DO YOUR HOMEWORK... before you sign up for training.

By
Real Estate Agent with Baird & Warner

 

Home staging is beginning to blossom as interest and awareness grows and more and more people positively experience the rewards of that home staging brings to both the home seller and realtor.

And... with so much positive possibility and "buzz" about what we do... more and more people are trusting in home staging as a career and are researching home staging training resources for professional education. Many are discovering

With all this swirling around my head... I thought I could take a positive step to help those interested in home staging.

So this weekend I happened to be working on updating my 'pretty blog" and decide to create one listing of all the entities that offer sort home staging educational training courses in North America. WOW was I surprised. I counted 22 larger companies and countless small independent stagers that offer classes in staging training.

So if you are going to receive any formal training in home staging... let me give you a tip. OPEN YOUR EYES and LOOK at the companies. Their websites are windows into their ability and professionalism.

To make it easier (this is in now way an endorsement of ANY one... although I do have a few favorites), here are links to the 22 larger entities that offer some sort of training for home staging.)

Click EACH and start seeing for yourself...

(POST SCRIPT: SINCE writing this posting I have found and continue to learn of MANY other resources that offer foundation training in home staging... for the MOST COMPREHENSIVE LIST go to my "Pretty" Blog where they are ALL GROUPED for easy access and review.)

Its really quite simple... when researching these companies and their informational web sites keep in mind that the career you are undertaking is Home Staging which, is the business of creating AMAZING first impressions. So if a company is going to TEACH it... they should BE it. EVERY element of their site should be clean, clear and beautifully display & convey just what they are about.

The industry has trained and produced a number of people who now have gone out applying and perfect their skills and are now offering their own courses. Remember, while the "biggest" may not be the best... the small "mom and pop" shop may not offer the most comprehensive training either.

If you know me you will know that I believe there are NO coincidences in the world. As I was researching and composing this post for, 2 other separate and unrelated post appeared here in the Rain that shed new light on the subject of home staging training.

The first was a comment by (literally) "the staging diva" Debra Gould on one of my blogs that to this day gets quite a bit of traffic... ASP? HSE? What's-a-stager-SUPPOSED-to-be? Debra who teaches training offers her wise insight to anyone considering training. I encourage you to check out what she said by clicking the previous link.

The second was a revealing blog about training posted here by a Shell Brodnax. Shell worked for 4 years with one of the largest professional staging training organization in the country that boast they "certify/accredit" people who take their course. While people enjoyed the initial training experience... they soon became disillusioned having to deal with what was NOT trained or covered in the EXPENSIVE course they took. Her lists of 35 questions she had to dance around, when asked by graduates after training speaks to the complexity of what it REALLY takes to stage a home and what NEEDS to be taught by organizations claiming to offer professional staging training.

Bottom Line, Home Staging is NOT just fluffing a nick nack, it is a BUSINESS.

So I guess it comes down to... let the buyer beware.

Stage it forward...

Me

Post Script #1: I happen to know that this is one of my most visited posts... if you are looking into a career and trainging in home staging I STRONLY encourage you to read this: Home Staging 101: Day in the life of a stager- this ain't for the faint of heart! This post by Kate Hart is a bit tongue-in-cheek... but it REALLY is what this "glamorous" industry is all about.

Post Script #2: If there are any training resources that should be included in the list here... please let me know.

POST SCRIPT #3: SINCE writing this posting I have found and continue to learn of MANY other resources that offer foundation training in home staging... for the MOST COMPREHENSIVE LIST go to my "Pretty" Blog where they are ALL GROUPED for easy access and review.

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Rainmaker
226,829
Craig Schiller
Baird & Warner - St. Charles, IL

Thanks Craig for putting together this awesome list and I love the comments people have added. It was also a pleasure to see that some of them came from Staging Diva Graduates. I'm really proud of their accomplishments, starting a business and putting yourself out there is never easy!

