By Brian Madigan LL.B.
(Ontario Real Estate Source)
The home staging business has grown rapidly over the last decade. It is not a regulated industry in Ontario.
Those individuals who practice in the field seek accreditation from a variety of associations and organizations. The industry as such is seeking "professionalism".
One of the very primary factors in assessing whether a business is truly "professional" is the adoption of a Code of Ethics by its members.
There are other factors as well, including:
· Qualifying educational requirements
· Educational course requirements
· Continuing educational programs
· Examinations and credentialing
· Membership in an association
· Subscription to and adoption of a Code of Ethics
· Complaints process
· Discipline process
· Censure and penalties for non-compliance
So, let's have a look at the home staging business. What would the Code of Ethics look like? Here is one from the International association of Home Staging:
International Association of Home Staging
Accredited Staging Professional Code of Ethics
· I believe in my ability to help my clients Stage® their properties.
· I will follow and protect this Code of Ethics for the good of all Accredited Staging ProfessionalsTM (ASPs).
·I will establish and maintain professional policies to hold my clients accountable to prepare their homes for sale and keep them in staged showing condition until the home is sold and the inspection and appraisal are completed.
· I will protect the quality of Staging by following the Staging criteria and will only use the word "Staged" to describe homes that have truly met or exceeded the criteria
· I will protect the Stage® trademark by including the registered trademark symbol (®) with any derivation of the word in any print advertising or marketing that I do.
· I will protect the Accredited Staging ProfessionalTM trademark by including the trademark symbol (TM) with any marketing or print advertising that I do with the ASPTM designation.
· I will honor the Staging University by not releasing my password to the University to any non-ASPs.
· I will display and marker my ASP Designation in my staging marketing materials to inform people that I am an Accredited Staging ProfessionalTM.
· I will educate my clients and the public as to the meaning and origin of Staging to enhance the ASP Designation for all ASPs.
· I will bring credit to the ASP Designation through my honesty, my integrity and by honoring my clients and myself.
I will honor all ASPs with the dignity and respect of the designation for the greater good of all.
And, here is another one, this time from RESA-PRO, known as "The Real Estate Staging Association":
The RESA-PROTM Code of Ethics:
1. To always conduct myself as a professional with integrity, sincerity and sensitivity.
2. To ensure my employees and business associates conduct themselves in the same manner
3. To treat my clients and colleagues with respect
4. To refrain from making unsolicited comments, verbally or in writing about other stagers, clients, customers or Real Estate Agents
5. To refrain from revealing any confidential information about my clients
6. To fulfill my commitments
7. To never commit to a project that I am not able to fulfill
8. To fully educate my clients on the process of staging, fees, and all recommendations to properly stage their home or listing prior to any work being started
9. To never display disrespect for any Staging Professional. We are a diverse society of Stagers and respect all designations and backgrounds
10. To maintain and improve the standards of the home staging industry
11. To become and remain informed on issues affecting home staging
12. To keep my profile and blog on the RESA Site professional and positive
13. To resolve conflicts with professionalism and appropriateness
14. To mentor and educate other stagers to the best of my ability
15. To use only my original written material in all electronic and print media including my website and blog. National or international statistics, charts and reports not written by the stager should be labeled as such.
16. RESA-PROTM designees agree to not use ANY STOCK PHOTOS on their website or in their marketing materials.
These Codes seem really quite weak and rather sparse. They are far short of a formal code of ethics that specifies requirements for the delivery of service to consumers. Certainly, the similar code for real estate professionals is stringent by comparison.
Obviously, there could be some improvements made. That would be an appropriate step in the journey to "professionalism", which is always a difficulty for an unregulated industry. It would be wise for the associations to have a lawyer prepare a formal code of ethics. A reasonable precedent to use might be one drawn from the real estate industry.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker is an author and commentator on real estate matters, if you are interested in residential or commercial properties in Mississauga, Toronto or the GTA, you may contact him through Royal LePage Innovators Realty, Brokerage 905-796-8888 www.OntarioRealEstateSource.com