Five Lessons Learned From the 2014 RESA Convention
Can you believe all the Home Staging Resource members who attended the 2014 RESA Convention? There were over 60 of us and boy did we have a blast! Every year I speak at the RESA Conference and learn so much that I add to our HSR Certification training. I love that online training provides me a “real time” educational avenue to provide critical information to the hundreds of HSR Members across the world!
Over the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing some of the things I learned at RESA, as well the success stories I got to hear firsthand from this incredible group of women. Make sure to stay tuned by signing up to the right for our blog. I also am spending a ton of time adding what I learned from the RESA Conference to my HSR training area, so everyone can benefit from the takeaways which is the beauty of online training.
Here are some of the 2014 lessons I learned by our incredible line-up of speakers:
Lesson Number One – Your contract is your “paper courage” said Kimberley Seldon on day one, so when a client wants to do it differently…you refer to your contract and make no exceptions.
My Training Takeaway - I’m going back through our example contracts that we provide in the training using Kimberley’s mantra and making them stronger and more steadfast.
Lesson Number Two – Steven Aaron spoke eloquently on the need for stagers to “do a better job articulating confidently your value!” Give real estate agents an easy way to recommend you to their clients.
My Training Takeaway – Add to the training “Realtor Partner Plan” and “Realtor Presentations” a page/slide on how the stager makes the agent look awesome.
Lesson Number Three – Katie Lance (a social media guru) spoke on what’s important in social media for 2014 for stagers and how you can easily connect to clients using some of the new social media technology.
My Training Takeaway – Completely redoing my social media and networking section to reflect the 2014 trends, add the tips and tricks of connecting with clients and being a “good stalker” which will make it easy for HSR members to make agent partnerships.
Lesson Number Four – Shell Brodnax was one of my favorite speakers and spoke about “Reining in your fears – stop focusing on what could go wrong and focus on what’s right!”
My Training Takeaway – Add more information and video in my Week Two Marketing section that helps stagers connect easily with their propects and clients, so the “fear factor” never comes into play. I also am pushing the Staging Mentor program since is an easy way to take the fear away by working at a home and with clients under a Mentors guidance.
Lesson Number Five – Matthew Finlason spoke on the psychology of staging stating that, “it’s not about pretty rooms but about SELLING homes!” He also emphasized understanding the “buyer demographic” and creating a lifestyle design plan that fits.
My Training Takeaway – Expand on my six buyer demographic Internet research steps and add a “Buyer Demographic Profile” form to that section.
3 Tips on What Agents Want from Home Stagers and a Staging Story
What a lot of home stagers don’t realize is that agents want different things in different real estate markets. For instance, in a “buyers market” which was 2007-2011 agents just want the property to sell and not sit on the market like their competitions. In today’s seller’s market, the savvy agent wants to get the best price (and sell quickly) but price is king. Why? Because the smart agent knows that if they can be the “high price” leader in their market, then people will give them their listing (instead of their competition).
I love this story told by Lori Murphy who was recently awarded a 2013 Best of Houzz award and nominated for the RESA Rising Star of the Year even though she essentially just completed her HSR training and started her business last year! At the end of the story, I give my three tips on what agents want right now…
He continued to tell me how he wants someone who will give the seller the “bad news” so that he doesn’t have to, because he wants to keep his relationship with the seller.
The stagers they’ve been using seemed to just want the seller to like them. He said, “I need someone who will explain to sellers “why” and help them understand it is important in preparing the house to sell. I’d rather postpone putting it on the market by 4 weeks, if when it is listed it’s ready . . . every thing’s done.”
As I sat there listening to him, (he went on for an hour . . . I’ll try not to), I realized something.
At first I shook my head agreeing with him and thinking to myself, “well, of course, that’s what we do” . . . and then it hit me . . . I was trained that way. But it became suddenly clear that because not every stager in Columbus, Ohio received their certification from the Home Staging Resource . . . . well, let’s just say the advantage I have became crystal clear.
Eventually it did make a little sense, and then a little more, and then came the first staging job . . . .and then it really came together! lol
Audra, I’m so glad I made the choice to sign up with HSR! And YOU . . . over the last year and a half, I have never felt that I was in this alone.
