might cloud our vision or distract us from our goals. When we have clarity about our intent, our focus, and our goals, our actions and attitude will be alignment. Focus and Clarity go hand in hand.
It is not a coincidence that CLARIFY and CLARITY are spelled almost exactly alike – one leads to the other.
FUTURE.We live in the present and plan for our futures. None of us are guaranteed a future but we do need to plan for it and put actions in place that have a positive impact for us and our businesses, for our families, friends, and colleagues. Every action we take has a reach and impact on others. Things we do today whether Staging a house, running a business, being part of industry leadership and planning for standards – the impacts are far reaching as what we do impacts others. Our goal is to be an Impact Player for the betterment of life experiences for all we have the pleasure and opportunity to have in our lives.
As opportunities present themselves, we need to assess whether they are in alignment with our overall vision for our lives, and our goals for our business. We must remain open to adding things that support our vision and adjusting our path for success as needed and taking risks in order to experience the rewards. It is important not to put blinders on as then we miss opportunities to add to our path for success. Rewards are not monetary – they are intangibles. The relationships we receive, the opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life, the ability to guide an industry for the future, these are responsibilities we need to take seriously.
To be part of the Vision for Success: Focus, Clarity, Future that IAHSP® is providing to the industry and our members, go to www.IAHSP.com. IAHSP® is your Business Support Association® and Your HOME in the Home Staging Industry®. We have FAST-LEAD Workshops being held live in major cities, our two conferences that bring you high level education and the largest Vendor EXPO for our industry, and the opportunity to meet colleagues from around the world.