Many real estate professionals are venturing into the world of staging. They are discovering that sellers in a competitive market are looking for every advantage to ensure they achieve both the highest possible price and the fewest days on the market. Sellers are becoming more aware of the need for staging in the selling process and are looking to their agent for information and direction. As a result every real estate professional should be able to give a seller advice as to how to show off a home's best features.
There are many advantages to adding staging to your marketing mix. Not the least of which are an increased number of listings that will sell faster and generate more dollars for the client. One of the key ways of getting there is by effectively positioning yourself and your product in your market.
Adding staging to your skill set is a great tool to assist you in accomplishing both of these objectives. Being able to offer staging as a value added service for your clients is an excellent way of “positioning” yourself ahead of the competition. Sellers are looking for the agent that can show them how to overcome their two greatest fears: 1) Not getting the highest price and 2) Taking forever to sell.
By being able to answer their questions regarding what is involved in staging and helping them to develop a staging plan you have already given them a huge reason to list with you. And the more you exercise that skill set the greater your reputation will grow along with your referral network. Nothing generates referrals faster than success and selling your clients home at a favorable price in a short period of time is just the success they are looking for.
With training in the art of staging comes the ability to view the client’s home through the eyes of the potential buyer. You will be able to assist the seller in “positioning” their home to reflect what the buyer truly wants to see. You will be able to point out the strengths that need to be stressed and the weak points that need to be addressed. As a stager you will be able to set your client’s home above the competing properties by positioning it to target the right buyers.
Experts All Agree! Staged Homes Sell Faster And For A Higher Price!
According to a recent USA Today article, a major residential brokerage company looked at nearly 2,800 properties in eight different cities and found that staged houses sold in almost half the time the non-staged houses did. They also found that sellers got substantially more money for a staged home.
This is further backed up by a HomeGain survey of 2,000 real estate agents nationwide that found moderately priced home improvements made before the sale, ranging from $80-$2,800, ended up producing the highest return on investment at the time of the sale when compared to other home improvement projects.
Once you start offering staging as a service, imagine all the referrals you’ll start getting from clients!
As the real estate market gets more and more competitive, every real estate professional will have to offer staging as a service in order win.
12 Reasons Why it Pays to Stage
1. Turbo Boost Sales Time
Experts all agree and studies show staged homes sell quicker than non-staged homes. Sometimes 30-50% faster in most areas. This is more important then most people realize because the longer a home is on the market….the greater chance for a price reduction. Most buyers and buyers agents believe that, if a home has been on the market for some time, there must be something wrong with it or that the seller will be anxious to sell and will take much less than the asking price.
2. First Impressions Last a Lifetime
People’s first impression of your listing is critical. Staging gives you the best opportunity to make a positive first impression rather than a negative one. The stronger the impression the less likely a potential buyer will be bothered if some things aren’t perfect.
3. Gone In 60 Seconds…
Psychology experts have proven that people react based on emotion and then seek logic to back up the feeling. From a real estate perspective, a buyer will make an initial reaction in less than a minute whether they like your listing or not. Then, after the potential buyer's initial decision has been made, they will either confirm that decision or rescind it in the next 6 to 20 minutes as they tour the property. This is why proper staging is critical for any listing...
4. Ready, Set, Go – Move-In Ready Sells Faster
A properly staged listing not only appears to be in “Move-In Ready” condition, but it really is. Staging a house for sale means that every component of the house is as close as possible to model condition. All buyers prefer to buy home where they can just move-in and start enjoying life. They will even pay a premium for this.
5. Imagination Not Included
Did you know that only 5% of the population can truly visualize how beautiful a home can be or see past the clutter, grime and so-so appearance? It’s true. Help potential buyers see themselves happily living in your listing and let the offers come pouring in.
6. Be the Needle In The Haystack.
Staged homes have a much greater competitive advantage over houses that are not staged. Let’s face it. Experts are predicting that more and more listings will be sitting on the market for sale in the next few years. Some areas have already seen a 100-300% increase in available inventory and average time on market. A staged home stands apart from other listings because it has been properly merchandised to bring out the best qualities of the listing.
7. No Skeletons In The Closet
Staged homes project an image of being well maintained and well cared for. The underlying psychological message that is sent to potential buyers is that it’s worth more. More importantly, staging helps remove a certain degree of risk that a potential buyer might have about buying a house that is in disarray.
