RESA Home Stager Newsletters

Leaders focus on what they can control, what they have and what they want. 

-Tony Robbins

In spring of 2018, I contacted RESA HQ to launch a RESA Chapter in Calgary. By the initial gathering in May 2018 at Robinson lighting, I knew that we had enough interest to get this chapter going.

In 2019, we completed our first full year as a RESA Chapter.

Together we have been building a community full of collaboration and teamwork. Thank you to everyone who participated and supported the RESA Greater Calgary Chapter in it’s first year.

Now, in 2020, I am honoured to be the first RESA Alberta President.  I look forward to supporting the new board and their goals. I also thank them for taking on the leadership positions so we can continue to have a Chapter in Calgary.  I look forward to getting to know and supporting the many RESA Home Stagers in Alberta.

If your vision is to grow your business, let’s do it together.  Work with fellow RESA home stagers or strategize on specific projects.  Join or start a local chapter or let your voice be heard on a committee or on a RESA Facebook group.  Be part of the history of this growing industry in Alberta. We all bring different opinions, expertise and skill sets to the Chapter and committees. Each of us can influence and help each other by sharing our experiences and insights. In return we can find assistance and support in our community as we all have some fear or limitation affecting our ability to reach our goals.

That is my vision. What’s yours?

I look forward to hearing your ideas on what you need to fulfill your goals and also what you have to offer others to help them reach theirs.

Let’s continue to educate consumers and Realtors of the benefits of hiring RESA Professional Home Stagers. By building relationships with other RESA stagers we can open doors and create new opportunities.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and prosperous 2020, together!

Rachel

What’s your why? What’s your reason for being in business? What’s your mission statement?

No matter how we say it, we need to know. Maybe we don’t care about putting it in writing for the world to see in a mission statement, but we still need to know why we’re in business. The answer to your “why” is never money alone.

There is always more that drives us forward.

Next, know our numbers. We cannot price our services without knowing how much it costs us to be in business. The break-even point [the sum of all necessary costs that don’t change i.e. insurance] determines how much we need to make to stay in business-monthly and yearly. Then divide this number with the price of our service to determine how many times we must stage or consult in a month or year to sustain our business.

“What should I charge?” is the biggest question I hear. More important is that we know and understand our own break-even number, our experience and own ability.

And finally, we need to make a plan. A plan that includes a road map and goals that are personal to us and us alone.

Who cares about our competitors? My strategy is based on my strengths, my talent and my capacity. This plan includes who I want to serve [ideal client] and what I enjoy doing for those clients[service offering].

The only reason you should be looking at your competitors is to align yourself with them.

“Players should never fight. A real businessman or entrepreneur has no enemies. Once he understands this, the sky’s the limit.” Jack Ma [founder of Alibaba]

Isn’t this why we join an association? Working within a RESA Chapter does that for me, and I hope that being part of RESA does that for you. If not, then figure out what you need to make that happen and reach out. Your local Chapter or any RESA leader would be happy to hear from you.

Rachel

Dear Alberta Resa Members,

I hope to hear everyone is well  in this unusual circumstance we are in.

I just want to pass information on as I receive it.

I am reaching out to share the article below about Open House Rules in Alberta.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-open-houses-prohibited-1.5507490

Also if you need support , have questions or just want to talk about how this is affecting your business, please  reach out to me.

Above all, I  hope you are staying in and staying healthy.

Kind Regards,

Rachel Borrelli,

Hope this newsletter finds you all well and able to make some fond family memories during your stay home, stay safe time. 

During the last few months, many of us have been reflecting on past business decisions that lead us here and how we may want to pivot or continue in the future.

I have been with RESA since 2011 and feel that much of my success has been based on my decision to get professional training thru CCSP and equally to having joined RESA in the early stages of my business. By belonging to RESA, we receive continuous learning, networking opportunities, and most important during this pandemic, constant updated information that help us manage our businesses.

Since 2011, home staging has expanded and is well established in the world of real estate here in Alberta. With that growth, RESA has identified the need to support the membership. Every person that steps forward to serve the members, does so with the common goal to help other home stagers and advance the industry.

