The Home Staging Resource | Solutions for Professional Home Stagers &..
The Home Staging Resource (HSR) was launched in July of 2006 by Audra Slinkey who is the creator and President of the HSR Training. Audra has personally trained thousands of stagers all over the globe. She is an Amazon Best Seller, RESA Innovator of the Year 2013, 2015 and 2017 and passionate about helping stagers and designers grow their business!
Remember that book by the incomparable Dr. Seuss? When someone decides to "choose themselves" and steps into the staging and design industry through the HSR Certification Training it's AMAZING where their business can take them! I was reminded of that Dr. Seuss book when I read about the story below.
Here's a recent member success story about staging Airbnbs...
I completed the HSR Certification process in February and have been doing my BEST to get out and get some business going! Audra suggests posting when we get our HSR Certificate on Facebook, so I did that and high school friend reached out about a possible partnership.
You guys...I couldn't be more grateful. Not only did something MAJOR come from him reaching out; I have some residual income built into this space...
It was vacant and I completely designed and staged the entire space. Now I am partnering with him to manage the space and will receive a cut of the profits each month. This will be an Airbnb.
But it gets better...there are 2 other units just as stunning in the same "home" and I'll be doing the same with those. Residual income!!
And the connections that are coming from this one opportunity are INCREDIBLE!! The owner of this space has a four-plex that I'll be staging and managing for a monthly income...I just couldn't have imagined a better arrangement...not in one million years!
First stage, done! If you're new at this, don't ignore the little things that come along that don't seem like they'll be much. I'm learning that striving is never good...go where the energy and movement are and amazing things happen!
Oh...and Audra...I adore you and I wish I could hug you and look you in the eye and tell you what an answer to prayer you are. Thank you!
How cool is that story only 3 months after finishing her training...woot! What's even cooler is the many encouraging responses she got from our amazingly supportive Stagers Connect Facebook Group!
So...Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away! Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.:-)
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)Kid, you'll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!
Remember that book by the incomparable Dr. Seuss? When someone decides to “choose themselves” and steps into the staging and design industry through the HSR Certification Training it’s AMAZING where their business can take them! I was reminded of that Dr. Seuss book when I read about Alicia’s story…
Staging pricing is one of the most confusing topics in our industry because we are dealing with a very complex product...the home. I've seen long-time, veteran stagers make pricing mistakes, so my hope is to "lift the lid" on this topic and cover some of it here and a lot more on my free, live webinar next week:-).
Here are the 4 out of the 10 mistakes home stagers (and designers) make when they create their services and pricing list...to see the last 6, click on the image above and join me on my Pricing Webinar.
They Don't Set CLEAR Expectations
BEFORE HOME STAGING...
This may seem like an obvious one but I'm constantly seeing service details left out of the pricing list of stagers and designers. "Consultation" is a VERY broad term in this industry and one person's may be a 15-minute, assessment while another's is a 2-hour walk through with a staging report...would you agree that those are VERY different priced services?
What happens when we ASSUME? Why let your client assume anything from your service list! Be crystal clear in what you're delivering, have a equally clear contract and you will alleviate most every problem that stagers encounter (which are usually misunderstandings based on "assumptions" anyway).
After Staging by HSR Grad, Roxanne Flett...WOW!
They Price Too Low
So many home stagers believe that clients purely go off of price when choosing a home stager, so they price too low in order to win the job. While some uneducated clients will choose solely on price, most people are savvy enough to recognize that staging is an art form and "you get what you pay for" when it comes to the staging design work done in the home.
The "low ball stagers" are usually not invested in their business or HSR Certified. They think "staging would be fun" so they just think they will charge what their hourly was in their last position...ugh!
These untrained stagers would also not know how to shop wholesale, not understand the real estate market, not have those valuable vendor relationships, a good contract, understand client phraseology, have insurance or be in business by this time next year so never fear the "low ball stager"!
They Negotiate or Discount Their Pricing
This is an honest mistake I see even the most veteran stagers make when it comes to their business. By nature, we are creatives...not hardened, "salesy" negotiators. The "typical" successful skill set needed to be an AWESOME staging artist usually comes from the right brain, so it's easy for us to "cave" when a savvy, negotiating agent wants to "value down" a stager's pricing. Please trust me on this...DON'T DO IT.
I also think there are ways to be "flexible" in your pricing that doesn't diminish your pricing credibility like wavering and discounting does...and this brings me to another pricing mistake:
They Don't Stair-Step Their Pricing
Not everyone has the budget to have you in their home, staging it for days, so that is why it's always good to have a stair-stepped price model that allows for the "Do-It-Yourselfer" who can take your detailed Staging Report and do the work.
