Selling Houses or Pencils? What's the Difference?

Home Stager with Home Star Staging

I'd like to give a lesson on Retailing 101 and how it applies to home sales. 

For anyone selling a home welcome to the world of Real Estate Merchandising

girl writing on chalkboard

Let's put it in terms of another retailer though. A retailer of Pencils.

If you were the Acme School Supply Retailer of Pencils pencil top what would bring customers to your store?

  •   Price —
  •   Location
  •   Inventory of items needed or wanted —
  •   Marketing tactics - TV, radio, print ads,  coupons —pencils
  •   Customer Service —
  •   Time of year —
  •   When they need new supplies



What would keep your customer coming back?

A +

  • Price —
  • Location —
  • Inventory in good supply & condition —
  • Marketing - TV, radio, print ads,  coupons —
  • Customer Service
  • Time of year 
  • When they need new supplies —

What would make them not return?

  • High prices
  • Too far to go —
  • Poor selection or condition of inventory —
  • Poor service
  • No more need for supplies

How is selling Pencils any different than Houses you may ask?

There isn't really a difference except one costs a whole lot more and the investment on the part of the consumer is HUGE when purchasing a home and home buyers are only in the market for a limited time, until they find a home they wish to purchase.

The 3 main ingredients to a Home Sale are:

  1. Price
  2. Location
  3. Condition (of the "inventory" aka your house)

Check the list above again for the pencils, the first 3 listed are the same. 

Home sellers, do you know which one of the 3 is TOTALLY in your CONTROL

(And truly, it isn't price if that's what you may be thinking. Price is usually dictated by what the market will currently bear.  Even if you feel your home is worth more, listen to your Realtor who will be honest with you and be able to give you the right facts when you list your home.

Have you figured it out?

CONDITION is what you dear seller have within your control. Just like losing weight workout girl you've got to make the commitment to do it yourself, your Realtor can't do it for you.  Sometimes you may enlist the help of a trainer for support and guidance in your quest to get healthy.

Do you know who the Trainers are that can assist you in getting  the CONDITION of your home in top shape?

Professional Home Stagers

Call one today to schedule your session for getting your home in top form this selling season!

Class dismissed.  graduate jumping


Posted by

Home Staging Dallas - Karen Otto


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Jamie Stimpson
Keller Williams West Monmouth - Freehold, NJ
Love the pricing comment. So many sellers think that we or they will dictate the price of home.It is wonderfull  to get people to concentrate on what they can control PRESENTATION and CONDITION
Dec 30, 2007 12:00 PM #23
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Hi Jamie, not being a Realtor, I don't discuss how a client should price their home and if asked I always tell them their Realtor will be able to best answer that question. But what I do know is that someone can't overprice these days in this market and expect a fast sale by any means.

Dec 30, 2007 02:01 PM #24
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Hi Karen:  Is that a picture of you above in your post ?  The one in the jogging outfit with the towel around your neck.  Your hair is longer, and your make-up is a little different. 

A home well marketed and well-staged is a home that is well on it way to being sold.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.  Take care...

Dec 30, 2007 02:45 PM #25
Teresa Cox King
RE/MAX of Orange Beach - Orange Beach, AL
Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama
Great post and food for thought.  Have a successful start to your 2008!
Dec 30, 2007 03:40 PM #26
Amber Langston
KAREN! Fantastic post! Very nice! Happy New Year!
Dec 30, 2007 05:01 PM #27
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.
Nice analogies on another good post.  You have a creative way of explaining things and why does that surprize me...???  Good Job. 
Dec 30, 2007 06:09 PM #28
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Karen Anne may I send you a hug and a kiss from Plano? No my friend that is NOT me but thank you for the compliment. But I did wear my hair that length for years. Maybe it's time for me to hire that personal trainer I've been meaning to call....another New Year's resolution!

Thank you Teresa and Amber!

Another of my passions is marketing Terrylynn and whenever we can help the customer understand why they should do something (and not just for frivolous reasons because in the case of home sales this is seriously expensive business as well as lucrative if well prepared for sale) it helps us all.

Dec 31, 2007 12:23 AM #29
Mary Lou Teague
Home Style and Staging Knoxville. TN
EXCELLENT...Love the comparison... You did a great job on this. Hope you have a great 2008 !!!
Dec 31, 2007 02:38 AM #30
Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota
Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm - Inver Grove Heights, MN

Thanks Karen :)  Happy 2008!!!  Speak to you soon.


Dec 31, 2007 03:17 AM #31
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

I know a Teague here in Texas Mary Lou, any relatives in Plano?

Looking forward to it Bethy!

Dec 31, 2007 04:03 AM #32
Kathleen Garvey
HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales
Hi Karen-Thanks for a great post!  I had been meaning to read it now that I am semi-back in the AR mode...and what a nice read it is!  Happy New Year!   I felt like I was educating each person I saw during the holidays (outside of Family members) who were curious about 'staging'.  I liked your analogies a lot and think that people are getting more into the idea of WHY what we do works and makes good sense!!  Regards-Kathleen G
Dec 31, 2007 10:34 AM #33
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta
Great post Karen.  Educating the public is so important.  You did an excellent job.  I think you got your "point" across well.  :)
Dec 31, 2007 11:25 AM #34
Maureen Maureen
Orangeburg, NY

Pencil yourself in for a Cookie Award for the week's greatest analogy


Dec 31, 2007 12:07 PM #35
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Education is key Kathleen - without it our clients don't get it and think, "why should I pay for this when I'm moving anyway?" When we explain how we work and how we can help them merchandise their product it makes sense. So before ever going into what it is we actually do we need to help them understand WHY we do it. Why? To sell quickly for top dollar!

Janice - I like your play on words there! "Point" taken ;)

Thank YOU! I will take my cookie Maureen even though I've started my new year's resolution of eating better! A symbolic cookie like this one tastes so much better than the real thing anyway.


Happy New Year Everyone!

Jan 01, 2008 04:35 AM #36
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"

You've always got great ideas for post.  Always enjoy!

Happy New Year To Ya!

Jan 01, 2008 06:11 PM #37
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Thank you for your kind words Cindy.

Happy New Year to you too from your North Texas neighbor!

Jan 02, 2008 12:24 AM #38
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
Karen, I love how in your piece from the pencils to the homes to the condition, you took the reader to understand what should be obvious. They need a coach, YOU, to get that condition in tip top shape. Did you used to be a trial lawyer? Very good with leading others down a path!
Jan 02, 2008 12:28 AM #39
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Thanks Gary! No but I used to work for a lawyer back in the day (I did not enjoy it!). 

I enjoy teaching and in fact will be teaching a CE course on Home Staging at Collin County Comm. College this spring (February and again in May) to homeowners & Realtors on how & why to get your home ready for sale. The old adage, it's better to teach a man to fish than to feed him for a day rings true for me and there are many who are do-it-yourselfers or just need validation that they are capable of helping themselves. Others need professional help and advice and I want to be a resource for anyone who's interested in learning how to get top dollar and a fast sale for their biggest 'product' - their home.

Jan 02, 2008 12:54 AM #40
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging
Hi Karen O.  Great way of defining the obvious!  I just love your clever mind!
Jan 02, 2008 04:22 AM #41
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Karen D hey!

All Karens are klever.... ;)

Happy New Year!

Jan 02, 2008 08:09 AM #42
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Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,
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