Could Realtors who have heard of HOME STAGING please raise your hands!

By
Home Stager with California Moods Inc

I have been a member with Active Rain now for 7 days and am into it like a box (big box) of chocolate raisins. To my surprise, I am witnessing an overwhelming amount real estate agents saying "Oh yeah, I've heard something about that". It just takes me back a little bit. I just thought that all real estate agents knew about home staging and was either a stager themselves, had an agent/stager in the office, or hired a stager or decorator when needed. 

Would you mind helping me understand how widespread home staging is right now? I am in the business of teaching the art of home staging to individuals via the Internet so I am not looking for a staging job...I am just so curious!

So may I ask you about your thoughts on home staging...some questions Iare:

  • How you heard about home staging or still don't really know that much about it?
  • Do you use home stagers for your listings?
  • If not...are you thinking about the benefits of home staging?
  • Have you staged your listings yourself or at least pitched in and helped declutter and spruce up?
  • Does the name home staging have a stigma or negative connotation to it?
  • Do you think you just don't need it?
  • Are you interested in knowing more about it before you seek out a home stager?
  • Are you interested in becoming and agent/stager?

I appreciated any feedback you are willing to offer and I think other home stagers would find your input very useful too. In California, home staging is a marketing tool and part of the expense of market a home as much as running an ad or taking a marketing class, so I am so curious how far spread the news of residential resale staging has reached.

Thank you in advance!

Sheron Cardin

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Rainer
15,226
Joanne Brown
Rockland County Real Estate - Nanuet, NY

Hi Sheron,

I have used a stager and will continually do so if the situation calls for it.  It helps homes sell with out the client spending as much as they should have while they lived in the house.

I guess it's like old comfy shoes, and people aren't that interested in designing.  I cannot believe when I see a gorgeous home from the outside and the landscaping is just beautiful to walk inside and be disappointed, I'm not sure if they used all their money on the house itself and had to stop, or they don't know the difference in good design.

Anyway, I have a question for you:

I'll use this analogy because I've worked with alot of engineers:

Engineer vs Home Inspector-Engineers resent the fact that the Home Inspector is qualified so easily.

Does a designer feel that way about a stager?

Dec 07, 2006 12:20 PM #1
Rainer
89,583
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island

Well, first of all I want to say welcome Sheron!  I've been out of the loop for a few weeks and am just catching up on blogs and such now.

As you may know, I am not a realtor, nor a realtor/stager, but I am stager - a 'Property Stylist', if you will.  I live on Long Island and my company has only been up and running since July (although I have been 'staging' since 1998). 

We have a real problem in this area with getting realtors and sellers educated as to what 'staging' is and why it is important in today's market.  Unfortunately TV shows like "Designed To Sell" and the recent Oprah $10,000 Staging (debacle) segment have not helped the 'cause', but rather given a false impression of the industry.

There needs to be more information and education, not only on Long Island, but in the Tri-State area, the entire eastern seaboard even!  Channel 7 Eyewitness News ran a segment the other night that featured 2 stagers from Westchester county.  The staging was great, as proper staging always is, however the stagers did a real disservice to the industry when they said that staging costs between $1000 and $10,000.  That will turn a lot of potential clients off.  In truth, most stagers that I know, myself included, will work within a budget.

The only way that realtors and sellers alike will understand the importance of staging is through education and example.  This is what I have been concentrating my efforts on since July.  Realtors think that they are staging when they advise the seller on what I like to call 'staging 101' - the basics: cleaning, decluttering, freshening up, baking cookies in the oven while the house is being shown.  That's the old school way - this is a new market and there is a whole new generation out there buying.

I will check back here to see what responses you get because I would like to hear what the general concensus is.  Thanks for blogging about this, Sheron!

 

Dec 07, 2006 01:00 PM #2
Rainmaker
136,615
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

Hi there, I am so glad to hear from you both already. As I had already stated, I am just blown away how new the concept home stagng is. I have updated homes for real estate agents and  homeowner for years and it seems like forever. If they wanted to make money on their house, they knew they had to do something about it, then as well as now. 

Hi Joanne,

Depending on why someone is selling their home has a lot to do with whether or not they can stage it, i.e. financial restraints. That is understood and so there are a gazillion things a home seller and home stager can do that doesn't cost anything but a lot of elbo grease and a little paint. For this reason, I wrote Do-it-yourself Home Staging Instructions so they can do it all themselves with professional results. I think agents need to know how to stage too!

