Why can we not all just get along and complement one another?

I will start by saying that this post will certainly not apply to the majority of Realtors®.

I am inspired to write a blog post once I witness a certain troubling situation more than three times out in the Real Estate field. The post you are about to read chronicles (briefly) a situation I have run into now for the fourth time.

I am a Certified Staging Professional. I have taken extensive training, received accreditation from two different institutions, have over 10 years of experience Staging homes for clients, and own and run a full-time business that specializes in Home Staging. I pay association dues, membership fees, and many types of Real Estate industry fees. I closely abide by a lengthy Code of Ethics in my industry as well.

Realtors®, does the above sound familiar?

Of course it does.

Realtors® simply cannot sell and list houses unless they comply with a plethora of regulations and rules. Not only that, but Realtors® also have to ensure that all of their association dues and membership fees are paid at all times.

Let me know if you, personally, have seen this:

I am seeing, more and more, Realtors® claiming that they can "even offer free Home Staging services to their clients as part of their listing package".

I have immediately contacted these Realtors®, told them exactly who I am, and asked, "I see you are offering free Home Staging services to your clients. Would you be able to share with me where you obtained your accreditation?"

Now, to be completely fair, one Realtor® was able to answer this with enthusiasm. And, I had a long, great chat with her, during which I told her how much I respect her for going that extra mile, enduring the additional education and training, and told her how excited I was for her. I told her that she will certainly succeed in the industry as this is an incredible value-added service she can offer to her clients. Great competitive edge!

BUT, all the other ones I contacted thought they would school ME, and tell me that accreditation is not necessary in order to claim to be a Stager. They all told me that they "feel" that they have a "good eye", and that this is all that is necessary. I was even told by one of them that Home Staging is not a "real" profession, and that all we Stagers really do is fluff pillows.

In reflection, my question is this:

I feel that I would be great at selling houses for people. So, I guess it shouldn't be frowned upon for me to simply pick up and start selling houses, right? Oh, I haven't done any of the Real Estate courses. I haven't ever been tested on my Real Estate knowledge.  I have never paid a penny to a Realtor's® Association.  But, heck, I might as well give it a go, hey?

Professional Home Stagers would never dream of stepping on a Realtor's® toes like this, nor are we interested in infringing on the line between the two professions.

I would never claim to be a Realtor®. That is just silliness.

But, we do live in a world where Realtors® are claiming to also be Home Stagers.

This double-standard needs to stop.

Home Staging is an emerging and fairly fresh industry which is not yet regulated.

But, simply put, any ethical, honest, and respectful human being should not view this fact as a green-light to walk all over the Home Stagers who have gone above and beyond to ensure they are a qualified professional.

Realtor® and Home Stager are titles of two completely different and separate professions.

Both sets of professionals have their unique experience, education, expertise, and certification under their related umbrella.

HOWEVER, these two separate professions are designed to support and complement one another. Simply put, Home Stagers would never succeed if the Realtor® didn't. And, Realtors® would not succeed if the Home Stager was not successful.

See how this works?

Now, can we all agree to work together rather than continually encroaching over the boundaries of our professions?

Heck, we all share a common passion....Real Estate! We all share a common goal....to sell client's properties as quick as possible, and for top dollar!!

 the way things should be between Professional Home Stagers and Realtors 

Rhonda Wilson - CCSPTM
Owner/Operator of
Revealing Assets
Home Staging and Decluttering Services
http://www.RevealingAssets.ca
RevealingAssets@shaw.ca
780-913-5589 
We transform properties into highly
sought-after products that sell in half
the time and for 7-10% more money.
Through personal experience, extensive
research and training, and a compassionate
approach, we De-clutter living/work spaces for
up-lifting and positive life changes.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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Comment balloon 43 commentsRhonda Wilson • December 08 2010 09:28PM

Comments

Rhonda,

Compliments are always welcome, there is always something nice to comment on, or even better yet, click on the next thing, we can criticize ourselves much better than someone else can do it.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) almost 8 years ago

Rhonda,

As for selling homes "it shouldn't be frowned upon for me to simply pick up and start selling houses, right? Oh, I haven't done any of the Real Estate courses. I haven't ever been tested on my Real Estate knowledge.  I have never paid a penny to a Realtor's® Association.  But, heck, I might as well give it a go, hey?"

