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Monday, November 15, 2010

Green or Eco-Friendly Home Staging

Green Home Staging
By Jennie Norris, ASP Master®, IAHSP® President, President Denver IAHSP® Regional Chapter and Owner, Sensational Home Staging

The trend across the country is to have eco-friendly everything – “Green” is the buzz word to identify those people or industries that want to do more to conserve resources. People and companies are “going Green” in an effort to help protect our planet and our futures.

Did you know that ASP® Home Stagers have been doing this BEFORE the word “Green” was even in fashion? I was reminded of this during a leadership call with the Creator of Home Staging®, Barb Schwarz – who really has been teaching the idea of using what someone has or “repurposing” – which is really what the Green movement is all about – for nearly 40 years.


Home Staging with a Green focus or eco-friendly focus can be about using natural materials, cotton, bamboo, jute rugs, real greenery (instead of silk) which is so easy to do. . . I have done some of these projects and it is really simple to adapt to that type of Staging by thinking about what we are using and how we use it in Staging. (go to http://www.sensationalhome.com/ and link to eco-friendly home staging to learn more).


We even have an eco-friendly “star” in the ASP® Family that has developed a whole line of eco-friendly furniture to use in Staging houses – that is made from recycled materials and this genius was born from a need in the Staging industry and finding a way to fill it. (go to http://www.nextstagefurniture.com/ to find out more).


But when it comes to the average person’s home and selling – an ASP® Home Stager is already in the mode being Green – which is about using what is in the house – repurposing and find new uses for items that otherwise could get thrown out or as others in the industry that don’t have the same training might do – have the homeowner go purchase MORE stuff. . . that they don’t need which then causes even more wastefulness.


This philosophy has been taught for nearly 12 years and used in successful real estate sales for nearly 40 years! As the original Home Staging training course, Accredited Staging Professionals (ASPs) have been doing “Green Staging” since the beginning and that makes me really happy to know that I am part of an industry that does care about the environment and the future of our planet, and that we were doing a service for clients and the world before it was “trendy.”


So if you want a Green approach to preparing your occupied house for sale, look no further than your local ASP® Home Stager. Give them a call – and then sit back and watch in amazement as they transform your house using your things – and put the focus on selling your house – not selling you on purchasing a bunch of stuff you don’t need. If you have a vacant house – give your ASP® Stager a call to get an honest assessment of what you need to showcase your house working with your budget and timeframe to make the most impact for Buyers.

WHAT ARE YOU PAYING ME FOR? Part 3 of 4 by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP President

WHAT ARE YOU PAYING ME FOR: PART 3
By Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP®, Owner, Sensational Home Staging


In today's market, many people can be confused about what they are actually paying for when hiring a professional Stager. In my last post, I talked about the Staging Consultation and what the underlying costs are – and what you pay for when including this service as part of preparing your house for sale. Remember, professional Stagers have business overhead and marketing expenses, and the costs to having an actual business - not just a hobby - and why it's important to hire someone that knows what they are doing.

In this post - we talk about The Vacant House. This type of Staging has a lot of work that goes in before the actual Staging takes place. In most markets, a Vacant House Staging starts at about $800 and goes up from there. There are 3 types of Vacant Staging: Light, Moderate and Fully Furnished and based on your budget and the type of property we are Staging, we will recommend the most cost-effective solution that gets your property SOLD.

What we don’t want to do is say something is “Staged” when there is no furniture in the property, when the “Staging” is not going to truly help a Buyer visualize living in the house or when the quality is not of the standard based on the type of property. If you are not going to Stage it right, then don’t do it at all because you are wasting your money. You need to invest the money up front to get your house or listing SOLD so Stage it so that it will SELL.

Here is a run-down of what typically goes into Staging a vacant property:

For a Vacant House: I drive to the location of the house to preview the property – typically at no charge to the client or you. While I am there I begin to form a vision and plan for what has to be done to Stage the house. I am not being paid at this point.

I go back to my house and prepare a detailed proposal – and have to research pricing for rental items and furnishings that are needed for the Staging. I am still not being paid a dime. This process can take hours to even days to find the exact pieces that are needed for your particular house or listing. 
I put the proposal together and then share it with the my client. I answer any questions they may have about the Staging and pricing. I negotiate. I listen to concerns they may have and overcome them. Hours have gone into the process at this point and I have still not been paid anything.

Once the Seller agrees to the Staging, I have to send them an Staging Services Agreement and secure payment, and establish the date for the Staging.

Then the work begins of pulling the Staging together. I take time to source furnishings from my own inventory or outside source. I coordinate the financial aspects of the Staging. I pull a team together and hire them for the Staging day. More time in the process is taken here.

Once I process the payment according to the terms of the Agreement, I finally get paid. On Staging Day we meet early and get loaded up and ready. 70% of the Staging is completed by this point because I have been planning this project mentally and now it’s just a matter of executing the plan.