Part 2: Home Staging is not interior design or interior decorating. If a person has talent and flair and some know how, he/she can be an awesome home stager. Decorating is fun and if the sellers want to, they can update the look with slipcovers and a few pieces here and there to get a decorated look. I absolutely love home staging because it is fast and the results are amazing but in no way is a home stager and interior designer. Because I am a designer, my home staging is (if I don't mind saying so) exceptional. That is the only real difference in the results...it does not bother me in the lease! I love the idea that the average person can pay someone a few dollars to come in and arrange the home sellers possessions in such a way that they learn right from wrong. Stage it forward I say! 

 

Val, well said! Can you put into words what you think Home Staging is? I would love to hear it. I hope we get lots of comments so we can close in on picture we are trying to paint. I feel sorry for the buyers who walk into homes that are not staged. As a matter of fact, I feel even worse for the agent. Sorry Joanne but I truly believe that. A STAGED HOME STAGED RIGHT IS AN UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYONE AND THE HOME IS THE POINT OF SALE. IT SHOULD BE A SHOWPLACE!

If a home is staged right, the home sellers will love what you did with their "Stuff" and want you to STAGE their new home as well. 

(Just a little funny thing happened...you know where you have to type in the graphic word to submit your comment? Well, my word is cantaloupe! I have never spelled that word before. Thank goodness I haven't had too!!!

PS: Sorry for the duplicate comments to your email...I read my post and there were so many typos I had to correct them.
Dec 07, 2006 02:55 PM #3
Rainer
89,583
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island

Sure, Sheron...

Home Staging is the art of preparing a house to showcase its positive features so that it stands out from the competition and appeals to a wide range of prospective buyers. 

This is accomplished by cleaning, decluttering and creating a warm, yet neutral palette in each room.

Further, a stager will make necessary changes with respect to proper placement of furniture, in order to ensure good flow from room to room and accentuate architectural details and/or views.

Pairing specific dynamic accessories and plants to complete the look creates an inviting and appealing atmosphere that prospective buyers can connect to.  Once a buyer has made that emotional connection to the house and can picture themselves living there, a sale is almost guaranteed.

Dec 07, 2006 04:17 PM #4
Rainmaker
136,615
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

Val...oh I like that...

"Pairing specific dynamic accessories and plants to complete the look creates an inviting and appealing atmosphere that prospective buyers can connect to."

Your pairing specific dynamic accessories sounds beautiful and stager specific. I really like that! I have a feeling other stagers are going to be borrowing that one. Thank you...maybe we should put together a public announcement as a whole?  

Dec 07, 2006 05:01 PM #5
Rainer
89,583
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island

I'm all for it Sheron - what do you have in mind?

I would love to see a unified front as an industry and have us all be 'on the same page' when it comes to defining Staging and creating a quality image of it.

 

Dec 07, 2006 05:18 PM #6
Rainmaker
136,615
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

Let's see what other commentors have to say...I have been working on something and it isn't finalized yet. But stagers are here to stay...am not crazy about the term and that is another issue I am working on but yes...I think we are onto something here.

Stage it forward! 

Dec 08, 2006 02:06 AM #7
Anonymous
James Frazier

I was most interested in the comment about Engineers vs. Home Inspectors. I got into  home staging due to a home inspection company and their professionalism. My thought after they finished the home I was trying to buy was that that particular home needed a different type of inspection- not the mechanical or structural kind but rather a marketability kind. The house I was trying to buy had so many negatives that could have so easily been fixed but since they were not it caused me to offer a greatly reduced below market price for the house. So I looked around and almost every home I looked at needed staging. I really see Interior design and staging as being similar but in many ways vastly different.

I too am trying analyzing the resistance of both realtors and home sellers to a concept that seems to me to be so obvious. Any feedback and insight will be most appreciated.

Dec 09, 2006 01:46 AM #8
Rainmaker
136,615
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

Hi James,

It is all in the education and exposure to alternative decorating. Most people do not know that a home stager can give them a professionally decorated look for a fraction of the price, and I mean a fraction.