Well, you would be required toaying to the think that pyget a license, but if you think license and ability to sell is the same, it isn't. If  you think that paying Realtor's Association has anything to do with the ablity to sell homes, think again.

If you think that doing all those courses equals better agent, it not always true.

yea, you can sell without all that (except that license is required). you have to have good ethics for that (and I am not talking about NAR Code of Ethics), and brains.

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) almost 8 years ago

It's funny how people seem to think that someone else's job is somehow easy or that they could do it with no training, isn't it?

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) almost 8 years ago

Jon, I am not sure that you understood the message in my post. It had nothing to do with what makes a "good" agent. It was simply discussing the fact that Realtors(R) shouldn't claim to be Home Stagers, and vice-versa. You wrote, "Well, you would be required toaying to the think that pyget a license,". I am a little confused as to what you are getting at here...maybe you could expand, or try again?

Christine, this is so true. I find that if I ever find myself assuming that another person's profession is simple, I am compelled to research the facts further. And, most times, I am dead-wrong...thank you for your response!

 

Posted by Rhonda Wilson (Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services) almost 8 years ago

Thanks for educating us Rhonda.  Although I have never claimed to be a staging expert I have helped clients do some light staging to prepare their homes for market because it's part of my job.  Sometimes hiring a professional staging expert like yourself is just not an option (I wish it was) so us agents have to step in and do what we can to help de-clutter, bring in some furniture, rugs, wall hangings etc. to make the property more presentable. 

Posted by Keith Vermilyea (Home Buyers Marketing II, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Good passion in this blog!  Actually enlightening to me. I have low staging skills and would be the last one to personally suggest anything like that myself. Its a skill and glad there is education for it as it should be used.

Posted by Chuck Carstensen, Minnesota Real Estate Expert (RE/MAX Results) almost 8 years ago

I wish there was a qualified stager in my market!  Or a way to get the training!  Good on ya!

Posted by Debbie White (Southeast Alaska Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Keith, you are so right. There are many cases where a client (seller) is hesitant to invest the money in Staging. And, there are also cases where you may be in a Geographical location where there simply are not any Home Stagers operating businesses. And, yes, a Realtor(R) is trained and experienced in doing "light staging" as you put it. And, this is great! I think it shows a real committment to your seller's success!

Debbie, you are up in Alaska, and, yes, there is a serious lack of Home Stagers up there. I do know, however, for the first time ever, one of my schools, Canadian Staging Professionals, just a couple of months ago, sent one of their top instructors up there to run a class. I do believe, however, that there were only a handful of registrants. And, of the graduates, a very small percentage actually ever go on to start up their own business. But, hey, if you were ever interested in looking into becoming Certified, I would suggest www.csptraining.com to research it more. They will travel up there to do a course if there are more than 3 or 4 people who will register....just a thought!

Thank you for your responses, everyone!!

Posted by Rhonda Wilson (Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services) almost 8 years ago
Great post - so true Happy Holidays to all of you great agents!!!
Posted by Brian Dunshie, Realtor - Arizona Biltmore,Arcadia,Paradise Valley (Russ Lyon | Sotheby's International Realty) almost 8 years ago

Nice post, I get your message. I have the utmost respect for stagers coz I cannot do what you guys do !! Kudos for making our listings look beautiful and marketable

Posted by Rama Mehra, Certified Pre-Foreclosure Specialist (Keller Williams Realty) almost 8 years ago

Thank you, Brian! Happy Holidays to you!!

Rama, thank you so much! And, you, as Realtors(R) wear an incredible number of hats. The majority of people have NO IDEA how much work you do behind the scenes to sell a listing....and to get the listings to begin with. Kudos to YOU!!! Like I said, if the listing Realtor(R) is not adequately marketing the properties that I Stage, then the Staging is useless.

We NEED each other. And, together, we can create quite amazingly prosperous relationships!!

Posted by Rhonda Wilson (Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services) almost 8 years ago

Excellent point Rhonda.... Staging isn't just about having a "good eye" moving furniture around and fluffying pillows. As I understand you have to actually get certified to be a stager... Please correct me if I am wrong.. No more would you consider yourself a Realtor when you are not licensed Realtors shouldn't claim to be stagers when they are not certified.

