3 Tips on What Agents Want from Home Stagers and a Staging Story
What a lot of home stagers don’t realize is that agents want different things in different real estate markets. For instance, in a “buyers market” which was 2007-2011 agents just want the property to sell and not sit on the market like their competitions. In today’s seller’s market, the savvy agent wants to get the best price (and sell quickly) but price is king. Why? Because the smart agent knows that if they can be the “high price” leader in their market, then people will give them their listing (instead of their competition).
I love this story told by Lori Murphy who was recently awarded a 2013 Best of Houzz award and nominated for the RESA Rising Star of the Year even though she essentially just completed her HSR training and started her business last year! At the end of the story, I give my three tips on what agents want right now…
Last Friday, I met with a broker who pays for a staging consultation for ALL of his listings. I met him through an agent in his office that I have worked with. The broker’s name (to make it easier) is John.
So, John explains to me how they had a stager who became ill and quit the business and how they have been searching for one since. They’ve used one here and there and he said, they probably “staged” OK . . . but they needed more.
He continued to tell me how he wants someone who will give the seller the “bad news” so that he doesn’t have to, because he wants to keep his relationship with the seller.
The stagers they’ve been using seemed to just want the seller to like them. He said, “I need someone who will explain to sellers “why” and help them understand it is important in preparing the house to sell. I’d rather postpone putting it on the market by 4 weeks, if when it is listed it’s ready . . . every thing’s done.”
As I sat there listening to him, (he went on for an hour . . . I’ll try not to), I realized something.
At first I shook my head agreeing with him and thinking to myself, “well, of course, that’s what we do” . . . and then it hit me . . . I was trained that way. But it became suddenly clear that because not every stager in Columbus, Ohio received their certification from the Home Staging Resource . . . . well, let’s just say the advantage I have became crystal clear.
I don’t know how or what material the other courses train but I do know that I received the most comprehensive training from HSR. It wasn’t just – “here’s a certificate, now go and tell people you can decorate”. I learned so much more than how to help prepare a home to sell. I have learned (and continue to) so much about being in business as a whole. And I remember when I decided to get my certificate, looking at all the courses that are offered. I remember being on the HSR page for the first time and thought “oh, my, there’s a lot of stuff here”. But for whatever reason – I chose to sign up. And I remember thinking that it was so much to take in; but read your words about how it would all come together and make sense.
Eventually it did make a little sense, and then a little more, and then came the first staging job . . . .and then it really came together! lol
My time with John ended with him giving me the name of a seller, and 2 more later that week. I am hoping this is the beginning of a great partnership. I am anxious to see what he thinks of the consultation report I sent him and the client; something tells me he will be impressed. =] (yes, it’s from the HSR staging forms, tweaked a little).
In the meantime, I mentioned John to another agent I have worked with and the next thing you know, she sent me an email saying, “hey, I thought maybe we could do some marketing together”. She now wants to reimburse sellers for the consultation if they stage first with me.
Audra, I’m so glad I made the choice to sign up with HSR! And YOU . . . over the last year and a half, I have never felt that I was in this alone.
Thanks Lori for the story and photos. Here are three tips for what I think real estate agents want and need right now:
- Agents want to be listened to and understood – This may seem obvious but too many times the stager is trying to fit the agents needs into their business model rather than coordinating their pricing/services around what the agent needs.
- Agents need “staging honesty” for them and their clients, so that the house will get “top dollar” – I see a lot of stagers do a “half staging” job which looks worse than vacant sometimes because the scale is completely wrong. As stagers, we need to be clear and honest about what the home needs to get the best price. The agent does not want to be the “low priced” agent, so we need to be ruthless with the seller on what kind of return they can see in a seller’s market if they stage it well.
- Agents need tools and resources that look great in order to resell our services to their clients – This is where so many home stagers go unnecessarily wrong! Agents need beautiful looking sales materials to convince their clients that staging is the right thing to do.
Image is everything and that is why I just added a a 6-video and two-hour series about “Blinging Your Brand” in our HSR Member’s area because we have to make agents look good for their clients!
Cheers to all the talented home stager’s out there! Any more tips you would like to add to this post?
XOXO – Happy Staging!
Hope to hear from you!