debra gould: 5 Warning Signs You Have a Home Staging Hobby Not a Business - 04/09/11 06:51 AM
Here are 5 warning signs that your home staging business is really a home staging hobby:
No one else takes your home staging business seriously, and if you're painfully honest with yourself you might realize that you don't either (this is often a symptom of being too afraid to really "go for it"). You love shopping and buying cute decor pieces on sale. Now you have a collection of home staging accessories sitting in a storage locker costing you money, instead of home staging accessories sitting in your clients' homes earning you rental income. Your phone isn't ringing with new projects … (6 comments)

debra gould: What are your Wow Moments in the Real Estate Industry? - 01/08/11 10:36 AM
Listening to a talk by author Neil Pasricha yesterday, I started thinking about all the things I love about being a home stager. The moments that make me say “Wow!”
Whether you're a real estate agent or a home stager, I'm sure you've experienced those highs a "WOW Moment" can bring. Since we're just starting a new year and looking for inspiration heading into the spring real estate market, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on the great things that happen and share them with others!
I’ve included 10 of my own “WOW Moments as a Home … (0 comments)

debra gould: Home staging consultation reports are a waste of time - 08/02/10 12:19 PM
If you’re sitting down with a stack of photos after a home staging consultation, struggling over the report you’re preparing for the homeowners you are really wasting your time. Unless…
You just love doing paperwork You enjoy knowing you have a lengthy report to complete before moving on to the next client You’re getting paid extra to write it In my opinion, this practice is a pure waste of time…valuable time you should be using marketing your business and getting more paying clients!
Preparing staging consultation reports is one of the many contributing factors to new home stagers going out of … (19 comments)

debra gould: Grab More Attention with the Right Exterior Listing Photo - 07/12/10 01:34 PM
Real estate photography quality has never been more critical. I'm dismayed when I see real estate listing photos that look like they've been shot from a moving car, or when the photos show a home at its least flattering angle.
As a home seller you need to insist that your real estate agent use quality photos to market your property.
As a real estate agent, you need to consider whether you have the time, equipment, and/or talent to take the best shots.
Here's why: In the US 70% of home buyers search for properties online before calling a real estate agent … (7 comments)

debra gould: Should Real Estate Agents Pay for Home Staging? - 06/02/10 09:07 AM
While it's true that home staging will help a real estate listing stand out from all the other homes for sale, and while home staging will also increase the probability that the house will sell more quickly and for more money-- all of which are of considerable benefit to the real estate agent trying to earn an income from commissions-- I don't believe that agents should pay for staging.
I'm sure there are plenty of home stagers and home sellers who will disagree with me, but here's my reasoning:
If the home seller is prepared to invest in the advice of … (5 comments)

debra gould: Home Stagers what if your client's house doesn't sell? - 05/03/10 07:06 AM
Aspiring home stagers, and even established ones, worry what will happen if a home they staged does not sell. Is it their fault, and will they be the ones who will have to answer to the disappointed home seller?
The first thing to remember is the person the client will be upset with when their home isn’t selling is the real estate agent not the home stager.
Yes, you’re decorating the house to sell, but you’re not in control of:
overall market conditions, natural disasters, interest rate changes or news events that interfere with the market at that point in time … (2 comments)

debra gould: Home stagers new target for email scammers - 02/20/10 03:12 AM
In case you were still wondering how many people have heard of home staging, here’s further proof that this is a well established field. It seems the scam artists are starting to crawl out from under their rocks to see if they can con home stagers into sending them money!
This is a twist on the “send money to a foreign country to rescue a dying relative” or “assist a diplomat who needs help getting millions out of the country and you’ll be rewarded” — this time with a script rewritten for home stagers and decorators or interior designers who might … (7 comments)

debra gould: Recession-era marketing for real estate agents - 12/02/09 05:05 AM
This recession has a bright spot. One of the things I really appreciate is that I'm not getting deluged with real estate agents' calendars for 2010. You know the kind, filled with stunning homes that only a millionaire could afford and imprinted with the agent's contact information. I got one from my mortgage broker but that was it. Thank goodness!
These calendars always go straight into the recycling bin and I've never understood why so many agents normally send them out.
If I've bought or sold a house with you, then a calendar is kind of an insulting gift. Kind … (10 comments)

debra gould: Want to follow a professional home stager around for a day? - 11/24/09 02:35 AM
I get approximately five calls a week from people interested in following me around for a day (or more) to see how I work as a home stager. Sadly most of these job shadowing requests are from aspiring stagers who spent a lot of money with a certain company that they believed promised them a guaranteed home staging job.
There are many reasons I’m not interested in having someone shadow me. First of all, I would have to screen them beforehand because that person would be a direct reflection on me. We would have have to meet ahead of time … (3 comments)

debra gould: Home Stagers, do you accept credit cards? - 11/12/09 02:04 AM
I'm often asked by home staging professionals whether they should just accept checks, cash or take credit cards too. The ability to accept credit card payments is appealing to home stagers, especially since the amounts you’re getting paid are usually quite high (assuming you're not one of those bargain basement stagers who fly in and out of this business within 3 to 6 months).
Setting up a merchant account, however, is very expensive. Not only do you have to pay a large sum to the bank just to apply for and then set up the account, you also have to pay … (12 comments)

debra gould: Home Stagers: Quick way to attract more clients - 10/14/09 05:00 AM
In tough economic times, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that you should lower your price to attract clients and that you should be promoting how cheap your home staging services are. If you find yourself heading down that road, please stop! It's a dead end and it will put you out of business.
Here's the thing, if you promote your services as being cheap, you’ll attract penny-pinching clients who don’t value what you have to offer.
People who only care about price will argue every step of the way about any recommendation you might make that might cost extra. … (7 comments)

