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Marketing homes

Home Stager with Magick Home Makeovers

Recently I started doing some continuing staging education.  I tell you honestly that after four years in business, I did it primarily to get more web presence and referrals, and I didn't think the credential would hurt with agents. Quickly I am seeing there is a lot more to be learned and to be re-learned. 

One of the first (smart) things it tipped me to was to constantly watch listings for a number of variables.  Of course I did that time to time, but I had never really looked in terms of the agent's marketing strategy.  Today I noticed some stuff that really surprised me.  

One, that in my area at least, the higher the listing, the less marketing material seems to be available, and the more likely the property is vacant.  It seems to me that while it makes sense not to disclose the address or maybe the exterior with house number, it makes no sense not to have a slideshow and above all not to stage.  That's a nice piece of change there.  Is the philosophy that the high end listings have a limited market and will sell themselves? You would think with a six figure commission as the goal, marketing would be stellar.  Can someone explain this thinking to me?

Just the variability of what gets done to market listings online is amazing.  Some agents offer a full package with at least an attempt at staging, and a video clip and some extra shots taken well in good lighting.  Others offer no picture at all, or four shots of which three are exterior and the fourth is so dark you can't see the features. 

Is this because of marketing budget?  I can't see why. Now I understand the trick is to get that four shot agent to see the value in what his competition is doing.  You would think the homeowners would be insisting on competitive marketing.  

Oh well, I am off to some open houses tomorrow that look as though they could use some help, armed with what comparables are doing and wish me luck.





Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging
I would suppose the thought process is that there are fewer buyers in this category and also fewer homes.  If you were to stage the home or spend a lot of money marketing you might have to do it for months - taking away part of that valuable commission.  This is clearly flawed thinking!  It is no different that the million and multi-million homes that haven't been updated in 10 years thinking someone will buy their home because it's got great bones & a view, etc.... There are a ton of homes that fit that bill.  The million dollar tags are no different - they just think they are (sometimes).  This is why continuing to educate agents is so important!
Jan 26, 2008 08:40 AM
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona

Debbi, I'm glad you brought this up. About a week ago I was looking diligently at the high end listings in our area because I've been asked to speak at a MLS breakfast where the tour will feature only high end homes. I was so surprised to find that only one of ten houses had any photos, much information beyond the price, and what appeared to be any regard for marketing.

Now, here is the mixed message I'm getting. I've been asked to speak at this particular meeting because of the featuring of the high end homes. (The person asking me practically winked at me and stated that it was obvious that my marketing should only be to owners of these high end homes.)  When I go looking for information it seems marketing is believed to be unnecessary. Me thinks me is confused. 

Jan 26, 2008 09:22 AM
Debbi Callander
Magick Home Makeovers - Mississauga, ON

Yvonne, if they didn't think they needed to market the high end homes, why did they ask you to come and speak with them about that? It sounds like they just want to make sure you take the approach that the home owner is your client and not the agent. 

I think if I were an agent I would be willing to kick in maybe ten percent of my commission to move the listing fast and maximize my net earnings on it.  If it went overlist, the agent could well break even even with the staging. 

I suspect the agents' view might be that you have to walk gingerly with the very privileged so they are not offended at the suggestion that there is anything lacking in the way their home shows, but I think if people are wealthy they are smart enough to know you have to spend money to make money, and they expect reasonable critique as part of the package.

I have had agents split the cost of the consultation with the homeowner, and even throw in the sofa from their family room to stay under budget.  

This is a great opportunity for you reach a sweet target market ready to hear what you can do for them.  You go girl.




Jan 26, 2008 09:40 AM
Kathy Riggle
Houston Home Staging

Your explanation above makes sense, Debbi.  If the agents are reluctant to bring up decor issues with the "privileged", then a stager could take on that responsibility! Thanks for the post.


Jan 28, 2008 09:33 AM
Gail Reeves Reid
Re/Max Realty Specialists - Mississauga, ON


The devil is in the details. A true professional would not allow a multi million dollar home not to be professionally staged. I have seen these homes also and just hope that the listing expires so I can get a shot at marketing the property like a tru professional.


Jan 28, 2008 01:42 PM
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells


I have a much simpler explanation. It's called being lazy and cheap.  

Jan 28, 2008 03:32 PM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.
See they need you, they really need you.  Job security
Jan 28, 2008 05:29 PM