Posted by Stacey Smith, Your Orange County Beach Cities Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) almost 8 years ago

Just one word ego--so many agents think that they can do everything and anything. I would not put it pass some agents to think that they can build a home from scratch. ****This does not apply to all agents, but there are some ****

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) almost 8 years ago

You make a great point and you are right!.. . but I can assure you that you are ruffling the feathers of some Realtors out there. . 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) almost 8 years ago

I couldn't agree with you more, but unfortunately, it's a realtor's nature to cut corners.  I'm not one of them, but there are a bunch who do.

Posted by Morris Massre, Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida almost 8 years ago

Ego is just one of the problems. But fortunately it doesn't apply to all. But I totally see your point, where alot of agents wouldn't appreciate anyone who they dont' feel is quallified to step into their territory, they need to heed to the same notion of other professions.

Posted by Shantée Haynes, Your Congress Heights Resident Agent (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty) almost 8 years ago

Hi Rhonda!  Oh my word...I don't know what I would do without my Home Stager lady...she has produced miracles that help me sell houses!  She is so smart and I am clueless and not afraid to admit it!

I always defer to the pros; I have enough to do to sell homes, much less try to stage 'em!  I think it's great that you have gone the distance and become accredited; great job!

Posted by Carole L. MacCollum, Broker/Realtor 207-337-4792 (HOME AT LAST REAL ESTATE) almost 8 years ago

Rhonda I definitely think that we can all get along and I am sorry that anyone would verbally diminish what you do for a living.  I personally don't have a staging bone in my entire body. And I clearly get where you are coming from with regard to the certifications necessary to become a Home Stager.

While some agents are not Home Stagers, they may be able to do a a sufficient job and maybe even a good job of preparing the home for sale.  Perhaps they should use a different term than Home Staging in order to not dimish the validity of the certification process.

Additional I don't see an infringement upon your work unless of course you have been hired as a Home Stager and the real estate agent then tries to provide you with direction or instruction on how to do your job, in which case the agent would be considerably out of line.

By no means, please don't translate this into a message that does not appreciate what you do, because I certainly do.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) almost 8 years ago

Rhonda - I will keep that in mind.  That class was held in Anchorage, several hundred miles and a very expensive plane ticket away.  I don't think our little town of 30,000 would support 3 stagers but I will definitely look into it.

Posted by Debbie White (Southeast Alaska Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Rhonda - What a great point. It's kind of like trying to sell your own home then it doesn't move  off the market. I guess the only thing to be said is maybe some Realtors have met fantastic stagers who made staging look effortless thus thinking they can do it themselves. It's like when you watch the olympics and think "Hey that doesn't look so hard. I can do that!" Thanks!

Posted by Todd and Danielle Millar, Sixteen years of excellence! (Glenn Simon Inc.) almost 8 years ago

I don'r mean to step on your feelings, but I don't feel staging and real estate are on the same level. You can't say "I have accreditations" and that because of that agents should tell their sellers to use you. I'm absolutely sure that some stagers would sell houses if they were allowed.

Staging isn't common in my area- most sellers won't pay for it. And the few homes I've seen staged weren't better than empty- they were over done.

Posted by Leslie Prest, Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson, (Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ) almost 8 years ago

I believe they are called... "Jack of all trades, master of none"!  ;-)

Posted by Phil & Celeste Pafford, Corona Short Sale Broker (PaffordHomes.com, Corona CA) almost 8 years ago

I offer staging advice and state as such when I start working with a listing client.  However, I never claim to be a professional stager.  I know several agents who are professional stagers and my use of term would be offensive.  A good agent can offer advice on staging but there will be limits.  It's important to know those limits.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

I think what you are doing is important and it is definitely now a field in its own right.  If I were choosing a Stager an accreditation would be something for me to consider.  But, I would not consider it essential for the average home I sell.  And although I am not a home stager, I do offer my clients advice on how to stage their homes all the time, and I could very easily see a Realtor saying that this was part of what they offer if they considered themselves good at it.  We may not do it as well - but we do do it all the time. 

The job we do as real estate agents requires licensing by the state and home staging does not yet (in CA) to my knowledge, although you may need a contractors license depending on the project.  I know some excellent home stagers that have no formal certification.  I'm sorry some real estate agents in your area don't respect what you do or what you have to offer, but I do believe that home staging "spun off" from the typical type of advice that Realtors offer their clients, i.e., about how the home should be presented for sale.  Not every Realtor has the time, inclination or skill to do it, but some clearly do.  

BTW -- This is not legal advice, just a simple comment.