debra gould: Slow market a great opportunity for those with the right mindset - 04/28/09 07:09 AM
Who was it that said, when others are excited that's the time to sell and when everyone else is scared, that's the time to buy? Warren Buffet? It might have been said about the stock market, but it totally applies to making money in real estate in my opinion. I'm not a real estate agent, but I have bought 8 homes in both slow and hot real estate markets.
If I hadn't bought my dream home on Mother's Day two years ago, I'd be selling and trading up right now. This is a great market to buy in if you're ready … (13 comments)

debra gould: Staging Diva Helps Radio Listeners Understand Home Staging in Slow Real Estate Market - 04/27/09 06:32 AM
There's nothing like being interviewed by a reporter who is stuck with his own non-selling house to make for an information-filled discussion about home staging. We covered practical ideas to help home sellers and real estate agents understand what home staging is and why it's important to help sell a home quickly. Many of my home staging tips could be used by home sellers on their own.
Here's what we covered during this radio morning show:
what home staging is why home staging works (logic versus emotion when house hunting) why "less is more" in home staging curb appeal - how … (3 comments)

debra gould: Agents and Home Sellers: How do you decide which home stager to hire? - 04/22/09 07:41 AM
Since home staging is a completely unregulated field without official qualifications, it's difficult to know who to hire and whether they are "qualified." This difficulty is compounded by the fact that it is possible for home stagers to acquire a ready-made home staging portfolio to present as their own work, since some training programs offer this.
When reviewing a home staging portfolio, ask questions about the photos to satisfy yourself that these are the stager's own work.
If the stager can't tell you anything about the home or client, why they made the changes they did, or where the house … (5 comments)

debra gould: Stagers: Working For Free Doesn't Belong on Your Menu of Services - 03/08/09 12:09 PM
I'm committed to ending this practice of free home staging because it lowers the perceived value of a stager's expertise and does a disservice to all of us.
My students don't stage homes for free "just to get their business started," they get paid for their time and expertise because they are providing a valuable service and should be compensated for it.
I know many new home stagers, afraid that they can't get their first client, will disagree with me. But hear me out for a moment:Picture this ... there's a new restaurant...
The chef's on the sidewalk, saying "come in … (21 comments)

debra gould: Real Estate Agent Loses Client for Dropping Purse and Getting Lost - 02/25/09 02:20 AM
I read a blog post today by Clint Miller called "Death of a Salesman" listing the subtle and not so subtle ways a real estate agent can kill a client relationship. Often ignored basics like: being inaccessible, being dishonest and ignoring simple manners.
It's sad these basics have to be stated, but here we are with about 1.3 million Realtors in the US and approximately 98,000 in Canada so there's bound to be a lot of riff raff.
There are thousands of reasons for a client to fire their agent, or not recommend them to others, especially in a competitive market. … (9 comments)

debra gould: Active Rain member Staging Diva appears on new HGTV staging show - 01/15/09 04:40 AM
Last year I did a two day shoot with HGTV for the new show The Decorating Adventures of Ambrose Price.
They are finally airing this new series and the episode about staging runs in Canada on Monday, January 26, 10:00 PM EST and Tuesday, January 27 at 2:00 AM EST.
This is Ambrose and I in my own home (which stood in for one of the staged locations).
Now I don't know how much will make it into the actual 30 minute episode, but we spent a day going around to a bunch of staged homes that were sitting on the market and … (9 comments)

debra gould: 2009 Home Staging Horoscope by Staging Diva - 01/01/09 07:38 AM
I wanted to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. For home stagers, I have a free gift you might enjoy, the Staging Diva 2009 Home Staging Horoscope.
While I have your attention I also want to say that 2009 is filled with possibilities for your business
You can hide at home worrying about the economy and use it as your excuse not to succeed, or you can make plans for how you're going to take advantage of the current situation. Home owners have never needed our help more than they do right now. And I would argue … (4 comments)

debra gould: Put your game face on and get out there and build your business - 12/02/08 12:47 PM
Every entrepreneur experiences a period of time where confidence levels drop only to be replaced by soaring levels of fear and insecurity. The secret to making it through those days, weeks or even months of feeling insecure is to put on a brave face and keep going anyway.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to build your own business takes more than just “know-how”; you also need courage, determination and a very good game face.
I imagine even President-elect Obama has moments where he thinks, “What have I gotten myself into?”  It's not like he can push a giant “pause button” … (7 comments)

debra gould: Staging Diva Shares Importance of Staging with Radio Morning Show - 10/07/08 05:26 AM
I love doing radio but I've never been interviewed by three people at once before. 
Katfish Morgan, Darryl Kornicky and Laura Stone grilled me about what to do when a house doesn't sell, whether stagers exist because agents aren't doing their job, what happens when stagers break things and more, on Live 88.5 Start Up Radio in Ottawa. 
I have to say, the media are usually looking for a feel-good story when they interview me about staging, but this group was certainly trying to stir up some controversy.
You can download and listen to the 8 minute recording here.
I had no idea … (5 comments)

Debra Gould, The Staging Diva (Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.) Rainmaker large

Debra Gould

The Staging Diva

Toronto, ON

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Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

Office: (416) 691-6615

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Articles of interest to home stagers and real estate agents to improve understanding of the business of home staging (real estate staging, house fluffing).
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