12 Steps to Success in Real Estate in 2016

Home Stager with Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA

Running to winI am often told that I am lucky to be the owner of a successful professional home staging company. Luck is the magic sauce that makes it all come together, but there are many things I do every day to make sure my company is well regarded and stays ahead of the competition.

Following these 12 steps will make you successful or more successful in 2013.

Unlike the title of the hit Broadway play "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", you really do have to make an effort in order to succeed. Here's my 12 tips for success in the Real Estate business, whether you are a home stager or a real estate agent:

  1. The early bird really does get the worm: I find I am more likely to get the staging contract if I am one of the first home stagers to return the client's call. You get to make an impression on the client first, and that's often the deepest connection. I imagine it works the same way with real estate agents.
  2. Under-promise and over-deliver: I never reveal every bit of what I'm going to do, or what I'm going to provide before staging a home. I always make sure I go the extra mile and deliver more than I promised.
  3. Don't take on projects that are "over your head": You're dealing with your client's most valuable asset - their home. If you take on too big of a project or too large of a listing, and you fail, you will ruin your reputation, and may create a dire situation for your client. Stretching yourself to take on a little more than what you are used to is good, but this whole concept of "Fake it till you make it" is deceitful and deceptive.
  4. Open and frequent communication is key: Make sure everyone involved in or with your business understands what you will be providing, how much it costs, and what is expected of them. Repeat, if necessary, until you are certain everyone is on the same page.
  5. Surround yourself with the best: We are measured by the company we keep. Expel people who are dishonest, have dodgy ethics or simply make you feel uncomfortable, from your inner circle. Don't partner with other agents, home stagers, mortgage brokers, contractors, etc. that behave questionably, lest you be painted with the same brush. Don't take on clients that seem dishonest, unethical or "weird". They won't be worth the lost sleep and headaches.
  6. Trust your "gut": If you're not sure if something is OK, or a client asks you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, or you wonder what might happen if you "get caught" - DON'T DO IT! We have "gut" instincts for a reason. It's nature's way of protecting us. 
  7. Build trust with your clients and your community, and do everything necessary to maintain that trust. Lose a job, turn down a client, quit, if you have to, but maintain your personal integrity.
  8. Keep up on new technology and continuing education: You can take classes in a classroom, go to a seminar, take classes on-line, hire an expert to help you or subscribe to various blogs and groups, but don't ever close the door to learning as much as possible about tools, technology or methods for doing your job better and more efficiently. I spend at least one hour per day reading blogs from various disciplines (technology, law, finance, art and, yes, real estate) to "keep my tools sharp".
  9. Always be prepared: We can't be prepared for every eventuality, but there are many we can and should be prepared for. I think ahead  (if I could underline that twice I would!) and try to figure out all the things that might go wrong or surprise me, and then I try to be prepared. 
  10. The greater your effort the greater your chances of success: I have a plan and goals and I work my plan every day (well, almost). I work hard, try to work consistently and make sure my efforts are heading me in the right direction.
  11. Believe that you earn success: I believe that I deserve success, I work hard for it and I earn it. Even when I am not so successful, I believe that I deserve to be successful. If you don't believe you deserve success - not just want it, but really deserve it - you will always manage to sabotage your success.
  12. Be kind, be respectful, be helpful and behave professionally: You may not always get every job or listing by being kind, respectful and helpful, but you will earn the respect of your peers and clients and your reputation will grow accordingly. Behave professionally, because you never know who's sees what your doing, reads what you're posting to Facebook or where your next client will come from. 

What do you do to create success in your real estate or home staging business?



Posted by


Los Angeles Real Estate Staging

2019 RESA Top 10 Professional Home Stager Vacant

2015 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

2014 RESA Top 10 Professional Home Stager

2010 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

Michelle has staged thousands of Los Angeles homes, many of which have sold with multiple offers, above listing price.

She works with home sellers, listing agent, builders, flippers and asset managers to prepare homes for sale throughout Los Angeles and North Orange County.