If the home seller knew how to declutter and organize their stuff, a stager can come in and do wonders. The bonus other than the obvious new and improved appearance of the house giving it the appeal a model home would have, the home seller also learns the basics of furniture placement, bed dressing, accessorizing, and traffic flow.

This is what you want to promote to the home seller...what their benefits are above and beyond the marketing aspect...

I highly recommend that if a stager is in a slump...offer a free demonstration of what staging can do for a local real estate office and take one of their willing listings and stage it. If you are any good at it and it becomes clear to the agency and the seller that what you did made the difference, you are off and running!

Staged lr

Stage It Forward!

Dec 09, 2006 02:43 AM #9
Rainer
12,571
Mary Blanchard, Broker, CRS, E-PRO, ABR, ASP
Mary Blanchard, Broker - Cary, IL

Hi Sheron,

I was a stager with a dormant real estate license....and am now actively selling real estate.  I stage my own listings.  Here are some thoughts that I have had - could just be my experience....but for what these are worth:  I think that each home's staging need is unique based on what the home is competing with.  A home that is a bit more predictable like a little ranch on a street of ranch homes that are all "starter homes" I think almost benefits from more staging....fresh paint in updated colors, fewer larger pieces of furniture....etc.  Another home with gorgeous bones, which of course should be highlighted and celebrated with staging, can almost stand on its own without a hit to its price.  Ultimately I believe that a home should be reasonably priced and staging should help protect and support the asking price. 

I think a concern of many agents is that if they hire a stager, the stager may attempt to make the argument that the staging will sell the home for more money.  What stagers haven't seen is every other home competing with this one.  As long as stagers stay away from talking price I think more agents might be willing to use them.  Also I think a wise agent with a background in staging will know just how much a home needs. 

I prefer to physically help the homeowner with whatever suggestions I have made because when we are moving there are so many little things to do that I think it is easier for them if I just roll up my sleeves and help them implement what I have suggested.  I know if a busy market some would argue that that is not wise and I might even agree....suppose it depends on the seller somewhat.  My most recent was an older lady who couldn't have possibly hauled all her paint to recycling or scrubbed her garage floor - it took me maybe 30 minutes.  Encouraged her to pull up a chair and talk with me about her concerns while she sipped her tea! 

Sorry for the long response....

Dec 10, 2006 12:10 AM #10
Rainmaker
136,615
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

Mary, Mary, Mary...thank you, thank you, thank you!

I hope every stager reads your comment. It says it all.

If every real estate agent had the basic knowledge of staging, (and that is what I encourage and offer) their business would grow fast in this market. Your understanding of the market guides the needs of the listing and that is a perfect scenario.

If an agent hires a stager for the first time, it also helps when the agent understands home staging and can guide and direct what he or she wants to see happen and how far to take it. Once you found a stager that you have a relationship with then the sky is the limit. It is just like anything else...understanding through communication leads to trust.

I recommend for a home stager starting out or hitting a lull that they go find an agent and ask if they can stage an aged listing at no charge, to show what they can do and the difference it makes.

I know a few agent/stagers personally and they are the kind of people who pitch in and help anyway. They know what needs to be done and they dig in and just do it. So an agent adding "STAGER" to their qualifications so as to contribute and direct the updating instead of just handing out advice is a smooth transition and a successful one for them as well as their clients and the buyer. It builds confidence from the sellers point of view. (I was always a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of designer and my clients loved that about me.)

Don't forget about the men here. A man can stage as well. It is difficult for a man agent to make recommendations in the decorating sense without feeling like he is out of his league. So knowing the basics of home staging and having the tools to implement the techniques would give them a very powerful edge. 

Rolling up your sleeves and digging in is what 80% of the people need whether from their agent or a stager, 5% can afford an interior designer to come in an do everything for them and the other 15% want to do it themselves. 

I haven't visited my own blog since early November and it is pretty much a dead horse right now but I do have an interview with another agent/stager and she explains how staging started for her while she was selling homes. Others can check it out at Home Staging News Blog

Mary...I want to thank you for so eloquently saying what needed to be said. My hat' off to you!

POINT OF SALE MERCHANDISING IS NOT AN OPTION ANYMORE, IT IS ESSENTIAL! 

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Stage It Forward! 

Dec 10, 2006 01:20 AM #11
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Sheron Cardin

ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!
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