No free lunches in Vacant Home Staging? When I started I was advised by my mentor one Saturday afternoon a few months back, to take small steps. Go to Open Houses, leave my card and offer some free consultations to Realtors, and for sure, don't take on anything I can't deliver. In the meantime, get your vacant home staging packages together so you'll be ready if that's what you want to do...later on down the line. All sounds pretty straight forward and doable. I get the picture. Check out the furntirue rental showrooms. Get to know the the friendly staff who is more than willing to help and offer me some neat deals. Shouldn't be so tough to get a package together! And off I gon the next day to a few open houses. This is fun.
First Open House and the first Realtor that I speak to the next day is definitely not a Free Lunch: "I've got a vacant condo. Do you do vacant home stagings?" Gulp, no one said that was going to happen immediately after class and before even attempting to all my homework done! I'm a smart cookie but am thinking,"Boy have I got my work cut out for me starting Monday."
July 17, 2009: Real Estate Staging Association Summer Meetup with a Free Lunch! Little did I know how fantastic this gathering of passionate Home Stagers was going to be for jump-starting Art and Soul Home Staging. Several of us decided to work on starting a local RESA chapter here in the Los Angeles South Bay. The week following that meeting and my first blog on AR, a contact from my website asked me to submit a bid for a vacant property listed at $1.8M. This is much bigger than the packages I had put together.
Also, since then several of us have met to work on the RESA project. I've been invited to help stage a vacant home (and yes, I was treated to a Free Lunch) and install furniture and artwork for another stager's interior design project. Moreover, I've known that all the theory in the world is helpful and the actvity over the past couple of weeks is reminding me of that. Until I actually did a vacant home staging, I couldn't have imagined all the details involved and what I should be including in my services.
Here's what's happened just in the last three days and still no free lunches, even if I did have time. While organizing inventory, my doorbell rings. It's a local listing agent doing door-to-door asking if I want to sell my house. Nope, but I'm a Home Stager, myself. She does staging, as well, but has a vacant property and could I call her. Cards are exchanged. Saturday I visit a couple of open houses and am much more confident than the first time. The first one is not only vacant and freshly renovated, the toilet is still sitting in the newly remodeled Italian Tile Shower in it's plastic gift wrapping, waiting to be installed (no, not in the shower). I tell the Realtor, that I grew up in the neighborhood in a house that had this same original floor plan and I'm a Professional Home Stager. "Fantastic! We need you! Here's my card. My boss inherited this house that he grew up in. Call me Monday at 11!" Next house, totally remodeled and vacant. However, at the other end of the specturm, the young agent doesn't know anything about Home Staging and once I explain it to him thinks this house could sure use it. "Please send me more info and give me a call on Monday!"
My own Realtor who is backing me and Home Staging has a tenant occupied listing. "Deb, the tenants are moving out Aug 20 and we need to stage this place. Go take a look at Sunday's Open House. It's the perfect candidate for our compelling success story!"
I've got the picture: vacant home staging is what the agents I'm meeting are asking for and it's not a free lunch. It's demanding, is all in the planning, and also fun. So what were you telling me about starting out with consultations, that vacant home staging is another beast altogether, and maybe newbies don't want to bite off more than they can chew? Gosh, has someone told any of the Realtors that I've been meeting, because not to many of them seem interested in consultations so far?
Next chapter, at least as of this morning. It looks like the bid on the tenant occupied condo is going to go through! And I'm loving it all, not expecting any free lunches and knowing that when it finally all pays off, I'll be offering some Free Lunches of my own.