Staging - is it the fiduciary responsibility of the Realtor

Home Stager with Stage-Show-Sell

I'm really serious about this.  We, stagers, know that staged home sell faster and for more money.  We can't guarantee a sale.  We can make the home look it's best for potential buyers.

Isn't it possible that Realtors should suggest to their clients that they should talk to a stager?

Stagers know how to talk to the sellers about preparing their home for sale.   Isn't it better that they prepare their home for sale than take many price reductions?

 Everyday I see fliers that come to me saying a house has had a big price reduction and the photos show that the house is really nice.  It needs to be professionally prepared. A consultation with us could save them thousands of dollars.

Would you go out to a great restaurant in your jeans and T-Shirt when you know the dress is formal? No, you prepare for it by putting yourself out there as best as you can.

Why don't we do that with the houses that are going on the market?

Staging - is it the fiduciary  responsibility of the Realtor?   I believe that it's the realtors duty to bring it to the table of seller for them to decide.

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Stage-Show-Sell, offers affordable home staging solutions in the Birmingham - Bloomfield and surrounding areas in getting your home ready for the market. We service both home sellers and realtors. We have the experience, our own rental furniture and accessories to stage many homes. We specialize in Estate work. The house can be put into our hands for the whole process of getting the house on the market



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Kathi Presutti
RE:STYLE LLC - Brighton, MI
Re:Style, LLC

Hi Virginia!

You are staging in some of the markets where we also stage--so I understand your question. It seems a no-brainer, yet so many Realtors don't get it! Yes, I absolutely agree that it should be every Realtor's duty to at least offer a consultation to a client. There have been cases (in Canada) where homeowners have sued because their house didn't sell while their neighbor's (staged) house did! Thanks for bringing up this issue!

Aug 04, 2008 11:12 AM #1
Donna Schoby
Liberty Bank of Arkansas - Bentonville, AR

Hi Virginia,  I think in time staging will be the norm on all real estate transactions. And I'll be ready for them!

Aug 04, 2008 12:36 PM #2
Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Virginia - I always suggest staging to my sellers.  I even give them the name of a stager that they can call.  However, no one has actually tried it, yet.  I'm trying...  :)

Aug 04, 2008 01:29 PM #3
Jessica Klein
Houlihan Lawrence - New Rochelle, NY

Hi there. I am a home staging realtor. As such, part of my services are to stage a home. This sets me apart from other realtors and sellers always love the results. Sellers often do not wish to pay for the service ..."it's too expensive..." you've heard them all. It's frustrating as a realtor when sellers can't see or refuse to see the big picture. Staging is a valued service and should be part of all transactions.

Aug 04, 2008 01:50 PM #4
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Virginia, some time ago there was a post about a suit being filed in So. Cal regarding this very subject.  Sorry I can't remember who wrote the comment but it went something like this.  Two very similar homes are for sale in a tract.  One is staged and sells quickly for a reasonable price.  The second is not staged and sits.  As I remember it the seller of the second home was suing their realtor for failing to inform them about staging and the difference it could make in their results.  I never heard the outcome but....

I discussed this with many realtors and with title company friends.  The realtors were outraged, the title company understood and said perhaps another disclosure statement is needed.  Yes another.  No one wants more paper work and no one thinks it could happen to them, but a house is such a major investment that sellers deserve to be informed.

If anyone else remembers more about this original post (Tom maybe??)  please note here.  AND if anyone has heard about results I'm sure we would all like to know. 

My answer is YES.  Realtors should at least provide the information and then let the sellers decide.  Remove the liability with information alone. 

Aug 04, 2008 02:06 PM #5
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI   This link is about a buyer sueing because she paid too much.

Half way down the link talks about a lawsuit

I hope others can find the information regardind these law suits.

Jessica, I was also a staging realtor until November of last year.  I did the staging myself AND worked with other stagers.

I don't understand how sellers can say it's too expensive when they don't talk to a stager to find out the costs associated with staging and the consequences of not staging.

Debi, What do you tell them about staging? Do you explain that we can add value to the home with minimal investment?  I fear that most realtors don't know what we really do so they can explain it to their clients.

Try asking a stager to do a free consultation with a seller OR pay for it once so you can see the difference.  You may become a raving fan.

