Are Real Estate Agents Allowed to Own a Home Staging Business?

Are Real Estate Agents Allowed to Own a Home Staging Business?

by Jennie Norris, Chairwoman for The International Association of Home Staging Professionals® (IAHSP®)

The Home Staging Industry is growing and is the perfect partner with the Real Estate Industry!  In fact, Home Staging is a REAL ESTATE TOOL – not decorating or design.  Yes, there are crossover elements with our sister industries:  Interior Design, Home Decorating, Professional Organizing and even Feng Shui.  However, at its core, Home Staging is a Real Estate Service – because the goal of Staging is to help a property SELL at the best price and in the fastest time!  Our sister industries have different goals – none of them focus on SELLING a HOUSE as the primary goal of their business.

Now – Real Estate Agents – can you own and operate a Home Staging Business?  The answer is YES! 

The industry is a free market industry.  There are no rules from the REALTOR® side that say you cannot have a business in Home Staging, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.  A Home Stager serves the real estate industry, so if you did decide to ADD Staging as a business option for your overall income, you would have two businesses – one where you work with Buyers and Sellers of properties, and the other where you help make those properties look great for photos, showings to help them sell faster and for the best price!   

In FACT, the Home Staging industry was STARTED by a REALTOR® – who saw the need to help houses look better for Buyers.  In 1972, the phrase, “Staging” was coined by Barb Schwarz, The Creator of Home Staging®.  As a REALTOR® she knew houses would sell faster if Sellers were willing to do some basic things to prepare their houses for sale.  The industry has evolved greatly since then, but its birth was rooted in Real Estate!

Your first step is to set up a professional Home Staging Business and to do that you need to understand HOW to make that happen.

First, get some education.  Earn an approved Industry Accreditation or Designation.  Go to www.iahsp.com to see the list of approved courses and make your determination about which one is best for you.  Courses are comparably priced, and there are options for live, in person courses, live webinar courses, and self-paced courses.   IAHSP®, the International Association of Home Staging Professionals®, has approved courses listed on their site.  Our membership is comprised of industry professionals that have education in the industry, which sets us apart from other associations that do not have the same membership standards.  INVEST in your education from the start so you do not struggle and guess at how to be successful.

A quality course will teach you the ins-and-outs of owning a business from marketing, pricing, strategic growth and what to do for various industry services from consultations, hands-on Staging, and vacant property staging.  Staging is not just adding a few plants and towels to a property.  It is a process and when done properly and professionally can be lucrative for a business owner who understands the potential from the start.

RESOURCES:

There are resources available to Home Staging Industry Professionals including rental resources, discounts on purchases from retailers and the ability to establish wholesale accounts.  The Training Company you choose and the Home Staging Association you belong to should provide industry resources and discounts to you.  Not all Home Stagers have huge warehouses and invest in inventory.  There are many very successful Home Stagers that run businesses utilizing 3rd party industry resources for the furniture and décor needed to Stage properties.  You can also focus on consultations and hands-on Stagings where you use the Seller’s things only – that is a large market segment and one that does not require acquisition of any inventory.  Again, how you grow your business and the services you decide to provide are up to you.

HOW DO YOU MINIMIZE CONCERNS?

You would essentially be working with your colleagues/competitors.  This can present a sticky situation if you are in an area where competition and possible distrust exists.

You bring up the concerns your potential clients will have about you being BOTH an active Real Estate Agent or REALTOR® and a Professional Home Stager – before they do.

Top Concerns:

  • Will you steal my client? The trust factor with this relationship is key.  Let your prospective colleague clients know that their clients will never know you are a REALTOR® when you are working with them in Stager mode.
  • What if my client finds out you are a REALTOR®? You need to let your colleague client know that if their Seller figures out you are a REALTOR® and asks you to take on the listing, you will decline.  That shows integrity.
  • What about Leads? If a lead comes to you from the Staging work you did in the house, and the potential client does not have a listing agent selected, you will pass that lead on to the colleague client that brought you in as the Stager (or refer the lead at an agreed %).  See, if you had not Staged that house for the listing agent colleague client, that person that needs a REALTOR® to sell their house would never have found you.  That shows ultimate integrity.

 

Is it WISE to DIVERSIFY in Business?  YES.

