The point is Not can-t-we-all-just-get-along-stagers-vs-realtors-vs-sellers-

Home Stager with Stage-Show-Sell

This post has had many comments.  A lot of them quite negative about stagers.


The point is that it really bothers agents that we get paid when we do a  project.  Some of us do creative financing and even get paid at closing.

The issue really is Why Don't Agents Demand to be paid at least partially at listing?

Why do agents take over price listings and then complain that they are not selling?

Or that the house is in terrible condition and they put bad photos on the MLS?

Agents you work hard.  Really hard at getting listing to the closing table.  I've been in your shoes and know how expensive it is to hold listings that don't sell.


Isn't it time that the sellers but some of their money upfront? And payment along the way?   At least to make your expenses on the property?

No other profession works like this.  Why do you?

Isn't about time for a new pricing and payment policy?

Maybe that would stop these sellers who want to overprice, not clean up and not co-operate with agents who want to show the house.............just to see what will happen in the market.


Stagers should be paid at the time the job is done.   My attorney bills by the hour and expects payment every month.   My Dr.  wants payment at time the service is performed.  Ditto with dentist and every other professional that I work with.

Time for NAR and Realtors to start changing the way you are paid.

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Stage-Show-Sell, offers affordable home staging solutions in the Birmingham - Bloomfield and surrounding areas in getting your home ready for the market. We service both home sellers and realtors. We have the experience, our own rental furniture and accessories to stage many homes. We specialize in Estate work. The house can be put into our hands for the whole process of getting the house on the market



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  1. Matt Stigliano 09/03/2009 01:02 PM
ActiveRain Community
Stage It Forward...
Michigan Realtors
Michigan Real Estate
realtors paid at closing stagers paid at closing

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Laurie Calhoun
Gloria Home Staging, Inc. - Winter Springs, FL
Seminole County FL Home Stager

You know, I've been wondering this very thing. I'm interested to see what response you'll get from realtors.

Sep 02, 2009 09:31 AM #1
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Virginia, good point.  I've often thought about that.  I was an agent years ago for about 1 year, so I too know how hard they work.   The Realtor is out showing, doing tons of paperwork and follow up calls and may not receive anything for it if the Seller lets the listing expire or takes it off the market. 

I have no idea if this is the reason that there seems to be some animosity out there.  They would get no argument from me that they work very hard for their money.  I hope that someday they'll see that all we want to do as Stagers is help them and the Sellers get the house sold. 

Sep 02, 2009 02:27 PM #2
Cathy Brosius
Arranged Smartly LLC - Saint Louis, MO
Home Staging St. Louis region

I've been thinking a lot about that post. To get paid when a house sells means I would have to charge more, and I don't know if that's really the goal. We get paid a lot less than a realtor does--and I'm not saying they don't earn their fees. I would never sell a house without a good agent working with me. I don't know what the answer is. I do know there are agents willing to put my name out there and get their clients to use me. I need to find those agents and give their names out everywhere! But I am keeping an open mind. It's really important and I like to hear what others are thinking about this matter.

Thanks for bringing it up Virginia!

Sep 02, 2009 03:49 PM #3
Kimberly Uksik
Independent - Pickering, ON
Home Stager - Durham, Toronto, On.

Hmm interesting points and comments.  I know I couldn't extend pay at closing pricing with my staging work.  too many variables and I don't want to become a collection agency

Sep 03, 2009 12:24 AM #4
Ana Hitzel
AccentPositives Home Staging - Corona, CA
Professional Home Stager Inland Empire

You have definitely put an interesting discussion out.  Professional Realtors do work very hard, risking their time and money to generate the sale. 

Stagers are often asked by Realtors what is our stake or incentive if we are paid up front?  I personally think that is a silly question. 

Maybe they should be asking their clients that question.  As Stagers, our incentive is getting more business and a good reputation.  If we don't succeed we go out of business.  I would say that's incentive.

A client just moves on to the next agent if things are not to his/her liking with no compensation to the agent who put out all the money and time for 3-6 months.  It is a risk they take with every client. 

Maybe they should reexamine that instead of criticizing Stagers who do not or cannot take this financial risk.  I for one know I would be more willing to be more flexible with payment methods if I knew the seller would take more responsibility in the process and the agent reinforced that. 

Sep 03, 2009 10:03 AM #5
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

Thanks for the comments.  I really can't wait for the Realtors to comment

Sep 03, 2009 12:36 PM #6
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Virginia - I have no real problems with the way we agents get paid.  I commented a lot on my post about the theory of risk based pricing.  I take the risk when taking on a new listing.  I'm not guaranteed a sale or even a price (on the home) to calculate my commission off of.  I put my best effort forward and use my knowledge of the market to make it work.  If I fail at that, I will more than likely be let go.  I will lose my investment in that client and home.  Of course, when I do my job right, I get paid and I get paid well to do it.  I don't have a problem with the current structure for agents.  And I don't take any form of "transaction fee" or anything upfront.  If I can't run my business and have the cash flow to do so, in my opinion, I need to rethink my business strategy and budget.

