“FOR THE LOVE OF STAGING”
By Barb Schwarz
The Creator of Home Staging®
As ‘The Creator of Home Staging®’ My Vision, Mission, and Purpose is and always has been to STAGE THE WORLD™. I truly know in My Heart that I was supposed to or destined to do this in my life. That is the reason I am here. It has been and still is my mission to not only create Home Staging but to keep building the Staging Industry, day-by-day, year-by-year.
What is Home Staging? I define it as the process of preparing a Home for Sale. Yes, Homes that are Staged Sell in a quicker amount of time and Traditionally for more money in any market. But what is behind Home Staging? What is and always has been my Mission and Vision behind my Invention of Home Staging and The Staging Industry?
My Answer is the One Word. And the Word is ‘LOVE.’
We all say as Stagers that we Love to Stage. You say that don’t you! When the House is Staged the Sellers say that they Love what we did in Staging their house for sale. The Buyers who purchase the House say that they Love it! They would not buy the house if they did not Love it! The Real Estate Agent says that they Love what we did and how it looks. The Inspectors and Appraisers say that they Love how it and that whoever purchases the house is going to Love it too! It is great for the Economy, great for the Real Estate Industry, Great for the Neighborhood as well and the List goes on! People Love to see Houses that have been Staged.
Buyers Love to purchase Staged Houses and show it off to their Family and Friends from the moment the Purchase Agreement is signed even before the sale closes. And as they do that, they start to call it their Home!
Why did You become a Home Stager? When did you make that decision? And What is Your Purpose in Being a Home Stager? When you listen to what your Heart Tells You, I think it is much easier to Feel and Know your purpose. I also know and believe it is so important that you “Do what you love and love what you do.”
When you do that your purpose shows up more easily. As you ask yourself the above questions then write out your Answers. Put it together in sentences and You now have what can be called Your ‘Mission Statement.’ Put it in Your Marketing Materials such as Your Brochures, on one side of your Business Cards, and in all of Your information so People know what Your Mission and Your Purpose is. Remember that one of my Barbs’ Staging Sayings is, ‘People don’t know what You don’t Tell Them©! And IT IS SO TRUE! (By the Way Make sure to substitute the word I instead of the word You when You say it and write it because you want to personalize it for yourself!) Remember My Saying is True about everything you do! Too many Stagers do not Educate their Clients/Sellers enough. And by not educating their clients enough then issues, problems, mistakes, poor communication and even more can and will happen. I always say that the time you INVEST in educating sellers/clients is FAR less than the time you would SPEND putting out fires and clients Concerns that are sure to come up when you did not educate them enough.
My journey involved what seemed like Climbing Tall Mountains over and over and over, again. I ask you to think and realize what it might have been like should you have been in my place and that you used a word to describe a new service that no one else knew ANYTHING ABOUT ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. I have been and I still am on a Mission and I let nothing get in my way! Nothing! Someone said to me: ‘What was it like? How did you do it?’ My response was longer than this but I will tell you here that it took and always takes Strong Persistence, 18 to 20 hour days, 7 days a week, Day after Day, Month after Month, and Year after Year. It required/Requires at least for me on my Journey Intense energy, Powerful Dedication, Extremely Hard Work, Long Days, Loving Creativity, and what my Grandfather taught me when I was Young and also while I was growing up….TO NEVER EVER GIVE UP! I BET HE SAID THAT TO ME OVER A THOUSAND TIMES FOR SURE While He Was Alive.
So, when someone asks you what Staging is, please remember that I have been asked that question by at least one million+ people! And this is a documented True Fact! I want you to know that I know what it is like when YOU are asked also about What Staging Is. Of course, I have heard that more than anyone else in the World has! I know that If I can do it then I know You can do it too whatever your goals are! You really Can when you Truly Believe in Yourself, Believe in What You Are Accomplishing day by day and that You Are Truly Dedicated to Your Mission! Some of my Staging Philosophy I share with you is the following. I know that each of these important phrases are right on the dime and are true to your Very Core! Learn them and use them every day:
- What you expect is what you get. (This applies also to what you think, what you say, how you act and what you do!)
- Change your Expectations. It will change your life!
- When you think YOU CAN, YOU CAN! But when you think you Can’t then YOU Can’t as You will work hard to prove to yourself that you Can’t!
- Please Remember that Either way YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT!