Depending on your market and your financial goals, having more than one income stream is wise.  There are many agents that focus solely on Real Estate. Taught to put all their eggs in one basket, it is sink or swim for their success.  There are also many that diversify and are licensed appraisers, lenders, title reps, business coaches, trainers – they have other sources of income outside the industry.  It is your life and your financial goals are yours – and doing what is necessary to reach those goals is your decision.  Home Staging provides you with another option for income.  You do need to have an “eye” for placement, understand spatial arrangement, color, industry trends, so getting education is key.

 do what you love

BOTTOM LINE:  If you want to have a Home Staging Business and you’re a REALTOR® you CAN do both.  Depending on where your passion lies, you will most likely end up gravitating towards one as your primary business.   As the saying goes, “Do what you love and you will never WORK a day in your life!”

Kelli Ellis and Joseph Haecker – Broadcasting LIVE from the 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO

We are so excited to have Joseph HaeckerDezignTalkLive.com and DezignWall.com and Kelli Ellis, Celebrity Designer on HGTV and TDN, – KelliEllis.com joining us in Charlotte for our 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO!!  Get read for Candid Conversations, Insightful Interviews with our Featured Speakers and Attendees!  They will also be part of a panel discussion that will be rolling out a fabulous NEW program for our IAHSP Members!  Go to www.iahspconexpo.com to get your tickets TODAY!!  You can take advantage of a 50% now 50% later payment plan!

Joe & Kelli Promo

The SCOTT BROTHERS – Stars of HGTV’s Hit Show – The Property Brothers – LIVE! Join us March 16th at 1 PM PST!

Join us Friday, March 16th at 1 PM PST – on Dezign Talk LIVE!

Jonathan and Drew are the KEYNOTE SPEAKERS for the 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO – Oct 19th! www.iahspconexpo.com

Join us LIVE to talk about what they are up to now and what we will hear in October! Go to https://www.facebook.com/joseph.haecker to watch LIVE!!

Early Bird Pricing for 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO ends March 15th! Reserve your Seat NOW!

The Early Bird pricing for the 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO Oct 18-20th ENDS March 15th!  Don’t wait to secure your spot at the Home Staging Industry’s hottest event of 2018!  We have the Property Brothers – Drew & Jonathan Scott – coming to share with all of our attendees and will be doing a Meet N Greet and Book Signing with ALL ATTENDEES!

Early Bird Mar 15 Promo

Pay 50% now and 50% later to secure your spot!*  Don’t miss out!  There are a few VIP Seats still available – and then we will be offering PREFERRED SEATING to the next slate of registrants!  ALL Attendees receive their IAHSP-LHS – Luxury Home Staging Designation INCLUDED in their ticket price!

Scott Brothers Conf Promo

There is SO MUCH OFFERED at this event – Over 25 companies displaying their services and products that want to meet YOU!  Over 18 TOP LEVEL SPEAKERS coming to share their expertise with YOU!  And hundreds of industry colleagues coming together from around the world! 

It is your GETAWAY with a TAKEAWAY!  Find out more at www.iahspconexpo.com.

*VIP and Preferred Seating spots will not be confirmed until your ticket is paid in full.

 

Home Staging Talk Show LIVE – Join us this WED at 9:30 AM MST!

Join us for our next episode of the Home Staging Talk Show LIVE!  Brought to you by IAHSP – the International Association of Home Staging Professionals!  Want to sponsor this show?  Email jennie@iahsp.com to find out how you can be part of the viral exposure and growth!

Episode 2 promo

Scott Hansen – Keynote Speaker for IAHSP 2018 Conference & EXPO Saturday, Oct 20th Session!

We are excited to have SCOTT HANSEN, Best Selling Author, Speaker, and Business Coach joining us for our SATURDAY, Oct 20th Conference Session as our KEYNOTE SPEAKER!  He will challenge, inspire and educate us about what it takes to increase our business success on all levels!  Go to www.iahspconexpo.com to learn more and reserve your seat at the Home Staging Industry’s most anticipated event of the year!!

Scott Hansen KeynoteIn addition – we have the SCOTT BROTHERS joining us Friday, Oct. 19th as our FEATURED KEYNOTE SPEAKERS!! . . . and you will earn your LUXURY HOME STAGING DESIGNATION!  We are your GETAWAY with a TAKEAWAY!!

Advanced Stager Training Workshop

Join us for the event hosted by IAHSP in collaboration with HSRA and RAVE Staging & Design.

SPACE IS LIMITED!  Join industry colleagues for an intensive, collaborative workshop where open discussions will take place intended to help move your business forward!  Tickets are on sale now.   There are qualifications for attendance that you must meet.

