Why Realtors Should Encourage Staging (Part I)
Real Estate Agents have a tough job. Not only are they responsible for marketing the property and handling all of the “behind the scenes” paperwork, but more often than not, they are having to hold the hands of their clients during one of the most stressful events in life. As a stager, I've seen first hand that there are usually more emotions involved with the seller than just a business transaction (i.e. the sale could be due to the loss of a job or a family member, divorce, marriage, upsizing or downsizing or completely relocating geographically and having to start over). Realtors have a balancing act to perform and relaying the message that their client's house is not in a market ready condition – and yet also stay in good graces with the seller so they can keep the listing and the commission is TOUGH. Also, listing contracts expire…so if the agent doesn't get the house into market ready shape and it doesn't sell, then the homeowners may very well kick the agent to the curb, leaving the agent with time & money spent on marketing and other expenses and no commission. Bummer.
This is where having a Professional Stager in your arsenal of professionals is key. As a Realtor, you can easily say “I'm bringing in a stager to assist in the process of getting your house into market ready condition” and *POOF* you are done with relaying any bad news about the ugly paint on the walls, the dirty carpets, excess & outdated furniture and so forth. By taking the assumptive approach with your client that this is standard operating procedure and part of your service, you'll see that the collaboration with a Professional Stager immediately gives credibility to the process and you'll get less push back from the homeowner when it's suggested they paint their 2001 style red dining room a more updated color (I suggest chocolate brown so there is still some contrast & color to keep the seller placated and the buyer's interested).
Keep in mind that staging IS NOT just about making a home pretty, it's actually the PREPARATION of the house and then the merchandising of the house. Good stagers will include the need to make repairs, upgrade countertops, appliances, and so forth all with the knowledge of where the best return on investment will occur. This is information that an agent may or may not fully be prepared to share with the seller and by collaborating with a Professional Stager, they have the chance to sit back and let the Stager be the “bad cop” (diplomatically, of course!) while the Realtor is the “good cop”…the seller will thank you when the house sells quickly and for the most money.
Stay tuned for Part II & III: Statistics & Commission Benefits.