A Home Stager's Job Requires Telling Sellers What They Need To Hear

Home Stager with Sharon Tara Transformations

For many reasons real estate agents often hesitate to suggest necessary improvements to sellers.  Whether it's a fear of losing the listing, avoiding an awkward conversation, not wanting to embarrass or insult the homeowner....they make the decision to keep silent.

Keeping silent is not in the best interest of the sellers.

Many times, prior to a Home Staging consult,  I've been asked by agents NOT to bring up a certain needed improvement.  The agent tells me the seller won't make the change....the seller doesn't have the budget.... or the agent has already suggested it and got a negative response.

When I'm asked by an agent not to mention something, my reply is "sorry, that's not how I work".  It's my job to tell sellers what I know could cost them a sale....it's not my job to tell sellers what I think they want to hear.  

Home Stagers don't keep information to themselves when it comes to improving a listing.  Home Stagers point out any and all needed improvements, no matter how large or how small.  Ultimately, it's up to the sellers to decide which improvements they will make.  It's THEIR decision, not mine, and not the agent's.

Don't underestimate the power of explanation....informing sellers WHY a change needs to be made and how that change could directly effect their sale will usually result in the seller taking the necessary action.

 Time and time again I've had surprised agents tell me that their sellers replaced the carpet or painted all the bedrooms or removed the excess furniture after I had explained the reasoning behind it.  

It's been my experience that sellers will do what needs to be done if they understand the value in doing so!


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lenn Harley 05/06/2014 06:53 AM
  2. Debbie Reynolds 05/06/2014 11:24 AM
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

When a home owner says, "I'd like to know what improvements you would recommend", that's the time to suggest improvements.

When a home owners says, "I'm interesting in selling, what price would you recommend?" that's the time to suggest prices.

May 05, 2014 07:25 AM #23
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

As a home stager, you have to be honest in the same way we agents have to be honest with our sellers. Otherwise, we are spinning our wheels. Sometimes it's just a question of how we say it and when. But it shouldn't be a question of if.

May 05, 2014 07:50 AM #24
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

On some staging projects, I too have encountered Realtors telling me what not to bring up to the seller!  It is craziness really-we are supposed to be the independent voice - the voice of the buyer and the market and we should not be censored before we even start! Congrats on the feature Sharon!

May 05, 2014 08:32 AM #25
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

The truth helps sellers understand what needs to be done, and why ... like you, I speak only the truth to sellers because my goal is to help their home sell as quickly as possible.

May 05, 2014 08:49 AM #26
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Tessa:  Your comment about not having any vested interest is so true and I sometimes mention that what they decide to do or not do is of no consequence to me.  They are the ones with something to gain or lose.

Eric:  Exactly.  But, I've had agents hire me and then tell me not to mention a really bad carpet or strong odor in the home.  It makes no sense!

Patty:  Probably a whole lot of stress on their mind!

Phil:  Thank you.  Improving their chance of selling is what my goal is!

Alexandra:  Set them free to move into their new home!

Kevin:  It's also ammunition for the agent when three months down the road the sellers try to blame them for the lack of interest in the home.  The agent can say...you should have taken the stager's suggestions more seriously.

Lenn:  Simple, right?  Not for many agents....still too many walking on egg shells when it comes to total honesty regarding the listing's condition.

Nina:  Exactly...not a question of "if".  

Joanna:  I didn't think I was the only stager experiencing this, thank you!

Maureen:  The truth and nothing but the truth!  It's not easy sometimes, and it must be done with respect.



May 05, 2014 09:08 AM #27
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

Sharon I think when they finally hearit from us, it sinks in. I don't hold back during consultations, no stager should, if they're doing their job correctly.

May 05, 2014 12:38 PM #28
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I would think that recommendations would be more readily accepted by an objective 3rd party than by the listing agent.

May 05, 2014 12:44 PM #29
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

You are so right Sharon. We've all been there. Give the seller the information to make an informed decision. I've also had agents ask me to make sure I mention an issue for them. It's our job and we should do it properly.

May 05, 2014 11:12 PM #30
Kate McQueen
CB&A Realtors - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

Stagers are a lifesaver in situations where the seller isn't hearing what the agent is telling them. Stagers can be a great partner to a listing agent in these situations.

May 06, 2014 01:44 AM #31
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Suzanne:  Sometimes it's really difficult....sometimes there's just so much that needs to be done....I've been to a few consults where I feel helpless as soon as I walk in the door.  You just want to say "light a match and walk away".  

Joan:  Absolutely true.  I've been told many times by agents that the sellers were far more open to my suggestions than those of the agent.  Agents tend to get a bad rap because they have a monetary stake in the outcome.  

Janice:  I've had agents mention things in advance to me too.  It works well for the agents having another "authority" figure validate something they have already pointed out to the sellers.

Kate:  If the sellers don't make the improvements, they can't blame the agent when the offers don't come in and the agent suggests a price reduction.


May 06, 2014 05:20 AM #32
Ann Nguyen
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Truckee, CA
Lake Tahoe Truckee Homes For Sale

I rely on my home stager to recommend needed improvements since she can be more specific and has answers right at her fingertips :-)

May 06, 2014 06:06 AM #33
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


To effective sell a home the staging has to be right . . . .  and we have to give the sellers the correct information to get the home sold.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

May 06, 2014 07:47 AM #34
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Ann:  I'm sure you make a great team!

Lou:  I appreciate your support, thank you!

May 06, 2014 09:09 AM #35
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Hi Sharon,

Truth and honesty is the only way to successfully manage a business. You do yours exceptionally well. I may not always have sellers follow my advice, but I tell them anyway what I think and often they come back to me say, you were right...

Having a Professional Stager suggest the necessary hardwork can really make a difference. Thanks for this great post!

May 06, 2014 10:30 AM #36
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Excellent post and well deserving of the Feature Sharon.  You are true to yourself and your profession and always have the clients best interest in mind.....that's why you were hired.  Well done.

May 06, 2014 09:04 PM #37
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Patricia:  Thank you!  If they don't follow the advice, it's at least nice to hear that they eventually realized you were right!

Roger:  Very kind words, thank you!

May 06, 2014 11:18 PM #38
Linda Thompson
Selling By Design-Staging - Fresno, CA

Thank you for the post Tara. It is so true. We must tell it as it is. If something will hinder a sale or bring a lower price then it must be addressed. It is not fair to the client to gloss over the truth.

May 10, 2014 04:34 AM #39
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Linda:  Agreed....no glossing if you want what's best for the sellers!

May 10, 2014 12:23 PM #40
Anna Dovger
Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607 - The Woodlands, TX
Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX

I've been missing so many great articles. So true...we are not their to say how nice their house is, we are there to say what to do so buyers will like it. Not always Sellers like to hear it but, they were the ones who called for the advice. I like to joke that the advice is something you ask for when you already know the answer but don't like it ;-)

May 24, 2014 04:29 AM #41
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Anna:  That's a great line.  I sometimes say "I know you don't want to hear this, but..."

May 24, 2014 05:44 AM #42
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Sharon Tara

New Hampshire Home Stager
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