Monday, February 1, 2010
Home Staging a Must-Have Marketing Tool for Real Estate Agents
Home staging expert Debra Gould receives countless email messages from real estate agents asking whether they should recommend that their clients hire a home stager.
In Gould’s experience, she has found that real estate agents are hesitant to utilize the services of professional home stagers for three key reasons:
1. They do not fully understand what a stager really does.
2. They feel that they provide adequate advice to their clients regarding improvements needed for the home to sell.
3. They are afraid that by recommending a home stager they will be expected to pay for the services.
A professional home stager will look at your client's home through the eyes of a highly critical buyer and make recommendations that will create the best first impression for potential buyers. A stager’s services allow a home to stand out from the crowd, and that benefits both the seller and real estate agent. It is a clear win-win situation.
If your listings show well, it reflects well on your professionalism and helps your clients sell more quickly and for a higher dollar.
Keep in mind that it is your name on the sign that is on the front lawn, and people driving by notice whether your listings say "SOLD" or whether they sit for a long period of time.
It's your reputation on the line.
Wouldn't it be nice to be known in your market for always having listings that show well? Other agents will more likely show your listings over others, and clients looking for a listing agent will seek to be listed with you.
Turning your listings more quickly results in less hassle and higher profits for you.
You know what it's like to be stuck with a weak listing. Your clients call you daily to ask why it hasn't sold, when you'll be running another ad or when your next open house is scheduled.
You know the issue isn't how many ads you run, but how badly the house shows. If you have run out of ideas of changes to make, or you simply do not want to discuss other options that you feel might upset your clients, you can have a home stager address issues you may not feel comfortable discussing with your clients. This will relieve the huge drain on your time, energy and pocketbook!
Home stagers, or real estate stagers as they’re also called, tackle sensitive topics like odor problems and ugly decor in a diplomatic way. And if the husband and wife can't agree on anything, wouldn't you rather have a stager get in the middle rather than you? After all, you don't want to jeopardize your listing by taking sides. Home stagers broach these subjects and consult with your client, and you get a better listing without having to face an uncomfortable conversation with your client.
Home stagers free your time to focus on what you do best.
Yes, you might offer de-cluttering or repair suggestions, but do you go into the same level of detail that a stager would? And more importantly, should that be how you're spending your time when your real money is made getting and turning your listings?
Stagers can take over the worry of getting a home showing-ready, and can do it on time for your photography and agent open house. Imagine how nice it would be to show up for your open house knowing that all you have to do is open the door and everything else will be perfect!
But who pays for it?
Some agents pay for a home staging consultation as part of the service they offer homeowners when they accept a new listing. However, homeowners and home stagers should not necessarily expect real estate agents to pick up the tab for a home staging consultation.
Just because you recommend home staging does not mean you have to pay for it, in the same way that you wouldn't be expected to pay for a real estate lawyer or home inspector recommended to a client.
Homeowners who pay for the initial consultation themselves are more receptive to what the home stager recommends. Homeowners who only bring in a stager because the agent is paying are less likely to act on many of the stager’s recommendations. They’re just “playing along.” For them, it’s free advice, so they don’t necessarily value it.
Home staging makes a huge difference in the presentation of a home. And for agents, this translates into homes that sell more quickly and for higher amounts. It's only common sense that more buyers will be attracted to a fabulously presented home and be willing to pay more for it.
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program with over 4,000 students worldwide. Gould offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar. To learn more visit the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers at www.stagingdivadirectoryofhomestagers.com.
Written by internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®, www.stagingdiva.com. © 2008–2009, Six Elements Inc. Used with permission.