Posted by Tni LeBlanc, Realtor®, J.D., Tenacious Tni (805) 878-9879 (Mint Properties, Lic. #01871795) almost 8 years ago

Wow, I LOVE all the response to this post! Thank you everyone!

Stacey, #12, you say, "No more would you consider yourself a Realtor when you are not licensed Realtors shouldn't claim to be stagers when they are not certified." EXACTLY! This is THE point I am trying to make here! Thank you!

Shantee, #17, you say, "where alot of agents wouldn't appreciate anyone who they dont' feel is quallified to step into their territory, they need to heed to the same notion of other professions." I love this. You manged to sum up my entire post in 29 words. I need you to work for me doing my posts. I tend to get overly wordy. I need to work on this! Very well said! Thank you!

Fernando, #15, "ruffling feathers" is what it is all about! I am certainly not trying to offend anyone. Instead, I am simply pointing out observations I have made out there in the field. If anything, I LOVE to inspire thought and conversation. This is great!!

Carole, #18, thank you so much for your comments today! This means a lot to me. And, perhaps it all comes down to Realtors(R) having actual experience with working alongside a GOOD Professional Stager before they alter their tune....

Leslie, #22, there are certainly bad apples in the bunch. And, because Home Staging is not yet a regulated industry, there are those out there who are just jumping on the band-wagon and pretending to be Home Stagers. Unfortuntely, you have only seen the work of non-professionals, as true Home Stagers NEVER over-do vacant homes for sale. This is where the certification comes into play. This is where I always preach the "Buyer Beware" mantra. It is so true. When hiring a Home Stager, you, as a client, seller, or Realtor(R) are more than justified to demand to SEE their proof of certification, and then go further to check it out on-line.  GO FURTHER to demand to see their physical portolio of work. See, you just happen to be in an area where Home Staging has not penetrated as of yet. All it takes is one talented, experienced, and educated individual to come in there and obtain just one job. Then, by seeing the results in reduced time on market, the general opinion may change. Cheers, and thank you for your comments.

 

Posted by Rhonda Wilson (Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services) almost 8 years ago

Well if it were a "perfect world" we could.....but it ain't!!  Thanks for the post today.

Patricia/Seacoast NH & ME

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) almost 8 years ago

Tni, #25, thank you so much for your lengthy response. This is greatly appreciated!

I agree with you completely that there are many people out there who simply have the talent, creativity, great work-ethic, and the right amount of abstract-thinking in order to be an AMAZING Home Stager, yet they may not have the official Accreditation.

And, yes, you are correct in thinking that there is nowhere, as of yet, worldwide where the Home Staging is regulated. We ran into a similar situation up here in Alberta, Canada a couple of years ago with the Home Inspection industry. We had a huge influx of people jumping in and claiming that they were Home Inspectors. They were excited. There was money to be made, and our market was BOOMING! So, sellers were having a hard time finding Home Inspectors who had time to take new appointments. "So-called Home Inspectors" saw an opportunity in the market. Needless to say, there were a huge amount of sub-standard Home-Inspections completed during that time, which led to buyers purchasing homes with large, undetected structural issues. This led to a movement for the government to FINALLY regulate that industry.

The time WILL come for Home Stagers as well. But, currently, anyone can CLAIM to be a Home Stager.

Yes, you are right. Home Staging is most certainly a SPIN-OFF Profession that came from the acknowledgement of the ridiculously long list of tasks that a Realtor(R) takes care of for every Sales transaction. Too many people out there have NO IDEA of the incredible amount of work you do for your clients all day, every day. Almost to the point of having no life outside of Real Estate....I am sure you agree.

So, Home Staging turned into its own, separate dicipline in order to alleviate some of a Realtor's(R) workload. And, really, there is so much more to Home Staging than most people realize. It all starts with simple de-cluttering, de-personalizing, and deep-cleaning. But, that is just the very tip of the iceberg.

We are educated in how to effectively direct the buyer's eye immediately to features or items within properties. We are educated in balances, percentages, and hues of colours and how this all affects the buyers' psyche. We are educated in how to evoke certain emotions within buyers. The list goes on and on and on.

But, yes, we took one of your ancillary services and dissected the heck out of it, broadened it, added to it, and perfected it. And, we did all because we, also, have a burning passion for real estate and a drive to help sellers succeed!

Thank you so much for your response.

Posted by Rhonda Wilson (Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services) almost 8 years ago

Love the comment above "Jack of all trades master of none."

