7 Reasons Why Real Estate Agents Should NOT Stage Their Listings – by Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman and Professional Home Stager
Did this title capture your attention? In truth, we want all properties Staged before hitting the market. However, if you are a Real Estate Agent, it is important that YOU PERSONALLY are not Staging properties for the following reasons:
- You need to use your time wisely.
We all have 24 hours in the day. Taking any productive time away from making calls and connections to bring you a listing or a buyer, is unwise. Talk to any Business Coach and they will never say, “Suck up all your time doing all the work yourself and do not involve qualified pros in your business.” What IS being taught is, “Find qualified people to add to your overall team and process so your time is leveraged.”
- Your income comes from closing a sale, not Staging.
As a real estate agent, you are paid at closing for selling a house not staging it. You make FAR MORE when you sell a house and earn your commission than a stager ever will Staging a property. Are you going to do the home inspection, fix the plumbing and landscaping too? Understanding you are the Director in the process and bringing in qualified professionals to do the other work will maximize your earnings and your reputation.
- Your clients don’t want to hear you criticize their house.
Why risk the relationship? Do you relish the role of telling a client their house is cluttered, dirty, dated, or smelly? Do you like telling them their pets are too hairy or their housekeeping skills need help? Do you want to manage the angry teens or divorcing couple when it comes to getting the work done? When you are the one sharing with a homeowner all the things they need to do to get their house ready, they hear, “My house is WRONG,” and then think, “This agent does not even like my house – why do I want them to sell it?” Say goodbye to any referrals.
- Objective Recommendations are motivating to a Seller.
A Stager is not tied to the sale of the property and is seen as truly objective. When agents recommend sellers spend money the seller may believe it is self-serving and the agent is just trying to get them to spend money so the agent can make more commission. When a Stager makes recommendations, they are perceived as necessary investments to help the seller.
- Staging is not just removing personal photos and cleaning up messes or adding décor.
Many agents become “Stagents” when dealing with sellers. Staging involves far more than simply telling a seller to clean, remove photos and pick up the messes or bringing in some décor to highlight surfaces. Room arrangements, flow, updating, adding elements that appeal to the target Buyer – those are all things a Stager provides. Stagers stay on top of trends for paint colors, materials, furnishings, etc. That is part of the value they provide to clients and sharing that information with sellers helps add value to your process as an agent.
- Your insurance does NOT protect you and you are at risk.
Think about this – you move a piece of furniture in your client’s house and scratch the floor, you damage their furniture, or you bring an item in that damages their house. Your E&O Insurance does not cover you for liability Staging a house. That activity is on you – and now you are coming out of pocket to pay for repairs and/or replacement of damaged property. Professional Stagers have liability insurance and coverage of their own staging items. They protect the property owner, their business, and ultimately you from liability.
- If you cannot delegate your business will never grow beyond you.
When you are not able to delegate or involve others that are skilled in an area, you are LIMITING your growth. Having a 3rd party work with your clients does not mean you are not smart or capable. It means you understand your value and where your time needs to be invested. Trying to control everything and believing only you are qualitied to provide certain services, is limiting your growth. Bottom line, working with a professional Stager makes you:
- Look Larger as a company
- Appear and act more professional
- Smarter in how you run your business
- And allows your client to work with an objective entity
The bottom line for most agents is control. Trusting someone else to handle your clients is an understandable concern. You need to find the right people you can trust to put in front of your clients.
Where do you find professional stagers? To find professional Stagers to partner with, go to www.stagedhomes.com and search the directory of stagers who have been trained and accredited in staging. One of the foundations taught to the grads of these courses are to, “Honor the Client and Their Possessions,” which means honoring you as a client, honoring the homeowner, and being kind in how messages are shared. Not all stagers have training and not all training courses teach stagers to be kind, honor the seller and their real estate agent clients.
What should you expect from your Stager? Once you have a trusted relationship in place, your stager will be loyal, should support your business events, and should provide referral opportunities for you as well so the relationship is not one-sided. If a Stager does not understand where they fall in the hierarchy of the real estate process and industry where they serve you as their client, find one who does.