An agent friend of mine shared this with me and it really struck a cord with me. The agent was representing a seller with the sale of their home and it was a short sale.
The agent held an open house and it was very successful. The end result was that the owner received multiple offers the first week it was listed. The lender rejected all the offers but that's another story. Frustrated over all the work that was done only to have it all be for nothing, the agent estimated that the listing ended up costing their office about $10,000. The homeowner asked the agent incredulously, How did you lose $10,000 when all you did was sit in my house for 4 hours??? As I listened sympathetically to my friend, the similarities in our industries suddenly struck me.
To the seller, all the my friend did was sit in the living room for a few hours while people came and went. What the seller didn't see was all the time my friend spent preparing the paperwork to sign them as a client, all the legal stuff that goes with the job, all those disclosures. The seller didn't see all the time spent preparing all those offers and submitting them to the lender. The seller didn't see (or hear) all the phone calls back and forth with the lender and all the agents who presented offers. The seller didn't think about the time spent getting the property listed. The seller could only relate to what they actually saw.
And so it is with home staging. Thanks to shows like HGTV's The Stagers and Design on A Dime, consumers are more aware of home staging and the benefits staging their home brings. And thanks to shows like HGTV's Get It Sold and Designed to Sell, consumers have no clue of what it really takes, all the work that goes into staging their home. (Don't get me wrong, I love all of these shows and HGTV is my most watched channel. I so appreciate the awareness HGTV has brought to our industry). But what consumers see is that they walk in for the big reveal and their house has been transformed with granite, a new bathroom, new furniture, accessories and sometimes even reconstruction and they got it all for less than $2000.
The reality is that there is so much more to staging and redesign. All the behind the scenes work that takes place before a property can be transformed. What you don't see is the hours your professional home stager spends creating and preparing your space for transformation, coming up with a plan that will get you a solid offer fast. Before your stager can even start the physical transformation, he/she has to;
Drive to and from the property for a consultation and meet with the homeowner or agent. Not including travel time, this can take as long as 2 or 3 hours depending on the condition of the property, pictures, note taking, take measurements and so forth. Then the stager goes back to the office and spends some time and thought on coming up with the recommendations and priorities for the seller and submits a bid or proposal.
Once the stager gets hired it's time to come up with a plan for each room. Depending on what your home stager is hired to do, he or she may have to oversee the decluttering, neutralizing and depersonalizing of the property. How long does that take? Take a look around your home and then compare it to the finished staged properties you've seen on any of the tv shows. How much clutter is in your house? What condition is your house in? Can it compete with all the remodeled homes all the investors have on the market? If not, it needs to be because that's who your competition is. Last year alone nearly 50% of homes sold were purchased by investors.
Now it's time to create the design plan, make color selections and come up with furniture flow, placement of artwork, accessories and lighting. Next your stager has to select the inventory that will be used in the property. This may consist of the stager shopping on line for the furniture or visiting a furniture rental company. A quote has to be prepared and sent to the rental company detailing every single item the stager wants to use. Or,
Your home stager may carry their own inventory which means a trip to their warehouse or storage facility to select the items he or she will use. Remember on The Stagers tv show, the stagers went to that big warehouse searching for the perfect pieces for the project? Remember all the thought and energy they put into the selection process? Now keep in mind that most of the footage of this segment has been left on the editing floor. You are seeing a condensed 3 minute clip of what likely took a couple of hours. Every home stager has to do go through this same exact process to come up with your perfect design.
So we've created the design plan, picked the major furniture pieces, artwork, rugs, lamps and accessories but we're missing something so we have to go shopping. Depending on the project, a stager could spend as little as an hour to a full day or two driving and searching all over town for the right store and the perfect accessory for your home.
Now that the inventory has been selected, the shopping done and it's time to wrap it up and load the truck/car and prepare to deliver the goods. Now off we drive to the house. How many trips did it take to get everything delivered without scratches and dents and in one piece? A broken lamp or horribly scratched item is time and money out of the stager's pocket because we don't charge you if we break something. And now we're unloading everything and lugging it into the house and up and down stairs or elevators.
Everything is inside and we start unwrapping it all. Then we start placing the big pieces in each room. All that furniture has been carefully selected to be placed perfectly in your home to show off all the features and focal points. After we place the furniture, we start placing the accessories (where we know they will have the greatest impact) and hanging the artwork so that it draws buyers eyes to that gorgeous crown moulding or fireplace. We brought bed linens so they have to be steamed or pressed before being putting on the bed.
By now we've been at your home for nearly 8 hours (could be more, could be less depending on the number and size of the rooms). Your house is now transformed into the spectacular showpiece that it is. But we still have to clean up and load all of our supplies, bags and boxes back into the car. And most importantly, we have to take all of the "after" pictures of your newly staged home.
A day or two after your home has been staged, your stager is at her desk completing all the administrative paperwork and creating marketing pieces, blogging and promoting your newly staged home to every all of her contacts, friends and associates assisting you and your real estate agent to get the word out there about your home. We're blogging on ActiveRain, Energized Seller and our own sites about how great your property is. Yes we're promoting our staging work too but that's what's so great about our industry. We work hand-in-hand with you and your agent to get you the best possible price as quickly as possible!
Because you took a proactive role and invested in the services of Pro Staged Homes and the right real estate agent who priced your home correctly, your property is closing escrow less than 60 days later. So here we are back at your home, wrapping back up all the furniture, artwork, lighting, plants, rugs and accessories that we used to get your home sold. We're loading up the car and transporting all that inventory back to our storage facility and restocking for the next stage where we will start this process all over again.
Now that you understand the home staging process and all that goes with it, stay tuned for our next article, How Much Does it Cost to Stage A Home?
PROVEN RESULTS IN PRICED RIGHT STAGED HOME SALES