Clearing Up Churned Waters

By
Industry Observer

 Recently I wrote and posted  2 similar blogs entitled: Inconvenient Truths about Home Staging. A shorter edited down version was posted here on Active Rain while a more complete and comprehensive version was then posted here on what I call my "pretty blog." 

The post created quite a ruckus with a foundation training company whose website, at one point, I quoted directly from and linked to to prove that I was not making an unsubstantiated point. They, however felt attacked and prestented me with Cease & Desist email and comments. I have since removed all of my direct references to them in my posts and all links I had placed in my blogs to their site.

Unfortunately, I think they saw my words as personal attack on their program, which was not the point. They are NOT doing anything that most other staging foundation training organizations within our industry are doing.  For all I know they may have one of the most in-expensive & compressive training programs available for those interested in learning about home staging.

But regardless, I bigger insight and message was the point of this and the initial post.

Foundation training programs are a big part of the the home staging industry. Being that I am one of the LEAST formally schooled in home staging (I am self trained) I have tried to stay neutral about training. Staying neutral, yet believing in the benefits of training, I tried to be a trusted resource to those that seek out my advice on "which foundation training program they should take." To make it easy for people to do their homework I have compiled a FREE reference list (in alphabetical order) of 33 different training programs I know of and placed it in the right hand column of my pretty blog. Thanks to Goggle Analytics I know that people researching staging utilize this list. 

Anyway, the point I was originally making in the "Inconvenient Truths" blog was that I see the staging INDUSTRY (note INDUSTRY not one player) being partially responsible for the bashing it got from a report on staging by the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA). While much of what the NAEBA said was wrong and sensationalized I still don't believe it was all wrong. The report got me to think about the Home Staging Industry... and the collective "who and how" we have been and how there could be some truth to what the NAEBA reported.

So with the home staging industry in my sites I started writing.  My writing took me back to re-examine what I refereed to as a "Frankenstein" of a problem in our industry... Credentials.  I have found at least 34 different foundation staging training programs in North America.  I have no idea how good or bad any of these courses are. I can tell you that I have spoken to MANY stagers from all over the USA & Canada... some have raved about their training others were not impressed. I've heard it all. In general I believe people are pretty happy that they received formal training... if only for the fact that it got them going in the industry.

However, with no "board of staging education" overseeing what is actually being taught... there is no way of knowing  how good or bad the training these organizations are offering is.  Or how compressive and complete it is. To be a staging trainer all one needs to do is open their doors.... and say they are a staging training school.

Lump on top of that the fact that so many of these organizations are then offering quick "Accredited Certifications" for their graduates to tack on to their names in the hopes to legitimize their graduates as "stagers" to the eyes of the consumer, I believe this is now further compromising the whole industry. What is good? What is Bad? What is Right? What is Wrong? Who knows!

For the most part the consuming public has no understanding of this. The public views and relies on credentials as proof of ability. The consuming pubic believes the person who has been "Accredited" by an organization has gone through a process were they have been trained, tested and PASSED. TESTING is TYPICAL and expected in an ACCREDITATION PROCESS. As the industry stands today, staging really is NOT about the credentials, it is a combination of talent, experience, & education... and yet so much emphasis is placed on Accrediting Credentials. This has been a topic of conversation time and time again here on Active Rain.

The industry's allowance of  and reliance on unregulated certification and accreditation can expose the consumer to less then good and qualified staging... ultimately diluting what staging can make available. With no regulation on training, training schools, curriculum, testing, or certification this will a problem that will continue to get bigger. Not having standards will ultimately mean there will be consumers that use stagers that do substandard work and give organizations ammunition to continue to write negative reports on staging as the NAEBA did.

In my opinion, because of the way the home staging industry currently is, the consumer is becoming more and more exposed and could loose out on what is possible from good and proper staging... and our industry will loose face and legitimacy.

THAT WAS ONE OF MY TRUTHS in Inconvenient Truths about Home Staging.

Stage It Forward,

Craig

 

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Groups:
Stage It Forward...
Tags:
home staging
accredited staging
certified staging
staging industry
home staging industry
home staging training

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Ambassador
1,024,896
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Hi, Craig - First, I was disappoined that the link to your pretty blog (in the first paragraph) did not work for me... I wanted to see it!  Second, what you describe sounds a lot like the early days for the home inspection industry.  Since their growth from a new idea, to accepted practice, to professional associations and now licensing in many states is fairly recent, you might find something in their history to help guide the people in your profession.  In fact, it was so recent that some of the pioneers are still out there to consult with on the growth of a new industry that serves consumers and the real estate community.  At the very least, maybe some blog material as you look for comparisons...
Sep 06, 2007 11:05 PM #11
Rainer
39,620
Rebecca Quinones
Coldwell Banker Heritage Realtors - Dayton, OH

Great information Craig!  I'm disappointed that I missed the first blog.