We drive to the house and get the Staging done. I coordinate the entire project – what piece goes where, what each room should look like, and convey that to the people I hired to work with me on the project.

Once the Staging is complete, I coordinate the return of trucks, pay for labor, and then turn to the marketing of the property. If there are any incidences with the Staging, my insurance policy is activated and I take care of it. My goal is to make the process as user-friendly and easy for Sellers and to get the house sold.

I take photos that I will share with Realtors as needed. I put your listing up on a special website featuring only Staged properties and brings leads to you. I send you an interactive media show on the house that you can use to market the property. I will create customized flyers for your future listings, and if I get a call from the house I Staged, the leads are passed to you as my partner in success.

And once the house Sells, I and my team come back and remove everything efficiently and effectively, and restock the inventory.

All this is done and included in the price of the Vacant Home Staging.

Can you see why something like this would cost more than $500?

Monday, November 1, 2010

WHAT ARE YOU PAYING ME FOR? Part 2 of 4 by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP President

In today's market, many people can be confused about what they are actually paying for when hiring a professional Stager. In my last post, I talked about the business overhead and marketing expenses, and the costs to having an actual business - not just a hobby - and why it's important to hire someone that knows what they are doing.


In this post - we talk about The Staging Consultation or as it is sometimes referred to "The Staging Report, Staging Plan, etc." No matter how you name it - the goal is to share with a Seller and/or Realtor what is needed to get a house ready for sale when the owner plans on doing the work themselves.... On average - the investment to provide a Staging Consultation averages between $150-$375 around the country and the pricing depends on the market where you live and the square footage of your house.


As you read below, consider this:

1. Average Appraisal: $400-$600

2. Average Home Inspection: $400+

3. Average Pest Inspection: $80-$100 and usually leads to $$$$ for repairs

Staging is the only service done in preparation of a house that brings MEASURABLE value and we help a homeowner keep 5-20% of their equity. So for the "Staging Report" - investing $150-$375 to get clear direction on what to do to help you keep 5-20% of your house value - is WORTH it!

For a Staging Consultation: I arrive at the scheduled time and rarely charge for time and gas to get to your client's house (unlike other service industries that have a "trip fee"). I have my report materials with me that I paid for - and a packet that I will leave with your client that I have prepped ahead of time.

When I walk in the door - I am immediately engaging my psychology skills to understand the Seller and what motivates them. In a matter of seconds to minutes I have to size up that person and adapt myself and my communication style to reflect theirs so we "sync" up and they are receptive to what I share. And when there is a couple - I must do this with not one, but two people - that I am sometimes meeting for the first time. This is called "developing Rapport" - and is a SKILL that must be learned through experience and training. Without Rapport - well - good luck getting your client to take down the painting of the naked woman or dead animal head they have hanging in their dining room.

Next, I have to walk through the house - first time to see it - and come up with "the Staging PLAN" in my head and figure out solutions that meet the Seller's timeframe and budget. I have to be able to "see" their house in a different way in my head. This talent is present in less than 10% of the population and it's more than just decluttering surfaces.

While I am there I am building camaraderie and rapport with the client - this is so when I go through my recommendations with them there is a foundation of trust and likeability between us. I do this in many ways - subtlety and skillfully.

Next, I prepare a detailed consultation report - and some Stagers hand-write this professionally while others prefer to type theirs. Regardless, your client is given a detailed summary of what is needed, room by room throughout the whole interior, and the curb appeal (all parts of their yard, the house, etc.) issue is addressed in detail as well.

When I go through my recommendations with the Seller, I must be able to communicate my vision effectively to the Seller in way that does not offend or hurt their feelings.

While I work with your client, I boost you as the Realtor - I edify, I am there as your advocate - I have your back. The deadline is set - and it all ties back to the desired MLS date that you have set with your client.

As a professional Stager that is networked throughout the region, I also provide Value Added Services to your Client in the form of discounts on things they may need such as paint supplies, moving services, storage services and more.

Then I follow up with your client - I make sure they are on track based on the goals and listing dates. I encourage them. I hand-hold if needed. I am available to help finish the Staging if they get overwhelmed or are not able to get it done themselves.

After the Staging is done, I help market that property (now not all Stagers do this - but I do). I take photos that I will share with Realtors as needed. I put your listing up on a special website featuring only Staged properties and brings leads to you. I send you an interactive media show on the house that you can use to market the property. I will create customized flyers for your future listings, and if I get a call from the house I Staged, the leads are passed to you as my partner in success.

All this is done and included in the price of the Staging Consultation Report. And all this helps YOU as the Seller or YOU as the Realtor (or as the Investor, Builder, etc.) KEEP more equity in the house.

So in summary - when you hire me for a Staging Consultation - you are paying me for my creativity, vision, ideas, psychology skills, communication skills, and business acumen to help get your client on board with the Staging and keep them on track.

It is a worthwhile investment to pay a Professional Home Stager to do it right!