Cornerstone of ASP® Staging: Property Features Can Be Seen by All

At we work diligently to educate REALTORS®, real estate industry professionals, media representatives, home sellers, and the public about what Staging truly is. We emphasize the ethical approach we adhere to as members of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals® as we follow our ASP® Staging Code of Ethics. Yet no matter how much we communicate our message there is still a misconception sometimes of what Staging is, and these days, with Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, information spreads quickly whether the information is correct or incorrect. Each time I come across information that incorrectly describes Staging I think of how important it is for us to always educate those we work with, and those we want to work with. Just the other day an online article was brought to my attention. The article went into great lengths of how Staging is about covering up things in a home for sale, thus creating a deception for home buyers visiting the home. The article further described how agents specifically should caution prospective buyers when they see a Staged home, and that “82% of home buyers are likely to be distracted from important issues when they go through a staged home. In addition, 51% of the respondents noted that staged homes often cover up real defects including structural damage.” Of course we know this notion couldn’t be further from the truth of what true ASP®  Home Staging is. ASP® Staging is about fully showing features of a property, including defects, and not hiding them. ASP® Staging is never about fooling people. It is never about covering things up, or hiding things. That’s just not a part of ASP® Home Staging. I thought I would share with you my recommendations to you of what you need to do as you ASP® Stage® Homes. I am not an attorney and the below are my own opinions only. In fact, please don’t hesitate to consult an attorney when you have questions about matters like these. 1. Get a copy of the property disclosure statements from the sellers about their homes and have a copy in your files for each house.  The listing agent can also give you a copy of the property disclosures. 2. Anything you see in the property that is not reported on the disclosure statements you need to put in writing that you found it or saw it and write down on the paper that you notified the seller and agent with what you found, saw, or discovered about the property while you were Staging. For example: “I found a hole in the carpet in the NW corner of the master bedroom upstairs.  I have therefore informed the sellers, Mr. and Mrs., Smith and their RE agent Sally Jones of what I found.” I would then have them each, sellers and agent, sign it. Now, the agent knows too, as well as the seller, that you have seen it and reported it to them in writing. Keep a copy of that in your files also. All great agents would want to know that you found a hole in the carpet too of course.  And do not cover it up or Stage® over the defect. 3. We never cover up things that are a defect in the home in ASP® Staging. In fact recommend to the seller that they fix it and if they do not fix it then do not cover it up. 4. And if they fix it and hopefully they do fix it, as a RE Broker I want my sellers to disclose that they fixed something and put that in their disclosure statements too. For example:  ‘The hole in the carpet in the NW corner of the Master Bedroom upstairs was repaired professionally by ABC Carpet Company” in their disclosure statements. That way then the buyer knows that was a hole in the carpet and that the seller had it repaired professionally. 5. The above helps insure that you have not seen something and did not report it.  Sellers are responsible to inform all buyers of defects in the property and if agents see things and do not inform the seller and the buyers that they saw it and there is a challenge that comes up from it, then they may be held liable for the defect too. I am not an attorney but this has been reported to me by attorneys, and therefore my own opinion is that as an ASP® Stager you do not want to be accused ever that you saw something and did not report it and covered it up. That is why I recommend strongly to you that you get the property disclosures from the sellers. For as a defect(s) is in the property disclosures, as they should be, then the seller has informed the buyer and it is then the buyers responsibly to approve or reject the property disclosure statements of the seller and move forward with a sale or end it. ASP® Staging helps sells property for it sets the scene honestly, comfortably and to show the property in the best way possible.  ASP® Staging is a tool that benefits sellers and buyers, for time is money and most buyers want to find the nicest home for the best price that meets their needs.  And ASP® Staging does not cover up or hide things from the buyer or anyone viewing the property. It can be hard sometimes to stop inaccurate information from spreading, especially these days with an abundance of ways to share information online across the world. But, each time we see articles such as the one that encouraged me to write to you today, it spells out a need for all of us to educate our REALTOR® partners, media representatives, and of course sellers and the public. Inform them upfront about how you are committed to the ASP® Staging Code of Ethics, and how that includes full showing of the property features, including defects and not about covering them up. Write articles on the subject in your newsletter or blog, comment on it at Facebook, and make sure you include the subject in your conversations with sellers and their REALTORS®. We can’t always stop wrongful information spreading, but we can and must use every one of our communication channels to educate the correct information to all. All my best, always, Barb Barb Schwarz, ASP®, ASPM®, IAHSP®, AB The Creator of Home Staging® CEO® Founder/Chairwoman IAHSP® and The IAHSP® Foundation Stage®, ASP®, ASPM®, IAHSP®, and® are all Federally Registered Trademarks of®

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