Exclusionism keeps us small and weak!

Real Estate Agent with Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com

Exclusionism keeps us small and weak!!!

How it works in Real Estate and Staging are somewhat similar.  We ARE part of the Real Estate Industry.  Ok, we got our real estate license and are ready to start a real estate business?  Do we know what we don't know?  Same with STAGERS...Do YOU know what you don't know?  Let me tell you, most Realtors who are serious about a Real Estate career go and get the education and designations they need to specialize and refine their businesses.  Some of those are the CRS Certified Residential Specialist, SRES Senior Real Estate Specialist, GRI Graduate Realtors Institute, CCIM Certified Commercial Investment Member and many more.

Fast forward to the staging industry.  You've taken a class or not, are you ready to go and start a staging business?    Do you know what you don't know?  The business of setting up a staging business can be a challenge for the practitioner that is creative and just wants to stage. IF you don't need the help, more power to you.  But, where do you go if you didn't get what you needed in one class?  Well, perhaps a direction can come from the real estate industry.  Each training provider offers a different twist on your staging business.  Realtors who are interested in a career get education to fill the gaps in training or where they want to specialize.  I know there are many stagers who have gone to more than one provider to get the education they need regarding various aspects of their staging businesses.  Why should you hesitate to take ANY class that you feel will improve your product and/or services to your target client and allow you to be more successful? 

Obtaining designations, certifications and education proficiencies are common in the real estate industry.  They are becoming more common in the staging industry.  I know stagers with several of the HSR Home Staging Resource, PSC Professional Staging Consultant, IRIS Interior Redesign Industry Specialist, CSP Certified Staging Professional, ASP Accredited Staging Professional, NAPO National Association of Professional Organizers and other designations on their websites and business cards and many with none of the above.  The next big step is a Trade association that encompasses all of them.

Why recreate the wheel, we have a model.  The real estate industry has a huge trade association in the National Association of Realtors that encompasses the specialties in the industry.  It is RUN by it's members locally, statewide, nationally, the Realtors have a major voice in the direction of their association, their code of ethics, lobbying efforts, self regulating and many other areas. 

Staging Associations are coming forward. Should you join them?  As a Realtor I have designations and join their associations.  My chosen trade association is the National Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors, and my local chapters and Boards of Realtors and I joined them all.  They are ALL governed by their members.  It is my belief that an industry to be viable should be governed by those in the trenches who do the work and know the challenges.  The association that meets the needs of their members will be the one that comes out on top.    You have a vote with your renewed membership.

Will staging be elevated to a profession of committed practitioners?  I believe it can.  Who and how you govern yourselves will determine the respect and status that you will be given in the eyes of practitioners and the public who are your clients.  Stage it Forward has moved us far in that direction...are you ready to take the leap? 

What an opportunity we have to shape our future businesses, our associations and our education providers.  We need to take the reins now and tell them what we need.  They WILL listen, and with a strong self governed trade association they will come to us and ask what we need, and then they will provide it or go the way of others who have not heeded the needs of their customers.  This is the American way.   I believe we should join RESA now and shape our future in the industry, even if we are part of other training run associations.  Your Trainer run association does not serve the same purpose as a member run trade association. A true member governed staging trade organization will serve the practitioners in ways we tell them we need to be served and preserve our industry as a whole.  A true member governed staging trade organization does not exclude based on training.  It sets standards for training and professionalism.  The public benefits and that enhances our respect in the public's eyes.  We are not each other's adversary.  WE ARE THE INDUSTRY. There are thousands of us not in an association of any kind.  These are stagers too who can and will influence our industry along with us.  Together we are our own best advocates, as we and only we, know what our business is about and what things we need to protect ourselves and our livelihood while we do the work we love. 

I am excited at the opportunities in front of us.  See you there.