Advanced Stager Training promo

Changes to Facebook and How Your Audience Will Engage with YOU

This information is important for anyone that uses Facebook to help build their business or groups.  Facebook is changing the way we engage on their platform, and this is a BIG difference from what we have been used to doing.

Facebook_Logo

This content is reposted from Social Media Examiner: Michael Stelzner michael@socialmediaexaminer.com:

On January 11th, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s CEO) said that Facebook’s mission is to bring people closer together.  He went on to say, “but recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content–posts from businesses, brands, and media–is crowding out the personal moments.”

Mark then dropped the bombshell, “Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook.”

Fact 1: Adam said, “space in News Feed is limited.”

Fact 2: “We’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses,” he said.

Fact 3: “Pages may see their reach, video watch time, and referral traffic decrease,” said Adam.

My opinion: It’s been my experience that historically they have said, “may or may not.” I interpret this may as a “will.” 

Fact 4: “Over the next few months, we’ll be making updates to ranking,” said Adam.  Mark clarified, “We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed.”

#1: Video will get less watch time. Inference: you’ll see less video in the News Feed.

#2: Links to external pages will get less visibility. Thus, they won’t be showing as many links to blog posts, news, and so on.  Now at this point, you might be wondering, “are you kidding me?”  You might be thinking, “how could it get any worse?”

I have more data to share. Here we go.

#3: ALL posts from people and pages will be impacted. In Facebook’s News, Media, & Publishing group (which I belong to), Adam said the following, “The update applies to all post types, from pages and people.”

So if you’ve been thinking, “I use my personal profile. This doesn’t apply to me,” think again.

If you’re thinking of starting a group and hoping that will allow your posts to be seen, that’s not the solution. Those are still posts from people and the content itself is still subject to the News Feed algorithm.

So what are the important ranking factors?

Facebook will “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people,” said Adam.

In a recent Wired Magazine exclusive interview, Adam said, “we’re going to be (weighing) long comments more than short comments,” and that “comments are more valuable than likes.”

So, actual “meaty” dialog between people (not pages and people, see the language distinction) is critical for News Feed exposure.

Now to video. Adam said, “video is, primarily, a passive experience. You tend to just sit back and watch it. And while you’re watching it, you’re not usually liking, or commenting, or speaking with friends.”

I believe this means a lot fewer shorter videos, a lot fewer Tasty-style how-to videos, and a lot fewer video animations.

At this point it should be very clear that your strategy has got to change.

I’m working my keynote slides for Social Media Marketing World 2018 and have given a LOT of thought to what the next steps are for us marketers.

I’m going to lay out some of my first ideas below:

Step 1: Scale back your frequency of posts. Less is more here.

Step 2: Figure out how to create content that will get people talking to EACH OTHER, not just you.

Step 3: Up your live video game plan.

Adam said, “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook–in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”

Step 4: Avoid engagement bait. These are posts that encourage people to comment. Adam said Facebook will “demote these posts in News Feed.”

Step 5: Master Facebook ads: This will be one of the only reliable ways you’ll be able to drive traffic off of Facebook.

Step 6: Learn Messenger Chatbots: Moving conversations into Messenger and using bots will be a huge trend that will allow you to nurture leads and sell.

For more information on how to understand these changes and how you can respond to continue to use Facebook to build your brand, go to https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/smmworld/

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From Jennie Norris:  “What does this mean for YOU:  As someone that uses Facebook for a variety of goals, this is a HUGE change, but you can still be successful in how you get exposure on FB using the following parameters:

This means any time you purposely post something that asks a question only, these will be demoted in News Feeds.  Instead Facebook wants to honor ENGAGEMENT posts – where people comment, and the longer the comments the better.

Find ways to use LIVE VIDEO – this type of media will be honored as a priority for your feed.

COMMENT on other people’s posts and ASK FOR ENGAGEMENT on yours.  The LONGER the comment the BETTER!  Encourage your followers and members not to just simply LIKE a post – but to actually comment and share.”