Thanks Lori for the story and photos. Here are three tips for what I think real estate agents want and need right now:
- Agents want to be listened to and understood – This may seem obvious but too many times the stager is trying to fit the agents needs into their business model rather than coordinating their pricing/services around what the agent needs.
- Agents need “staging honesty” for them and their clients, so that the house will get “top dollar” – I see a lot of stagers do a “half staging” job which looks worse than vacant sometimes because the scale is completely wrong. As stagers, we need to be clear and honest about what the home needs to get the best price. The agent does not want to be the “low priced” agent, so we need to be ruthless with the seller on what kind of return they can see in a seller’s market if they stage it well.
- Agents need tools and resources that look great in order to resell our services to their clients – This is where so many home stagers go unnecessarily wrong! Agents need beautiful looking sales materials to convince their clients that staging is the right thing to do.
Image is everything and that is why I just added a a 6-video and two-hour series about “Blinging Your Brand” in our HSR Member’s area because we have to make agents look good for their clients!
Cheers to all the talented home stager’s out there! Any more tips you would like to add to this post?
XOXO – Happy Staging!
Hope to hear from you!
There was a study published by the Wall Street Journal* claiming that “staging” has no effect on the home’s sale price based on the photo above…seriously?! The study had a group of people view virtually staged before-and-after photos and asked them whether they would pay more for the beige room (above) over the purple room (below). Each of the respondents said they would not pay more money for the beige virtually staged room over the purple room.
How can anyone take this study even remotely serious is a minor miracle. Here are the huge problems with this study:
- The rooms were “virtually staged” (not real, in person staging which is what “staging” is truly is)
- They were “virtually staged” by a someone who doesn’t appear to know much about staging from the looks of the “after” photos
- The “before” photos of a purple room (see below) and colorful furniture look so cartoon like, it’s almost laughable!
- Ironically, the respondents believed that “other” buyers would pay 3.7% to 4.0% less than value of the home if it’s not painted and fixed up.
- Virtual stagers are insulted by these photos since they don’t come close to the quality work that a true, virtual stager can do.
I wasn’t going to even respond to this study since I didn’t want to bring attention to something so absurd but since there has been some chatter about it, let’s put this matter to rest once and for all.
Anyone with half a brain would look at that “after” photo and never in a million years call this a “staged” room!
In case you were one of those silly people who actually wanted to give this study credence and thought that room was “staged”…here is what “staged” really looks like of a home that sold for $100,000 over asking price in October, 2013 within 8 days of staging:
(This home was staged by Donna Dazzo of Designed to Appeal in New York City)
Living Room After
Boy’s Room After
Girl’s Room After
I guess it’s a good thing this home seller didn’t listen to “other” agents who think staging doesn’t work and cite this study…
By the way, I could have produced tons of other similar success stories and photos by the many amazingly talented home stagers across the country who have been maligned by this study. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you improve upon a product, you get a better price.
XOXO – Happy Staging!
*By the way, the study was called: “The Impact of Staging Conditions on Residential Real Estate Demand” and the Wall Street Journal article was called: “Home Staging Effect? Not Much.“
What is it that you love to do and are passionate about? Chances are if you love it, you are truly gifted at it. Do you get goosebumps when you walk into a book store and head to the interior design section? Do you anxiously wait for your design magazines to come in the mail or get “geeked up” over organizing your closet? Do you notice every design detail when you walk into a friends house and then subconsciously rearrange the space in your mind? If you answered “yes” to any of these seemingly absurd questions then you definitely have what I call the “design sickness” and the good news is there’s never been a better time to explore the possibility of creating a business doing it. There is nothing more exciting then doing what you love and getting paid for it!
