Ruffled Feathers makes for some Good Flapping in the Rain

Industry Observer

 When Active Rain "works" it does something quite wonderful. It grows, and expands, and teaches, and challenges. It creates dialogue in places and spaces where there was none.

I think sometimes we forget that we all here are a community. An ever growing community, but a community non the less. In the "good old days," when there were only a few thousand members, there was a daily banter of ideas bouncing back and forth. Those of you who were lucky to be here then know what I am talking about. Some of what was shared was of great "industry" value; some was just plain "trivial chirping".  But no matter what, there was a connected sharing taking place across the blogs and within the comments.

Today, with so many members now sharing so much of themselves, and with so many different types of content being able to be shared (i.e., listings and statistics) sometime it is hard to chirp an idea out through the loud quacking.

But every so often a bird's song is heard. So here is my tale to how Active Rain can give wings to a discussion.

It all started when I posted my blog Successful Selling in an Ugly Market Ain't Always Pretty!. In that blog I got one of those comments that just ruffles my feathers. It seems that when I write a post that shares the virtues of staging there always seems to be someone that takes a shot at me. It is as if they load their comment with common bird-shot and shoot off something like, "Yudda Yuddd Yudda Price Is King".  They never quite hit me, but they do ruffle my feathers. I hate that one!

OK... so now what? Well this time, ruffled feathers and all, I was going to pluck that common rebuttal clean. Which lead me to write my next post. Chipping Away at the "PRICE IS KING" Myth Too Many Realtors Rely On  In it I had you all pondering the potato chip, no not the Ruffles kind, as I laid my trap. (Wow talking about mixed metaphors, and double entendres that actually make sense. But I digress). In that trap I caught that old Blogging Bird Broker Bryant. (Wow... an automotopia too. My English teacher would be proud. But I digress.) He squawked in a comment in a way only he can.

Proud of my catch... I was going to make sure the whole world saw my trappings. So I posted this: Best Blog EVER Finally Hits Its Target... of ONE. Well, I may have caught Birdy Bryant, but he surly was not dead. He squawked out this post Does "Staging" a home in Poinciana FL make sense? and posted it over in the Stage It Forward... Hen House. Oh my God, if that didn't kill him it should have. Now ALL those chicks, and a few roosters, were cackling all over his post... plus a few of you from out here in the big Rain puddle were chipping in.

This trophy catch asked questions that challenged us yet also gave us Stagers insight and understanding as to how and what we need to do to share our staging message. But I wasn't gonna let Birdy Bryant get the last chirp in. PLUS there were now a few from his flock squawking in with more issues I thought could be discussed.  Maybe it was over kill, but I blasted him with a double barreled dozzie of a comment... that also went out into the Big Rain as yet another one of my posts entitled: Is Your Ignorance Bliss or a Missed Opportunity?.

Now that that post was out there... seeded with that enticing word "ignorance" I laid in the brush waiting. Low and behold I caught me a Hitzelberger. Now I never saw a Hitzelberger before, but boy could that bird sing. And sing he did with more to know and ponder in It's not just ignorance..  (Unfortunately, right now it is a "Member Only" post. So if you are not logged into the AR puddle... you won't be able to see it)

Well, by now you get the point and I am sure this hunting story will go on. I thank you for letting me tell my hunting tale. I do invite you to go hunting or start quacking out new ideas that grow and expand your way of thinking, because they always are in-season.... here in the Rain.

Quack it Forward...


PS: I gotta admit I got my sites set on the wise, yet elusive, "Harely Bird" that sits in a forest over in Maryland.

Comments (20)

Dave Woodson
Dave Woodson - Chesterton, IN
Not the Average Agent
Craig,  a very informative and entetaining read thanks for sharing.  I am believer in staging just never have the opportunity to suggest one as I normally work with buyers
Apr 09, 2008 02:34 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time
Very funny Craig!!! I wish you a lot of luck hunting the all elusive Harley bird. You may need to switch over to buck shot for that one.
Apr 09, 2008 02:37 AM
Gabriele Campbell
D F Campbell Ventures Group Inc. - Saint Albert, AB


I love your writing style! This is the best hunting tale ever. I'm a newbie in the neighbourhood and am just now being exposed to the lively exchange of ideas, information, war stories (or hunting stories) and other experiences. I am certainly unclear how some believe price alone will garner a sale. Thanks to HGTV and staging, decorating, and real estate shows, buyers are more aware, savvy and harder to please. There's a whole new mentality this industrey is trying to advance, and like the old saying goes, if it was so easy to do, everyone would be doing it.

