Great Staging Advice from a Pro.
A Stager's Advice to Realtors
Lately I've been on the agent circuit, having done recent home staging presentations for local Keller Williams, Re/Max and Prudential GA Realty offices. On the third presentation I realized that there are several key points that I always emphasize when I have the chance. I'd like to share them with you. Here they are:
- Never lose sight of the fact that the photos you post to your listings are infinitely more important than the VTs. Why? Because buyers shopping on the internet will always click on the photos first since they pop up immediately and do not require time to load. If they like what they see of the photos, they will then click on the VT. Always place your best photos at the top of the page and make sure they are just as impressive as the VT.
- A nicely decorated home and a staged home are NOT the same thing. In the three years I've been staging homes, my most difficult clients have always been those who have spent big bucks to have their homes professionally decorated. Yes, they are lovely, but they are also highly personalized. Decorating is all about surrounding yourself with colors, furniture, accessories, window treatments, etc. that please you. While you are living in the home, that's fine; when you are selling your home, having a beautifully decorated, personalized home can prevent offers. Bring in a trained stager who knows the difference and can prepare the home in the proper way by neutralizing and depersonalizing it. Once your client moves, he/she can call in a decorator to repersonalize the new home.
- Remind your clients what, exactly, they are selling; namely space, architectural detail, floor plans and views. If clutter is rampant, buyers will never see the space. If the rooms are crammed with furniture and lighting is poor, the architectural detail will never be noticed. If there is an overabundance of rugs and furniture is not placed properly for traffic flow, the floor plan will be overlooked. If windows are dirty and/or covered with tacky blinds or overbearing window treatments, the views will never be seen.
- Homeowners will work much more diligently to make necessary changes in the presentation of their homes when a 3rd party stager is brought in. Agents repeatedly tell me they are surprised and even shocked that the homeowners will "take" the staging suggestions from me after a staging consultation. I don't say this to toot my own horn, but I know this is typically the case when homeowners work with stagers. There is something about bringing in the "expert" that causes them to take note, even though you may have told them the same thing. (I'm sure the case is similar when they hear directly from the home inspector or mortgage broker. They are all ears!)
- Having your clients work with a home stager will help to preserve your relationship with the homeowners. You have other battles to fight with them -- namely pricing, so take the day off (or go on a listing appointment) while your stager plays the "presentation game" with your clients.
There's lots more, but these are just a few things that come up repeatedly. Remember that your goal and your stager's goal are one and the same -- to get the house sold. Call a stager today!