If you REALLY don't know if you have a professional staging partner, then you REALLY don't have one.

Home Stager with Triangle Staging and Design / founder of Stunning Solutions

Stagers, have you asked agents or office managers if you could present some staging info to their team and been told that they "think their office already has a staging partner"? 

Well, I've had this happen a few times and each time I want to shout that if you "think you do, then you don't!"  It is like hearing my kids say they "think they brushed their teeth."  This clearly means that they have no current relationship with the toothbrush and that their morning breath could make your hair curl if you get too close.  Saying you "think" means that you know you are supposed to, but you just haven't gotten around to it.  There is no meaningful relationship with either the stager or the toothbrush.  There are no positive results, and in fact, both the agent and kid can expect some possible depreciation.

I've had agents tell me that they were going to check to see if they had a staging partner and get back with me in a few weeks.  This clearly says that they haven't worked with the stager or even know that person's name.  Our agent partners not only know our names, but they talk with us each week, meet us for coffee, have us run estimates, complete consultations or full service stagings, re-photograph problem properties, and call us with the great news that another property is under contract.  We are part of their needed alliance that gets results. 

Our partner agents depend on us to gently tell their sellers that style changes need to be made.  They depend on us to do whatever is necessary to make their listing look its best.  They know we appreciate all of the hoops they have to jump through to get the listing and then to keep the whole thing from falling apart during the closing process.  Getting the house ready for the market is just something they shouldn't have to deal with.  They know us and know that we'll deliver kid glove/TLC service to their sellers, all-the-while making them look like heroes. While we are getting the seller to edit rooms and neutralize wall color they are down the street getting the next listing.

They know they can call us anytime and that we are checking our email at midnight.  They know we'll give them the very best price on each service and if some client just has to talk us down on price that we'll probably agree because we want the listing to sell for the benefit of the whole team.

So, if you have to check to see if you have a staging partner, then I guess that means you don't know what the above relationship feels like.  But, just like that toothbrush, stagers are available and able to help you get results.

Comments (9)

Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Honey this makes me smile and cringe at the same time. 

There is a local agent, who sometimes posts on AR, and in one of his posts he mentioned his partner stager whom he offers for free with his listings.  Well several of my AR friends upon reading this asked him why he wasn't using me.  He didn't respond.  I sent him a private e-mail and asked who he was using...just curious you know.  Again no response.  So when I saw him at the next realtor/affiliate meeting I asked him again.  He looked at me like I was crazy and said "why it's you of course."  I just had to laugh.  He has NEVER called me for staging and we have never worked together, but I am surely his partner. 

Makes you wonder doesn't it!  Thanks for the giggle and knowledge that others go through similar circumstances.    

Jul 13, 2008 05:01 AM
Lisa Roy
SPACELiFT HOME STAGING, Greater Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

How do you get Real Estate offices to have "staging partners" ?  We have realtors that we work with but so far none in the same offices.  Not sure if it is a competative thing or not.

Jul 13, 2008 09:42 AM
Honey Johnson
Triangle Staging and Design / founder of Stunning Solutions - Raleigh, NC

Lisa -- Many agents are very competitive, but we have found that most agents have an alliance with a small group within their company.  They pass our name around this smaller group and "share" us, if you will. We still continue to educate them on the importance of staging every property, regardless if it is theirs or someone else's. 

Some agencies have a Preferred Professional Staging Company that is supposed to be the official partner of the entire company.  I do know stagers who have gotten this exclusive relationship.  It took a ton of networking and dealing, but it pays off.  Even so, there are agents within that company who never use the staing company and don't even remember its name.  When agencies are very big they tend to do their own thing even though they have an official partner.  As a stager, if your name is on the agency's website as an official partner, but most of the agents in the company have never spoken to you then you are not really THEIR stager.  I feel that if the staging company worked so hard to earn the entire agency's business, then the whole company should be using them, not forgetting them.

You don't have to have every agent in the company using you, just one in the beginning.  Grow that person and ask about his or her alliance.  Other agents will soon see your success and start calling.  The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!

Jul 13, 2008 11:34 AM
No Longer Active in Staging. No Longer Staging
Hickory, NC

Honey, I love your name and this great post.. Your comparison of the toothbrush was so funny - you are right - if their office has a stager relationship , they would definitely KNOW it.. God bless  to another NC girl,

Jul 13, 2008 01:23 PM
Julea Joseph
Reinventing Space - Chicago, IL
Julea Joseph House Stager - Reinventing Space


I highly doubt that they have an alliance and it's a canned elevator speech.  Offices get sick of having people call for whatever they're selling.  Everyone is doing the same thing you're trying to do, so you need to do something different.

I'd ask for an A/R call out on what others do.


Jul 14, 2008 04:33 AM
Linda Sticklin
Home Staging & Organizing - Berwyn, PA

I have had similar experiences when contacting a listing realtor after viewing a property that could benefit from staging and being told, "I already know a good stager." Obviously, they had not thought to call them!  

Jul 14, 2008 04:49 AM
Michele Kurelich
Triangle Home Staging & Design/Lasting Impressions - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Home Staging and Design

Hey Honey, Great Post!  Glad to see you in the Rain:)  Although I still like to hear your southern charm when talking to you.  Hope to see you at the meeting on Tuesday. 

Jul 14, 2008 05:23 AM
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona

Honey, you have given me a good laugh for the morning, maybe the whole day. :) When agents say they have a staging "partner" or they say they will call me IF they ever need me I know I'm being given the brush off. I don't feel bad about it. There are times when I say to the sales clerk, "Just browsing," when I simply need time to think and make a decision. I leave marketing material (which probably goes in file 13) and always hope that at some point I will be remembered. Your post is right on and well written; thanks!

Jul 14, 2008 05:27 AM
Joyce Zdenek
Hallmark Sotheby's International Realty & Joyce's Interiors - Hopkinton, MA

I have done a number of presentations to offices and have gotten 1 job from each. Those agents continue to use me each chance they get, but the other agents don't stage their listings, even though they share their enthusiasm with me, the message is apparent that they will continue to let their listings sit on the market.

I believe it has to do with cost, eventhough they understand the value and/or presenting the cost to their Sellers.


Jul 14, 2008 09:55 AM