I clicked thru on all the links on your post and I was amazed at how many programs have sprung up in the last year alone. It was also astonishing to me how many of the better designed sites were filled with stock images. They're not hard to spot, they look like they came from magazines because they're shot by professionals working with a team of photo stylists. I once did a photo spread for Woman's Day Magazine of my own house and we took two whole days to shoot only 5 rooms (and it wasn't because I have large rooms!).

In the same way that I object to training program giving their graduates porfolio photos to present as their own work, I object to the use of stock images on home staging websites. If you're selling your ability to stage rooms (or teach others to do it), and you're showing room shots, the implication is that it's your own staging work.

All the photos on sixelements.com (my home staging company's site) are of houses that I've personally staged. They are my own photos just as all the copy is my own writing.  All the photos on stagingdiva.com (my staging training company's site) are of houses that I've personally staged, except for the various portfolio pages that make up the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers. I do not allow any stock photos on my Graduates Directory pages for the reasons stated above. Anything in their portfolio must be their own work.

In addition to suggesting that aspiring stagers "open their eyes and look at the company's websites and professionalism", I would add that they should pick up the phone and call these companies. Ask to speak to the trainer directly so you can get a better sense of who they are and what their approach is.

  • Do they answer your questions and concerns with professionalism?
  • Do they sound like they know what they're talking about?
  • How long have they been staging houses and for how long before training others?

When people call me, they get me on the phone. It's amazing to see how many callers are shocked by that. I'm not always at my desk since I do continue to stage houses (one of the reasons I don't travel all over the country teaching!), but if you leave a message, I will call you back, usually within 24 hours.

I offered a free Preview Session last week by phone. There were about 80 people on the line and I took questions from the audience for about 90 minutes about what it's like being in the home staging business, ideas for marketing, how I got started in the business and more. You can listen to it FREE here.

debra

Debra Gould, The Staging Diva
President, Six Elements Inc.

P.S. I have lots of projects needing stagers and even a speaking engagement for the right stager. Read about these jobs here.

Jan 09, 2007 11:55 PM #29
Anonymous
Julea Joseph

Judy Kincaid is dead right on!  Everyone and their brother are now "Trainers" in the staging field!!!  It is of  utmost importance, if you're looking for training, that the trainer has been actually doing a client-based business for at least three years. Some of these "trainers" have been "trained" themselves in the past year!  Also, portfolios and references don't lie...- Egads! - I can't even imagine that if a person was starting a new career, or was ready to invest a chunk of money,  they wouldn't do tons of research, and inquires prior to jumping into a new line of work. 

Jan 10, 2007 10:28 AM #30
Rainer
189,717
Judy Kincaid
Tampa, FL

Craig---I was checking out one of the links you listed and found info about a new book selling for $139.95 (reduced from $199.95) that teaches you how to get rich by staging only luxury homes.  I sure hope people are doing their "homework" before reaching for their credit cards on this one.  Before you know it, we will be inundated with home staging training infomercials on TV!

Julea---Thanks for validating my point!

Jan 10, 2007 10:54 AM #31
Rainer
29,649
Jessica Hughes
Ambiance Staging - Boulder, CO

Craig,

A little off topic, but I also wanted to mention one other element that is crucial in the staging business.  As the saying goes "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink".  A stager must be persuasive, and enegmatic; be able to persuade the homeowner to implement the changes.  Any real estate agent looking for a professional stager will want to ensure that it is someone who will always present a professional image, tactfullness, and especially loquacity, allure.

Jan 10, 2007 11:04 PM #32
Rainmaker
343,374
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

I agree with Jessica, it is critical that the stager be able to present their ideas in a compelling and diplomatic way.

I discussed the "can lead a horse to water" idea in a post called Sometimes Home Staging Won't Work.