Now, People sometimes say to me, “Hasn’t Staging always been around in the Real Estate Industry?” I reply, “No, it has not!” When I first started selling Real Estate in the early 70’s, there was no such thing as Home Staging. In all the training I attended and graduated from to obtain my Real Estate License, there was NOT ONE THING said about the condition of the Homeowner’s house, about how the property looked, if it was vacant or Lived in, if it was cluttered, if it smelled or if it was really dirty inside and/or outside too, etc. Nothing was said at all! The Real Estate Agents and the RE Industry just ignored it. All Real Estate Agents, at that time, literally just listed the houses the way they were with no regard to how the Home/House showed to Buyers or how it appeared to other Agents. In fact, sadly today all over the World there are Agents who still do that every day too! I Believe and I know that RE Agents are cheating their clients from receiving the most Money/Equity as the Sale Closes when the House is not Staged! And, RE Agents themselves are getting Lower Commissions when they do not believe in having their listings Staged as the house sells for less money and then the Agent receives less in Commission based upon the lower sales price. I always say that everyone eventually wakes up to Staging, yet when they wake up is up to them and they may have had a whole career where they lost all the money they could have earned by having their listings Staged!
So…How Did I Invent Home Staging? How did it happen?
Remember “A Journey of a Thousand Miles, Begins with a Single Step!
And that is true for us all. What exactly took place? What were all the steps I took to invent Home Staging and to build the Home Staging Industry? Many of you have asked me to share my Journey with you. What I can share with you in this given space is a Very Important part of the actual way it happened in my Staging Creation Journey. It was NOT an accident. I believe it was meant to be and is exactly what I was supposed to do in my life.
First came my childhood years in Kansas. I can recall being old enough to remember that I have always loved houses and homes. My childhood years were in Kansas and I am told that, even at the age of four, I loved to rearrange Grandma’s furniture in all the rooms in her big white farmhouse that I loved living in. I remember when I was five, I made scrapbooks from pictures I cut out of Grandma’s Woman’s Day and Family Circle magazines of furniture ads, pictures of rooms, colors, accessories, landscaping and the list goes on. When I was in High-School I was even Staging though I did not have a name for it yet. My main subjects in High School were in Home Economics, Music and Education.
For the Builders’ Houses of new construction in our little town I brought in furniture and accessories to “Stage” them. They did not ask me to do that. I just did it! They were amazed and they loved it of course. Yet My High School friends thought I was out of my mind. In college I majored in Design and in Music. I thought I was going to grow up to be Barbra Streisand, but I turned out to be Barb Schwarz. I began my Work Career by Teaching School.
But, in 1971, a question changed my life at a John L. Scott Real Estate Office in Bellevue, WA. I was calling on this office in person on behalf of the Charity for the Children’s Hospital in Seattle, WA. I was Volunteering my time a day a week to help raise money for the Hospital. But A Broker stopped me in the Hallway and asked me why I was not in Real Estate. Then He dared me to go out and get my license. His question haunted me for 2 days but I made the decision to do it and I have never looked back. I studied for the test and got my RE License! It was interesting to me as right then and there I felt it was meant to be! And so it was!
In 1972, as a Real Estate Agent I birthed my ‘Theater Analogy for Staging’. It was that Year that My Inner Intelligence told me to say ‘Staging’ for the first time to a Seller. I was in School and then Community Theater in Musicals and Plays and as I started to think more about how we set the scene for each act in a play or Musical I began to think we could and we should set the Scene, set the STAGE for each room in a House too. I thought…why not use that analogy with my Seller for setting the scenes in her rooms? So, I asked my Seller if she liked the theater. She got so excited! She said that she loved it! I decided to tell her that she was the Star, that the house was the Set, the Agents were the Critics, the Buyers were the Audience and that I was The Director!!! She almost screamed YES! The house had been on the market for over a year with two companies and it had not sold! After my Staging Her House, it sold the first week! My Staging Concept and Invention worked! Although Agents in the office were amazed that it sold so fast, they did not even ask me how I did it.
I am told today that my Theater Analogy has literally changed the Real Estate Industry forever.
From that time forward, I trained myself and learned so much about Staging by and from working with my Clients. Year-after-year I listed more Houses, Staged Them and became one of the top producers in the Seattle, WA area. Yet, no one knew what I was doing with my Sellers in Staging. But my seller-clients, one by one, were the only ones who knew my Staging Invention and why it had to be done to sell a house for more money in the quickest amount of time. And then what happened was that the Sellers told their friends and their neighbors that my Staging concepts were the secret that really helped them sell. I perfected it all more and more all of the time.