Here are five reasons (with statistics) why starting a staging and redesign business is a practical and perfect idea for 2014:
- Home Values Are On The Rise – What a roller coaster it has been but now in almost every area of the country, home values are going up. What does this mean for stagers? It means there is value in the sale of the home, so staging becomes a “windfall” of sorts for sellers who really want to get all they can out of selling their most prized possession. (The median price of a house in the United States is $197,100 which is up over 10% from last year’s median price of $176,800 according to the National Association of Realtors NAR) (According to the National Association of Realtors, almost 20% more home sold over 2012 numbers: 5,160,000 homes in 2013 vs. 4,660,000 in 2012)
- Remodeling Is On The Rise – What happens when people start to take an interest in their homes? They look for critical expertise from a home stylist, color expert and designer! (In an HGTV Magazine reader poll over 25% of readers underwent a big renovation, like a new kitchen or bath in 2013) (In a 2013 Houzz survey of over 100,000 people over 53% plan a renovation in the next couple years, think it’s a good time and plan to hire professional help)
- Home Staging Was Specifically Listed As A “Best Career for 2013 and Beyond” – In an article by career guru, Marty Nemko, staging was listed as a best job and fastest growing career for the future. (Link to Article)
- Sellers Are Now Staging Savvy – With the rise of HGTV, Pinterest and Houzz the average seller understands the value of professional, design advice for both living and selling!
- Agents Are Now Staging Savvy – It’s taken home stagers years to educate the real estate industry of the benefits of staging and now home stagers have become a de rigueur part of preparing a home for sale.
The most famous real estate agent of all time, Barbara Corcoran is speaking at our Staging Convention in a couple weeks, so it’s incredibly encouraging to see how our work over the years in educating the public on staging has Barbara as a huge supporter and advocate!
Timing is everything and building a business is a luxury but the biggest regret I hear our member stagers say is that they wish they started earlier.
Here are just a few quotes from our members I thought was worth posting to encourage others that a new year, can mean so much to you…or it can pass you by.
I am happy to say I am very busy….I have two jobs going and another that I will continue after the first of the year…..I’m loving every minute… Thank you for checking in and thank you especially for providing me with the tools to make my dream happen. I will continue to read and re-read you course and continue to learn from you and my other fellow-ette stagers…
I’m very glad I decided to get my certification and go into the home staging field. I LOVE staging homes and it doesn’t seem like work at all. I also LOVE getting great results for people and seeing their homes sell quickly!
Before deciding to invest in a Home Staging training course I’d done quite an exhausting search to find the course that would best suit my needs, budget and one that would give me the tools I needed to buid my business and my confidence. I have found all of that and more with the Home Staging Resource. I do know a quite few stagers and they have all said they wished they had trained with HSR instead. All of the materials you need are included with HSR, where they had to pay extra for just about everything that HSR provides. So glad I made the decision to go with the Home Staging Resource!
The nominees have been announced for the RESA Home Staging Industry Awards 2014 and I’m so proud and impressed with every one of those amazing staging and redesigners! If you haven’t checked out each of their entry pages and viewed their transformations, make sure you do that at http://homestagingindustryawards.com. Each one of these individuals works tirelessly to perfect their craft and in doing so elevate our industry.
I’m particularly proud of the fact that half of the US nominees in the Pro-USA category and the Rising Star category are HSR grads or HSR Staging Mentors!
I wanted to personally congratulate each one of them below because they each have inspired me through the years, are incredibly talented and generous to the industry and are wonderful people…you ladies rock!
Name: Kristine Ginsberg
Company: Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC
City: Morris Plains
Designations: Graduate of Home Staging Resource, ASHSR (American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners), NCJAR (North Central Jersey Association of Realtors)
Memberships: RESA (Real Estate Staging Association), ASHSR (American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners), NCJAR (North Central Jersey Association of Realtors), Active Rain Network
Name: Donna Dazzo
Company: Designed To Appeal
City: New York
Designations: Graduate of Home Staging Resource program and Staging Diva program
Memberships: RESA NY Chapter
Name: Lori KimPolk
Company: Premiere Home Staging
Designations: ASP. CSP, RESA-PRO, RESA Membership Chair, RESA Board Member 2012/2013
Memberships: RESA, PCAR, SACRESN
Name: Valerie Monkarsh
Company: The Closing Stage
City: Los Angeles
Designations: Vacant Property Specialist, HSR
Memberships: RESA, HSR
Name: Lori Murphy
Company: Element One Home Staging & Redesign
Designations: Certified Professional Stager
Memberships: RESA, ASHSR, HSR