Showhomes has staged more homes across the country than any other staging organization. We have many great long term relationships with Realtors across the country and this has been one of the keys to our success. There are times when we see mistakes made by Realtors that we interact with that could be avoided. This is a great blog by Rooms in Bloom Home Staging with some information that you should consider before working with a Realtor and Home Stager.
“It’s always great when realtors and home stagers create strong partnerships. In these types of scenarios, both parties support and rely on each other to handle the important aspects of preparing and selling homes. We have seen these partnerships go wrong however and from our perspective, here are the Top 10 home staging mistakes realtors make:
1. Selecting your Stager based on price only – Selecting a stager simply because they are the cheapest is one of the best ways to sabotage your sale and cost your clients thousands of dollars in lost equity. More important than cost is the experience, talent and resources a staging professional will have – and the results they achieve! When selecting your staging professional, base your final decision on their portfolio, professionalism and expertise.
Free or Low Pricing doesn’t ensure QUALITY so buyer beware!
2. Telling your stager what they can – or cannot – address in a home – It’s not always easy to hear what a home stager has to say but their job is about addressing ALL the factors that buyers will object to. Agents often tell their stagers to go easy on their clients or not to address certain things. This does a disservice to your clients and can potentially cost them in poor buyer interest, price reductions and even the sale of their home. A better plan is allow your staging professional to discuss everything they need to so even if you or your clients decide not to implement the suggestions right away – if the house doesn’t sell then – there is a back up plan. Finally, trust your staging professional to handle sensitive topics in such a way that you or your clients will understand and appreciate. If your stager can’t do this then maybe it’s time to find a new stager!
3. Selling your listings vacant – Statistically, vacant properties take 90% longer to sell than staged properties. That can mean sitting on the market up to 7 months longer and going through countless price reductions. Investing in home staging never costs as much as the first price reduction once a property is on the market. Not recommending your clients invest in staging can cost them on the the final sale price and extra carrying costs, resulting in a long stint on the market.
4. Not using professional photography – It’s an online real estate world and buyers are searching for their next dream home on their mobile devices. Buyers are also inherently visual so professional pictures of bright, modern spaces will get their attention and get them in the door for a visit. If your realtor doesn’t offer professional photography, find one who does. It is simply not an option anymore not to use professional photography.
5. Poor planning and time management – This is an important one!Many people fail to plan how much time it will reasonably take to prepare and stage their homes for sale. The sense of urgency prompts them to put the property on the market when it clearly isn’t market ready. Be reasonable and plan for taking anywhere between 1 – 3 weeks to get your home show-worthy. Calling in a home stager and then planning for pictures the next day is unrealistic and unreasonable – for both your clients and for your stager.
6. Staging the home yourself – Well meaning realtors often offer to help clients stage their homes – with mixed and varying results. As most realtors have not been trained on how to effectively showcase focal points or create great flow through key selling areas, these efforts are often ineffective. We recommend working with a professional who can confidently recommend the right colors, finishes and furnishings to add the WOW factor so that the agent has a property which is a joy to market and sell. Unless a realtor owns their own staging business and inventory (we know of a few successful ones), agents are best to partner with a staging professional who can handle all aspects of a home’s preparation while the realtor does what they do best: sell the home!
7. Disrupting the Staging - Once a home has been staged, it’s important that it be kept in the same condition throughout the time it is up for sale. Most stagers have clauses in their contracts which prevent items from being moved or relocated so it’s important to be aware that the home was staged in a certain way for a reason. Moving furniture around or relocating staging decor can make the staging less effective. Additionally, if someone sits on a bed or a sofa, fix the pillows and straighten the bedding – especially for the pictures.
This room looks great except for the pillows on the sofa! Someone sat on the sofa and didn’t fix them for the pictures!
8. Undermining Your Stager - When we get contacted by a new realtor, we always invite him or her along on a staging consultation so that they can see how we work and understand the reasoning behind our recommendations. This builds trust and confidence in both parties so that they can, in turn, support each other. Nothing is worse however, than having the agent who hired you disagree or dismiss your suggestions in front of the clients. Not only does that create confusion but it also makes the stager you chose, look like they don’t know what they are talking about. Staging is our area of expertise and that is what most realtors want – an expert – so their clients will listen and follow the recommendations. If you disagree with something your stager is saying, it’s fine to ask why they suggested it – your clients are probably wondering too – and listen to the explanation. If the stager is recommending things that you know won’t add value or are confusing, be sure to have a talk with him or her after the appointment.
9. Poor Communication with Your Stager - The best partnerships are built on great communication so we encourage realtors to disclose all necessary information to their stagers. This can be anything from relevant personal details about the client (divorce or a death in the family necessitating the move) to providing feedback on the staging services themselves. We aren’t mind readers and letting us know facts like the home owners have already bought a home and are listing the following day will greatly impact how we prioritize our recommendations. Realtorswill get a client complaint from time to time – stagers are addressing some personal topics and regardless of how good their communication skills are, there will be people who take offense. Discuss it with your stager and do your best to back them up. Remember, they are having the conversations with your clients that you don’t want to have. Some of our best realtor partnerships have come from going through these types of situations together.
10. Telling Your Clients they Don’t Need to Stage their Home - While this echos a bit of #6, this mistake deserves a mention. We often hear agents say that they don’t recommend home staging or that they have never had to use one in their ___ years in business. Great! It’s important to realize however that the way homes are sold these days has been changing and evolving for awhile. Presentation and condition are very important to today’s buyers who value quality over price and who have little time or interest in dated properties. The emerging buyer places considerable value on free time – they eat out more, travel and value time with friends and family over working in their home. They will pay MORE money for a home which is turn key and which reflects the lifestyle they aspire to have for themselves. If you aren’t staging your listings then we can tell you with confidence that you are helping to sell the staged homes in your area. Sellers are aware of these changes and are seeking out realtors who offer home staging as part of their listing services. They know they have to do more to impress this new generation of buyers. Offering staging to your clients will give you more marketable listings, better sales & more referrals plus it will give you an edge when you are competing against other agents!
A great partnership with your stager will strengthen your business and impress your clients. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure that the relationship you have with your stager is a long and profitable one!”