When I was listing I paid a stager to work with me. That was the best money spent.  Why pay to advertise a home that doesn't look it's best?   Why do a virtual tour of an empty house?

Kathi, can you locate that suit in Canada?


Aug 04, 2008 03:27 PM #6
Marianne Sweet
Home Sweet Home Staging - Rochester Hills, MI
Home Sweet Home Staging, LLC Rochester Hills, MI

In response to Donna's comment, "I think in time staging will be the norm on all real estate transactions"......

On February 20, 2005 I was quoted in a newpaper article ( )saying exactly the same thing: 

"I think, in a very short amount of time, this is the way real estate is going to be sold," she said. "I'm confident more and more Realtors are going to be using the service of stagers." 

Still waiting.

When I was interviewed for that article 3 1/2 years ago, I never, ever thought it would take this long.


Aug 05, 2008 12:46 AM #7
Both Sides Now

To borrow a line from Joni Mitchell...Many of us have looked at Home Staging from the Real Estate and Home Staging side.  To most of us it is a given that Home Staging is a marketing tool that sets Realtors apart and many of my calls and e-mails come directly from sellers that want a Home Stager and either ask their Realtor or find one on their own. 

I have found that the Real Estate industry is one of the slowest to embrace change and one of the most fearful when it comes to terms like fiduciary etc.  They spend a good portion of the time avoiding law suits.  I believe it is much more effective to talk about going above and beyond customer expectations and doing everything they can to market a property. 

What is more effective great photos on the web or two weeks worth of ads in the paper that get lost.  Time is money.  Why many Realtors don't understand and offer consultations does puzzle me.

My instinct tells me that Realtors are afraid to give up client control; they are afraid that their clients will be offended and they don't want to bring up additional costs.  It is the fear of losing a good relationship that keeps them from bringing home stagers and clients together. 

Not all Realtors are afraid and many are still fighting to bring more marketing tools to the table.  Realtors will eventually adapt as Home Staging becomes more common.  The Realtor doesn't have to do everything, but they do have the responsibility to bring the best team and pool of resources possible to the table. 


Aug 05, 2008 12:56 AM #8
Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Virginia - Yes, I tell them that.  I think it's the added expense that hinders them...  :)

Aug 05, 2008 02:21 AM #9
Angie Ridley
Complete Realty, LLC - Flint, MI
Broker, ABR, CRS, PMN, WCR, At Home With Diversity

I agree so much.  I just wish the sellers would pay for it.  We must explain, prove and promote.  Eventually professional staging and listing will go hand and hand.

Aug 11, 2008 02:51 PM #10
Kristina Leone
Lionheart Home Staging, LLC - Minneapolis, MN

Excellent post!  I agree with the above comments... I think some agents are gun-shy when it comes to introducing additional costs to their clients.  It IS, however, in their best interests - that is something that we can explain to the homeowner, if needed.

Aug 11, 2008 02:55 PM #11
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

I'm back from vacation and playing catch up.

With the help of one of my AR friends I located this link,-Beware!&id=271754

All it's going to take is one home owner who is very vocal, to start a stampede against realtors who don't suggest staging to their clients.



Aug 17, 2008 08:35 AM #12
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Here is a great site thorougly describing the concept of fiduciary responsibility:

Basically it defines "responsibility" as being bound to use the "utmost care"to insure the maximum protection of the seller's assets and describes that the bound individual (REA)  is required to use any special knowledge he may have obtained through education, training or experience to so.

SO, in essence, if you are a true agent touting your experience in the RE field, you can't reallyl legally get around NOT at least discussing the possiblilty of staging.

One could suppose to claim ignorance of the merits of staging as a tool to preserve equity in a law suit, but that is tantamount to saying you have your head in your >BLEEP<.


Aug 17, 2008 08:53 AM #13
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

Michelle, I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks

We are trying to make more money for the sellers and the realtors.

House sells faster means more money for all.

Aug 19, 2008 03:37 AM #14
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

Progress, is slow.   It's still not the norm.  

I'll have to ask at my next Con Ed if the teacher thinks it's the findiciary responsibility of the agent

Mar 25, 2009 12:58 PM #15
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