Home Stager with Restage Inc.

I recently received a message from a prospective new customer that was interested in our services.

Let me explain the scenario. My family and I had decided after months of working 7 days a week we decided to take a much deserved mini vacation to our friends cabin.

We were gone from Friday late evening until Sunday early evening. Unfortunately cell service is non-existent as the cabin is quite remote.

As soon as we were back in cell phone range I checked my messages.

The first one was from a realtor looking for more information as well wanting to hire us for a consultation - time frame - 10ish Saturday. The next message was from her client at 1pm on Saturday asking for a return phone call. Again I was out of contact with the world (which I have to say was awesome. I could concentrate on my family without distraction).

Finally I received another message from the same realtor at 8:30am on Sunday morning.

She started off the message saying:

"If you want to working banking hours work in a bank but if you want to work in the real estate business you have to be available 24 / 7."

She then went on to say that:

"Her business is very succesful and she has a business degree (not really sure why she threw that in??) as well let us know that she would not be requiring our services she would find someone else."

There was more to it but I think you get the gist of the lovely message.

My first reaction was disbelief. We've been in business for a long time and never have we had anyone talk to us like that.

Unprofessional to say the least. Wow, I would never talk like that to someone! I choose not to run my business like that and would be disgusted and horrified if someone from my company represented us like that.

In the day and age of poor customer service we strive to stand out and stand by the old adage "the customer is always right."

We value all of our customers and realize that without them there is no business.

To have someone attack me personally and to leave such a message was awful.

Even if the realtor hadn't choosen to go with someone else - I would have professionally declined the business, I choose not to be affiliated with people that act like this.

This thankfully is the exception not the norm as every year when we do take a short family vacation our clients reactions are usually "good for you."

I love what we do - I enjoy going to work and don't look at as a job as much as helping people out.

We work hard and work on weekends and at night if needed but at the end of the day it's my family that's most important not work.

I love my life and am lucky that I can do something I love and have a beautiful family.

My daughters are all quite young and are and will always be my number one priority. If some people can't or won't understand this then maybe it's best that we don't work together.

Before I had my children I was a workaholic and working into the wee hours of the morning was the norm. Now I love what I do but I've realized that there are more important things.

I was really bothered by the message (obviously) and am quite disturbed that not only was my work ethic called into question but to tell me how to run my business (not suggest - which is always good) but to say in such a way is unprofessional and rude.

When I'm old and sitting on my rocking chair on the front porch and looking back on my life I most certainly will not wish I had worked more but hopefully be content with the times I had with my family.

So I ask all of you what would you do?

I decided early on how I wanted our company to be run and a great reputation is what we have and what I strive to keep. There will always be problems that arise like in any business but it's how you handle the solution in the end that matters.

We are accountable for our actions and as such we are responsible to fix our mistakes and make sure that at the end of the day we have done everything we can do.

I run my company ethically and with a high set of standards.

My partner called the realtor and left a message (hasn't returned his call - ironic) and simply explained the situation and asked for a return phone call. I think that this was the best way to handle the situation.

I would love to hear your thoughts!




Comments (11)

Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

You did the right thing from beginning to end.  Some Realtors record a message each day so that their clients know up front that they will be out of pocket.

Aug 31, 2009 06:55 AM
Kim Suecroft - Hanson
Restage Inc. - Calgary, AB

Thanks - That's a great idea or forward phones to an answering service. We would still be out contact but at least our clients would know where we are.

Thanks for the comment!

Aug 31, 2009 07:03 AM
Greg Saffell
Tucson, AZ
Real Estate Professional Tucson, Oro Valley AZ

Kim, It serves you right for trying to take some time off! Really, I agree with you that you're probably fortunate to have missed this one, because it would have proven to be difficult throughout. There are these self-important individuals around and they can take all of the pleasure out of our job. It's just so great working with nice people, and fortunately there are a lot more of those.

