Education is a critical and necessary component to any REALTORS®’ success. Designations are just some of the many ways to obtain new knowledge and show your clients that you’re committed to providing them with superior service and ideas.
Last week, Broker Breeze interviewed Kathy Kibler, an Accredited Staging Professional® (ASP® designee) and REALTOR® at Century 21 Sweyer & Associates. Kathy currently runs her own home staging business called Casa Bella Home Staging while also practicing real estate with her husband Dan Kibler.
During our interview, we discussed the ASP® designation, why she choose to get it, the importance of staging a home to sell, and the vital role of education in the real estate industry.
“I received my ASP® designation through StagedHomes.com which was created by the original founder of the entire ‘staging’ concept,” said Kathy. StagedHomes.com’s ASP® designation is currently the only professional staging designation recognized by the National Association of REALTORS®. The company has been in business since 1972.
“Earning my ASP® designation really gave me that edge I needed to succeed especially in today’s challenging market,” claims Kathy. “There’s so much inventory out there that when I’m able to stage a home for sellers, it stands out from the other homes around it and allows buyers to better visualize themselves living there. In the end, staging makes a home sell faster and saves the seller money.” Kathy has focused her business around the concept that ”Staging is NOT decorating… Decorating is personalizing, staging is depersonalizing.”
Kathy doesn’t just stage homes for her clients though. She also offers her services to help other REALTORS® and their sellers stage their homes to sell. “I can help stage a home as little or as much as needed. I offer consultations whereby I give my recommendations that people can implement themselves or I can come in and do a full hands on staging of the home which includes everything from painting to rearranging furniture. I also do “REALTOR® Walk-Ins” which is a quick walk through to tell a REALTOR® what needs to be done. Pricing for these services is very affordable depending on the scope and size of the home.”
StagedHomes.com and the ASP® designation also provide her with the credibility and marketing needed to make her home staging services extremely beneficial. “Once I stage a home, StageHomes.com posts the sellers home online as a certified staged home. Their website generates excellent exposure for the seller by receiving up to 10,000 hits per month,” said Kathy. “I can also provide the seller with a certificate to document the home’s status as a ‘Staged Home’ and place a sign in the yard to attract buyers.”
As for Kathy and Dan’s clients, they offer their staging services for FREE up to $500 for listing with them. “Whether it’s a bad market or good market… staging helps sell it!” states Kathy. “Out of all homes that are staged, 94.8% of them sell within 37 days or less. This service will save sellers money in the end. One recent example – I tried to get a fellow REALTOR® to let me stage their listing. The seller decided not to stage the home. A few weeks ago, I noticed they had reduced the listing price by $10,000. Well, for only about $2,000, they could have staged the home and possibly sold it without having to give up that equity.”
Having an independent stager meet with your sellers is a great idea because it allows a third party to make suggested changes to the home without putting the listing agent in any awkward position with their client.
When asked how she got interested in staging, Kathy responded with “I love helping people and I love staging, so I thought why not turn what I love doing into a business. Earning the ASP® designation required a lot of hard work and determination, but it was well worth it.” Kathy was required to take classroom and hands-on training to earn the designation. She actually staged a home and then had it judged by experts to validate that she was qualified for this distinction. With only about 15,000 Accredited Staging Professionals® in the country, Kathy is a part of an elite group of skilled stagers.
“Being an Accredited Staging Professional® brings credibility behind my services. What really sold me on this designation was the fact they too had a Code of Ethics just like REALTORS® do. I truly believe that continuing to educate yourself through designations, workshops, seminars, etc. is a must to stay current with consumer trends and the quality of service all clients deserve.” Kathy also has her Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) designation. This designation is the premiere seller agency designation, conferred by the SRS Council, recognizing real estate professionals who have completed special education in seller representation.