Dear Professional Home Stagers, Amateur Home Stagers, and Potential Home Stagers,
I recently read an uneducated and exaggerated statistic written by an industry “professional”, that had me floored in disbelief that anyone would degrade their own industry in such a reckless manner. The article claimed that 99% of the time a person won’t hire you because of initials behind your title. I *think* the point that was person attempting to make was that the letters a home stager earns behind their name have no bearing over them getting hired. I see two MAJOR discretions in this “percentage”:
- When statistics and percentages are fabricated based upon opinion without a wide range of research and data to back it up, then it’s no wonder that education and “letters” behind a name are meaningless to some. Again, this is a fraudulent figure and the misrepresentation of it sheds a negative light on the industry.
- Successful staging companies know that business comes from many directions not JUST a homeowner hiring you. To be more specific, having professional connections with REALTORS® is vital for a thriving staging business. Furthermore, REALTORS® know and understand initials behind the names of their “go-to” vendors and home stagers, because THEY ALSO find it important to hold these titles as they start, grow, and evolve in their business.
My question to you is: What successful business or industry DOESN’T believe in the importance of educating, regulating, and legitimizing their career path from the start?
Even if you don’t agree with a strong foundational education as you begin your journey into this exciting and constantly evolving industry, I recommend not throwing around false statistics, as it compromises the integrity of the entire staging AND real estate industry.
In lieu of any great “debate” over home staging credentials, I would like to start by agreeing with some of the words being thrown around the world wide web.
Those who say they object to fake credentials, WE AGREE! At INhance IT!, we would never condone or encourage any home staging business or training course conjuring up fake credentials, and we think if someone doesn’t feel their courses are enough to be proven as “accredited courses”, then their students certainly should NOT get the privilege of using “initials” after their name.
It’s important to know the difference between a regulated, professional home staging training, and courses from just anybody who claims to be an experienced home stager, online. With all the options out there, we strongly suggest obtaining education through the very short list of accredited trainings for stagers through RESA. These courses go through a rigorous approval process to land on that list. Every one of these Training Programs is taught by a seasoned entrepreneur who has successfully grown her own home staging business! If you are looking at courses not approved by RESA make sure that the training is up to date and relevant in today’s market. You shouldn’t be listening to audio trainings that were recorded more than 5 years ago. The Real Estate industry is growing and changing every year and you want a course that changes with it instead of being stuck in the past. From our own personal experience with courses approved by RESA, they are worth it, and I wear my letters proudly!
On the other hand, we’ve heard that some “so-called” stager training courses say “awarding home staging credentials for the completion of my course compromises my integrity.” Not to be a diva, but If it’s really about the integrity then why make people pay at all for the course?
As a home stager who has earned letters behind my name, continued my own education, and grown a team that holds many titles including our recent “Top 10 Home Stagers of 2017”, I feel fortunate to have gone that extra mile and be able to have confidence when talking to our valued clients and REALTORS®. To be honest, if I didn’t work so hard to earn these experiences, and share them, I would also feel my integrity was in question, I’m thankful I don’t have to understand how that feels.
I would love to share this quote that really proves true when it comes to reaching further in an unregulated industry:
“Go the Extra Mile, it’s never crowded”
Speaking of going the extra mile, real estate agents cannot call themselves a REALTOR® until they’ve become certified and hold a license with the state. This means they take an intensive course and are required to take Continuing education courses throughout the year to keep the designation. REALTORS® are in the profession of selling homes, stagers are in the profession of selling homes. Yes, they are done in two different ways but in no way, should there be a difference in educating before you start a home staging business.
Successful REALTORS® start there, but they don’t stop there, they often continue earning titles and initials as the grow their businesses.
REALTORS® pride themselves on various designations, some of which include:
The list goes on and on! Can you imagine if REALTORS® decided these designations didn’t matter anymore, because some of their future clients might not know what the letters mean? These courses make them more of an asset to their clients because knowledge is power. The selling techniques from 10 years ago don’t work for today’s buyers, this is one of the reasons STARTING with a proper education isn’t optional for the leaders.
The comparison has been made that earning letters and initials aren’t like college degrees, so that in some way makes them less valuable. Many initials behind an ambitious professional’s name aren’t college degrees, and to that I say, SO WHAT!
Initial Abbreviations such as:
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
- Assistant Vice President (AVP)
None of those initials are linked to a college degree, so do they not matter? Are they less valuable? When someone is working hard to become assistant vice president of a business are they concerned that a client might not know what AVP means? No way!
I can’t imagine the world we would live in today if most people thought ONLY college degrees mattered and other forms of professional learning experiences weren’t relevant.
This brings me to what DOES matter, and the Bottom line of Home Staging Credentials
The Home Staging Industry is not regulated (yet), but instead of seeing this as:
“Our industry is not regulated so who cares whether we are certified or not”
We Should See It As:
“Our industry is not regulated, so we must do our part to separate the posers from the professionals and ensure we start our business on an educated cornerstone. Having an “eye for staging” does not make you a PROFESSIONAL stager! Educating yourself on the many factors of staging and the ever-changing world of Real Estate is what makes the difference. Staging is so much more than making a house look pretty! Let’s keep our industry SELF-regulated and long lasting.
A Final Bit of Encouragement
Never let anyone devalue you and your hard work, whether you’re just considering starting in the home staging industry, or you’re already one of the top stagers in the nation. Never follow anyone who is seeking followers instead of helping others become leaders. Lastly, from the wise words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Courtney Schomburg MCSP, EPS, SDP,
(Leaving Space for the Future letters I will Achieve)
Vice President of INhance IT!