By Christine Rae
Got your attention, eh? Isn't it amazing that negative headlines capture our attention more than positive ones?
Well now that I have your attention may I set your mind at rest by saying the necessity for staging your listings has not gone away. But what has gone away is half-completed staging, surface staging, fluffy staging and vignette staging.
You might say I have a vested interest in saying these things and I do but they are for sure happening. So putting your head in the sand and ignoring these changes may cost you a listing or your customer to lose equity return. What do I mean?
When things get tough, and times are leaner, many people cutback on marketing, which I think is crazy since marketing is a leading contributor to sales success. Most marketing gurus will tell you to evaluate marketing but stepping it down in tough times sends a message all of its own (just as stepping it up would).
Staging property is a marketing advantage that you cannot afford to forfeit. You don't know what your competitor is doing, also many home sellers are contacting stagers directly in order to maximize market appeal. This will be your competition.
Oh, by the way, stagers are good sources for listing referrals! Have you ever thought of that?
What is important for you to know is that the staging industry has grown exponentially. Therefore, there are great stagers, bad stagers and those who muddle
along in mediocrity. The really bad news is many of them don't know how much the industry has changed.
Some things to watch for when hiring a stager for your team:
- Make sure they have credible credentials and references.
- Belong to the Real Estate Staging Association.
- Have at least $2-million in liability insurance or more.
- Belong to the Stagers Excellence Alliance (a better business program for stagers).
- Has tools to help you market the service and enhance your service.
- Understands how market differences, generational differences, trends and global economics play a role in how a property should be staged.
These things are all part of the developments within our industry. The staging world has developed parallel with the real estate industry, which is why at CSP we developed continuing education requirements and specialty designations, just like those available in the real estate industry.
Staging is not going away; it's growing up, getting better and the industry is getting stronger, and standards are getting higher - not a place for amateurs and all in all this is a good thing for the consumer. Don't you think?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christine Rae is the co-author of “Home Staging for Dummies” (Wiley, 2008), founder of Decorating Solutions Inc., and an internationally recognized expert and trainer in the home staging industry. She is the editor of Staging Standard, an industry trade magazine on staging, and co-author of the e-book “Home Staging Business Guide”. In 2005, she launched an international staging certification program —the Canadian Certified Staging Professionals and Certified Staging Professionals in the USA and Australia.