Aug 31, 2009 07:04 AM
Linda Ferrara
Coldwell Banker Enchantment Realty - Silver City, NM

Kim, great post! Boundaries. Good for you for having some! A wise boss once told me, "Just because one party is acting like an ass, doesn't mean you have to also". I'm glad you know this too. We Americans are so unbalanced in our lives!

Aug 31, 2009 07:10 AM
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Hi Kim -

Don't take it too hard. I know exactly of what you are speaking about when you say you work 7 days. We also work tirelessly, often until after midnight. A complete vacation for ENTIRE our team is certainly in order - but all we get is a weekend here or there, very sparingly. It's rough.

I am shooting for 4 whole days off for our crew in Vegas for the RESA Staging Conference next year. It should be really fun, and while technically it's still work, it's the best chance we have to get away for a while and maybe cut loose a little bit.





Aug 31, 2009 07:13 AM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Kim, sounds like this agent is jealous of your ability to turn work off for a period of time and she really wanted YOUR company to do the work.  She probably made a committment to the client/sellers to be there, with a stager, at a specific time WITHOUT checking availability first.  IT'S THAT AGENTS MISTAKE...not yours. 

We do a lot of traveling and my cell phone is OFF when I do.  My landline answer machine/voice mail tells callers when I'm out-of-touch and when I will return.  My cell phone voice mail also gives the same type of message.  Agents don't like it and often question "HOW CAN YOU DO BUSINESS THIS WAY", but it is my business and they are not entitled to all of the details of why I do things the way I do. 

Take a deep breath and don't give away any of your power to that agent with further contact and perhaps conflict. 

Hope you enjoyed your time away with your precious family. 


Aug 31, 2009 07:20 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

If I'm leaving my office for any length of time, I simply put that information on my outgoing voice mail .... this way there are no misunderstandings and no one can come back in a negative way.  How unprofessional of that  Realtor to leave a nasty message like she did -- it was so unnecessary.  Next time, just change your voice mail temporarily and enjoy your family -- they grow up much too quickly!

Aug 31, 2009 07:25 AM
Kim Suecroft - Hanson
Restage Inc. - Calgary, AB

Thank-you to all - It's fantstic to hear other's thoughts and solutions.

Aug 31, 2009 03:06 PM
Cathy Brosius
Arranged Smartly LLC - Saint Louis, MO
Home Staging St. Louis region

I change my answering machine and cell phone message if I'm not going to be available for a few days. I also send a return message from my email. (No, sometimes I don't check that either!) I also make sure I email all of my regular realtor clients before I go. Sometimes they don't remember, even if I only send it a week or two before I leave. Just before my vacation earlier this month, I had a regular client call 2 days before I left, and I couldn't help her out until I returned. I offered the name of another stager I know in the area, but she was familiar with my work and waited for me to do the job. That made me feel good!

As everyone else has said, it doesn't sound like this agent was someone you want to work with. You did the best you could afterwards...

Sep 01, 2009 02:47 PM
Leanne Zumbrunnen
Showhomes of Kansas City - Lenexa, KS

Kim, it's very surprising that she woud react like that!  I guess she was frustrated because she wanted to work with you specifically!  Usually going to another Stager is punishment enough. 

Sep 02, 2009 10:59 AM
Bernice Dubon
RE/MAX First 403-607-9117 - Calgary, AB
Calgary Alberta Realtor

Hey Kim,

Sorry you had this disappointing experience, but I'm glad that you had a great vacation with your family.  As Realtors, we often need real estate service suppliers to work with us during the hours when everyone else is not working.  So it is frustrating to call someone who doesn't return your call... And sometimes Realtors are espcially known for this. It really does help though, if you can set up your own phone message system to say that you will be unavailable for a short time, but invite your clients to talk to someone that you've asked to take your calls for you.  That way, your potential clients don't feel ignored, and they understand that there's a reason that you can't call back right away.  Just take it as a learning experience that will help you improve your business, and your ability to enjoy your family life at the same time.


Bernice Dubon,

Royal LePage Solutions



Sep 05, 2009 06:31 PM