Has this ever happened to you?

Home Stager with First Impressions Home Staging and Interior Redesign

I get a call today around 4pm from Mr. Homeowner, who I thought lived in Virginia. He says, "Hey Bevin! Its me, Mr. Homeowner, I just walked into my house and all your furniture is still here!"

I say, "Yes, the staging is still there. Is there a problem?"

Mr. Homeowner, "Yeah, I'm moving back! Didn't my agent tell you? And why is the house staged, I didn't pay for it?"

Long pause, as I am processing what he just said...

Me, "Your agent paid for another month's rent. She planned to continue the staging until the home sold. What do you mean you are moving back?!"

Mr. Homeowner, "Yep, I'm back and my stuff is getting delivered at 8am tomorrow morning!"

WHAT?!?! What in the heck am I supposed to do now at approx. 4:15 pm on Thursday? Ok, stay cool, you're a stager, you can move mountains!

Me, "Ok. Just let me make a few phone calls. I'll get it fixed."

I call my regular mover - he doesn't answer. Even if he did, did I really think he was going to be able to un-stage the home for me right now? Or, before 8am tomorrow morning? Well, it couldnt hurt to ask, right?

Next call, of course, to Melissa and our assistant Sue. I explain the situation, as fast as I can, and ask if they are available to move a home - with a lot of furniture in it - tonight? Like, right now?!

No problem! Sue even had the brilliant idea of renting a UHAUL (duh!), instead of making 5 trips in 3 separate cars. My husband quits work a half hour early, picks up his dad's truck and off we head...for the emergency un-staging!

I call the homeowner to tell him it is under control and he will be able to move his furniture in tomorrow at 8am. He explains the "slight" miscommunication between him and his agent. He did not realize that she was paying for the staging past January. So, when he called her a few weeks ago and mentioned that he was probably moving back, but did not specify when...he did not know my furniture was still there. She thought he knew she paid to continue the staging, and would tell her when exactly he was moving back, so she could make proper arrangements...

We arrive at the home at approx. 6:30pm. The super nice homeowner had already taken down all the art, mantel accessories, bathroom accessories, grouped florals together, etc. making it very easy to un-stage. We leave with all our belongings around 7:30pm, head to the warehouse to unload. By 9pm, we are headed home!

Well, they were both extremely apologetic and nice as could be about the situation. No one was mad at anyone, especially since it got taken care of.

So, here I am at approx. 12:30 am (est), finishing up my 2 quotes from today's walk-throughs, and getting ready for my 8am appointment tomorrow...

Just another day in the life, right?


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Comments (10)

Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging
Hey, the good news is that at least we have furniture for the quotes you gave today...... lol! 
Feb 08, 2008 01:39 AM
sue wilson
staging assistant - Charleston, SC
and again, where is my milkshake. my work does not come cheap you know. glad i could help.
Feb 08, 2008 05:12 AM
Sandra Hughes
Redesigned Spaces - Northern Virginia - Fairfax, VA
Redesigned Spaces - Fairfax County, Virginia
Sounds like you pulled it off without a hitch.  Do you have in your contract that the home seller must provide X number of days notice in order for you to de-stage a property?  I think it is a good clause to have for situations such as this one - more importantly, if you couldn't get it done in such break neck speed as you didl
Feb 08, 2008 05:22 AM
Bevin Googer
First Impressions Home Staging and Interior Redesign - Mount Pleasant, SC

Sandra -  In the end, it did go alot smoother than anticipated. I do have that clause in my contract. However, I did not enforce it this time (it states there is a $75 charge for emergency pick ups). This agent had paid for a full month's staging, and she only got about 10 days of it. Plus, this was one of 3 homes she has hired us to stage for her. And, the reason the homeowner had to move back was because he could not afford 2 mortgages, the bank was getting involved, and it is just a bad situation for him. They are super nice people, and I figured it wasnt worth loosing future business over the rental of a UHAUL and some manual labor.

Besides, I have been getting spoiled lately - this time last year, I never hired movers! I did everything myself, or bribed my husband or friends into helping me!

Feb 08, 2008 06:02 AM
Kathleen Garvey
HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales

Nice Job Bevin....Glad you could pull from your support team...who are surely most understanding!! (*wink*)  THose phone calls at last minute can really through things into a major uproar!

You are fortunate to not have had to pay movers and renting a U-Haul for a small fee is part of this job when in a pinch...never think twice about it.  Most of us pay movers and pay for the truck to move things...just make sure you take extra good care of your 'girls'!!  You are luckier than most to have such great support from Melissa and Sue right in your back yard!  (Not to mention the cheap labor from your spouse!) PS-What a nice realtor to pay for the client's staging no less!!  WOW....I hope she makes her money back soon......

Feb 08, 2008 06:18 AM
Elaine Manes Gage
Home Staging Online Services - Denver, CO
Staging done ONLINE!
Bevin- In a perfect world, we wouldn't get phone calls like that, and the words in our contracts would dictate the way things happen. But, when you are dealing with multiple parties, there is always a chance for miscommunication. You handled it beautifully!
Feb 08, 2008 06:31 AM
Kathy Riggle
Houston Home Staging

Great teamwork! Aren't you glad you have support that you can call on? Nice hubby, too!


Feb 08, 2008 06:44 AM
Bevin Googer
First Impressions Home Staging and Interior Redesign - Mount Pleasant, SC

Kathleen - Yes, I am lucky and the Realtor is great! She really does always have her clients best interest in mind. She had just shown the home the day before, and she anticipates selling it soon. She is very good at her job!

Elaine - Thanks! That is exactly what it was - a big miscommunication!

Kathy - We do work well together! And, yep, I am a lucky girl :)

Feb 08, 2008 06:59 AM
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"
I was on vacation once, and the buyer called and said the closing went faster than expected.  During the Holidays, everyone was off.  I had to cut my trip short-but I got it done, and the seller was happy!
Feb 08, 2008 02:28 PM
Bevin Googer
First Impressions Home Staging and Interior Redesign - Mount Pleasant, SC

Cindy - wow, that was nice of you! I would have been a lot more irritated if I'd had to cut my vacation short! I guard my 'away' time very much. But, we do what we have to do!

Feb 09, 2008 01:45 AM