Moving Mountains Design provides vacant home staging, color consultations, corporate and executive relocations,  and interior design. We also stage model homes, REOs, foreclosures and auction properties for real estate investors and asset managers. Builders hire us to stage their models or to help move inventory when sales slow down.

For more information about our Los Angeles home staging services, contact Michelle at (626)385-8852 or by email.

Click here to see our Los Angeles home staging portfolio

Click here to go to our Los Angeles home staging blog

Click here for more information about home staging in Los Angeles and how we can help sell your home faster and for the best price

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Comments (61)

Telmo Bermeo
America's Network Realty Group, Inc. - Sandy Springs, GA

Your information is very valuable and should be used in our daily jobs.

Jan 07, 2013 11:11 PM
Tom Esposito
Alpharetta Home Solutions - Alpharetta, GA

Great ideas.  I already do several but there are some that I haven't done.  Hopefully they will help improve business in 2013.

Jan 08, 2013 12:11 AM
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

Michelle, your bullet-points are the perfect recipe for success in ANY business.  We all need to take heed.

Jan 08, 2013 02:02 AM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I can see why you are successful.  You have a strong ethical basis for your business.  Anyone, stager, realtor, mortgage broker, etc who follows your advice will succeed.  Nice post.  I also suggested it.

Jan 08, 2013 02:13 AM
Kristina Heili
Keller Williams Premier Realty - Woodbury, MN
Comprehensive Real Estate Services

This is such great information and a great reminder that it's OK to not be everything to everyone, that sometimes you just have to let go to maintain your ethics, morals and integrity. Thank you for sharing.

Jan 08, 2013 03:18 AM
Jean French-Turner
Southport Realty, Inc. - Southport, NC

Michelle- This is a very well thought out and well-written blog post-one of the best points (from my own experience) is to "under promise and over deliver"-thanks!

Jan 08, 2013 04:30 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Michelle,

Luck favors the prepared, but never compromise your ethics; I fully agree with you there. It is easy to do a good job and go the extra mile for nice people, but someone intent on cutting corners often cuts themselves and possibly you right out of a good deal.

Jan 08, 2013 05:21 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

The response to this post has been very gratifying! Thank you all very much!

Jan 08, 2013 05:30 AM
Susan Ani
Baird & Warner - Chicago, IL

All of your points are great reminders for every reader. It's easy to forget the basics when we get so involved with the nuances of every client's situation.

Jan 08, 2013 09:56 AM
Terkel Sørensen
Real Estate Places - Temecula, CA
Realtor, 951.805.0773 , Bank owned and Short Sales

Nice Post Michelle - being organized and knowing where you are going as well as how to get there is a huge key to being successful. Continued success to you. 

Jan 08, 2013 12:41 PM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Communication is key to our business.  This is a great list!  We should all post the list over our desk as a reminder!

Jan 08, 2013 12:46 PM
Maria Nichols
Patterson-Schwartz - Newark, DE
DE Residential Realtor

This is a great list! I am in the process of finalizing my business plan for 2013 and these were great items to add.

Jan 09, 2013 04:37 AM
Patti De Young
RE/MAX Professionals - Tacoma, WA

Great post: It sure is important to focus on the things that create success. Thanks for the reminder!!!

Jan 10, 2013 04:55 AM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

I'm lucky to know you...

Jan 10, 2013 09:53 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

The luck runs both ways, Karen Otto :o)

Jan 10, 2013 10:04 AM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Jan 10, 2013 11:31 AM
Stacey Gibson
Chico Home Staging - Chico, CA

Thank you for Re-posting.... you are right!  Success is based on more than good luck!  Hard work and all of the points you mentioned....Wishing you continued Success in 2013!

Jan 10, 2013 01:20 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Michelle - Thank you for the very good information about 12 steps to success in real estate in 2013.

Apr 07, 2013 02:34 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Thank you, Stacy and John!

Apr 07, 2013 03:11 AM
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

"Plan your work and work your plan!"  Excellent post, Michelle!  Happy New Year!

Jan 01, 2016 09:38 PM