You make some very good points. 

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) almost 8 years ago

I don't know why you are even worried about those agents. I know agents who claim to be 'short sale experts' who have never closed a short sale but SOME did get their designation. It makes me sad to think about their poor customers who hire them instead of someone who actually has the experience. That being said, I'm sure that there are plenty of real estate agents with enough EXPERIENCE to stage a home just as well as 'certified' ,or whatever term is appropriate, home stagers. They may not have the accrediations but could do the job just as well. That being said I'm sure there are plenty who have no clue and need to stop promoting these services. And if they are a member of the National Association of REALTORS they have a higher degree of ethical conduct to uphold to and misleading the public is a big no-no. As real estate agents we should know at least a little bit on the subject of staging so we can assist our sellers and that doesn't always mean we/they have to hire someone else to help.

Posted by Susan Milner, Cape Coral Real Estate Broker, FloridaFutureAgents (Florida Future Realty, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Hi Rhonda,  Your post reminds me just a little of the ( sometimes ) friction between agents and home inspectors.  I've seen agents go way over the line in pushing clients away from inspections or making proper repairs.  Your professin has a lot of growing pains ahead but the talented ones will make it.  Hope your Holiday Season is the best !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 8 years ago

After one very extraordinarilly brutal experience of someone, (just so happened to be a realtor) thinking they knew how to stage....please if you are not 100% certain that you can stage a home, (and yes, training and certification helps), don't try.  There are many WHO THINK they know how to stage but don't.  WOW!  And I'm desparately trying not to be rude, however sometimes the truth can be brutal, let's just get real!  Please...let the singer-sing and the dancer-dance and the Professional Stager-stage.