How do we support the RESA members in Alberta? Here is a portion of the responsibilities of a State/Provincial President:

  • Create a strong communication plan with the chapters in their states to reinforce objectives to be met throughout the year
  • Facilitate sharing of ideas and solutions to issues and challenges faced by local chapters and/or members.
  • Observe emerging leadership and encourage new leaders at all levels of the organization.
  • Serve as a mentor to local chapters.
  • Identify and develop a chapter growth plan.
  • Positioned to be an effective liaison and representative of RESA and it’s membership in the industry.

All the responsibilities are equally important, however, an essential part to me personally, has been reaching out to fellow home stagers thru out Alberta and staying connected.  By listening and gathering information and then representing us all by bringing your suggestions, needs and ideas to our RESA HQ monthly meetings.

By attending your local chapter meetings, you can build relationships, learn about vendors, trades people and opportunities in your area that you may otherwise not know about. If you want to learn more about the leadership roles including your Chapter leadership,I have attached them here.

 https://files.constantcontact.com/dcccd00c601/860e42c2-b051-4025-aa2f-a96f14d32e0a.pdf

Together, we can continue to elevate the industry and the standards, making the benefits to hiring RESA Professional Home Stagers in Alberta clear to our clients. Let’s  build consumer confidence in Realtors, home builders and property owners in their choice to hire us and our companies.

RESA has been working hard to provide us with valuable information during this time. Take time to get on the website regularly and review recent information such as the COVID-19 Updates and soon they will release more safety guidelines to assist us in returning to work. Take note, that this information is not in the members only section of the website. So don’t hesitate to share this vital COVID 19 information with all home stagers, regardless of association.

https://www.realestatestagingassociation.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=304550&module_id=392794

Quick Tip

Do not unpack, sanitize or disinfect your inventory for at least 24 hours after you return it to your warehouse, storage or garage. The longer you wait, the better chance of that virus dying before you get near it. Ensure you are using an EPA approved disinfectant product and carefully following the manufactures instructions.

Got any tips to share? I encourage you to get online and share them in one of our many RESA Facebook groups for everyone to see.The Canadian Home Stagers Facebook Page is for all home stagers, not just RESA members.

Stay up to date as Alberta begins to open up in its three phase plan https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.aspx  

RESA still recommends we stay safe and do our best to stop the spread of this virus. As for what local authorities are saying in Alberta, I found nothing that explicitly says we can or cannot work. [Please share with me anything you have that says otherwise]. Also consider if your covered by your insurance at this time? And last, did you amend your contract with the suggestions from the Agreement Addendum found on the RESA website.

Each of us needs to do what’s best for our team and our business. Like many of you, I will be watching each Alberta COVID-19 phase-in stage closely and when I feel it’s safe and am confident we have met all safety requirements, we will move forward with the new normal way of doing business.

I am always happy to hear from you, listen to your challenges or help in any way I can.

Wishing you wellness in every way possible.

With kind Regards,

Rachel

We are back doing what we love!

I sincerely hope that you have made it through the Stay Home, Stay Safe period with little disruption, good health and even some great family moments.

As we move forward putting our safety protocols in place and looking for ways to mitigate the current impact of the pandemic, Let’s stay connected and share our safety protocols. When it comes to safety, we cannot share enough.

As business owners we have to future proof our business against another potential crisis.Looking back is to be proactive for a healthier future. 

What did we do right, what areas could use improvement? Are we clear on the path to navigate thru another disruption?

  • Will we be putting some money aside for bills and salaries?
  • Have we decided to move your inventory to another location or reduce inventory to reduce your overhead?
  • Did we learn there was an expense that we could do without?
  • Can we work from home more efficiently with more training or tools and processes in place? Some needed a better router, upgrade bandwidth or a more efficient office for all family members? 
  • Will adjust our proposals and contracts for protection or potential shut downs etc. Does our contract have a clause for continuance or suspension should there be another disruption? 
  • Will we need to stock up with amenities  like masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, etc.

For me personally, I have been in a state of gratitude to get me thru this. So I’m just going to keep it going here….I would like to thank the Calgary Chapter Board of Directors and those considering stepping forward in the future, for the time and effort to keep us all informed and connected.

The best way to show them appreciation is to show up at the meetings and take advantage of all the work, knowledge and networking opportunities being put forward.  If you haven’t participated in a meeting yet, come see what your missing. It’s only an hour, yet the benefits last much  longer. 

 Another way is to comment and share in our Greater Calgary RESA Facebook page. STAY connected by joining the Calgary Chapter members on June 26that 10 am on Zoom.

