RESA’s Methods for Helping Stagers During COVID-19
By Taylor Atkinson, Owner of Atwil Design
Good leadership during a crisis can mean the difference between survival and devastation. If you’re like me, you’ve grappled with competing feelings of panic and denial over the last few months of COVID-19. One thing that has been a huge help to my staging business is having the Real Estate Staging Association to rely on for answers to my questions, guidelines for staying safe, and bringing the staging community together.
Getting the Answers We Need
As a member of RESA’s Seattle Chapter’s board, I’ve had firsthand experience with the lengths RESA members go to in order to get the answers we need. For instance, when Governor Inslee issued a stay-at-home order, we worked hard to get Seattle stagers the most up-to-date information on whether or not home staging was considered an essential business.
If that meant waiting on the phone for forty-five minutes to speak to multiple agents, suss out conflicting answers, and coming to conclusions as an official group, then so be it. In the end, RESA’s efforts meant peace of mind for stagers, while also saving them the time and frustration of figuring it out on their own.
Presenting a United Front for Safe Staging
Since states dictated the safety measures for their residents, there were vastly different rules for dealing with COVID from state to state. However, as a national organization, RESA is responsible for stagers across the board. It was essential that they create a cohesive set of guidelines to keep stagers safe during the pandemic.
RESA encouraged and supported stagers to only stage vacant homes and discouraged in-person walkthroughs. By sending these general guidelines to their state chapters and local boards, they provided direction and stability during this difficult time.
Building a Larger, Stronger Community in a Time of Crisis
As part of the official organization, RESA members get access to chapter meetings and resources as well as national conferences, events, and more. However, our state’s shutdown meant that we couldn’t gather for our monthly meetings. Rather than put walls up, the Seattle chapter decided to host monthly virtual meetings and open them to any stager in Washington who wanted to join.
This decision built a larger, stronger staging community than ever by being more inclusive. It provided an opportunity to people elsewhere in the state to participate in RESA. People who may not have had access to a community of stagers under normal circumstances were invited to participate in discussions that addressed their current concerns about staging during COVID-19.
The huge success of these open virtual meetings has led many in Seattle’s chapter (including myself) to consider a virtual membership for post-COVID chapter meetings. And with the National RESA convention in July scheduled to be a virtual event, I suspect we’ll see a lot more inclusiveness and diversity moving forward.
(Disclaimer: Governor's guidelines are subject to change and we recommend checking the Governor's Covid-19 resource website for updates)