Hey Baby, What's Your Category?

Home Stager with Prudential Ambassador / Ross Designs, LLC

I was Staging an occupied house the other day and was going over some general recommendations. Replace the weathered exterior light fixtures, add a welcome mat. The new paint colors are great but maybe consider replacing the yellowed vinyl in the bathrooms and the brass, builder's grade light fixtures. And then I was describing the "categories" of sellers and realized that there are about four general categories that apply to most sellers.

Category #1: We want to sell this house, and are willing to invest X amount of dollars in it to get it up to par. 

Stager's Challenge: This is a great category of sellers!!!  They are open to discussing all aspects of their house and are willing to learn about what will be most cost and time effective to upgrade things such as light fixtures, flooring, cabinet fronts or hardware, paint colors, etc. Does not necessarily mean they will spend unlimited amounts of money, but there are options and significant opportunity for the Stager to make an impact on the property in addition to re-arranging furnishings.

Category #2: We know we need to be competitive and have to spend a little money and elbow grease on a few areas, but need help prioritizing and maximizing our budget. 

Stager's Challenge: Some ability to affect change, must be smart and budget savvy to make the most of this seller's budget. Sometimes these are incredibly fun clients/houses because the project might be a bit of a challenge, but in the end the opportunity to combine business skills with creativity is ultimately rewarding. 

Category #3: We do not have, or are not willing to put extra money into, this house. We cannot invest in anything new; you have to use what we have to make the best of each room. We have plenty of furnishings, art and accessories.

Stager's Challenge: These clients are also fun because the challenge of "designing" and "marketing" a space using only what you already have on hand eliminates extra time spent sourcing new product. This category usually only takes a couple of hours but is also very rewarding because the end result is very different from what would have been presented to buyers.

Category #4: We do not know how to clean or maintain a house. We do not have any neutral or somewhat attractive furnishings to showcase our house and are not going to buy/borrow/rent anything else. We are looking to our Stager for some assurance that our phenomenal agent will be able to sell our house and please don't make us do too much work because we HAVE to get this house on the market ASAP.

Stager's Challenge:  The most important thing for this seller to do is hire a professional cleaner to get the house up to snuff. Clean houses sell and this is the bare minimum that MUST be done before putting a house on the market. Having a professional do all of the hard work makes it easier for sellers to spend a little time each week keeping things clean. Sometimes this category of seller needs some general guidance from the Stager about how to clean, what areas to clean, and what type of product to use.

The bottom line is that no matter what category the sellers fall into, a Stager can make all the difference in how well or how poorly a house is presented to potential buyers. And every category of seller is fun to work with.

Posted by

Ross Designs Is Omaha's Full Service Home Staging Company, Dedicated To Supporting The Real Estate Industry!

 Omaha Area Board of Realtors (OABR) and Women's Council Of Realtors (WCR) Affiliate Member. 

Incorporated in 2004, Ross Designs stages 150-200 homes every year. Owner Occupied and Vacant Staging Programs, Color Consultations for Existing and New Construction, Holiday Decor Design and Implementation, and Odor Removal Services.

Call anytime at 402-490-3244

Comments (9)

Sterling Guelich
San Antonio, TX

Excellent insight into home staging... My favorite, especially in the first half of 2009, is Category 3... you take what exists and, in the words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work!"

Jan 27, 2009 11:15 AM
Robin Evans
Coldwell Banker Advantage - Cary, NC
Building relationships while getting results.

Nice advise..... At least clean the house.  There is always the challenge of seller having very poor tast and refuses to take any advise. 

Jan 27, 2009 11:16 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Good way of looking at it.

Jan 27, 2009 11:34 AM
Tim and Pam Cash
Crye-Leike (Sango) - Clarksville, TN
Real Estate Professionals - Clarksville TN

Love how you broke it down into categories - very nice info.

Jan 27, 2009 11:44 AM
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

I like #1's the best! Definitely! LOL But, you are very right that a good stager can effect some change and benefit to each person. Before I was a stager, when I needed to sell my home, my broker was very smart .... he showed me a photo of the interior of another house on the market in my neighborhood which looked much nicer than mine at the time. He appealed to my sense of competition. In this market, I wonder if those #4's might respond to that? Maybe not, I suppose there will always be #4's. We'll just continue to do our best and the houses of the #1's & #2's will sell faster and for more money.:0)

Jan 27, 2009 04:49 PM
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Tori - you are so right.  We meet with sellers who are in all different categories/stages of selling.

Jan 27, 2009 08:47 PM
Wanda Richards
Shows Great Home Staging and Web Solutions - Roanoke, VA
Shows Great Home Staging

Tori - I like how you broke this down...and people think our job is just about placing pretty things in a home.  It is also take a lot of elbow grease, a little bite social worker, and a little bit of magic :-)!    

Jan 27, 2009 09:44 PM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Excellent post Tori!  Love #2.  Prioritizing and maximizing is so very important to be successful.

Jan 29, 2009 04:06 PM
Nancy Robertson
Signature Style Staging - Dallas, TX

Very creative thinking, Tori Lynn!  What a great way categorize the different situations we all face when we consult with new clients.  Thank you for sharing!

Jan 31, 2009 12:39 PM