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RESA Awards 2015

2014-11 Audra-Slinkey-Staging-Mentors-Most-Innovator-Product-or-Service-of-the-Year_edited-1RESA Awards

I’m truly honored and excited to be nominated by RESA as the Most Innovative Product or Service of the year for our Staging Mentors program!  What makes this RESA Award nomination so special  and unique is that it’s not about me…

This nomination is for the many, wonderful, successful, veteran stagers in our industry who generously give their time and knowledge to new stagers in order to elevate the industry as a whole.

I truly believe in learning from those who have tread that path before you and networking with mentors in your field.  The many mentors who I have worked with through the Staging Mentors program have gone “above and beyond” with the insight and knowledge they provide to new stagers while walking them through their staging process.  I have a partial list below of the Staging Mentor I would like to thank but unfortunately cannot list them all since we have so many!

 

Here’s a recent email I received from a new stager who just got mentored from Sherry Castaldi (who is also nominated for Occupied Stager of Year through RESA!):

Hi Audra, I’d like to take this time to tell you that I had the most fantastic experience with Sherry Castaldi of Organized By Design.  I was able to meet with her on Thursday November 29th to shadow her on a Townhouse occupied  consultation.  Before we met with the homeowner, Sherry and I  were able to meet for coffee to go over her process and what to expect.  Sherry has a proven technique that is simplified, organized and effective.  It’s no wonder her clients refer her to so often.
I can not say enough how helpful this was to me as a new stager.  Sometimes as “newbies” we can feel a bit overwhelmed and alone out there.  Having the opportunity to have someone like Sherry guide me through, show me how to simplify things and more importantly show the value of what we do to the client was invaluable.  I am so glad that when I signed up for the HSR course that I decided to include the additional option to shadow a stager.  It was money well spent.  Thank you for Audra for offering this option to your students. – Susan Thompson, www.ready-set-stage.com

So…a huge THANK YOU to all the Mentors below who made this program possible…

Arizona

Phoenix and Surrounding Areas – Barbara Hutson and Joellyn Machnics

California

Los Angeles Luxury Home Staging – Michelle Minch

Roseville/Granite Bay/Sacramento – Lori Polk

Sacramento/Roseville – Ryan Dressel

San Diego Area – Yvonne Marquez

Florida

Tampa Bay Area – Veronica Ortiz

Georgia

Atlanta Area – Paige Earles

Illinois

Central Illinois/Peoria Area – Tracy Molendi

Chicago Area – Kathleen Sarrett

Chicago NW Suburbs Staging Mentors – Shelly Brucki and Tammy Shimp

Chicago Western Suburbs – Margaret Gehr & Kathy Lobkovich

How to Make a Logo in 2 Minutes

2 minute logo

When I spoke at the RESA Conference on Branding, I got so much feedback from stagers who needed more good tools and information, that I thought it would be fun to do a quick video on creating a logo using one of my favorite free online image editing programs.  I know it’s more “ideal” to pay a designer to do this for you but I also know that many of us are on a budget and want a bit more control over what our image and branding says about us.

Here’s a quick video I created that shows you how easy it is to create a nicer looking logo that you can use to watermark your photos:

 

If you liked that video, then you will really like the video I created on how to create a photo collage with your before and after photos!

 

 

XOXO – Happy Staging!

Audra Slinkey

Hope to hear from you!

1-888-563-9271


[email protected]


Websites for Stagers

CustomTheme

When I spoke at the RESA Convention on “Blinging Your Brand” I got so many questions from stagers who have a great eye, know what they want their brand to look like BUT just don’t have the technical/computer skills to pull it altogether.  I also had to critically look at the website themes we offered and make some big changes, so….I’m so excited to introduce our new Custom Theme!

Here’s a five minute video that shows you how cool this Custom Theme is:

 


 

Now available in our Package Two which includes hosting and your website!

2014 Home Staging Convention

Five Lessons Learned From the 2014 RESA Convention

 

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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.

Me and my good friend Shell Brodnax (the amazing woman who always makes the RESA convention a success)

Me and my good friend Shell Brodnax (the amazing woman who always makes the RESA convention a success)

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.

 

Me and Kristine Ginsberg the winner of the US Stager of the Year and an HSR Member

Me and Kristine Ginsberg the winner of the US Stager of the Year and an HSR Member

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.

 

Me and Lori Murphy, Ululani Poepoe and Valerie Monkarsh the new HSR stagers nominated for Rising Star category

Me and Lori Murphy, Ululani Poepoe and Valerie Monkarsh the new HSR stagers nominated for Rising Star category

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.

 

Me and my sister and mother who come and just enjoy the convention with me.

Me and my sister and mother who come and just enjoy the convention with me.

 

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.

 

What Agents Really Want

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…

lorimurphy1

Hi Audra,

Last Friday, I met with a broker who pays for a staging consultation for ALL of his listings.  I met him through an agent in his office that I have worked with.  The broker’s name (to make it easier) is John.
So, John explains to me how they had a stager who became ill and quit the business and how they have been searching for one since.  They’ve used one here and there and he said, they probably “staged” OK . . . but they needed more.

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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.”

lorimurphy3

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.

 

lorimurphy4

I don’t know how or what material the other courses train but I do know that I received the most comprehensive training from HSR.  It wasn’t just – “here’s a certificate, now go and tell people you can decorate”.  I learned so much more than how to help prepare a home to sell.  I have learned (and continue to) so much about being in business as a whole.  And I remember when I decided to get my certificate, looking at all the courses that are offered.  I remember being on the HSR page for the first time and thought “oh, my, there’s a lot of stuff here”.  But for whatever reason – I chose to sign up.  And I remember thinking that it was so much to take in; but read your words about how it would all come together and make sense.
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

 

lorimurphy5

My time with John ended with him giving me the name of a seller, and 2 more later that week.  I am hoping this is the beginning of a great partnership.  I am anxious to see what he thinks of the consultation report I sent him and the client; something tells me he will be impressed.  =]  (yes, it’s from the HSR staging forms, tweaked a little).
In the meantime, I mentioned John to another agent I have worked with and the next thing you know, she sent me an email saying, “hey, I thought maybe we could do some marketing together”.    She now wants to reimburse sellers for the consultation if they stage first with me.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Audra Slinkey

Hope to hear from you!

1-888-563-9271


[email protected]

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