Why the Story of the Tortoise and the Hare Applies to Owning a Staging Business

Why the Story of the Tortoise and the Hare Applies to Owning a Staging Business

by Jennie Norris, Chairwoman, IAHSP –

The International Association of Home Staging Professionals

Do you remember the story about the Tortoise and the Hare?  The motto, “Slow and steady wins the race,” was the moral of the story.  The same can be said for owning and operating a Home Staging business long term.  Building a business with purposeful goals and steadily growing is a better plan than racing too fast and flaming out.  There are countless examples in our industry of those that did not want to take the time to build a proper foundation, invested in all sorts of things their business could not support, and then flamed out because of debt or frustration.  They wanted to be at the top immediately instead of paying their dues, as they say, and working their way up to the top. Ask any Home Stager in our industry that has a thriving and long term business and they will share stories of steady, intentional growth year by year that has led them to where they are today.

I remember a woman called me after she had been in business about 9 months.  She was calling to find out if I knew of anyone in her market that would want to purchase her business items.  Following her course she bought a truck, a lot of inventory, paid for custom marketing materials, an ad on television and branded business wear.  She was NOT taught this in her course where she was taught to build a foundation, invest in inventory as your business can afford it, do not go into debt, etc. 

My stomach sank when she told me her situation.  

By my estimation she had invested over $150K in funds for a business that was not viable.  She wanted to bypass the foundation she had to build that would eventually have supported the acquisition of inventory,  truck, expensive marketing.  Instant success does not happen.  She got ahead of herself and the market that had softened – so she was not able to capture the kind of business volume she needed to remain viable.  But if she had NOT gone out and purchased things that were well beyond where she was in her business, she would have made it through the tough market and still be here. 

I know, for me, I was not in a place when I got started in 2002, that I would have been able to risk that kind of money, so the concept of spending that amount and then just walking away was mind boggling.  Maybe for her it was just a write-off but that situation has remained with me as an example of what not to do – no one wants to see someone fail and just walk away.  I also don’t believe 9 months was really long enough to truly establish a success record – most businesses you need to give yourself 2-5 years to truly succeed.

Success is a journey and for those that want to be doing this long term, we need to be more like the Tortoise.  We build a strong foundation, slowly and steadily.  We cultivate relationships with REALTORS®, Sellers, Builders and Investors that we want to work with long term.  We establish our brand and processes, learning over time and refining our practices to weed out those that are not working and adding ones that make us better.  This is not to say someone cannot have immediate success out the gate.  There are examples of Stagers that are able to hit the ground running and capture immediate business, grow their foundation and process accordingly and do well.  Those people usually have a business savvy background and people in their lives that are helpful advisors.  The growing pains are there, but there are able to manage them with the support of their infrastructure and team.  No one rises to the top instantly – the plan needs to be a long term process and vision for longevity which entails patience and persistence.

I think people see the successful Stagers in the industry and want to “get there” quickly as it IS attractive and Staging CAN be lucrative.  But the patience factor cannot be stressed enough.  People see Staging companies that have huge inventory and warehouses, that have employees and big teams, that are featured on TV or are strong in their market, paid their dues and they want to be there NOW!  Patience is a virtue.  These company owners worked hard in the early years to establish their businesses.  One of the biggest (if not THE biggest) Home Staging companies in the country (or world!) started off with taking a course, doing consultations on his own, eventually adding one team member, then another, and then purposefully plotting out a vision for growth.  He took risks, said YES when others would have said NO, and took opportunities to expand.  His growth has been a journey.  I am certain people look at him and others like him and want to be where he is – and don’t realize that over a decade of work has gone into his growth.  I have numerous colleagues that all have HUGE businesses – and over a decade of sweat, tears and hard work behind it!

The reason the Tortoise won the race is he was steady in his progress and plan.   He did not burn out his energy and passion by overextending himself as the Hare did.  My hope is that anyone that enters this industry understands that lesson so that they are around long term.

Even though it is a childhood tale, the moral still rings true for us adults.  Slow and Steady wins the prize of long term success and profitability in this industry.  Do you agree?  Share your comments below!

The International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) is here to support our members long term with ongoing education and networking for success.  Go to www.iahsp.com to learn more.

Don’t Drop the Ball! IAHSP 2018 Conference & EXPO Super Early Bird Price ends tomorrow!

When the ball drops in Times Square, prices go UP for the 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO!  Get your ticket NOW and save $$!  

Super Early Bird Promo

There is still room for our VIP section where you get preferred seating, first in line for the Meet & Greet with the Scott Brothers, priority Registration and some extra goodies that general attendees will not receive!!  Space is limited!!  Get your ticket now to lock in your VIP spot!

Go to www.iahspconexpo.com to register!