And have you looked at the first ever virtual RESACON line up? Looking good! https://2020.resaconvention.com

I cannot end this message without mentioning the Black Lives Matter movement. May we all be more understanding, learn more about each other and listen to each other.

I was proud that in RESA’s commitment to diversity, they did not stay silent or shy away from the topic. http://homestagingnewswire.com/resa-remains-committed-to-unity-diversity-and-integrity.

RESA HQ put out a request to form a Diversity and Racial Relations Committee immediately. 

One of the goals of the committee is to find ways to encourage more people of color to participate in leadership and to create a strategy to ensure that members of RESA are educated on the racial sensitivities we may face in our day-to-day personal and business relationships.

Whether you get involved on this or any RESA committee, as a Chapter leader or by showing up and participating at the meetings and sharing on our Facebook page. THANK YOU!

As always, I look forward to hearing from you. 

  Rachel

A Message from Your RESA Canadian Provincial Presidents

We would like to start by saying that our hearts go out to everyone who has been directly affected by or is suffering from the coronavirus COVID-19. 

We are reaching out to each and every home stager in Canada, to let you know that we are here for you. Whether it’s support, direction, or just to listen, we are happy to do our part to help each of you through this crisis. 

We know that this has not been an easy situation to navigate, with information coming in from various directions and sources. We are grateful to RESA-HQ and the National Board of Directors for their tireless efforts to support our community. To get up-to-date information and resources related to the home staging industry during COVID-19, click here

On March 16th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the nation with an urgent plea to Canadians to stay home. Following that address, we began to receive notices from local businesses that were closing their physical location and some moving to online services only. This would not have been an easy decision for any business to make, however it was the responsible thing to do for the safety of the employers, their staff, customers, and their community.

Since then, most provinces have mandated the physical closure of any type of business not deemed “essential” or “allowable”.

We have personally found ourselves in a constant fluid state of what is considered “right”, “responsible”, and “best practice”. If you have been feeling this way as well, please know that you are not alone. We have spoken to numerous home stagers that have asked whether or not they should be continuing with in-home or person-to-person home staging services.

The short answer? No.

Right now, it is time to stay home. Period. When Ontario initially released its list of essential services (now 16.v in the most up to date list) that included real estate agent services, some real estate agents saw this as a free pass for business as usual, while most committed themselves to flattening the curve. OREA President released this message, explaining that while real estate agents qualify as essential, it is NOT business as usual. They also issued this press release, urging their agents to cease ALL face-to-face business.

When Alberta released their list of essential services, RECA responded with an outline of what this means to real estate agents explaining that this is not a free pass, and outlining the responsibility that they owe to the health and safety of Albertans.

Other provincial real estate boards have followed suit with a consistent message. 

As professional home stagers, we need to do our part to flatten the curve. On April 4, 2020, RESA issued this statement, asking home stagers to cease all face-to-face consultations and staging of properties. This is the responsible thing to do, not only for ourselves, but for our families, for those we love, and for the country as a whole.

The intent of classifying a service as essential is to ensure that Canadians can have their basic needs met, including food and safe shelter. As well, businesses that can support the health care system during this time are naturally considered essential. Essential can be defined as one that is so important or crucial in resolving a tragedy, disaster, or crisis. 

Here’s the bottom line – are we an important marketing tool for real estate? Absolutely. Are we saving lives? Not even a little bit.

We understand and appreciate the sacrifice that closing physical operations means, but it is a necessary one. Everyone is facing a different, but just as difficult of a situation, whether you are single, have kids, have staff relying on you, you have debts and other financial obligations, or whatever your situation, we understand. We recommend that you explore all avenues to find funding support, payment deferrals, and alternative income sources such as ONLINE [virtual] home staging consultations. Since each situation is unique, we recommend consulting with a professional accountant to determine the best avenue for you. For links to government assistance programs, scroll down.

As individuals continue to ignore the guidelines that have been put in place, it will not only blurs the lines and the messaging, but it puts the entire country at risk. While the home staging industry is just one amongst thousands, we are mighty, and as the RESA mission states, “UNITY is our POWER”. It’s time to stand together as an industry, alongside our real estate agent partners, and show our communities that we are putting their health first by doing our part to slow the spread of the virus. RESA has created some GREAT social media imagery for you to use to help you to communicate this – simply click here to access them.

