Why I Chose Real Estate... From Staging Books to Staging People and Finally to Staging Homes!

Home Stager with Room Service Home Staging

 Why I Chose Real Estate.. From Staging Books to Staging People adn Finally to Staging Homes. 

While I may have entered Home Staging, as many have done, late in life, Real Estate,  home building and marketing a product have always been in my background.   So... here is the road I took to get me where I am today.

Young TexanI am a Texan, not only by birth but also by my outlook on life.  It is how I was raised and what will live in me forever.  I know... to look at me you don't necessarily see Texan, but I am.. with a Texas can-do attitude mixed with some Southern courtesy... something I hope never to lose.

My childhood was blessed with a large family, which included, besides my parents and brother,  many cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and tons of extended family.  Sunday dinner was nothing if there weren't at least 14 around.  My Uncle Charlie (Chan.. yes what ribbing his son, Jr. took) was an architect.

I loved listening to him talk of his designs, mostly commercial buildings.  But when he was designing a house and built the small model for it.. I was hooked. I designed my own "dream" home that was all round... no straight lines with a center courtyard that could be viewed from every room. 

I wanted to build it and furnish it with all the miniatures that I began collecting thanks to my aunt.  I still have a miniature old fashioned ice cream parlor/store. 

Playing with dolls had a different twist for me.  I'd remove
every book from the shelves and build a home with them.  And, if I needed something to finish it off, I'd look for something around our house and transform it into just what I needed.  (Sound familiar Stagers?)  BTW... I never did get around to playing with my dolls!

In college, instead of majoring in something useful, I got a Masters in Clinical Psychology and my first job was doing Psychological Testing.  Interesting, but not that fulfilling for me.  I decided to go to a placement agency in Houston, and as they didn't know what to do with me either, they hired me as a Placement Consultant.  My first of many commission jobs to come!  I loved it and I loved being more in control of what I could make.  I eventually managed an office for them.

childhood photos
I'm the one stuffing my face in the top left pic.  The bottom is a pic of my mini-store!

 Fast forward to the building boom in Houston.  My husband (well he wasn't quite then, but he eventually saw the light!) worked for a large home builder.  Starting out he had at least 20 houses in various stages of being finished.. and that was just in his community. 

He was working 7 days a week and often I was out helping him, which included removing paint from window frames and raking mud.  As he rose through management, I learned with him about land development, aquisitions, planning, M.U.D. districts, and running a homebuilding business.

Grandma and me 

My Grandmother, Katherine & Me

For over 30 years, the majority of our friends were in home building.  Our dinner conversations were about construction, sales, development, anything and everything regarding home building and real estate.

And because of the whims of home building, we moved several times.  I learned to "stage" my house so it would sell.  But as a buyer, I also saw something else. I saw how little it would take for sellers to make their houses more appealing when it was on the market.  I was often amazed at what the owner would "put out there" when showing their home.  Didn't they know how important it was to "merchandise" or style their home?  At the very least, I wanted to grab a pressure washer and attack their sidewalks!

And as many Baby Boomers have done... I reinvented myself into something that offers me a chance to exercise my creativity, work with and help people and be my own boss. 


 And that's it...it's how I arrived at what I do.... making houses "fit" people!

P.S.  Some might ask if I ever get to use my Psych degree?    More than you know!!



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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Kathy.....that was a great story to read.....your psych degree comes into play more often than it should, I'm sure.....that's an edge you have over others....

Jul 29, 2011 12:21 AM #7
Barbara Hensley
RE/MAX Properties - Rockwall, TX
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas

Kathy - this is a wonderful story and I liked what you did with the pictures!  I loved what you wrote about being a Texan.  You know, I think being a Texan is really a "state of mind" and once you are a true Texan you just don't lose it!  Congrats on this great entry from another Texas friend!

Jul 29, 2011 12:57 AM #9
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Kathy, I enjoyed reading your story. I love the pictures.Good luck with the contest.

Jul 29, 2011 01:02 AM #10
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Great story, love the photo of you on the rocking horse and yes, baby boomers definitely reinvent themselves, at least once!

Jul 29, 2011 01:27 AM #11
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

That is a wonderful story of how you got into staging Kathy.  Of course..hind site being 20/20, one could see that you were always meant to be a home stager :)!  Thank you for sharing your story!

Jul 29, 2011 02:21 AM #12
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Kathy, would have never guessed Texas....this truly is in your blood from your childhood til now.... you are great at what you do.  Good luck Kathy in the contest, this is a great post.

