In this episode, the IAHSP® EU President meets Rita De Miranda, the Founder of APHS – Portuguese Home Staging Association and the Creator / Trainer of the recently Approved and Accredited HS Course.
S.R.: APHS is the newest national Affiliate Association in IAHSP® EU. Could you please tell us more about APHS and what the main goals of the Association are?
R.d.M.: APHS was created in 2021 to help Home Stagers in Portugal to have a successful business, to defend, regularise and regulate the work of Professional Home Stagers in Portugal.
In the last 10 years, the Portuguese real estate market is adapting every year to the increasing demands of its customers. Many real state agents have heard about Home Staging and of the use this activity to sell their properties faster and better. However, many of them continue to think of Home Staging as an integral part of Interior Design, ending up hiring decorators, architects and designers to do the work of a Home Stager. These activities are totally different from Home Staging and its professionals are not qualified to help the owners in the most correct way, as they do exactly the opposite of what is necessary. They often end up taking away the true value of Home Staging as an internal marketing technique in the real estate market. That is way we created APHS, as an association to develop and help the Home Stagers in their business in Portugal.
We even created the ethics code to help the Home Stagers to have the same way of reaching the real state market.
S.R.: Information and Education are the keys to further spreading awareness on Home Staging. How is the Association involved in these processes?
R.d.M.: Education and information are the basics of the awareness of Home Staging everywhere in the world and without it, Home Staging has no value and doesn’t mean anything.
Ten years ago, I heard about Home Staging in one of many business trips I did to the USA. When I get back from the trip, I tried to study here in Portugal about it but unfortunately there was nothing here, so I had to make my degree with an American company. When I finished, I understood that even though, I knew how to improve the proprieties, it didn’t matter at all, because the real states agents didn’t knew why it was crucial to their business. So i created a simple training day, where I explained the basics of Home Staging and for the last almost 9 years, I give this training to real state brands in Portugal.
APHS is the next step for the awareness, because the information that it provide is much more deep in to the activity and because we truly help others Home Stagers in how to be successful in this business and also to create more training and speeches, workshops and courses about this wonderful business. We want to be perceived as The Portuguese School of Home Staging. We want to spread the word of Home Staging for the Portuguese people.
S.R.: APHS offers a Professional Home Staging Course that has been recently approved by IAHSP® EU.
What characteristics separate this course from any other online or in-person training program currently offered in Portugal?
R.d.M.: The 3 months course of APHS is the only course in Portuguese in world that has the business and the practice of doing Home Staging during the course. Most of the courses just explain the activity and how to improve proprieties and give you the simple guidelines. We feel that in order to truly know something, we should try it many times, so you could make mistakes and learn from it.
That why, from day one, our students start to make their own business from scratch. In the end of the 3 months, everyone knows how to do any type of projects with any kind of budget, and they feel truly Home Stagers Professionals.
From the Home Staging best practices, to commercial techniques, to explain the benefits, organise and plan a project, to different kind of presentations to the clients until the business plan, we give everything that I learn from 10 years of Portuguese Real State Market.
We want everybody to succeed in this business witch we love! APHS was created from love of Home Staging and love for the home stagers professionals.
S.R.: How many Professional Home Stagers are actively working in Portugal, and what are the major obstacles they are facing (if any)?
R.d.M.: I couldn’t say exactly the number of Home Stagers Professionals in Portugal because some of them didn’t do the training with us and made their certification abroad. But, I could say that we already certificate more than 50 students in the lasts 6 months and we have a new class starting.
APHS is very recent and some professionals don’t know us yet and didn’t register as part of our community unfortunately. We also know there are some Home Stagers are only concern with their own business because they are still new in real state market and they are still starting their business. As we grow into the market, we realise that “alone we got faster but together we go further” as the African proverb and that is the way APHS think about the business. Barb Schwarz didn’t created Home Staging Industry alone but she really lead the way. That is the way that we want to be perceived: “Leading the way for Home Staging Professionals” – that is our vision!
We know that, in time, every Portuguese home stagers will want to be part of APHS because the credibility that we already have and more that we will gain in the next years.
The biggest obstacle is the fact of designers, decorators and architects that doesn’t have any qualifications in Home Staging and start presenting theirselves as Home Staging Professionals. Because they will screw up the real state market so we have to be vigilant and help them with the awareness that they need to be certificate to do it properly.
S.R.: What is the average time that it takes to sell a property in Portugal? Which type of properties are staged the most?
R.d.M.: The selling time depends on witch type of property and witch value, we are talking about. The Real State Market in Portugal is very varied, with different kind of prices and construction qualities. But we could say that without Home Staging the properties are taking more than 2/3 months to sell and some of them even more, 6 to 9 months.
Our experience as home stagers give us a completely different number. We have some success cases in selling in the first 24 hours but normally is in the 2 to 3 weeks, in the first month, always depending of the property.
The Portuguese real state market gain consciousness in last years and home stager registered in APHS are giving us the feedback that more and more, we doing occupied properties as the real market evolves but the vacant properties still are the most projects we do. We hope to reach the perfect balance in the next years.