 

debra

Jan 12, 2007 11:57 AM #33
Rainer
379,436
Audra Slinkey
Home Staging Resource - San Diego, CA

Craig,

I want to encourage you all out there as well as offer a word of marketing advice to Marilyn.  Even though it may seem that Home Stagers are cropping up everywhere, I have to tell you, their not on the Internet thus will not be found easily by their clients (Real Estate Agents who are all over the Internet).

My previous life was as an international speaker and published author on the methods of Internet Sourcing and Research.  In Week 2 of the HSR training program I teach my students via live webinar how to market themselves online (the students can see my computer screen while on a teleconference call).  As you all know, it's much easier to sell something to someone who has found you rather than doing the cold calling yourself.  Before every training, I do research prep work for each student on the call in all areas of the country.  RARELY, do I find another home stagers website connected to an applicable association, preferred vendor list or concierge.

To market yourself effectively you need to be where your target market is.  The beauty of home staging is that it gives you a specific target market that is easy and inexpensive to market to.  The Internet is a fabulous and easy medium for being found and finding your clients so make sure you take the time to do your research.  Good luck!

Warm Regards,

Audra Slinkey
http://www.homestagingresource.com/
audra@homestagingresource.com

FYI - I have a feeling Debra's comment about the gorgeous training website with photos is about HSR, "They're not hard to spot, they look like they came from magazines because they're shot by professionals working with a team of photo stylists."  I appreciate the flattery but to SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT, every photo on the Home Staging Resource website was PERSONALLY taken by me (no team of photo stylists) with my little old Kodak Easy Share digital camera.  Believe it or not, I didn't even use Photoshop to edit them!  If you want free advice on taking great "After" photos, go to http://www.homestagingresource.com/pixtips.asp ...Stage It Forward

 

Jan 12, 2007 01:10 PM #34
Rainmaker
343,374
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

Audra, I actually wasn't talking about your site at all. I visited all the sites in Craig's post. 

Congratulations on taking such nice photos to market your own services and I'm glad you're helping others to do the same. I feel strongly that any photo we use in our marketing materials should be of our own work. I actually just did a post about that called, "Stock Images: Effective Marketing Tool or Misleading Advertising?"

To your other point about the Internet, I completely agree that it is one of the best ways to build a staging business and most people are missing that opportunity (wasting money instead on single newspaper ads and flyers). Building a page is only the beginning. Being found and driving traffic to it is quite another story.

That's why I spend so much time on this as part of the Staging Diva Program. It's also why I created the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers and why the people listed in it have been emailing me about the projects and media interviews they've been getting as a result. One even observed that within 3 weeks her page being posted on the Staging Diva Directory, it came up number 1 of over one million listings on Google.  You can read hers and other comments  here. Graduates supply their own porfolio photos and copy and then I build their page, write the code for search engines to find them, and then host their page on my high traffic staging site, where homeowners and agents are actively looking for home stagers.

If the Internet weren't such a fabulous vehicle for building a home staging business, how else could I have referred a staging project to my Staging Diva Graduate all the way in Johannesburg South Africa, or the hundreds of others I've referred to graduates across the US and Canada?

You can read about many of these projects at my free site for stagers and aspiring stagers called, The Business of Home Staging.

 

Debra

 

Jan 12, 2007 02:30 PM #35
Ambassador
1,464,096
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection
Craig this was rather informative for anyone considering the field. This is what I like about AR, the way members share information. 
Jan 13, 2007 10:23 AM #36
Rainer
9,660
Marilynn Currie
Staging for Top Dollar Stager 9 - Abbotsford, BC

Hi Craig,

Thanks for the marketing advice. For all you stagers out there please choose to not use the word "fluffing"

as it has a pornographic meaning  as buffing the participants before turning on the camera. Yikes!

Marilynn Currie CSP Abbotsford /Chilliwack

Jan 13, 2007 04:33 PM #37
Anonymous
Phyllis Pafumi

I love this blog and the fact that you direct people to different training courses. I am thankful that after checking out a few there was an opening in my part of town with Lori Matzke, Center Stage. She was practical and hands on and confirmed to me about Staging what I already had been dabbling in. I needed to get marketing and business ideas and her informmation has helped me to start, but I did attend a 6 week business course after that.