Posted by Simon Cowell almost 8 years ago

When I was an ASP (Accredited Staging Professional) we offered staging services, but they were not in high demand so I let my license lapse, and we no longer mention staging as part of our services. Perhaps what you should do is publish a blog or series of blogs for your market area detailing exactly what a Stager is and does, what they go through to become certified and what the differences might be between a certified Stager and a Realtor® who provides staging advice. Just a thought...

~~~Wayne

Posted by Pat & Wayne Harriman, Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate (Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499) almost 8 years ago

 

We offer a range of staging services, ranging from free agent work to paid consultations with some of the best stagers in Chicago (Craig Schiller is a long time friend and colleague) to paid professional furniture rental.

We also believe in investment staging, which requires a deep knowledge of the buyers in a market, competitive listings and the ability to recommend major investments like roofs, mechanicals, kitchen redos and so on.  I can tell a potential client that he'll have to spend $15,000 or $25,000 before I'll list his house because I can quantify the cost of not offering a competitive product in a difficult market.

Staging has gotten a bad name because stagers can't or won't quantify the value of their work. A stager can beautifully arrange a living space and produce lovely vignettes and the house will never sell if it isn't competitively priced and improved to beat the other choices available on the market.

Until a stager can add the value of saying " I have been in your top 10 competitors, and here's what you need to do to beat them", the claim of value falls flat. And so until then we will keep up our storage barn, our investment in furniture and accessories, and we will do agent staging. I spent today hauling stuff into a listing and finished up by running out and buying two leather club chairs and 4 new kitchen chairs because this luxury townhouse has four or five direct competitors and I know exactly how it needs to present. I truly wish we had stagers who could do what we do, but other than Craig, I haven't met any.

 

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) almost 8 years ago

Hello, Leslie! #36 

I APPLAUD your dedication, thoroughness, expertise, and caring about your clients!

I completely agree with all that you have written here.

Even though I have not literally been inside of my clients' competitor's properties, I have done thorough research into the listings, made solid notes on all reno's, upgrades, features, etc. I have this knowledge with me, on my person, even prior to meeting with a client for the first consultation. I have this information collected BEFORE I even get the job with a seller. Why? Because, like you say, if I cannot quantify the value of my work, I would not have a successful business.

I also refuse to Stage homes that are over-priced, dated, or in poor repair. I will not Stage a property until my list of specific recommendations have been completed, as I NEED my sellers to succeed.

Think about it for a minute. If I Staged any old property without doing my market homework/research before the fact, and ended up Staging one that falls short in all other aspects, and that property takes forever to sell, or, even worse, the listing expires, how do I, the Home Stager, look in the end? I think that my business would die a miserable death pretty quickly.

So, not only do I make all recommendations regarding replacement of rooves, plumbing, electrical, heating, new kitchens and bathrooms, etc, I also have contacts and preferred partnership discounts with the city's finest trades-people and suppliers. I also have, on hand, all of the current pricing for my clients.

So, yes, there are bad apples in the basket out there in Home Stager-land, but the good ones who have taken the right courses, and who also have a genuine passion for Real Estate, DO amazing work.

Plainly put, if my clients (sellers) do not succeed, then, neither do I or my business. Just some food for thought.

Again, kudos to you and your committment. You sound like a truly amazing and talented Realtor(R), and I wish you nothing but success!

Happy Holidays, Leslie!

Posted by Rhonda Wilson (Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services) almost 8 years ago

Super post Rhonda.  I know exactly where you are coming from.

There are a few realtors in my area that believe so strongly in staging that they offer a free consultation to their customers.  They do this by hiring a real stager and the realtor pays them.  I belileve they do this for 2 reasons: 1) they have seen the impact stagers have and believe in it...it helps them get their homes sold faster and at higher value (which pays for the consultation and then some) and 2) it's a good marketing tool to help get more listings.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 8 years ago

Many Realtors have come from other professions and have other talents/skills. Just as an example, I studied photography at the college level for several years and considered myself an advanced amateur.

If a professional photographer called to chastise me because I take my own photos I would tell him where he could go, and when in the future I wanted a professional photographer, guess who I would not call. His photos may be better than mine, but I have the right to use my own.

Other Realtors and non-realtors have a design background, and some just naturally have a designers eye, similar to a photographers eye, and they can probably stage as well as anyone who has the acreditation.

Realtors are your clients, (or you may say they're the doorway to your clients) and my suggestion would be to not bite the hand of the arm that feeds you. If staging required licensing, then you may be justified in telephoning a Realtor and complain if s/he were staging without a license.

However, since many Realtors do have the talent and/or skills necessary do to a good staging job, and there is no Staging license required, then you have no right to harass them.

On a more constructive note, I would suggest that you hone your sales skills and when you telephone a Realtor, sell him/her on the value of your services. Perhaps offer to do one staging at a deep discount so s/he can see the value of your service and how much faster the home will sell if they use your service.

Network, Network, Network, with other Realtors. Build positive relationships and get a good reputation among Realtors, and others who may use your services.

