As we get closer to the end of the year I'm beginning.... to see what an exciting yet challenging year this has been.
In January 2016 I will have been in the Home Staging business for 10 YEARS! On this 9th year I have had so many FIRSTS happen to me. Prior to this year everything in my business had run so smooth.... I just thought being in business for myself was a piece of cake. Everything just came my way and I rarely had to face any challenges... at least not difficult ones.
Well this year 2015... changed all that. This year I've been climbing a mountain that just seems to get higher and steeper as this year is passing by. Some of the challenges have turned out to be quite exciting and have certainly taught me a lesson or two which has resulted in many changes to my "Letter of Agreement or Contract". Most of the lessons I learned this year I hope will never be repeated again... but then there are some that I hope will be repeated many times over!
I will say though... that despite all that's happened this year I believe I have gone above and beyond my staging abilities and have provided for my clients some of the best STAGING I have ever done before... and I am very proud of that!
Here is a list of just some of the CHALLENGES I faced... and I have promised myself will never happen again. At least I will take every precaution not to in the future!
- A vacant house I staged completely flooded... days after I staged a three bedroom home the entire house flooded where my furniture was damaged.
- Staged an occupied home for a family member that promised not to use the furniture while it was in the home... it took my team hours to clean up the dirt and food that was on the furniture after we picked it up, just so we could use it again.
- A Realtor canceled the staging project after we had received the payment and the initialed, signed Letter of Agreement... A Realtor I have worked for several times in the past years canceled the staging project after we had the truck and moving crew in place. I have never had a cancellation before and let alone from someone I have worked with in the past.
- The access key code box that was provided for us to stage a vacant home was not there when we came back to de-stage the house... when myself and my moving crew came back to de-stage the house the key code lock box was gone. We waited as I was paying my crew per hour for someone to give us access into the house.
- I tried out an online Company that provided leads for my business... which turned out not to be profitable at all. You pay a fee to present a bid to each client... Unfortunately the Company does not provide enough information about the project to give an accurate let alone competitive bid to the client and to be chosen between 4 other people who are also providing bids as well. You are not given a phone # to contact the client you only hope your pricing is good enough to get a call from them. Site unseen makes it hard to know exactly what your getting yourself into. I put in countless bids got hired twice and will be real cautious before I ever try it again. Definitely a "lesson learned" experience!
On a good note I also want to tell you about some FIRSTS that I experienced this year... These experiences made up for at least some of the challenging events that I faced.
- I had the opportunity to stage a home this year for a client that I went to High School with at Novato High... Even though it had been _______ years since we where in High School together we recognized each other right away and had a chance to catch up on what each other had been doing over the the past few years. Definitely a FIRST!
- A Realtor I previously worked for called me up to stage a listing she had... it was a High End Industrial Loft. I had never staged anything like it before and thought it would be an excellent opportunity and provide some awesome photos for my portfolio. I had to under bid to compete with another stager, but it was worth it. I got the project and it turned out the Realtor used an award winning photographer and the photos were outstanding... better than I had ever hoped for!
- I was asked to stage a very small cottage for a Realtor who I had previously worked with. Even though there would be very little profit in the project I enjoyed working with this Realtor and decided I would go ahead and stage the home anyway... I was so glad I did. It turned out really awesome and the Realtor said that there were so many showings and it had so many offers on it and sold for 48K over asking price. The Realtor later told me it sold for the most per square footage in that area for the year. I realized great things really can come in small packages... and I was glad to be a part of something as wonderful as this.
- This one was an very pleasant and unexpected surprise... for the first time in my business I got a call to stage a home in my neighborhood... It was a beautiful home to stage with so many unique features and a very interesting floor plan. My team and myself just fell in love with this one... the Homeowners really put a lot into updating this house. It was my very first time working with this Realtor and was thrilled to find out that I was on a list of Stagers that the Realtor received from her office. I am very thankful I received this project!
- I also had the opportunity to stage a very large home (3 levels) up in hills of Sonoma County... This home was the second largest vacant home I have ever staged and the most providable one ever. The Realtor and I had worked together before and I was excited she called me in for the project. A really outstanding home with views from everywhere in the house. Everyone involved was extremely happy with the results... most of all was me!
Even though this was the year of so many changes (especially to my Contract) it was a huge learning curve. What to look out for... what precautions I need to take before taking on a project and when not to take on a project if things don't seem just right. I realize somethings I cannot predict what will happen.... but I know I have really been stretched this year and I hope I have learned some valuable lessons in this business!
You never get a second chance... to make a Great First Impression!
Linda D. Pufford, ASPM
With Divine Style
Real Estate/Home Staging ~ Interior Redesign ~ Color Consulting
Serving the greater San Francisco Bay Area Since 2006
Can Potential Buyers See Themselves Living In Your Home?