I made a good income and even when interest rates were over twenty percent in the early 1980’s I had the houses that were selling while the others sat on the market! In a way it was like the houses were also my laboratory — my testing ground of what worked and what didn’t, what to say, and what not to say. Here is WHERE I learned my Real lessons, and I kept teaching myself more and more about my own invention of Home Staging.
Each time a property sold, I asked myself what went well, what would I do differently next time and how would I do it. When you perfect something you love for ten years and make it better and better, it works! It is the model of how Stagers Stage today. People are people, houses are houses and what works, works, period! Price range does not matter because all houses need to be Staged and My Staging principles are the same. I was and am still like a laser beam focused on improving my techniques, sayings, procedures, ideas more and more. I was possessed with the mission of developing and perfecting Home Staging. I fine-tuned everything that I did. I did it over and over, and over again, year-after-year. When I made mistakes, I learned from them and corrected them. I Literally observed everything I did and what the reactions were from the Sellers, the Buyers, and Agents.
I would practice out loud what to say and when to say it. I zoned in on my own body language as well as the body language of my Sellers, what they said, what they didn’t say, if they frowned or if they smiled, where they sat and where they stood. I really watched how different words I used changed their actions and reactions. I developed my communication of how to educate the Seller that they needed to Stage. What I was learning became the techniques I invented, shared, and have taught to over a million people. It gives me joy to share this with you. All of this is the foundation of Home Staging, perfected and true. Now, you know why what I teach, write and share works because it was tested over and over and put through its paces and tests to make sure it was right.
Remember, no one else in the whole wide world knew what I was doing. They didn’t know the word Staging at all. I worked with trial and error to perfect it to become the Staging Model it is today! How to Stage, how to Communicate, how to run your business, and all the details of Staging homes to sell or to live in. After I did that intensely for ten years, I became the World’s International Staging Expert in the highest sense of the word. I have kept developing more and working better and more effectively. I was and am possessed and totally on a mission to change the world. Not only did I become the world’s first Home Stager, but I am the Woman who invented and built the Home Staging Industry from the ground up. I built the practice, the model, the techniques and skills for/of Home Staging. I learned so much from all my work. Nothing could hold me back from learning more — Fine Tuning, Fine Tuning, Fine Tuning. I hope you can sense the energy, the persistence and dedication I had and still do have! I would say to God, “God, send me the people and the houses and I will do the work to bring Staging to Life!”.
As I write I can feel the drive I had inside of me then and that I still have now after all these years.
It really is amazing…because Staging is now recognized around the world in Real Estate Industries in countless countries. They may not yet know how to do it exactly but at least they know the Word. They know what it Means in many countries and more are learning what it means every day. In Each Country they want to learn more Staging Changes Lives. Staging Brings People Happiness. Staging helps People achieve their Goals. And how Grand it is that Love is what Staging is all about. And we are all here to learn more of how to love! How to love each other, how to Love and change our environment more so we feel more Peace, more Joy, more Happiness, more Hope, more Stressless, and more content with ourselves and each other.
What a wonderful Career it is to become a Home Stager. I am so proud of you for making this choice of a Home Staging Career. I Believe in You and all the Great things You Can and Will Do. I feel totally connected to you for all the many reasons you know from reading my thoughts and words above.
I hope you enjoyed what I shared and that you learned some things too. I also hope to be asked to write again here to share more with you in the Future. I could speak or train or write for a year straight and still I would have more to share and teach you about Home Staging. I have spoken and taught more Home Staging of course than any human being on earth. Therefore, My Mission continues as I have a whole lot more to share, teach, and give You. I have never stopped developing more concepts, more ideas, more materials, and strategies as the gift of Creativity is alive in me constantly just as it is in You.
Remember that The Best is Yet to Come! I feel that way and I hope you do too!
God Bless You.
Barb Schwarz, The Creator of Home Staging
Founder and Builder for 20 Years of IAHSP, the IAHSP Foundation and
World-Wide Staging Service Week, WWSSW
Staging The World™ of Barb Schwarz
The Creator of Home Staging® of Barb Schwarz
Content Copyrighted by Barb Schwarz 2020