I recently met with an older couple to do a walkthrough consultation of their home. Throughout the tour, I made my assessments. Most of my comments were met with resistance from the seller. Her favorite phrase was "Oh we're not going to do that." Keep in mind that these were simple "decluttering" suggestions and "packing because you will be moving" suggestions.
Near the end, the seller confided in me that she understood everything that I was telling her, that I made sense in my assessments but that she and her husband were older and tired and just didn't want to do what I suggested.
Another reason for their resistance she said was the fact that homes in our area are taking longer and longer to sell. They need to be able to still "live" in the house. The house may take months to sell and they didn't want to compromise how they lived and enjoyed their home.
A big difference between these sellers and other sellers is that they want to move - they don't have to move. I think if they had to move, they may have a different attitude.
But it made me think about just what goes through the minds of the seller as we are critiquing their home. In our practice we strive to justify every recommendation that we make with solid reasoning.
Seller thinks - Get rid of all their stuff, throw away their memories, can't live without my Hummel collection
Stager says - Begin packing, start with items that are not necessary to survive on a daily basis, editing excess items and knick knacks make a room feel larger, buyer's can focus on the space in a room and not be distracted by your personal things.
Seller thinks - This stager doesn't have any taste, my floral wallpaper is beautiful, it takes too much time to paint, it takes too much money to paint.
Stager says - I can appreciate how much love and effort you put into decorating your home to your exact tastes, buyers prefer homes that are move in ready, buyers will deduct from their offer if they feel they have to take on the cost of removing wall paper and painting, the deduction will be far greater than your cost to change it.
Seller thinks - I still have to live here on a daily basis, what is wrong with all the pictures of my grandchildren? I need those magnets on the fridge so I have the phone number to the pizza place
Stager says - Buyer's need to see them selves in the home when they are touring. Your grandchildren are beautiful, but buyers will spend time looking at your photos wondering about who used to live here. We want them to spend their time looking at the space. Magnets on the fridge distract from the beautiful kitchen, let's place these items from the fridge in this folder, in this drawer, so everything will still be in easy access to you when you need it.
Seller thinks - They better not move my TV! I like my TV right where it is, you can't move the couch away from the windows, that is where the dogs lay to see outside.
Stager says - I'd like to rearrange the furniture so that the TV isn't the main focal point when entering the room, I'd like to show off some of the best features of the house so the buyers will really take notice of them. I'd like to make the fireplace and the view from the windows really catch the buyer's eye. We will move it so you can still watch TV comfortably, but arrange it so the fireplace is the focal point.
Seller thinks - What is wrong with my dried floral arrangements and brass candlesticks? What is wrong with my collection of doggy statues? My pink candles are pretty.
Stager says - Less is more, we want the buyer to focus on the home - not your things. We use accessories primarily to enhance the space with color or as a prop to evoke an emotion.
These are just a few examples of objections that stagers receive from sellers, unfortunately they are not always verbalized by the seller. After the stager leaves, the seller may chose not to make any changes. It is important that as a stager, we arm are sellers will solid reasoning behind our suggestions.
Stagers - have you faced similar or other objections? Will you offer to us your solid reasoning?