Be helpful, be positive. When you call and chastise someone, you have not only lost that person as a future client, you've lost all the people that s/he tells about your rude telephone call.

Have a happy holiday season, and good luck in your business.

 

Posted by Bill Travis, Broker/Owner (Captain Bill Realty, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Since staging a house was part of a real estate agent's job before there was ever a professional, certified or accredited home stager, it could be said that you're infringing on our business. And if you don't stage overpriced listings, are you playing Realtor by determining value? And the claim in your signature that homes you stage sell in half the time for 7-10% more- how do you quantify that number? I have yet see an appraiser give value for how well a home shows.

I'm not trying to diminish what you do, but I'm kind of with Mr Travis #39. You should not be chastising real estate agents. You need agents much more than agents need you.

Posted by Jackie Hawley, Southeast Michigan Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Professionals) almost 8 years ago

Hello, Debbie, #38! Thank you so much for your kind words, and for reading my post with a positive and open mind! Cheers! It is a great marketing tool!

Mr. Bill Travis, #39, thank you so much for your lengthy response!

But, whoa horsey...I think that somewhere along the line (starting at response #39), people stopped actually paying attention and reading my original post, along with all of my following responses.

I work very closely with many amazingly talented and successful Realtors(R). I very much value, respect, and admire each and every one of them.

If, Mr. Travis, you were to re-visit this Blog post and all of the related comments (including all of my responses), you will see that I have never, and will never "chastise" Realtors(R). I have said, on many occasions, and will continue to do so, how much I am blown away by the overwhelming amount of work a Realtor(R) does for each and every client.

I am about to Copy and Paste some of my above comments here to save you some energy, so that you will see that the majority of your response was way out in left-field:

"And, you, as Realtors(R) wear an incredible number of hats. The majority of people have NO IDEA how much work you do behind the scenes to sell a listing....and to get the listings to begin with. Kudos to YOU!!!" #11

"HOWEVER, these two separate professions are designed to support and complement one another. Simply put, Home Stagers would never succeed if the Realtor® didn't. And, Realtors® would not succeed if the Home Stager was not successful." original post

"Yes, you are right. Home Staging is most certainly a SPIN-OFF Profession that came from the acknowledgement of the ridiculously long list of tasks that a Realtor(R) takes care of for every Sales transaction. Too many people out there have NO IDEA of the incredible amount of work you do for your clients all day, every day. Almost to the point of having no life outside of Real Estate....I am sure you agree.

So, Home Staging turned into its own, separate dicipline in order to alleviate some of a Realtor's(R) workload. And, really, there is so much more to Home Staging than most people realize. It all starts with simple de-cluttering, de-personalizing, and deep-cleaning. But, that is just the very tip of the iceberg." #28

 "I find that if I ever find myself assuming that another person's profession is simple, I am compelled to research the facts further. And, most times, I am dead-wrong...thank you for your response!" #4

And, Mr. Travis, you are absolutely correct that we, Stagers, do mostly look to Realtors(R) to build working relationships with. I also work with many FSBO clients as well. But, Realtors(R) make up the majority of my client-base. This is why I have never "chastised" one, and have never been anything but respectful, kind, and generous to them. I am successful at what I do, and thoroughly enjoy all of my relations with any and all Realtors(R).

So, thank you, kind sir, but I am quite allright in understanding how to market my business effectively.

I also work alongside many Realtors(R) who do have a strong talent for Home Staging. In these cases, I have pointed this out to them. The reason they still come to me is that hiring a Home Stager helps to lessen the workload for them, yet still creates a successful sale.

I LOVE the fact that this has opened communication and inspired such passionate responses.

Hello Jackie Hawley, #40. Yes, "Staging a house was part of a real estate agent's job before there was ever a professional, certified or accredited home stager." No one, including me, has disputed this fact. BUT, like almost every profession in the world, the Realtor's career "job description" has been broken down over time into specialties.

Take Home-Building, for instance. In the "beginning" there were only "handy-men". Then, they graduated into calling them "carpenters". Now-a-days, you will simply NOT catch the guy who hangs drywall trying to jump over and tape and mud that same drywall. The framing guys won't be caught dead installing flooring. And, the finishing carpenter won't be touching the roof-trusses.

The same is true for Real Estate. Many professions have spun off of the original skill-set expectations of an agent. Appraisers, Inspectors, Conveyancing, Staging, and the list goes on.

Yes, Staging was a small part of your MILLIONS of concepts that you were taught. But, because of the breadth of what you, as an agent, are expected to learn and know, there is absolutely no way you could go deeply into many of these ancillary topics and concepts.

But, you have to realize that Stagers are doing what they do ALSO because they share the same passion for Real Estate as you. We are in this profession because we want to see you and the sellers succeed.

As for the statistics in my signature, I would love for you to check actual survey results from many non-biased sources, all the way back to 1995 at any of the following sites:

www.homegain.com

www.maritz.com

www.msnmoney.com

And, there are many more. I have links to all of them on my website for people like you who have not heard or seen any of these statistics.

Saying that a home that has been professionally Staged sells for 7-10% more money has NOTHING to do with appraisals, so throw that out the window.

All that means is that a Home that shows well is proven (year after year) to bring in higher offers, resulting in higher selling price. A Home that is not showing well tells the buyer that the perceived value is not evident in that home, so they are more likely to throw in low-ball offers, eventually ending in the home selling for much less than asking price.

Take good care everyone, and Happy Holidays!

Success to everyone!

 