Posted by



 DRE #00615420
Terrylynn has been a Realtor in Contra Costa County for over 30 years.  She works with the Dudum Real Estate Group. Terrylynn is a local expert, who believes in specializing for better service to her clients.  She gives talks on Foreclosure Alternatives, Make Home Affordable Programs, Home Staging Consults before you Sell, and is a Senior Real Estate Specialist, Real Estate Collaborative Specialist-Divorce, Certified Residential Professional, EcoBroker and any more. There is no silly question, call now for advice and counsel about your real estate investment.  Click here for a question about the area.  Visit www.BuyStageSell.com to learn more about Terrylynn and her team of Real Estate Professionals and Staging Professionals.  We even stage our short sales! Why?  Because it works.    925 8760966  www.BuyStageSell.com



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Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.
Susan, agreed.  The benefits of NAR at this point outweigh the negatives.  Stagers are just not used to thinking bigger picture than their training.  They are just trying to get it all together and figure out how to compete in their marketplace.  In our area for years they were not competing on bids, and now that they are, they are sometimes ill equipped to do so.  They are not ready to handle the competition portion and the trade association concept is farther off in their thinking as they don't know yet what they need.  I have been selling real estate for 30 years and 18 staging my listings by myself, before there were stagers and often with staging partners now, and the preparation of knowing how to compete in real estate makes the staging competition just part of the job. 
Nov 24, 2007 06:20 PM #10
Betty Haney
Haney Consulting - Calgary, AB
Terrylynn, you make some great points that we stagers need to seriously consider.  RESA is the first stopping point for most of us.  Thanks for the post.  Betty
Nov 25, 2007 02:09 AM #11
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging

great thoughts and well put.  Thx for the support of the industry.  please check out the blogs regarding the round table discussions around the country that are now taking place.  We are on our way to some very good things I believe. 

I too am a realtor of 6 years.  I use my license as a referral agent and own my own home staging company which is where I focus my time.  And yes I belong to NAR and my state and county boards.  I really agree with you in regards to the agendas the training schools have vs. an organization operated by the members!

Thx for posting this.

Nov 25, 2007 03:40 AM #12
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regions Premier Home Staging Resource,

Hey Terrylynn,

I want you to know I am not against other associations - and I also don't agree with the comment that associations that are there for certain trained groups have "hidden agendas."  The associations I know of are stand-alone entities - that may have been started by someone affiliated with a training group because that person had foresight and realized there was a need.  They may not be open to all Stagers - but it is not because that was not tried, or perhaps the association wants to serve a group with the same foundation.  Who knows.

I point back to IRIS and ISID - their doors are closed to those without their training and "degrees" - so why is it that those in the Staging world that do the same are thought of as bad?  Having options - is good - but we should not expect everyone that is part of an industry to have to join one group in order to have a voice or be someone that contributes in great ways.  Just like those that stage "naked" have been vocal and have contributed - and are accepted, there needs to be allowances for not pushing everyone into one group - if they feel they are already being served by an association of their choice, or don't want to join.  I feel there are multiple avenues and all groups have things - good things - to contribute. - Jennie

Nov 25, 2007 08:06 AM #13
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Jennie, I didn't say "hidden agendas"  I said Other agendas.  In other words their purpose is different than the member run trade association and always will be.  They are different ...in real estate it would be akin to your association with REMAX and their convention for their Realtors as part of the company culture, where non REMAX agents are excluded and don't get the REMAX goodies, right?  

So, it's the staging training company culture, vs. the bigger picture of something like NAR trade association (REMAX agents also belong to NAR which gives them different and other member benefits)  So for stagers, they have their smaller designation type associations or not, and then something bigger like RESA which would have a different benefit and purpose for ALL stagers regardless of their company or designation affiliation.  Maybe I'm not explaining it so clearly. 

The point is they serve different purposes and a stager or Realtor shouldn't have to choose one or the other, they both have benefits and different purposes.

Thanks guys for the opportunity to clarify my perhaps unclear message.

Nov 25, 2007 08:44 AM #14
Kim Dillon
Creative Eye Home Staging - West Chester, PA

Seems clear to me and I tend to agree.  An all inclusive group doesn't have to replace one that offers a restricted membership.  No reason you can't be part of both if you are elgible and choose to be. 

Kim Dillon, Creative Eye Home Staging

Nov 25, 2007 11:55 AM #15
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis

ALL here is what I beleive.  We need to start talking about three separate and exclusive elements of our industry.  Not like they were all part of the same thing.

First are Training companies. All very different and yet the same.  The objective is to make money training people.  Making money is a good objective and one I try to meet every day.