I made a HUGE mistake in choosing my trainer.  My first choice did not work because of timing and location and I went with plan B.  While my training and experience comes from several different sources I find it sad that the organization that "accredits" me was the worst one!!  It makes me sick to think of how much I spent on inferior materials.

I wish that someone would rate the different trainers and compare them.  That would not only protect the Staging Professionals but unsuspecting public as well!  We would all benefit from a little regulation and I have a feeling that it's just around the corner.

Sep 07, 2007 12:38 AM #12
Rainer
28,233
Mark Pilatowski
myClosingSPACE - Manhattan, NY
One thing I can't grasp is the training company sending you a cease and desist letter. If what you wrote was factual and you gave proper attribution they have no standing to make you take it down. On top of that you gave them a free link which gives them more exposure and free Google juice. From the way it sounds you were not bashing them and free speech applies to the Internet so even if you were bashing them that is your right. 
Sep 07, 2007 12:57 AM #13
Rainmaker
76,758
Jennifer Walker-Derby
Re/Max Westside - Marietta, GA
Real Estate Extraordinaire

I support (some) Stagers and recommend them to some clients, but the problem I have is when they take it upon themselves to:

1.  suggest market price or to tell my client they are above or below market value.  Recently a certain ACIVERAIN Stager put in her advertisement "Do not lower your price until you talk to me".  Unless you have an appraisers license for appraisal OR a real estate license to study comps, I feel this is out of your expertise.

2.  I recently had my seller choose her own stager (one that I wasn't impressed with and her "portfolio" seemed to be the same as other new start up stagers with "stock photos").  After the mediocere stage, she started suggesting directly to my seller different marketing avenues she recommended I try including open houses.  Stick with staging and I will stick with selling.

Sep 07, 2007 01:03 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,074,139
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!
Hi Craig, I thought you did a great layout and sometimes companies have other motives for being sensitive.  Some clients put value in staging other want nothing to do with the idea...they feel the home is perfect already.  The staging industry is going to have developmental issues like any other industry.  Nice post.
Sep 07, 2007 02:07 AM #15
Ambassador
2,755,526
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Shucks.  I think you should have ignored their Cease and Desist e-mail.

Unless you violated the law, on what grounds did they send the e-mail. 

Since when are folks not entitled to an opinion??  Have you agreed somewhere to refrain from disparaging your fellow stagers??? 

What is their authority to tell you what to do???

Sep 07, 2007 02:09 AM #16
Rainmaker
246,976
Gena Riede
Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792 - Sacramento, CA
Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699

Craig, I have long agreed with you. People can get all the credentials out there that are available for the taking but if they lack common sense and talent, it will not serve the community. I have been staging the homes that I listed since 2000 long before it had a name. Didn't have any credentials for home staging but my houses sold.

Sometimes, it would seem as though it is just a get rich quick scheme on the part of those entities that offer classes and credentials.

You're either good at what you do or not...credentials or no credentials!  Just my opinion.

Sep 07, 2007 02:21 AM #17
Rainmaker
605,428
Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

As a 'graduate' of the class of last Tuesday from one of the InstStager schools I really don't feel qualified to advertise myself as a stager until I get some successful experience under my belt.

It was a good beginning and my teacher was a former instructor of the Godmother of blogging, Barb Schwartz, so I felt she knew as much about what she was teaching as anyone.

I don't ever plan to become a full time stager but rather use my newfound knowledge and budding skills to enhance my listings and investment properties for sale.

I sold my personal home recently and I had intended to rent some furniture and stage it but it sold the second day on the market so I had to cancel the furniture delivery.

I believe the only way you'll ever put some teeth into staging qualifications and qualitify what a stager actually does, is to require some sort of licensure and minimum skills testing with maybe some apprecticeship along with it.

I also think that would likely be a tough sell to most state legislatures.

Sep 07, 2007 02:22 AM #18
Rainmaker
605,428
Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

As a 'graduate' of the class of last Tuesday from one of the InstStager schools I really don't feel qualified to advertise myself as a stager until I get some successful experience under my belt.

It was a good beginning and my teacher was a former instructor of the Godmother of blogging, Barb Schwartz, so I felt she knew as much about what she was teaching as anyone.

I don't ever plan to become a full time stager but rather use my newfound knowledge and budding skills to enhance my listings and investment properties for sale.

I sold my personal home recently and I had intended to rent some furniture and stage it but it sold the second day on the market so I had to cancel the furniture delivery.

I believe the only way you'll ever put some teeth into staging qualifications and qualitify what a stager actually does, is to require some sort of licensure and minimum skills testing with maybe some apprecticeship along with it.

I also think that would likely be a tough sell to most state legislatures.

Sep 07, 2007 02:23 AM #19
Rainmaker
334,694
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager
Home Staging is still in it's infancy as far as the consumer's perceptions.  Like Home Inspections 20 years ago.  Things will change as they did for the early inspectors.
Sep 07, 2007 03:02 AM #20
Rainmaker
46,155
Joshua Talayka
Chase Internatinonal - Reno, NV
craig, great post
Sep 07, 2007 04:42 AM #22
Rainmaker
614,201
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS

A "cease and desist" rather than an educated response or rebuttal? To me that's a negative rather than a positive reflection on the sender.

