Thursday, April 16, 2009

Certified Staging Professionals - Helping Hands in Tough Economic Times

As a Certified Staging Professionals trainer, I am always truly impressed with the amazing transformations our trainees create on Day Three of our staging training program. Although we all pride ourselves in the incomparable learning experience CSP offers our trainees during our three-day, intensive staging training "boot camp", we are also equally proud of the talent, creativity and work ethic of our class teams. After two days of classroom teaching, everyone feels tired and some are a little overwhelmed. But on Day Three when the class receives their staging challenge, the adrenaline and creative juices kick in, and within a few hours, with very limited resources, miracles occur.

Experiencing these staging transformations is always so gratifying for all of us. When the homeowners and agents return to assess our staging work, there is always apprehension. Will they like what we have done? Will they object to any changes we have made? Of course, we hope that everyone will be happy with what we have created. Stagers thrive on enthusiastic positive reinforcement. However, in some cases, the rewards are far more meaningful.

Recently, one of my classes staged a home for a family in unfortunate circumstances. The husband had been badly injured in a car accident and had been hospitalized for months. In spite of regular physiotherapy, he was still unable to resume work in his own small business. Sadly, this had caused financial hardship for the family and had led to the need for them to sell their home. After two months on the extremely tough real estate market, the house had not received any offers.

My class of five incredible CSP trainees rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Room by room, they edited excess items and carried them to the basement, re-arranged existing furnishings, searched closets and cabinets for optional linens and staging items, and then showcased each room. The result was transformational. After four and a half hours, the home felt more welcoming and spacious, and focal points and key strengths were highlighted.

The husband came home first and was extremely happy and complimented us all on our hard work. He called his wife to tell her about the changes and she came home to see for herself. They were truly overwhelmed. The wife said her home had never looked so beautiful. They were such a lovely couple and our class was truly touched by them and their situation. As we left, the husband took my hand and said, “God bless you.”

The market is extremely competitive these days and we cannot guarantee that this newly staged home will now sell quickly. Although we left them a list of additional recommendations, it is doubtful that they will be able to follow through on these due to their financial circumstances. Undoubtedly, the house is far more marketable than it was before we created our CSP staging magic. But what we do know for certain is that in a brief moment in time, CSP touched the lives of these wonderful people and brought them pure joy in the beauty of their home. It is so gratifying to me that not only are we providing the best staging training in the industry for our CSPs, but we are also helping so many deserving home sellers in the process.

In this tough real estate market, home sellers and real estate agents must integrate professional staging services in their marketing plan. Some agents are saying, if you don’t stage, you’re helping to sell the competition. In this buyers’ market, the key success factors are: realistic pricing, optimal presentation and savvy marketing. Certified Staging Professionals collaborate with home sellers and real estate agents to ensure that their properties can be marketed to full potential. Our goals are to maximize the return on the sale of our clients’ most valuable assets and to minimize time on the market. Our professional services are now more important than ever.

I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to work in a profession that has such an important role to play. As the president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc., I have collaborated with home sellers and real estate agents on the staging and marketing of over $500 million in real estate, and as a CSP trainer, I can share this diverse experience and expertise. And I am very proud to be a member of the Certified Staging Professionals team because I sincerely believe that this is the best staging training program in the industry, with unparalleled after-training support. Christine Rae, CSP’s visionary founder, continues to set the bar higher for the entire professional staging community as her exemplary organization expands in North America and now Australia

For more information on our upcoming Certified Staging Professional classes, please visit www.stagingtraining.com.

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