Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't Ask (Or Expect) Your REALTOR To Give Staging Advice

I'm usually frustrated when I look at pictures of houses for sale because 99% of the time the pictures are terrible. Either the house is so filled with stuff that you can't see its features, or it's so poorly presented, bland or dated that it has no appeal. Either the REALTORs didn't understand the importance of cosmetic appeal and communicate this to their sellers, or the parties tried to "stage" the house themselves after watching a few shows on HGTV. The seller is the big loser because those bad pictures will cost them money and time.

Don't ask or expect your REALTOR to give staging advice. Here's why:

  • Very few REALTORs have in-depth training and experience in the application of design principles to real estate marketing. At best some have taken a two day staging class, or they've read staging articles on the internet. It's not nearly enough! 
  • Even if the REALTOR has some training, most are reluctant to tell sellers all the things they really need to hear for fear of offending them, straining the relationship or even losing their business.
Just as you wouldn't expect your REALTOR to do the pre-listing home inspection, you shouldn't expect her to give staging advice. There's a lot more to it than getting rid of clutter.

An unstaged or poorly staged house results in bad pictures and little buyer interest. Don't let that happen to you. Before you list, have a consultation with a professional home stager with the training and experience to transform your home into a competitive product that will photograph well and motivate buyers to visit in person. Contrary to what you might think, staging is not expensive. A two hour informal staging consultation with me is only $225, and I look at everything on the inside and outside of your property, starting at the curb. Compare that to the typical, first price reduction when your house hasn't sold. 

Let REALTORs concentrate on the things they do best, the things you really need them for. The list doesn't include staging!