Why do agents take over price listings and then complain that they are not selling?

Or that the house is in terrible condition and they put bad photos on the MLS?

Questions that need to be answered by an individual agent.  Not all agents do these things.  Some would rather walk away from a listing than put it up at a ridiculous price.

Ana - I never intended to criticize stagers, my idea was to have a discussion about the potential of an idea.  Virginia in her opening line said a lot of the comments were negative on my post and I didn't see it that way.  There were a few, but there was a general conversation about what could be done.  I thought it was actually quite positive, especially when you compare it to the thread that prompted my post (mentioned in my post).  My intention was to generate the talk, especially since I do see some barriers between the two groups (and it's not just stagers, there's plenty of other industry players that I feel agents don't get along with nearly enough).

My goal on my blog is to generate ideas, thoughts, theories, and conversations.  I love this industry and since I came from a position where I once thought they were all evil blood sucking leeches, I have a viewpoint that we have a perception problem and we need to change it.  Not just agents, but all parties involved.

Sep 03, 2009 12:36 PM #7
Liz Schomers
Pleasant Ridge, MI

I've worked with stagers and they can bring great value.  Sometimes the property sells and sometimes it doesn't.  So far, there is no hard evidence that a property that's been staged is what causes the property to sell.  It's my experience that a property priced well (at or below market) will sell, with or without staging.  If a staging professional believes that their services are integral to the property selling, there would be no hesitation to being paid when (and if) the property sells.

Sep 03, 2009 03:01 PM #8
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Well Well Well..

First off agents should not be "gathering in any arena to organize, change or agree to a commission structure."

That said, I can tell you that Realtors get paid for crossing the finish line, and I like that. 1/2 baked, incompetent zero's help me make more money.

I would never consider asking or demanding a dime for what I do "upfront." Why? Because I would NEVER pay anyone for anything that's pinned up on a "hope" which is what we do.


Sep 03, 2009 05:46 PM #9
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Real estate brokers are paid at settlement because we work on "contingency" fee arrangement.  No sale, no fee owed.  This is preferred by most because we understand that most sellers pay out of the proceeds of the sale of their home. 

Why are staging services so often compared to real estate brokerage services??  I see absolutely no relationship. 

My interest is sparked when persons staging a property make the claim that it was the staging that caused the sale.  If that were true, FSBOs could simply have their homes staged and forego the services of licensed real estate agents/brokers.


Sep 03, 2009 10:16 PM #10
Debra Valentine
Designing Details ~ Staging & Design, LLC - Bountiful, UT
Utah Home Staging for, Bountiful, Salt Lake & Surrounding Areas

Virginia: Great follow-up to Matt's post, which was also a fantastic post and very much appreciated!

We stagers have tried very hard for a long time to figure out WHY Realtors do not regularly use our services as part of his/her marketing package. While most of us are not thrilled about this feedback, be need to take a step back and be thankful we now know ONE of the big issues. We can also use this information as a springboard for a more creative compensation plan.

In my comment on Matt's post, I brought up this very thing. While some Realtors say they are NOT deterred by the manner in which they get paid, my impression was and still is that many are. Just like some stagers commented that they would be willing to get paid at closing and other say they are not. Perhaps it's individual preference - for whatever reason.

To Lenn's point: I agree! Staging alone can not and will not sell a home.  Actually, the majority of stagers do not think that either. Perhaps we need to take a look at how we word our staging successes? Thanks for pointing that out. There are a multitude of factors that create a successful sale. And yes, stagers, Realtors and Brokers are very different components and why we are all have different compensation plans.

Sep 04, 2009 03:55 AM #11
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Virgina, The answer to your question is specific to the business model we work under. Sure,it would be nice to paid as we do our service and if someone wants that , they simply set up a their own differnt business model.Their are real estate laws in place for who those funds are charged and what can be done with them.  Doubt they will get many consumers to go along with it. A specific fee for service company is a different breed all together and some of them have been successful, especially when the fees paid are much less than the alternative contingency fee. But the fees have to have been earned and there often is the challengening question. Where they?

Sep 05, 2009 09:47 AM #12
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

I want to thank the realtors for their comments on my post.  Those who commented appear to be happy with the payment structure that they now have.

I asked for payment up front, when working as a realtor, when the clients wanted everything to be done for them, priced to high and were un-realistic. Asking for $3K upfront because I had to work very hard and put out tons of money and they could fire me at the drop of a hat for no reason didn't make sense.  Usually they listened a little more after that.  I parted ways with a few sellers after that discussion (Their houses never sold).

p.s. that's not why I put my license in holding.

I'm happy with what I'm doing and you are happy with your pay structure.   It's good for all.


Sep 05, 2009 02:32 PM #13
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