I'm all for continuing education (i.e., these courses, not the required state courses) to learn new niches, trends, ways to better serve our clients. In the pursuit of honesty, however, I'd like to see them listed as just courses. A certification or designation should require evidence of completed transactions or jobs - i.e., CRS, CIPS, CLHMS, CCIM, etc.  I admire the ASR (Accredited Seller Representative) program for requiring not only the course and evidence of completed transactions representing sellers, but actual letters of recommendation from sellers who were pleased with the service they received. 

Sep 07, 2007 04:48 AM #23
Rainmaker
516,179
Bonnie Erickson
Tangletown Realty - Saint Paul, MN
Craig, Your links don't work to the other posts.  I'll have to get there the hard way!  ;-)
Sep 07, 2007 04:54 AM #24
Rainer
77,324
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona

Craig, My mom used to tell me that I need not go around trying to get other people to agree with me that a particular person was a bully, or a creep, or a jerk. She said, "They will be a bully, creep or jerk to everyone else and all will know." Of course, she was correct. You choose the adjective, but the B, C, or J has proven it again. If it weren't so sad it would be truly laughable. 

As for your other point. Yes we do need to be self-regulating. If Yale could claim that only people who graduated from Yale were actually doctors, then . . . Well, you see where that is going. Written testing, minimum skills testing and portfolio proofs are all things which come to mind when thinking of the basis for a self regulated industry. AR is a great start. The real question, which you have asked before, is where do we go from here? As you imply, and so do others who comment on your posts, we have 3 choices 

  1. Self regulation
  2. Governmental regulation
  3. Strangulation of the industry

Sep 07, 2007 06:08 AM #25
Rainer
140,655
Phyllis Pafumi
ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey - Old Bridge, NJ
ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ

Craig once again you bring up excellent points and yet I am sure once again you have been misunderstood because of those points. It is a scary thing as this industry grows that more and more people who are NOT design savvy or have an eye for home staging will simply become a home stager because they think of the $$$$.

As we have all discussed before, as the competition grows (and it is growing), once the wannabees start getting into the knitty gritty of this profession, they will begin to drop off. THose of us who are committed and have paved the way will set the precedence.

I for one establshed that almost 2 years ago and at realtor presentations I would say just that. Thankfully today my business is a referral based business. The only letters I care about to be associated with my name are these 4 SOLD!

Phyllis Pafumi

Sep 07, 2007 09:42 AM #26
Rainmaker
444,306
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging
Wow - experiencing the firsthand attitute described right now .... probably not the same organization... I feel your pain.
Sep 07, 2007 11:35 AM #27
Rainer
290,979
Cindy Lin
Staged4more School of Home Staging - South San Francisco, CA
Host, The Home Staging Show podcast

I think it's similar with realtors, who can have tons of letters behind them and actually don't know how to do their jobs correctly. I feel that our designations/certification/accreditation should reflect experiences and less emphasis on education part since most courses in my opinions are about business side of staging. That's why I feel that the realtor's designation like ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representatives) is meaningful because you don't automatically get your designation just because you finish the online course and pass the test, you actually have to have proof of actual buyer's side transactions to *earn* that designation.

Cheers,

Cindy 

Sep 07, 2007 05:19 PM #28
Rainmaker
656,032
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
Thanks for the post. Appreciate your information.
Sep 08, 2007 04:06 PM #29
Rainmaker
26,054
Andy Capelluto
International School of Staging - Seattle, WA

The Internet is an anonymous vehicle where any person can pose as anything they wish.  People who use the Internet to enlist a services be it from an individual or a company, need to do their homework.  A little bit of detective work goes a long way.  Follow up on references, do Internet searches, ask questions and interview someone in management and then go with your gut feel.  To me the biggest red flag in a website offering education would be spelling and grammatical errors.  Hopefully not too many unsuspecting people will get burnt and time will separate the wheat from the chaff.

Andy Capelluto

 

 

 

Sep 08, 2007 06:44 PM #30
Rainer
1,027
Sherry Woolever * Seller's Edge
Seller's Edge - Marengo, IL

Craig,

 Just like every other profession those that are getting the jobs are doing so because of referrals, they will continue to thrive while others will not, so they will probably leave the profession. 

The Profession will SELF REGULATE in time as many other professions do. 

As for the different training schools, get all the training you can either from online schools, workshops,  job shadowing or any other means that you can afford, each one of them has something to offer if you are open to it.  I know learning and growing is part of living.  Not one of us knows it all!

 

Sep 11, 2007 02:55 PM #31
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainmaker
231,284

Craig Schiller

Ask me a question
*
*
*
*

Additional Information