Posted by Rhonda Wilson (Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services) almost 8 years ago

Rhonda, my father was Mr. Travis. I'm Bill.

As to chastising, you stated:

("I have immediately contacted these Realtors®, told them exactly who I am, and asked, "I see you are offering free Home Staging services to your clients. Would you be able to share with me where you obtained your accreditation?" ")

In that statment you're being confrontational with the Realtor and challenging his/her ability to offer free home staging sevices. Not a good way to establish a relationship that could lead to referrals, in my opinion.

I'm happy that you are "...quite allright in understanding how to market my business effectively".

However, I think all posts on Active Rain are designed to market one's business in order to attract clients and referrals. In this post, you have not marketed to me in a manner that would make me want to refer you.

I had hoped that something I have said may be of some value to you. That's why I took the time to comment. But obviously it isn't, and you don't want to hear what I have to say, so I'll stop with my commenting.

By the way, I use a stager for all of my rehab homes. She does not have any accreditations. She has a natural talent and is excellent at what she does. She doesn't even have to market for business. Several rehabbers discovered her, and her name keeps getting passed around so that she only works by referral.

Have a happy holiday season and I sincerely wish you much success.

 

 

Posted by Bill Travis, Broker/Owner (Captain Bill Realty, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Rhonda, interesting post. I find that the Realtors in my area that offer staging have either taken a course or have a stager on their team. I understand your frustration with those who claim to be but are not. One Realtor in my area hired a seller who happened to have great taste but absolutely no concept of the basics of Staging. Go figure!

I know some older agents that were 'staging' their homes long before our professional niche became its own entity. They continue to prefer to do it themselves. I think they are missing out because we have the time and resources that they do not. One of the creators of Staging was a Realtor that realized her homes that were properly prepared for sale sold faster and for more money.

Realtors and Stagers working in tandem bring great results. We each bring something to the table.

Posted by Janice Ankrett, Staging Professional (Janice Ankrett Home Staging) almost 8 years ago

Rhonda - I really liked your post and found both your observations and all the comments very interesting. In our market, we do have the odd Realtor who offers to do the home staging themselves however often they will have taken some kind of course to enhance their own talents.

Not all realtors understand that a professional stager will invest an enormous amount of time (and money) in educating themselves, in marketing and in associations so that the services we offer are truly top notch. We don't just move furniture around - the home staging industry has evolved past what I would term 'basic preparation' to a truly exceptional level where home staging designs rival stunning interior design photos you see in magazines.

Not everyone can do it - even with training - and Realtors should respect the amazing job professional stagers do everyday. In fact I would take a different tack here. I would say that Realtors need US as much as we need them. We make their jobs easier by preparing their properties so that buyers can't help but fall in love with the homes. Its a proven fact that buyers needs and expectations have risen to the point where if the home isn't turn key, they will move on. Our staging efforts help sellers meet those needs. Therefore, we should have equal respect for each other's professions without trying to do each other's jobs. BOTH realtors and home stagers are essential to the home selling process.

 

Posted by Heather Cook, Quality Home Staging (Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Janice, thank you so much for your response! This is exactly it....Professional Stagers simply do have the time and resources that Realtors(R) simply do not have. This is a result of taking an ancillary service that was part of Real Estate, expanding on it, dissecting it, and perfecting it.

Heather, I agree that many of the misconceptions are largely due to lack of education and awareness. And, I suppose this is to be expected while Home Staging, as a separate profession, goes through its growing pains. And, you are so right when you refer to the Home Staging education received by Realtors(R) as "Basic Presentation". And, this is exactly where the holes in understanding occur. 

Also, Heather, you are more than correct in stating that "Not everyone can do it - even with training". This is so true. And, I see it all the time. Home Staging is a profession where one can be incredibly "book-smart", but that same person just doesn't have the talent, creativity, or eye for unique situations. Your last line.....I LOVE IT!!!!  "BOTH realtors and home stagers are essential to the home selling process."

I stress this again, however: I have met a few Realtors(R) who DO have a talent for Home Staging and all of the in-depth concepts involved. And, when I see their work, I NEVER hesitate to compliment them on their talents.

A great example of how limited a Realtor's(R) Home Staging education can be: Realtors(R) are taught that Vacant listings do take longer to sell, and that they feel cold, unwelcoming, and empty. They are taught that "when furnished", the buyer is provided with a sense of scale. But, that is the extent of what they are taught. Because of the monumental number of aspects in which Realtors(R) receive training, there is simply no room or time to delve as deeply into Home Staging as one needs to.

This is why Home Stagers can be invaluable to Realtors(R). We have taken one aspect of their job, and have dissected the heck out of it, perfected it, refined it, and continue to expand upon it. 

Thank you both for your comments!!! It means a LOT to have support from fellow Professional Home Stagers regarding this topic!!

Happy Holidays to both of you and your families!!

 

Posted by Rhonda Wilson (Revealing Assets - Home Staging Services) almost 8 years ago

I am very new at being a Realtor.  Just 4 weeks in fact.  I found this post very useful, in my understanding of selling, relationships and the golden rule.  I honestly had no idea there was a specific discipline as a home stager, good to know.

 

Now I know better!

Posted by Chris Russell (Gentry Real Estate Group) almost 6 years ago

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