Agents That Stage Sell Themselves Short

Home Stager with Tori Toth, International


A Realtor, who knows how important it is to prepare his or her listings, always goes above and beyond the competition to make a sale. Sometimes, it’s cleaning the dust bunnies off the furniture, putting away clutter before an open house or fixing a clogged drain. These tasks are added to the many others Realtors do to help get the house sold. Recently I was introduced to a Realtor as the Owner/Lead Designer of Stylish Stagers, Inc., she immediately said she stages her own listings. I thought to myself amazing she almost gets it!

Home staging is a skill set that many Realtors nowadays say they’ve mastered, and why not? They’ve seen plenty of houses to know what’s keeping the home from selling. In many cases, Realtors have taken staging training classes and are certified as staging professionals. Like the forward thinking agent I was introduced to, some agents think if they offer staging services they’re giving their clients an amazing service. In reality it couldn’t be further from the truth.As a Realtor, do you own your own inventory? Do you fully understand color psychology? Do you understand furniture placement or Feng Shui? Do you have a truck to pick up and deliver the furniture? Do you have time to shop, pull inventory or pick-up last minute items?If the answer is no, then how can you say you’re giving clients an amazing staging service. Home stagers not only have a wide range of accessories to choose from for a project, but they can also spend days prior to a staging planning, researching and shopping to dial into what this potential buyer’s demographic and psychographics are to create a lifestyle this buyer wants to obtain. Adding items into a listing that are lying around your house, usually have your specific taste and not that of the buyer. For example, laying out a Persian rug that an agent finds rolled up in the back of their closet, won’t work in a contemporary home, as well as, a white shag rug. The agent’s rug may ultimately seem off putting to buyers and could jeopardize the sale. The same is true with any items the Realtor brings into the home.The infamous life coach, Tony Robbins, recently said, “style is important than substance initially. If you have lots of substance and no style, no one will hear you.”  In our profession, we see this quote play out in life over and over again. The substance is the seller’s home and if it’s not appealing or stylish enough to attract buyers online to take action, no one will hear the seller’s offer. So, while a Realtor can go through the motions of home staging it takes an expert to style the space to leave a lasting impression.


Now, I’m not bashing Realtors who stage their own listings because they’re smart enough to understand the importance staging offers, but if you’re not making a living at staging, then you can’t give it 100-percent effort for maximum results. Staging is a full-time profession. As a Realtor you don’t write loans, conduct appraisals, inspect homes, so why waste your valuable time staging a home, when you could be obtaining another listing or showing an existing listing? What would be your client’s perception of you if you serve multiple roles when selling their property? Your client would probably see your effort, however may wonder if you can personally do it all. They may think you’re staging someone else’s property when you should be showing theirs? As we already know wondering clients can turn into unhappy clients, therefore, agents shouldn’t serve in multiple roles rather build a team.

home staging nyc
Top producers and true professionals have teams of other professionals that all work together to accomplish a common goal. A Realtor can’t be a professional at everything so they need to focus on what you do best, selling homes.The Realtor I was introduced to in this story told me her personal staging services are why her clients hire her, which has resulted in her becoming a top producing Realtor in a national real-estate company. I don’t believe it’s her staging talent at all rather it’s her passion, knowledge and commitment that has others acknowledging her accomplishments with a laundry list of awards. Imagine how much more she could accomplish if she had a home stager on her team. Home stagers can help prepare your clients homes through Do-It-Yourself Services, On-Site Staging Days, Choosing Rental Furniture, Project and Clutter Management, Color Consultations, Supplying Vendors and Accessories. Every home has its challenges, it’s a home stager’s job to think creatively and problem-solve to reduce the amount of stress the sale has on a home seller and Realtor. Do you have a home stager on your team, yet? It’s an invaluable tool that can save you time, while making you more money.
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© Copyright 2016 Tori Toth, International.  All Rights Reserved.

By Tori Toth Celebrity Home Stager, Best-Selling Author & Lifestyle Expert      






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  1. Charita Cadenhead 06/19/2012 01:15 AM
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Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Althought it's not Realtor®, it sounds like it is.  And while agents don't write loans, do home inspections, and some of the other things that you mention, I think that agents and their clients can benefit from an agent that offers home staging as a service.  I think it compliments the service of an agent quite well.  I will admit that "time" plays an important role in the quality of service.  But if an agent wants to provide quality staging service, I suppose they could put a "cap" on the number of listings so as to be able to dedicate the quality of time to do both.

I certainly recognize that home staging is a craft that is continually sharpened, but I also think that it is ideally suited for Realtors® if they chose to master that craft as an addition to their existing services.


Jun 19, 2012 01:13 AM #1
Heather Cook
Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc. - Kitchener, ON
Quality Home Staging

Tori I completely agree with your article and think that this is something forward Realtors should be considering when it comes to creating a winning business strategy. Not only does bringing a professional home stager onto their team make sense from a time and resources standpoint, it also ensures that all the difficult topics are broached by a 3rd party so that the Realtor doesn't have to address them. This doesn't mean the realtor isn't aware of them - trust me, virtually all of them know that their are problems with a home but addressing them can alienate the client, weakening their relationship.

I also agree that agents who offer 'staging services' and yes, I use this term loosely because I have yet to see an agent who offers the breadth of services that a professional does - are doing their clients a disservice. I have seen terrible vignette staging, bad color combinations, inappropriate scale of furniture or badly placed furniture, strange artwork - all from well meaning agents who are 'staging' their clients homes. Ineffective or poor staging can have a bad impact on the home's appearance and subsequently be the reason why it doesn't get offers or it doesn't sell for what it's worth. 

I DO think that realtors should be aware of the fact that a home's appearance/condition is just as important as its price and location. I DO think they should know what things to look out for when previewing homes and yes, they should have advice and recommendations they can make including that they will be contacting their home stager to do a consult so that no detail gets overlooked. Unless an agent has dual full time jobs as both a Realtor and a Pro Stager then they need to pick one career and choose a qualified professional to partner with so all parts of the home selling equation are looked after.

Sep 06, 2012 11:55 AM #2
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Tori Toth

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