I always say that successful staging requires 4 things to work...
Objectivity - This is why the home seller who is connected to their home emotionally, can't stage it.
Extreme Design Expertise - The HGTV, design magazine, change their rooms up, design addicts who LOVE all things design have been training themselves through their passion for years. That's the Extreme Design Expertise it takes to stage beautifully.
Time/Energy - Home staging is a full-time job and that's why a busy agent who may have the top two qualifications doesn't always have the time and energy to do the work.
Valuable Vendor Partners - It is "who you know" and in staging, there are a myriad of vendors we cultivate from retailers, to furniture wholesalers to the people who do the work (painters, general contractors) that make our jobs seamless.
After Staging by Roxanne Flett
Looking at the 4 items above, if the seller has the time and energy to put into the staging, then a stager can have stair-stepped pricing and simply provide the objectivity, extreme expertise and vendor list in the Staging Report. This is what HSR Certified stagers are trained to do and they have access to a large, staging report model that works really well in the home!
Hopefully that gives you some food for thought on pricing. I'm going to continue this conversation in my next, BRAND NEW, live webinar, so I hope you can join me!
Staging pricing is one of the most confusing topics in our industry because we are dealing with a very complex product…the home. I’ve seen long-time, veteran stagers make pricing mistakes, so my hope is to “lift the lid” on this topic and cover some of it here and a lot more on my free, live webinar next week:-)…
I love to share stories of encouragement and success that so many of my HSR members and grads have had in this incredible industry! This story is a bit unique because it starts with someone who had the odds stacked a bit against them (healthwise) and ends with a Facebook Post, to the New Stager by this amazing HSR grad...enjoy!
When Lindsey first signed up for my HSR Certification program back in August of 2017, she had some big, legitimate concerns about starting a business...
In her "Getting to Know You Form" she mentioned that she had started a business but was not successful because she didn't have a blueprint for success.
"I have tried to start my own business before, in a different line of work, but I was missing too many pieces. I need that "business in a box" so to speak. With a someone telling me what steps I needed to be taken."
Before Navy and Gray Designs...
"I was laying in bed dealing with an autoimmune disease, and ran across Audra's Home Staging Resource website...it was a BAM moment and I knew that Home Staging would pull together all the random talents I had. I also knew that I had the 'eye'".
After Navy and Gray Designs...WOW!
"I have always had an eye for design, but i didn't think that I could make a living from it. Every house/apartment we have had I have staged. I staged our last house and we sold it to the first buyer! Then as we renovated our current home, I realized just how much I love design, the process and the end result."
Before Navy and Gray Designs
"After reading over Audra's website, I discovered how I could create my own business and still be there for my family. Setting my own schedule is gold, especially having an auto immune disease. It was the perfect fit for my lifestyle and talents."
After Navy and Gray Designs
"The HSR Certification Training gave me a good basis of what staging was and how to go about creating a business....Navy and Gray Designs is much more today than I thought it would be when I started."
Before Navy and Gray Designs...
"I have staged vacant houses, but also found a love of Redesign. Coincidentally, Redesign is a huge portion of my business. And with the skill set combined with staging, I bring a lot to the table when it comes to selling investment properties."
Audra Side Note - This is why you should get trained in BOTH staging and redesign as a business model:-)
After Navy and Gray Designs
Finally, Lindsey had this advice to say to new stagers on Facebook this week, so I had to share it to encourage you all...
When she created that post, she included a picture of her new moving truck and selfie...how cool is that?
What will your story look like? Join me for a free live webinar to see if this industry is for you...
I love to share stories of encouragement and success that so many of my HSR members and grads have had in this incredible industry! This story is a bit unique because it starts with someone who had the odds stacked a bit against them (healthwise)…
In this post, I'm going to share with you what I wrote in my latest National Association of Realtors blog post AND give you a FREE Vacant Sales Sheet PDF, so you can use it to educate sellers and agents on the importance of staging a vacant home...
When I started my HSR Certification training company over 14 years ago my mission was to "make hiring a professional home stager an industry standard similar to home inspections"...
I've always been actively involved in educating people on the benefits of home staging and good home design in order to achieve that mission. When I started...no one even knew what home staging was. I'm so proud of how far we've come!
As part of that mission, I blog for the National Association of Realtors on a regular basis to help promote my AWESOME HSR members and directory, as well as educate, educate, educate agents and home sellers on how to use a home stager, how to choose a home stager and most importantly...why staging is so important to their bottom line.
