Home Staging a Must-have Marketing Tool for Real Estate Agents

By: Debra Gould

I receive countless emails from real estate agents asking if they should recommend a Home Stager to their clients.? In my opinion, real estate agents are hesitant to utilize the services of, professional home stagers for three key reasons:

1. They do not fully understand what a stager really does.
2. They feel that they provide adequate advice to their clients regarding improvements needed for the home to sell.
3. They are afraid that by recommending a Home Stager they will be expected to pay for the services.

A professional Home Stager will look at your client's home through the eyes of a highly critical buyer and make recommendations that will create the best first impression for potential buyers.? Their services allow a home to stand out from the crowd and that benefits both the seller and real estate agent.? It is a clear win-win situation.

If your listings show well it reflects well on your professionalism and helps your clients sell more quickly and for a higher dollar.

Let's be frank.? It is your name on the sign that is on the front lawn, and people driving by notice whether your listings say "SOLD" or whether they sit for a long period of time.? It's your reputation on the line.? Wouldn't it be nice to be known in your market for always having listings that show well?? Other agents will more likely show your listings over others, and clients looking for a listing agent will seek to be listed with you.

Turning your listings more quickly results in less hassle and higher profits for you.

I am sure you know what it's like to be stuck with a weak listing. Your clients call you daily wondering why it hasn't sold, when you'll be running another ad or when your next open house is scheduled.

You know the issue isn't how many ads you run but how bad the house shows. If you have run out of ideas of changes to make, or you simply do not want to discuss other options that you feel might upset your clients, you can have a Home Stager address issues you may not feel comfortable discussing with your clients. This is a huge drain on your time, energy and pocket book!

Home Stagers, or real estate stagers as we're also called, tackle sensitive topics like odor problems, ugly decor, etc. in a diplomatic way. And if the husband and wife can't agree on anything, wouldn't you rather we got in the middle than you? After all, you don't want to jeopardize your listing by taking sides. Home Stagers broach these subjects and consult with your client, and you get a better listing without having to face an uncomfortable conversation with your client.

Home Stagers free your time to focus on what you do best.

Yes you might offer decluttering or repair suggestions, but do you go into the same level of detail that a stager would? And more importantly should that be how you're spending your time when your real money is made getting and turning your listings?

We take over the worry of getting a home showing-ready and on time for your photography and agent open house. Imagine how nice it would be to show up for your open house knowing that all you have to do is open the door and everything else will be perfect!

But who pays for it?

Some agents will pay for a home staging consultation as part of the service they offer homeowners when they get a new listing. However, I don't think homeowners or Home Stagers should necessarily expect real estate agents to pick up the tab for a home staging consultation.

Just because you recommend home staging does not mean you have to pay for it; in the same way you wouldn't be expected to pay for a real estate lawyer or home inspector recommended to a client.

Homeowners who pay for the initial consultation themselves are more receptive to what the Home Stager recommends, unlike homeowners who only have us there because their agent is paying. Often when I do a consultation for homeowners whose agent is paying for my services, they continuously look at their watch hoping I don't go over my time because they have no interest in investing any of their own money in the process. These homeowners are less likely to act on many of my recommendations because they're just "playing along." For them it's free advice so they don't necessarily value it.

Home staging makes a huge difference in the presentation of a home. And for agents this translates into homes that sell more quickly and for higher amounts.? It's only common sense that more buyers will be attracted to a fabulously presented home and be more willing to pay more for it.

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