Although we are physically distancing ourselves, it’s important to continue to connect with others during these difficult times:

  • Check in on each other – reach out to fellow home stagers in your community and beyond, and offer your support. Remember that self-isolation does not mean falling out of touch, and now more than ever we need to lean on each other.
  • Share facts, not stories. Do your research before sharing information and avoid spreading false information that cannot be backed up by a reliable source.
  • At some point, we may all experience a feeling of being overwhelmed, anxiety, fear, a meltdown and even depression. This is completely normal and understandable during these unprecedented times.
  • There are heart-warming stories all around us. It’s important to take time each day to see the good in the world as ordinary people find themselves doing extraordinary things.
  • Most importantly, just be kind – during this time, everyone is faced with different challenges and will manage these stresses differently.

While home staging is an important part of the home-selling process during normal times, these are not normal times. RESA stagers know when to stay home. RESA stagers are responsible. RESA stagers care.

Stay home, stay positive, and stay healthy. We’re in this together.

~ Shauna Lynn Simon and Rachel Borrelli

Snap Decisions

Written by Rachel Borrelli, CCSP, RTS, RESAPRO

For years we have understood the importance of a listing’s marketing photos and how they need to resonate with potential buyers. As a Realtor or seller, you may have felt bombarded with this information of late.

During the COVID-19 “Stay Home, Stay Safe” period, online photos have been the main way to see a property. COVID-19 was not the start of online shopping; rather, it was the time when, regardless of age, we all embraced the culture of shopping online. We turned to the Internet to shop for apparel, groceries, furniture, building supplies, vehicles, and properties.

There has never been a time when online photos have been more important. Virtual presence is now the real first impression. Listing photos are the first impression of a property and a Realtor’s brand. While real estate transactions have temporarily slowed, they are still taking place and photos facilitated this.

Sellers have the knowledge that good photos mean reduced time on the market and less traffic and inconvenience in their house—buyers want the same thing. Buyers want to see fewer properties and do not want to spend months finding that perfect home. To do this, they will spend more time online.

 

Not convinced you need professional assistance with those photos? Consider one of the biggest online platforms today, with 1 billion users: Instagram. Why? Millennials, the largest purchasing group, want to make fast decisions based on a photo. They know what they want when they see it. And after they acquire a property, they want to show off their newly purchased home within days—online and in person.

It’s about stories, connections, and emotions. That is what photos do for us. Before reading the description, we look at the photos. If the photos do not match the description, the Realtor’s credibility may be lost. Swipe left. Next.

But wait! Here’s where a Certified Staging Professional® (CSP) comes in. We are trained and certified to build that connection, create a story, and show the lifestyle the property can offer. Our role on an agent’s marketing team is to show people what they are missing if they do not “swipe right.” [P.S. I have never been on any dating site. I just like the analogy.]

A professional real estate stager understands how to create the wow factor in pictures, thereby increasing the perceived value to the buyer. We do this by showing off the space and size of the property and highlighting the strongest features inside and out.

Research shows that potential buyers perceive a staged property as well maintained and turnkey. When listings have amazing photos, they receive more online traffic and that equates to more or faster in-person viewings.

During the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” movement, many stagers (myself included) performed staging consultations online. We used our expertise to help property sellers turn their lived-in homes into stunning model spaces within hours.

Working together with a good photographer, we ensure properties show their absolute best the first time. With technology today— Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime—we can “walk” through a property, providing real-time feedback and recommendations specific to each room. Recommendations include what to pack,

replace, repair, or store. We also address furniture placement, art selection, and even color choice. Afterward, we follow up with a Staging Checklist and guidebook.

Network management company Sandvine reported that global internet traffic grew by almost 40% between February 1 and April 19, with most of that increase occurring in March and April. Internet activity may slow down as we begin to reopen our neighborhoods, but people will continue to shop online. High-quality marketing photos help create a first impression that will turn shoppers into buyers.

About Rachel

home staging services, Airdrie home make over, Airdrie home staging professional, sell this house, Calgary Accredited Staging Professionals, Calgary CSP, prepare homes for sale, prepare properties for sale,

With a serious love for homes, design and decorating, Rachel is a certified Staging Professional whose background in Visual Display and a Business Managment Professional with a passion for world travel is a huge asset to her clients when both decorating for living or staging a property for sale.