In that article I featured some INCREDIBLE before-and-after photos of Stephanie White's work that helps to visually show the changes in an empty space when it's staged correctly. I also used the analogy of me and my bikini...yikes!
After I wrote that article for NAR, I thought to myself...wouldn't it be great if that was made into a gorgeous, PDF for agents to give sellers and stagers to give agents? So, here you go...
Having trouble convincing agents to stage vacant properties? Here’s “4 Reasons Why Staging a Vacant Home is Critical” PLUS a FREE PDF download for you to use and give to agents!
There's been a lot of chatter in the staging and real estate community about "virtual staging" so I thought I would give my two cents on the matter. While virtual staging has been around for several years, it's making a bit of a comeback with the popularity of e-design and there is confusion between these two terms.
Before I jump in, let's be clear on WHAT virtual staging is and what it isn't...
Definition of Virtual Staging - Virtual staging is when photos of rooms in a home are altered and/or digitally edited to add/remove furnishings, features or paint color, for the benefit of online marketing in the multiple listing service (MLS) so that home buyers will be inclined to come to the home.
Some real estate agents are turning to virtual staging to save a buck and get "digitally staged photos" even though the rooms themselves are not staged. The photos are altered.
Virtual staging is VERY different than e-design in that e-design images are not meant to go on the MLS but used to show clients a design plan or mood board in a space before they commit to design purchases.
In fact, I'm doing a free, live webinar on "How to Make Money with E-Design" that I would love for you to join me on...
Do you see the difference there?
Virtual staging on the other hand is about staging the rooms DIGITALLY, so the photos online look good and buyers will be attracted to the space.
I see people confuse e-design and Virtual Staging, so I want to be very clear that when I talk and train on e-design, I'm not advocating virtual staging but teaching a wonderful way for designers and stagers to use technology to provide a visual to clients for their design plan (not MLS photos).
So...now that you are clear on that, let's talk about why virtual staging is probably NOT a good idea for agents or stagers to use or advocate.
Here are 5 reasons why virtual staging is a bad idea...
Most Virtual Staging Photos Look Fake
Technology has come a long way in this regard BUT by in large, even the BEST virtually staged photos have a bit of a cartoony or out-of-scale feel. Watch my Facebook Live video below to see the example photos I compare to real life staged photos.
Virtual Staging is a HUGE Let Down When Buyers See the Space in Person
Let's be honest...buyers don't make offers based on MLS photos alone. In fact, they view on average around 12 homes before making that coveted offer. Do you think the buyer will be happy to walk into a home that was virtual staged only to find it looks completely different? I like to describe virtual staging as the ultimate, in-person, buyer let down...
Some Would Say Virtual Staging is Deceptive
Like I said, virtual staging is not new to our industry. When we discussed the pros and cons of virtual staging in Stagers Connect (our private, social network for HSR grads), there were several negative stories told how buyers felt deceived and lied to when entering the home. Buyers had an expectation and felt betrayed by the agent when the rooms were clearly digitally mastered to appear better than in real life.
Agents Could Get Into Trouble Potentially
One stager who was a real estate agent commented that if it's not completely disclosed in the MLS commentary, an agent who uses virtually staged photos could be in violation of Article 12 of the Realtor Code of Ethics which speaks to this practice.
Okay, I can't just stop at 4 reasons since this one is a doozy...
Virtual Staging is Not Staging At All because it Completely Lacks Emotion
A well staged space is meant to evoke strong emotions in the home buyer. Staging is more about merchandising the space for that emotional connection that comes when the buyer wants to make an offer. While digitally altered photos could appeal online to the buyer, when they go to the space in person...that emotion is completely lacking due to the fact that the space is bare.
If you're a home stager trying to have a discussion with your agent partners on why virtual staging could hurt their business, I hope this post helped out a bit. I hate to bash anything or be negative about a service but this is my opinion on the matter based on years of experience with that service.
While it could be more affordable to an agent to virtually stage rather than pay for actual staging...the actual cost to their business and reputation is probably not worth it. I would recommend leaving the space bare before putting up photos that create a false hope in the buyers personally...
I recently did a Facebook Live on this subject, so here's the video of that event...
4 Reasons Virtual Staging is Not a Good Idea - YouTube
There’s been a lot of chatter in the staging and real estate community about “virtual staging” so I thought I would give my two cents on the matter….I think it’s a bad idea. In fact, here are 5 reasons why virtual staging is not a good idea for agents…
EXACTLY a year ago, Laura Bohn, a Minneapolis home stager took the plunge into staging...she was exactly where YOU may be and here's her story and design work to inspire you...
