Special offer

Realtors, FSBO listing and staging: You scratch my back and your own too!

Home Stager with First Stage Transformations

I recently listened to a conversation between two of my homestaging colleages regarding how they were both planning on listing their homes on FSBO sites.  When I explained that as a professional homestager I felt that it was wrong not to promote realtors by using them on our own homes, they let me have it with a barrage of reasons why they felt justified in their thinking.  "Why would I just give away thousands of dollars to a realtor if I could do it myself?"  "How many of the realtors have given US business?"  "This is a personal decision not a business one."  "I know many realtors.  How can I be expected to choose without making someone unhappy with me. What's the difference?"  "I'm sure there are realtors who would stage their own homes."

I proceeded to argue that not using a realtor to sell our own homes would do a number of things that could damage our businesses.  If realtors felt we were not promoting them what reason would they have to use and promote us?  If word got out in the realty community that as stagers we did not believe in using realtors to sell our own homes but wanted realtors to do business with us we would be seen as hypocrites and would have black marks against our businesses.  How could we expect loyalty from any realtor if we did not show any?

They both seemed to remain firm on their stance and the topic moved to something different.  Am I off base here in thinking that realtors care that much about what we do with our own homes?  I know that my gut is telling me such an act would be a form of business suicide, not to mention disrespectful of the very profession we are trying to make our living off of!   

Steve G. Snarzyk
Trademark Real Estate, Inc. - Saint Peters, MO


I don't think you are off-base, but obviously I'm an agent and my opinion may be biased.  Let me ask you since I am not well versed in the staging business, do you get most of your business from homeowners themselves or from agents referring you to thier clients?

Aug 22, 2007 05:54 PM
Duane Hosek
Coldwell Banker - Lewis-Kirkeby-Hall - Rapid City, SD

Good thoughts Shirley.............I don't use staging at all.

Duane Hosek in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Aug 22, 2007 06:38 PM
Leanne Zumbrunnen
Z Touch Design Services - Lenexa, KS
As I have done much research into starting my staging business I have been more enlighted as to the realtors abilities.  We have yet to sell a house but bought ours through one.  Her services were very helpful.  At this point I don't feel like I would do a very good job on my own selling my house and I agree with you that it is, at the very least, proper business etiquette to recipricate the services.
Aug 23, 2007 06:51 AM
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta
I am a home stager and I would never ever consider trying to sell my home without an agent.  Real Estate agents understand what needs to be done better then I do. There is much more to it then sticking a For Sale sign in the grass.  They have been trained and have experience.  I have also seen the file and paper work involved for one house.  Very intimidating! Just as I tell my clients, I am the professional stager, just as your Realtor is the professional agent.  I would not do their job and they should not do my job.
Aug 23, 2007 09:20 AM
Teresa Johnson
RE/MAX Greater Atlanta - Dawsonville, GA
Teresa johnson and Associates

I ran into a closing attorney that I had used with my closing. He had his property For Sale By Owner. I never used him again.

Teresa Johnson

Aug 23, 2007 01:57 PM
Shirley Huth
To answer your question Steve, most of the staging business we do (as opposed to design consultations and restyle work) comes from the realtors who believe in the power of home staging.
Aug 23, 2007 03:49 PM
Tammy Stone
Prudential Preferred Realtors - Grand Rapids, MI
"Eco-Green" Agent in West Michigan
I believe that a good business is based on referrals. I get a bunch of referrals from other business people that know what I stand for.  I guess I believe that if they are not willing to promote me, than why would I want to promote them.  I may still be inclined to give them referrals but I want partners in the business ... together we make up a strong team and promote eachother.
Aug 23, 2007 11:49 PM
Sandra Hughes
Redesigned Spaces - Northern Virginia - Fairfax, VA
Redesigned Spaces - Fairfax County, Virginia
Interesting post, as I am "thinking" about selling my home at some point in the next year.  I have to admit I was somewhat thinking about the FSBO as well but that doesn't quite sit right with my gut.  However, I also feel the Realtor who is marketing my house is going to have an easier job as it will be staged and look immaculate.  I guess to date I have not had enough business from any one Realtor that would be close to the commissions I would be paying them which would make it a bit easier for me to bite the bullet.  I guess when the time comes I will go with the agent who refers me the most business, as long as everything else is equal as far as the Realtors go.
Aug 24, 2007 01:27 AM
Maria Haun
Keller Williams Realty Signature - Rockford, IL

As a Realtor I would hope everyone would use an agent but understand why some people take a go on their own.  Why "pay thousands for an agent to sell my home", well like one of the responses here...it is more than just sticking the sign in the yard, and even more than just marketing.  Dealing with people's emotions is what makes and breaks the sale.  Having a third unattached party involved in the process can really help smooth things over.

Building that relationship with your agent will help you understand what he/she really does for you!  Will that attorney call the plumber when that clear water cert comes back negative, or the well test comes back bad (these are a few tests that have to be done per our local contract), how will they handle that, will you have to take care of those issues?  This is something we agents do for our clients and don't pass the buck to someone else.  I am sure all markets and contracts are different but we all have done things for our sellers that maybe you are not aware of, don't be afraid to ask what that agent has done "out of the box"!

Aug 24, 2007 08:14 AM
Betty Haney
Haney Consulting - Calgary, AB
Shirley, I think you were right on the money.  A good realtor is worth more than the commission they receive.  I'm surprised your fellow stagers were adamant about FSBO.  Haven't they noticed that the staging jobs they do almost always sell faster with a realtor than FSBO?  Betty 
Aug 24, 2007 03:06 PM
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells


To get top dollar in the shortest period of time when selling a house you need 3 people. 

1. A cooperative, motivated seller

2. A talented stager

3. A Realtor who is a marketing expert.

It's like a 3 legged stool. Remove 1 leg and it doesn't hold up. 

Aug 24, 2007 07:38 PM
Susan Buchanan
harvey & associates realty - Taos, NM
Just as Realtors learn that staging their own listings doesn't work as well as hiring a professional with the inventory or knowledge I believe the stagers going FSBO are going to find it is not as easy as it looks!  Most FSBOs end up listing their homes anyway.
Aug 25, 2007 05:05 PM
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

There are stagers who market  to FSBO clients.  If you are generating business from Realtors then you should use one of them - if not,  you can do as you like.  That said - how many homeselling stagers are well trained in the art of selling a home? How many Realtors are well trained in the art of staging ( a lot according to the ones I encounter "Yes, we do that")

Ideal would be the 3 that Susan mentioned but many Realtors are only using their own 2 legs. 

Aug 25, 2007 05:12 PM
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

Here are a few reasons why everyone should use a realtor when selling a home. THe best one is to get the most money for the seller from the sale. It's a documented fact that FSBO's usually net less than homes sold by realtors.

When selling your home, your REALTOR® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients. 

. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

Your REALTOR® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing -- a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

Your REALTOR® can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).


Oct 25, 2007 11:53 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

     We invite you back to ActiveRain in the year 2017!

Jan 20, 2017 08:20 PM