After my name being put on Lori's website, I had my first job within (2) weeks and continue to be part of this builder's team. THANKS LORI!

Phyllis Pafumi 

Jan 14, 2007 09:45 AM #38
Rainer
6,230
account deactivated
not listed - Concord, MA

Thank you for putting this together, Craig.  Very comprehensive!

I agree with the poster who suggested you offer training, but here is another idea that will get your great writing and incredible ideas out on a larger scale.  Just like any other fast-growing industry, I predict someone out there will, or is already working on launching a trade journal/magazine.  Imagine it.  You would be a great editor.  Let me know when I can sign up for my first subscription.

Lisa

BostonHomeStaging.com

Jan 14, 2007 11:01 AM #39
Rainer
9,660
Marilynn Currie
Staging for Top Dollar Stager 9 - Abbotsford, BC

Hello from B.C.

There is trade journal/magazine under the Canadian Staging Professionals starting January /07. Haven't seen  the mock up yet  but it will be a good selling tool to give to potential clients.

Marilynn Currie CSP Abbotsford/Chilliwack

Jan 14, 2007 02:58 PM #40
Rainer
9,848
Dianne Abrams
Dianne's Dynamic Designs - Fredericton, NB

Hi Craig

I am new t AR & have just started my Staging Co. I took a 30 hour course in Canada with Christine Rae.

Canadian Staging Professionals Have you heard of us?

Love your site I am coming back to it again & again & I will be watching your blog

Dianne

Jan 28, 2007 08:19 AM #41
Rainmaker
226,829
Craig Schiller
Baird & Warner - St. Charles, IL

Hi Diane...

FIRST... welcome to the wonderful world of staging. The fun and work NOW begins. I wish you the best.

Yes, I have heard of Christine Rae and of Canadian Staging Professionals... but I think she altered the name slightly (or has 2 companies) to be Certified Staging Professionals. WHICH happens to be the second company listed above.

Stage it forward...

Me

 

Jan 28, 2007 08:36 AM #42
Rainer
23,675
Alyse Bromberg
Dressed for Success - Kingston, ON

Dianne and Craig - Yes CSP - Certified Staging Professionals and CSP Canadian Staging Professionals are the same thing, but one is marketed to the US and one to Canada. - and with different logos,

 

 

Feb 07, 2007 11:16 PM #43
Rainer
53,929
Kimberly Uksik
Independent - Pickering, ON
Home Stager - Durham, Toronto, On.
Yes the Canadian Staging Professionals came first but you can't market a staging training with Canadian in the name to the US so that is where Certified came from
Feb 08, 2007 06:08 AM #44
Rainmaker
301,261
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes
Just curious as to why www.stagedhomes.com was not on your list....
Mar 02, 2007 08:21 PM #45
Rainmaker
301,261
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes
correction, my bad, you had it as staged homes only....mi culpa!  stage on!
Mar 02, 2007 08:22 PM #46
Rainer
4,165
Lanita, Interior Concept Designs, Home Staging
Interior Concept Designs - Silver Spring, MD
Wow!  You've don a lot of work to compile all of this information.  This is a great resource!  Thanks.
Apr 16, 2007 10:29 PM #47
Rainmaker
56,419
Patrick Canavan
Keller Williams Realty - Yorba Linda, CA
Orange County Real Estate Voice
Thank you so much for all the information you have posted.  I have been trying to find information on this for a while.  I hired someone to do staging for me on a home last year and she did a terrible job.  She had me do all the work and in the end I think I would have had the home looking much better without her.  I thought then I need to learn more about staging and offer this to my clients.  I plan to check out your links.
Jul 12, 2007 11:12 PM #48
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