I worked as a Radiology Technician for 3 years with Twin Cities Orthopedics until I took the plunge to pursue my dream of owning a business in design...
It was actually my sister that gave me the idea of home staging. She went to a tent show at the Minneapolis Convention Center and ran into a lady that was a home stager. She went through the HSR training and raved about it, so my sister happened to get all of her personal information for me to reach out. She thought very highly of HSR and told me to really consider it if I wanted a career change.
It wasn't a tough decision for me to make. It all felt right...
I was very unhappy in Radiology and knew it wasn't my forever career. I was sick of working for someone, I wanted to work for myself and build an empire of a company while I was at it. I completed most of the HSR training while I was still working in Radiology, but on January 12th, 2018 I said to myself enough is enough and quit my day job to pursue my dream full-time...
It was the best decision I have EVER made!
Looking back, it's funny how I think I learned more about business in the HSR training than I did in my 4-year Bachelor's Degree in Business Management.
They didn't teach me the processes it takes to start your own business, such as how to get an LLC, EIN, build a website, properly network, etc. Not only do I feel confident now in my business processes from the training I received from HSR, but I feel like I can conquer ANYTHING that comes my way because I have the resources and fellow stagers that I've met along the way right at my disposal.
I've been in business less than a year and I've already seen tremendous growth by putting HSR's training into action...
It's the start of 2019, so today I look at my business as this is my year. I want to go out there and smile more, challenge myself, take risks, set new goals and make a change not only for myself and my business, but for the homeowners I have the chance to work with.
I love helping people sell their homes or redesign their current home. I love the looks on their faces when they see their home staged for the first time, but I love it even more when the home sells fast and for top dollar. If I can make people happy by selling their home or designing a space that better suits their lifestyle that they look forward coming home to, then I'm doing my job.
If I had to do it all over again, I wish I would have started 10 years ago! Even if you're on the fence about it, I say just go for it...
Having company over for Christmas? Here are my favorite, downloadable, Christmas decoration "hacks" that are super easy to create, look beautiful and fit the budget...
We used our E-Design Boards to create visual examples of easy ways you can decorate for Christmas on a budget. Feel free to download these Guides and use the shopping links (or visit your local stores that are listed) to get these essentials.
7 Quick Christmas Decoration Hacks You Will Love
As you can see from the image above, it's not hard to repurpose a lot of what you already own to create a more festive space. It's the little details in these quick projects that bring a smile to my face. Click on the image below to download the full Guide with Shopping links...
Want to get more inspired with some vintage, trending, holiday updates? Here's 5 more holiday decorating updates that are oh so festive...
Buffalo plaid is trending this holiday and you saw it in my last post in pillow covers and a stuffed reindeer but why not as a table runner centerpiece too? Vintage items are also trending, so the printables, red truck and wooden ladder decor will fit right in with this year's nostalgic Christmas...
Maybe you just need some guidance on how to make your dining room table sparkle. Here's some curated dining table centerpiece ideas to inspire you...
Enjoy these free downloads and enjoy your holiday season!
Christmas is right around the corner, so here MORE, AMAZING Christmas decorating “hacks” you can do quickly to festify your table tops, dining room chairs, entry way and stairs…
Goal Setting & Planning to Get the Most Out of Your 2019!Free, live webinar on creating a doable "Stager’s Calendar" that will help you plan and set goals for an amazing 2019!
Please join me and together we will brainstorm your perfect 2019!
Wednesday, January 9 at 4:00pm (Pacific Time/7pm Easern Time)
What You'll Learn on the
Looking Back in Order to Move Forward - Reflection Lessons
How to DREAM BIG but be Realistic
4 Key Questions to Ask Yourself During the Goal Setting Phase
Systems Rather Than Goals and Steps to Take Your There in 2019
6 Tangible Goals for Stagers of All Levels and the Steps to Achievement
BONUS! An example "Stagers Calendar for Marketing" the Whole Year Round
Make 2019 your year and join me for a FREE staging training webinar on Wednesday, January 9 entitled, “Goal Setting & Planning to Get the Most Out of Your 2019″ – Free, live webinar on creating a doable “Stager’s Calendar” that will help you plan and set goals for an amazing 2019!
Have you ever opened up your holiday decor boxes and wondered where the heck do those items go in your home OR why you even bought them in the first place?
Or maybe you're like me and you have three bins of holiday decor that you have no idea how to use but can't bring yourself to throw away?
