St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging


Why being a member of a local RESA chapter is good for business

I could probably write a book to tell you why all home stagers should join the Real Estate Staging Association. As one of the first members, and charter leaders to the group (I've been the Regional Vice President in the South since 2007), I'm a HUGE proponent. Most of the time you'll hear RESA members discuss the benefits of membership revolving around credibility, visibility, and camaraderie. While all of those things are great reasons why you should consider joining RESA, I'm going to tell you one that you may not have thought of yet. But first, let me remind you that.... 

RESA is a support system for the home staging industry

RESA mastermind st augustine flSince I've recently sold my Charleston home staging company to open up a new home staging company in Jacksonville / St Augustine, FL, I've had the joy (not) of re-experiencing all of the new stager growing pains. Where I once had one of the largest companies in the industry, I am just like any other new home stager now, looking for business, trying to get in front of my customer, and set my business apart from the competition. While I do, of course, have the advantage that I've already played this game before and know a lot of what works and what doesn't, every city and town has its own nuances. What worked in Charleston, doesn't necessarily work in Jacksonville or St Augustine.
Joining the local RESA chapter, meeting and talking with other home stagers, who have been here, give me a lot of ideas of what is working and what isn't. While my competitors may not want to share their best kept secrets with me, the really good ones can be a sounding board. It's the thing that I've loved best about working with such great professionals in our industry. When you work from a place of abundance and realize that rising tides carry all boats, you are willing to help your competition. When they do well, you do well.

Home stagers refer business to other home stagers

So this leads me to that best kept secret about RESA. When you create bond with other local stagers, you pass business back and forth. The strongest home staging companies develop market niches. They don't take any and every job out there. When they are offered a job that is not within their niche, they usually don't want it. If there is a way to refer that customer out, while not losing market share or worrying about unethical behavior, they do. 
real estate staging association mastermind summit st augustineA couple of weeks ago, I had an insurance agent ask me about home staging. His customer specifically needed a home staging job that used a home manager. The customer's home insurance was about to skyrocket due to the home being vacant. Already on a shoe string, the customer needed solutions. Well, my company, Rave ReViews Home Staging, does not offer home managers. I do know two local home staging companies, both members of our local RESA chapter, who do. One phone call and two emails later, the customer had what they needed, and the insurance agent, a member of my networking group, gave a stellar testimonial about my professionalism to our group. I didn't lose out on business, I gained another advocate for my professionalism.
Last week, this same staging company, called me to ask if I was willing to take on a large scale, luxury vacant home staging. This owner specifically didn't want a home manager. I met with the agent and was just told last night that I had the job. The other stager, familiar with me because of meeting me in our local chapter, felt completely comfortable referring the work to me. While I had been the Regional Vice President of the area that chapter fell under, this particular stager had never been to convention, and wasn't familiar with me, my company, or my work prior to joining the chapter.

Don't just go to the RESA meetings. Have lunch with the members.

Truth be told, I did a lot of research before I opened my home staging company. I made it my point to know who the key players would be before I opened the doors to my Jacksonville home staging company. I knew their work. I knew their marketing strengths, and where and how I could compete against them. Unlike Charleston, I would have real competition in the Jacksonville and St Augustine markets. Rather than playing hide and seek with them, after the first Real Estate Staging Association meeting, I walked up to them, introduced myself, let them know that I was aware that they were my biggest competition, and invited them to lunch. Funny, no one had done that before. 
home staging industry trade organizationWe had a great talk about how we could work together to pass along referrals for work we didn't want, or wasn't profitable for our business models. Now, a few months later, we have passed some great leads back and forth, leads that are profitable for our business models. We also all look good to our clients. They know that we are looking out for THEIR best interests. In the end, that will win more business all around.
So, while you are considering what you need to do to grow your business in 2013, take a few moments and determine if you are using the Real Estate Staging Association to its best benefits. If you aren't a member yet, join. If you just go to the meetings, but haven't established quality relationships with your PEERS and COLLEAGUES, then rethink how you are doing business and make a correction in 2013. You don't know what business you are missing out on otherwise....  


 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).


Comment balloon 5 commentsMelissa Marro • December 20 2012 07:03AM


Good for you Melissa, this is certainly somewhere where camaraderie works well!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Bravo and congrats Melissa!

We've recently rejoined RESA, and are looking forward to meeting our colleagues.   We see everyone as a colleague and not as our competition!   Sometimes our schedule or inventory won't allow us to service our client's needs, and we happily endorse our friends in the business.   We find that it's a what-goes-around-comes-around world, and that by sharing the wealth, we attract the wealth.

Recently, we endorsed another stager for a project that had been presented to us.  The stager did a great job, and the desired sold-in-a-day result was achieved.  The universe delivered a similar project to us:  this project offered a higher budget, and a beautiful setting!!!  Our project delivered three offers on a previously lingering listing!

What went around, came around!

Wishing you the happiest of holidays from:

Houston Home Staging

Posted by Alicia Barrington, Houston Home Staging Presents Alicia Barrington (THE ORIGINAL HOUSTON HOME STAGING) over 7 years ago

Melissa - RESA has been a wonderful organization to belong to.  I agree - rather than fighting the competition, work with them.  There's enough work to go around, and being cooperative with other companies is a win-win.  Congratulations on landing that huge staging job.  Can't wait to hear more!

Posted by Sally Weatherley, Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C (EXIT STAGE RIGHT) over 7 years ago

Ginny - I agree. Much like Realtors, home stagers need to learn that we can share to suceed.

Alicia - Very nice! I'm sure you will get a lot out of the TX RESA group. I know that TX has some of the biggest chapters in the country.

Sally - Thanks! I'll keep you posted. Thanks for the spandex fire dance offer =)

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 7 years ago

Melissa- Now THAT is professionalism. You are one smart woman-what goes around comes around for sure in business-it is ALL about relationships! I absolutely LOVE RESA and the members that I have met there, from all over the country (and Canada-of course). Many have become dear friends! And actually I am going to be referring a consult to one of our MA  stagers first thing tomorrow morning. Looking forward to seeing you in San Fran!!!

Posted by Marianne Cherico, Home Stager -Massachusetts and Rhode Island (Interiors by Marianne Cherico) over 7 years ago

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