Second is Associations.  Again all very different.  Working for their continuant's or membership.  Most stand alone Associations allow membership from all backgrounds, all training graduates(?) or not trained at all.  The objective here is to have an association with people in the same industry. Some Training companies have their own association but I don't know if there are any Training Company associations that allow anyone to join except their own training graduates.  Objective here is to allow an association for the people that they have trained.  Again having associations with people is a good objective, I try associating with people as much as I can and I think most of you do also, very enjoyable.

SIF Forum.  The membership is free, it is open to anyone and everyone.  Your objective is to share and learn, if you want to, and to have a voice.  On occasions you can participate in discussions with others that just want to learn or share.  You can participate however and whenever you would like.  I can on any given day learn or share something with an RESA, ASP, NAKED PERSON, ASPM, IRIS, and on and on, I think you get the point.  We have people with the ability, means and willingness to help push the needs of an entire industry out into the public.  Again, a great objective.  I find this very enjoyable.

Why can't we all just agree that; 

  1. You have the freedom to choose any Training company you want.
  2. You have the freedom to choose what associations you want to be a part of, In fact you can choose several different training companies and a bunch of associations if you'd like.
  3. You have the freedom to participate in the SIF forum, to any degree at any level you would like.   

These three segments are not in competition. They have different objectives for different people. Even if Training companies, Associations and SIF forums are all doing the same thing, good for us all, it is not competition.

Of course I will never attempt to find common ground on the  differences of personalities, histories and strong opinions of some SIF members, (and I certainly include myself in that) But I do have the freedom to choose, what training or not that I get, what associations I belong to or not, and whether I involve myself with SIF or not.  I also have the freedom to not listen to anyone that tries to sell me a bill of goods that one of any of these is better than one of something else.  Simply smile and be proud your part of whatever it is your a part of.

Nov 25, 2007 12:10 PM #16
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Thanks Gary,  good points and I agree, they all have different purposes.  The industry can handle all of it and does.  We are all better for the competition as it keeps us striving to improve our services. 

Kim, Susan, Betty, Karen - agree with your agreement, oh we are so agreeable.



Nov 25, 2007 12:20 PM #17
Shell Brodnax
Real Estate Staging Association - Valley Springs, CA

WOW T what a great post and thanks so much for the RESA Plug. 

Obviously, I would love it if all stagers joined RESA,  because there are more power in numbers and more important there is more "representation" in numbers. The more that join and lend their voice and opinions the more WE shape the industry to what we want it to be. Staging is Self Regulated and by coming together with the support of a trade organization will move all of us forward and lend legitimacy to this profession.

My role in RESA is to accomplish what the MEMBERS want and need. Because the RE industry revolves around associations it only made sense for stagers to have the same opportunity. Now they do with RESA.

IN my career I have always been in management. I have always had the ability to get people to join together to accomplish a common goal. RESA is no different.  I LOVE the fact that now I get to bring to the industry many of the ideas I feel needed to get done and I get to facilitate the forming of new ideas, policies etc from the members. I LOVE the fact that I get emails from our members with "ideas" they feel would be good for the membership etc. When that happens, I work with them on brainstorming the ideas, get them all worked out and then it gets voted on and we make it happen.

T- I LOVE Your RE-MAX analogy.  Other agendas are correct.  the CSP convention is for CSPs and they carry out information and support to their group.  the ASP convention does the same thing for ASPs.  the  RESA convention will include ALL stagers and benefit ALL stagers.

Again, the great thing about America is we have choices like Gary said so WELL! Private associations help their own and that is wonderful they do that.  Public associations help the INDUSTRY and all involved. While I would love for all stagers to join RESA I can't make you join. But I can tell you by joining and getting involved it WILL grow your business.

Part of the genius behind trade associations is the networking. By joining a RESA chapter and getting involved, chapter members can have a speaker at a meeting. Now they have to get agents to come to those meetings so you market YOUR meeting to them. They attend the meeting to hear a great speaker and this gives you EXPOSURE to your target market REALTORS. AND it gives you the exposure in a non-direct way that many agents prefer. They would rather get to know you on a social level first, then develop a trust in you and then do business with you. 

OK Sorry- off my soap box will save it for another blog.

