Ask Alicia: I’ve fallen……. and I choose NOT to get up?!?!

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Dear Alicia,

I’ve spent my life taking care of other people’s messes.  My career as a home stager was just a natural extension of my previous careers (which mostly involved taking care of other people’s messes).  I’m afraid that my home staging career was more of a do-as-I-say-, not-as-I-do situation.  While admonishing my clients to de-clutter, my own house was something of a mess!

Recently, I was at home, and tripped over the dogs.  I fell onto the floor in the master bedroom.  Thinking that this slip-and-fall might be my last moment on earth, I anticipated visions of pearly gates, and long deceased relatives welcoming me into the light.  Well, not surprisingly, all I could think of was how dirty my floor was!  Under the bed, I saw huge wads of dog fur and accumulated dust! I thought Sasquatch had visited during the night….

Everything happens for a reason, and as I lay there, I took inventory of my life.  Yes, I had fallen.  Unlike the lady in the commercial, it wasn’t that I couldn’t get up, I just choose not to get up!  While I lay there, I wondered if this accident was a metaphor for my home staging career?  Just because I am a home stager, doesn’t mean I have to stage homes – does it?

Frankly, I’ve done everything that a home stager, could, would and should do!  I’ve staged condos, and mansions. I’ve appeared on national and local television.  I’ve lectured on the topic of home staging to all kinds of crowds.  I’ve done the home shows and trade shows.  I’ve blogged (incessantly) on the topic.  I’ve joined this organization and that organization.  I’ve YouTubed, WordPressed, Blogspotted, ActiveRained, Houzzed, Thumbtacked, Stagedhomes.com(ed), RESA (ed), Home Staging Resourc(ed). 

The rewards in my home staging career certainly weren’t financial rewards.  In our market, de-cluttered, well-photographed houses, did just as well (if not better) then de-cluttered, STAGED, and well-photographed houses.  It seems that staging techniques did well, but home stagers didn’t (and don’t) do particularly well (financially). 

Real estate inventory in the average market in the U.S. is 6 months.   My market boasts an inventory of 2.6 months.  On any given day there are 60,000 listings available.  Of those 60,000 available listings, maybe 1,000 are professionally staged.  More than 70% of the 60,000 listings utilized some sort of staging technique,  but rarely is a ‘stager’ called upon to assist with the staging of that 70% group!

Along the way, I’ve met some wonderful people.  I’ve also met some rather dubious characters, but they just added a little spice (and drama) to the journey. Unfortunately, my staging and real estate ‘friendships’ proved to be transitory in nature, and in spite of my best efforts, I find myself being called to a metaphoric table:

Home stager: party of one.

Calling, Home Stager… party of one!

I feel that as a home stager, I’ve fallen!  Must I, get up?

What to do?

Warm regards:   Texas Tommy

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Dearest Tommy,

I’m presuming that you’re up and about.  Hopefully, your floor-nap gave you the energy to finish your day in an upright position.  The paramedics in my neighborhood generally aren’t so thrilled when they’re called to an emergency case of ‘laziness’.

Yours is not an unusual situation!  Let me answer your question with this metaphor:

The shampoo bottle clearly tells us to rinse and repeat.  Generally, shampoo bottles presume that we have enough intelligence to rinse and repeat once or twice.  If we took the shampoo instructions literally, none of us would ever get out of the shower (but, we would have fabulously supple hair). 

Your home staging career is/was designed and intended to be a gateway career.  The skill sets that you’ve acquired are worth far more then any monetary reward!!!  It sounds to me like you’ve rinsed, repeated, and blown dry your home staging career.  You’ve got a new hairdo, and it’s a great time to go show it off.

Have you thought of a career in home staging education?  In my market, the Realtors want to do the staging themselves.  So, I’ve started doing seminars to teach the techniques of staging.   It is said: “Those who can’t do – teach!”  Well, I can still ‘do’, but I prefer to share what I’ve learned, with an audience of interested, appreciative Realtors, DIY Home Sellers, and Amateur Home Stagers.

Texas Tommy, you sound like another Tom I know in Texas.  He’s taken his brand name and turned it into a new and exciting company!   He too, had fallen, but realized that this ‘trip’ wasn’t just a trip… it was the beginning of a new journey!

Wishing you the very best!

Warmest regards:

Alicia Barrington

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