Jul 29, 2011 04:19 AM #13
Rob Thomas
Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954 - Bristol, TN
Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

Kathy.....great story! You do a really great job.....good luck with the contest!
Hope you have a great weekend!---Rob

Go Vols!

Jul 29, 2011 05:15 AM #14
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

BARFF- I'm so glad we met!! I'd bet that when my family got together for dinner it was like yours... everyone talking at the same time.   i left out my preteen awkward years BC (Before Contacts!)

Phil- I think I use it without thinking... it's never something I think about.

Debbie- another psych major.  I'm just glad I didn't go for the PhD.... no telling how nuts I'd be.

Marco- my accent comes and goes depending upon how close I am to another Texan!

Andrea- I love these contest because they push you to do more!  

Barbara- I'm usually a fairly decent reader of people... think I could use it with my gators!

Valerie- thank you!  My mother said she' walk by the room and I'd be standing at the crib talking to no one.. just jabbering away!

Barbara- absolutely... I love Texas  and Texans and it IS a state of mind.  The State song of Texas is one of only about 10 songs for which I know the words. 

Gita- Hasn't this been fun!  I love seeing the baby pics and reading about their journey.

Joanna- I love that people are reinventing themselves.  It comes with living longer.. and probably is why we can live longer.  

Brenda- isn't if funny... I'd never thought of myself as doing this.  But I do like pulling out and exercising my creativity. 

Rebecca- Thank you so much.... when I was in Texas, I'd love to see the look on everyone's face when they heard this Texas accent coming out of my mouth.  


Jul 29, 2011 05:18 AM #15
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Kathy - I love the photos of you as a little girl in those pretty dresses.  How fascinating to be surrounded by architects, and builders.  It must have been wonderful to lap up all that information.  A staging career was obviously a natural progression.  Thanks for the fun read.

Jul 29, 2011 05:33 AM #16
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Sally- We always had interesting people around the house, especially for Sunday dinner or holidays.   I remember we had a Vice Counsel for China once and he gathered up all the kids to tell us ghost stories.  Scared me silly!

Jul 29, 2011 06:46 AM #17
. 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC
What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779

Hi Kathy~

I LOL when I read , " In college, instead of majoring in something useful, I got a Masters in Clinical Psychology and my first job was doing Psychological Testing." (I know exactly what you mean)...Here is an awesome display of your talent and heart. THX so much for sharing this post.

Jul 29, 2011 08:07 AM #18
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Kathy, I know exactly what you mean about using your degree now LOL. Loved your story and pictures.

Jul 29, 2011 11:53 AM #19
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Kathy, that's a wonderful life story you are sharing with us!  Isn't it amazing?  People who meet you see a homestager, never would they suspect they are seeing a psychologist at the same time!  :-)

Jul 29, 2011 02:09 PM #20
Anna Dovger
Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607 - The Woodlands, TX
Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX

Kathy, out of all stagers I think you degree comes in the most handy way in our business, like you knew what will you will chose later in your life. Love your pictures.

Jul 29, 2011 02:46 PM #21
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Rob- hope you have a great weekend as well.  Looking forward to seeing your Sunday photo!

Hi Janeann- Don't tell me you were a psych. major too!  I enjoyed my studies but I'm glad I took the route I did.

Janice- I wonder how many people actually use their degrees.

Silvia- Well, they might think I'm a psycho!

Anna- You just never know.  I almost went to law school, and often wish I did.



Jul 29, 2011 03:08 PM #22
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Great and inspirational story Kathy and I love your photos - especially the one with your grandmother. While I wasn't a psych major, I took my fair share of psychology and sociology courses in collage and they do come in handy in our staging industry!

Jul 29, 2011 04:45 PM #23
Michael Thornton
RadnorLake Video - Nashville, TN
Nashville Area - Photography & Videography

Good morning, Kathy. It is interesting to see the reasons that folks get or got into real estate...

Jul 29, 2011 11:27 PM #24
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Great story, Kathy!  Your path was definitely leading you to home staging over the years.  Isn't it wonderful that now you can do what you love, and because of all your prior experience it just seems effortless?

Jul 30, 2011 06:57 AM #25
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX

Kathy, it sounds to me like the RE business fit you like a soft leather glove! Now, if if you've got a really soft sofa I'll just lie down and tell you all about it! LOL...great post. Thank you!


Aug 16, 2011 12:03 PM #26
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Kristine- we don't realize it but I do think some of what we learn sticks with us.

Michael- I love learning about the person behind the Profile picture we always see.

Maureen- I love these challenges because they force us to get a little introspective.

Deb- LOL-  Of course I have the sofa and it's STAGED!!!


Aug 17, 2011 03:54 AM #27
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Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
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