Apr 09, 2008 02:39 AM
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


I'll be back. I must go re-stock my ammo :) 


Apr 09, 2008 02:48 AM
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate
Craig - great post about "hunting". AR does encourage conversation, suggestions and exchange of ideas.
Apr 09, 2008 03:00 AM
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis
Craig, This went from a comment to a great journey.  But, I for one have learned some interesting things about what a Realtors reality is and why.  As a community we have some work to do to change that reality.  I always knew that to be the case but I just did not sense the degree until you began this journey.  Like I said, we have some work to do. 
Apr 09, 2008 03:12 AM
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County
Hey, Craig - can I add a few more breeds to your list species to hunt? LOL - great post! Love it as usual. 
Apr 09, 2008 03:15 AM
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

Craig - You should be careful what you wish for.  Hunting Harleybirds can be like trapping Raptors in Jurassic Park.  Just when you think you've got her....

BTW - I posted my blog in Stage it Forward, so that more of your kinfolk can enjoy the hunt.

Apr 09, 2008 05:44 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Mmmmmm.  O.K. folks.  I sense a challenge in the above.  Who's my Second?  Where's my Second.  Check my weapon, Mr. Second. 

Moving targets?  Not a problem.  Real estate brokers who work with buyers are experts at hitting moving targets.  Our goal is to sell the buyer a home before they see a yard sign and, in a moment of panic, call the listing agent.  Home buyers these days are harder to "bag" than those clay pigeons ever were.

We can chase down a fast moving listing agent who says "must accompany" faster than they can read my e-mail that says "please give me your broker's contact number so I can arrange a tour for my buyer, since you the listing agent are not available for the next three days".  I can almost hear the "cluck, cluck, cluck" when they call to arrange a showing now that their schedule has suddenly become open.

   Now, chickens are very easy targets.  They can only fly about 3-4 feet off the ground, hence the "chicken yards" with no cover for a bird with wings.  "Chickens" who blog are easy targets too.   Chickens remind me of folks who get their feathers ruffled all to easily by other bloggers.  Funny thing about blogging.  My maternal grandmother taught me Southern etiquette and I learned early on that "if you don't have anything nice to say, try to say nothing". 

My maternal grandfather, OTOH, taught me a much more valuable skill, to hit a squirrel in the eye with a .22 Short at 50 feet and to hit a Dove incoming at 2:00 with a 12 ga.  I'm not sure which skill has served me better.  But, one thing for sure, I've been shooting the feathers off chickens since I was old enough to aim, with shot or words.

On ActiveRain, I have said little to nothing on the subject of staging.  I made a comment a few days ago only because BB asked for opinions, of which I have an abundance.  My profound respect for folks in the staging business far outweigh my thoughts on the value of the service.  Then there's that thing taught to me by my grandmother about only talking nice. 

Unfortunately, folks who offer the staging service have determined that the value of their service is more important to the marketability of a property than price??????  Now, either they are smokin' something very good, which might account for the spelling of my name in Mr. Schiller's post, or they are drinkin' something very strong.  I'm not sure, but isn't one of the signs of imbibing that strong stuff a very prominent red nose?

When was the last time we saw an advertisement for a property that said "pay no attention to the price, this home has been staged". 

Or, "We would reduce the price to something closer to market, but thought we'd stage it instead since we've been assured by a prominent spokesman for staging that staging is more critical than price.

I was interviewed by USA Today today and I mentioned the price thing. Dang, I forgot to mention that it didn't really matter because if sellers would just get their property staged, they wouldn't have to think about the price. 