All three of these things went through my head as I opened my holiday decor bins with high hopes...only to find some really crappy, Christmas decor...ugh. It was definitely time for an update!
That's why I'm so excited to share with you my incredibly talented Expert E-Designer's wonderfully easy holiday decor updates on a budget with shopping links in the form of TWO FREE DOWNLOADS!
Gina is our staff e-designer who curates most all of our boards and is the go-to person for shopping on a budget. She got very carried away curating holiday design ideas and boards for our Expert E-Designer training that I thought were too cool not to share.
Here's a list of some "Must-Have" Christmas Decor that quickly updates your look and is easy on the pocket book...
All of these holiday decor items are extremely versatile, classic and budget friendly. In this post and in my next post I'm going to show you how to use these items to create vignettes, update your tablescapes, create gorgeous centerpieces and more.
Do you have some empty spaces in your home that can use holiday cheer? Make these 3 holiday vignettes on the fly using some of the items in your guide above...
Enjoy these free downloads and stay tuned for more holiday design hot tips!
Have you critically looked over your holiday decorations recently? Here’s some easy ideas and items that will go a LONG way in updating your holiday home…free downloads!
I absolutely LOVE this time of year because it brings a season of reflection, gratefulness, togetherness and helps me to refocus on what's important for next year. Fall is also the perfect time of year to bring the outdoors in and make your house feel like home. In the past, I've told you about my unconventional Thanksgiving traditions but here are other ways I embrace the season.
Here are 6 hot tips for getting your "Fall On":-)
Inspired by the warmth and vibrant colors of Fall (as well as our Colors of the Year 2019), our newly launched E-Design board captures the ambiance of the season. Orange, brown and creamy colors are balanced in this living room space to create a warm and a welcoming atmosphere.
The super popular, Pottery Barn sofa and chairs provide a nice neutral place where the autumn pillows can make their statement (and you can swap them out easily from season to season). The canvas tree art and birch wood logs are a great way to invite the outdoors in and capture the feeling of fall throughout the space.
Take Time to Be Grateful and Focus on the "Good Stuff"
I get it, sometimes life has a way of beating us down. I can get hundreds of client compliments and then there's that one negative that can HAUNT me. How do I refocus? I think about all the good stuff in my business and life. I focus on simply...being grateful.
Sometimes this means I get off of social media and don't watch the news for a few days to re-calibrate. It's okay that I'm not instantly responding to Facebook requests.
To avoid burn-out and to really enjoy the changing of the season, I need to reflect on the positive.
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Focus on what's working in my business rather than what's not
Focus on the things I like to do in my business and think about outsourcing the stuff I don't
Think about all the beautiful people in my life and send them good thoughts and prayers
Remember that my gifts are meant to be shared and being thankful for those gifts
November is the time to rethink what I'm doing in a positive way as I prepare for a holiday of Thanksgiving then Christmas.
Dial-In Your Dining Room Table
Since I don't have a lot of storage space in my home, I love the idea of taking my existing decor (that I love) and redecorating it for the season. HSR Grad Kellie Carroll of KMC Redesign Studio shared these photos of how she redecorated her table for the fall...I LOVE IT!
Make a Statement Piece
You can create a unique and beautiful succulent topped pumpkin arrangement in minutes (or buy one on Etsy for $75). With a pumpkin or gourd, a variety of small succulents, tacky glue and some moss, you can create this arrangement for your home for under $25. This beauty can be used through Thanksgiving and can be replanted in another container for the next season.
Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. As a design style, think of sheep skin rugs, a warm throw blanket, pillar candles, a fire in the fireplace, hot tea and furry slippers. If those items don't make you feel like fall, I don't know what does!
Layered rugs, sheepskin furs on chairs, knobby pillows, wood in a basket ready to furn and a cozy throw over the couch literally make me want to sink into this home!Here are some of my favorite Amazon throws to complete your fall look:
Click to go to Amazon
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Tap Into Your "First Sense"
Out of all of our 5 senses, the sense of smell gives us the most nostalgia. Create that nostalgia for your family this season by using fall candles. Fall has it's own intoxicating smells and scents of the season.
Just by lighting candles you can cozy up your home and fill it with smells like pumpkin pie, freshly picked apples, sage, nutmeg or other favorite seasonal scents. If you’re not a fan of scented candles but still want the ambience, battery operated timer candles are the way to go!
My favorite candles are at Anthropologie because they smell amazing and last forever.
Click for Anthropologie Source
I hope you enjoy your entire holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year's and spoil yourself a bit.
For more on how I spend my Thanksgiving holiday, check out my Unconventional Thanksgiving post below...