Nov 25, 2007 01:45 PM #18
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Terrylynn - well said.  I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone that is a professional stager would not want to either join RESA or at least have the option available to them for future consideration - a professional organization that has the best interest of every  stager at heart, no training company delineation would seem to be in the best interest of the industry long term to me.



Nov 25, 2007 02:26 PM #19
Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota
Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm - Inver Grove Heights, MN

Hi Terrylynn,

Love your post!  I've had similar posts and have problems with my words getting turned around a bit. I know what you meant...and that you meant no harm or ill blood by it.

Great message...and keep staging it forward woman!

All the best,


Nov 25, 2007 02:27 PM #20
Andy Capelluto

I've eagerly followed this well written post mainly because the author was clearly experienced and had some substantial and valid points to share.  I also noticed a list of designations all except the one that I'm affiliated to.  The AHS (Accredited Home Staging Specialist) geared specifically towards Real Estate professionals was first mentioned on AR a few months ago when we launched our online course.  I'm delighted to add that it has shown constant, steady growth.  Our primary objective is to offer AFFORDABLE, QUALITY education to everyone.


Nov 25, 2007 02:40 PM #21
I didn't mean this to be an annonymous post
Nov 25, 2007 02:58 PM #22
Craig Schiller
Trempealeau, WI


FIRST welcome to AR and SIF! AND... thanks for the post above. It got my brain cooking. What started to be a comment here turned out to be my post for the day.

You "Rock & Roll"!


Nov 26, 2007 12:39 AM #23
Susan Smith
Rooms That Work LLC - Sandy Hook, CT

Good point to differentiate between the purpose of a membership organization and a training organization.  To me, training certification is sort of like "Hey, where did you go to high school?"  And those who stage naked are home-schooled.  LOL 

In the real world, working together to educate the public is what will build demand for staging.  There is great disparity regionally, and each region needs to meet their market where it is.  So yes, a national association makes sense, but regional groups are key as well. 

Nov 26, 2007 02:25 AM #24
Shell Brodnax
Real Estate Staging Association - Valley Springs, CA
You are right Susan. RESA has a national presence, and local presence with local chapters. We have state presidents also. So each area is represented.
Nov 26, 2007 04:47 AM #25
Mary Lou Teague
Home Style and Staging Knoxville. TN
Just recently I became a member of ASHSR ( American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners ) it is new and up and coming...membership drive will open up the first of December. I am President of the East Tennessee Chapter...( we are expecting many new members for each chapter )so hoepfully when the membership opens up we will have a large forum in which our voices can and will be heard. You can go to www.ashsr.com to check it out ... thanks Mary Lou
Nov 26, 2007 05:03 AM #26
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Terrylynn: As usual, you are right on target and the information you provide is of great value. Thank you for your post. Lori Kim Polk and I had breakfast with Shell this weekend and Shell had the nicest things to say about you. I hope I get the opportunity to meet you one of these days.

I am a big supporter of RESA and also the Regional District VP of California, Nevada & Hawaii. I am more than happy to answer any questions anyone may have in those states about forming local chapters. Lori Kim Polk is the California State President and I am sure she is willing to help out there.

Nov 26, 2007 08:50 AM #27
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Shell, enough said, Resa Rocks.

Jackie - I think that's the point, we are evolving and to consider a member run trade organization at some point will potentially bring the whole staging community along. 

Beth, thanks for getting my message.  Try to be clear, but don't mind the question if I think faster than I type.

Andy, No purposeful elimination of your designation.  Just don't actually know them all yet.  But after talking with you I am sure we've not heard the last.  Thanks for the phone call.


Nov 26, 2007 04:06 PM #28
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Craig, THANK YOU for the Featured Post and the inspiration for your Rock and Roll Blog.  A privilege to add to the mix.  What a great forum you have started here and I hope to be a regular contributor. 

Susan - right on, regional feeds the national...and is a natural progression.  I went to Richmond High (sic)

Mary Lou - thanks for making me aware of the new designation.  How do you differientiate yourself from the other designations.  You can email me if you like, just interested in the philosophy and differientiation points.

Michelle - WOW!  You are the queen bee of the RESA region for where I live.  Let me know if I can help in any way.  Love those Hawaii field trips.  Very interested in your work for Resa and how to further the cause. Look forward to meeting you both. 

Nov 26, 2007 04:11 PM #29
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