A very nice home in my area stayed on the market for about 10 months.  It was professionally staged and beautifully done.   The price started out at $960,000.  It sold for $720,000.  Must have been the staging. 

Apr 09, 2008 09:02 AM
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis
Wow, now I see why the Harley Bird is considered bigger game!  I had no idea Craig.
Apr 09, 2008 01:25 PM
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regions Premier Home Staging Resource,

Great blog, Craig.  I agree with points on both sides.  Staging cannot erase the need for pricing that is in line with the market, and yet Realtors need to understand that Staging helps buyers make an emotional connection - and a decision to buy.  Then they can "bag their buyer" and close the deal.  We are still seeing Staged houses sell in record time and at great prices, compared to the houses that languish on the market with the only tactic to drop drop in price. 

Maybe you should blog about your big bird droppings?

- Jennie

Apr 10, 2008 05:01 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Mmmmm.  "Bird Droppings".  Wonderful analogy for the effect of many staging props.  The dining room table on the wall to make the room look larger.  The sofa angled to lead folks to the window, but can't see the TV.  The faux flowers here, there and everywhere.  All very distracting and curious. 

"Faux" - the staging word for fake. 

The random droppings of accent pieces is, indeed, like "bird dropping".

I didn't say it first. 

Mr. Second, Mr. Second, where are you??  My powder is dry.  The target has sobered up and looks keen and alert today. 

Our bird is lingering in the coop.  No doubt conjuring up more solutions to the housing market. 

"It's price", says the Realtor. "It's $50,000 above the others in the neighborhood".

"No, it's because there are no faux flowers in the bathroom" says the stager.  "That's why it hasn't sold."

Could it be that the bird just laid another egg?

Apr 11, 2008 12:15 AM
Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton
Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC - Hilton Head Island, SC
Great blog---Staging is just starting to be popular in Hilton Head and I truly think it works.  Just remember that constructive discourse is always a good thing.  Keep up the good work.
Apr 11, 2008 12:22 AM
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Apr 11, 2008 12:26 AM
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis

Lenn, I am really drawn to the issue you have refereed to several times about the notion that a Stager sells the idea that a Staged home will bring more money, in some cases far more money than it is really worth.  Is that in fact what Stagers in your area are telling folks?  In our area people just want to sell at a fair market price, Their not looking for Snake Oil, they just want to sell.  We truly approach staging as marketing to help homes compete better.  We never fancied ourselves as wizards that could make a $600K home worth $920K.  We just want people to be able to sell period at $600K.  I feel inspired to write a post myself on this notion.  Thanks for the conversation, it really help people like me understand why their are objections.

Apr 11, 2008 01:43 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Sorry folks, I don't wish to hijack Craig's blog by responding to Gary directly, especially when Craig isn't participating.  This is his blog. 

I'm only here because he "called me out".

Apr 11, 2008 02:39 AM
Craig Schiller
Trempealeau, WI

I'm gonna have more to say...

I've been busy make this blog and my other blog (out of the Active Rain) all purdy and such.

THIS is my placeholder.



Apr 11, 2008 04:14 AM
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis

My apologies also.  Bad form. 

Apr 11, 2008 04:29 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland
Not to worry Gary.  I suspect that Craig is joining the game soon.  I need to go load up some amunition. 
Apr 11, 2008 04:37 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

So... I started reading this post, I think it was this post, what seems like days ago.  When was it?  I am really not sure, I just was going to pop in and read a few posts, next thing I know, I'm in the middle of a little game of King of the Blogging Hill!  With each click of a link, I have been taken to another round of this fascinating blog drama. 

I've been on the edge of my seat following along... comment to to new post....meeting new characters along the way, each character so well spoken and skilled at stating their position.  The discussion has been great and I thank you, Craig, for getting it started. 

I have to admit that your "hunting prey" are all new to me.  I've enjoyed meeting each of them and understand why they were chosen to participate in such an important discussion.  Broker Bryant and Hitzelberger are worthy opponents but It seems to me that the Harley bird is going to be your biggest challenge!

Thanks to you all for creating such stimulating dialogue. 



Apr 11, 2008 08:45 AM