The fearless approach to the staging conversation with your clients
In my years of experience as a certified, home staging
professional, I’ve encountered many situations where a real estate agent has
been reluctant to talk with their client about staging. Fearing offending their
client, they have chosen not to make the recommendation that staging may be
necessary to improve its marketability. Instead, the listing languishes on the
market, decreasing its opportunity to sell quickly and for more money.
So what can an agent do to convince their sellers that an
investment in staging is important, if not essential to get the home sold- Here
are a few ideas that could help these staging-sensitive agents to reformulate
their approach to encourage staging for any listing:
know that you work with a qualified, certified Staging Professional. These
individuals are committed to high quality standards in the staging industry. If
you do not have a partnership with a qualified stager, be sure to research
local professionals through the Real Estate Staging
Association (RESA), Home Staging and Redesign
Association (HSRA), or the International
Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP). Each of these
organizations are industry pace-setters and their websites will provide
directories of staging professionals in your area who are committed to high
standards of staging excellence and ongoing training. Your clients deserve to
work with someone who is qualified, experienced and affiliated with one or more
of these organizations. Some agents that I work with take me with them on their
listing appointments as part of their team so that their sellers know right
away that staging is going to be a part of the sales process.
2. Approach the conversation in a sincere way,
letting them know that you want the best sales outcome, and that may include
staging. It’s not hard for people to feel your sincerity. If you believe in
what you are saying, it will come across to the listener in an honest way. And,
if you have facts and knowledge about the power of staging, your sellers will
be impressed. Studies by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the
Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), indicate that staging increases the
opportunity for a faster sale at a higher price. In fact, the 2019 Profile of
Home Staging by NAR, concludes that 83% of buyers’ agents say that staging
makes it easier for buyers to ‘visualize’ the property as their future home. RESA’s
studies conclude that homes that are staged spend an overwhelming 90% less time
on market. These facts are critical to help buyers objectively consider how staging
advice can boost their home’s marketability.
3. Help the sellers put on buyer’s glasses. Most
of the time, sellers cannot see past their day-to-day, lived in view of their
own home. Whether they have occupied the
home for 30 years or one year, living in a home takes away a perspective that is
essential in putting the home in the best position for sale. A professional
stager can provide an assessment of the home which is essentially “buyer’s
glasses”. Almost all sellers have no idea what is absolutely essential in
staging the home prior to our appointment. I find that after my recommendations
are clearly communicated, those “buyer’s glasses” the become a laser-focused
motivational impetus they need to get the home prepared for market. By
confidently suggesting that your seller allow a staging professional to assist
them, you are helping them to have the right perspective on selling their home
and take actions such as eliminating clutter, rearranging or editing furniture,
and making valuable updates that set them apart from other homes on the market.
wait. Choosing to wait for any type of staging assistance can be
detrimental to the listing’s potential, as the first 30 days on the market are
critical. Fresh listings are seen by the most number of buyers and therefore
the opportunity for showings and a potential sale are maximized during that
time frame. Too many agents wait until the home hasn’t sold for several months
to call me. They may even be in danger of losing the listing. At that point,
the list is stale and buyers have “passed over” the home on multiple occasions.
We have much more to overcome at that point, because the home lost momentum in
marketing in the critical early stages.
staging professional deliver the news. At the risk of offending their
clients, many agents choose not to say what needs to be said to their sellers. The
good news is that you don’t have to deliver that news. Professional, certified
and experienced stagers have techniques and talents in communicating the news
in a respectful, yet honest way and you are off the hook. Your job is real
estate. Our job is staging. But, our goal is mutual, to help the home to sell.
When we are all on the same page about that end result, that bad news we deliver
becomes valuable tool toward making a listing outshine the competition.
Whether you are a new agent or a seasoned one, understanding
the importance of staging in this modern real estate world is critical to your
success. Don’t be afraid to discuss staging with your sellers. Understand that
without doing so, you may be doing a disservice to your client. Working with a
staging professional will enhance your credibility, take the pressure off you,
and increase the opportunity for a successful sale.
Lorelie Brown, Owner
of Showhomes Charleston is a certified staging professional in Charleston, SC.
A RESA-PRO member, an HSRA-Elite Member, and a member of IAHSP. She is
passionate about the power of home staging and has staged over $300 million in