8. Appraise It High Or Go Home
As more and more homes become available, you need every advantage possible. One marketing advantage you might overlook is to create instant loan to value (LTV) by getting an appraisal after the house is staged. If you can show a potential buyer how much the home is worth i.e. appraised value and the sales price is less….instant value. It will sell faster because it appears to be a better deal.
9. Move To The Head Of The Class
Real estate professionals never like to show a house that’s not going to impress their buyer. A well staged home could easily be described as “staged to sell” which means that it’s going to impress their buyer. Staged homes are always at the top of the list when it comes to which properties an agent will show.
10. The Exception To The Rule – The Buyer’s Rule
Would you show a house to a buyer that didn’t meet their exact criteria? Maybe…but ONLY if the house is staged properly and gets clients excited. If an agent knows that a listing shows really well, but doesn’t match the buyer’s criteria exactly, it’s possible they’ll show it anyway. A well-staged home could be the one to get a buyer excited enough to make an offer.
11. Peace, Love and FREE Advertising
Brokerages love showcasing beautifully staged homes because they draw more business to their firm. They usually invest considerable money to advertise a well staged listing to generate leads for other agents. Why not capitalize on your firm’s need to generate fresh leads by learning how to stage every listing to its fullest potential and then sit back while they use it for shameless promotion.
12. Show Me The Money!
The better a home shows - the higher it will sell for which means more dollars in your pocket. Non-staged homes are more likely to require price reductions in order to sell as opposed to staged homes, which are more likely to enjoy a number of offers, possibly a bidding war or a sale above the asking price.
Learn How to Stage
Selecting the right course for you really depends on the form and style of education you prefer. While there are a number of pros and cons for each delivery method, it's a decision that is generally based on time and money. Within the real estate education industry today there are basically three methods of course delivery, each of which may have several variations depending upon the course provider: Home Study, Classroom and Online.
Home study courses provide a wealth of information for the student to review and study at their own pace. The format can be in book form or in a downloaded format from the Internet. Some courses contain audio supplements but the majority of courses are designed for the student to read the course and complete exercises or quizzes in a student workbook.
- Generally lower cost
- Provides for student to establish their own schedule
- Courses generally provide for detailed explanations of the subject matter
- There is no instructor available although some courses offer instructor response by email.
- There is no interaction with the course
- It requires discipline on the part of the student to complete the course
Staging courses delivered in the classroom combine live instruction with class interaction. In some cases there are also "hands-on" staging exercises outside of the classroom. This format also may incorporate the use of multi-media material in the delivery of the course.
- Live format with instructor
- Classroom interaction
- Hands-on exercises
- Generally expensive
- Only given on dates, times
- Often requires travel and time away from business
Online study today has come a long way from its infancy a number of years ago. Today the online delivery format is highly inter-active, utilizing an entire array of multi-media software to make the course both more enjoyable and user friendly. Many online courses offer interaction with an instructor via email. Online work sessions are now more readily adapted to the online student and incorporate much of the classroom breakaway sessions.
- Generally less expensive
- Can be taken anytime/anywhere at the student's discretion
- Are now highly interactive in format
- Requires discipline on the part of the student
- No live interaction with the instructor and other students
- No hands on house staging exercises
Level of Involvement
Home staging services range from the Professional Stager whose business is staging homes on a fee basis to real estate professionals who provide their clients with general advice and tips on staging or assist them in the process. Which road you take will dictate the level of education and study that is required.
Professional stagers quite often have a professional background in interior design or decoration. The path to professional designations in these areas involves a significant time and money commitment. The career path is designed to lead to developing a business in home staging.
More frequently today, real estate professionals are looking for ways to become more familiar with and adept at the basics of the staging process. They are interested in providing a value added service for their clients in assisting them in understanding the need for staging a home for sale and developing a plan to accomplish the task; which in some cases will require the services of a professional stager.
Whichever route the real estate professional elects to take, they will find a number of schools, organizations and courses available to assist them in achieving their goal. In all cases, the decision driving which courses to take rests with the desired level of involvement. For most real estate professionals today, the level of involvement is limited to developing an additional service to their core business of facilitating the real estate transaction. In accomplishing that goal, locating a course that provides a solid introduction to the staging process along with basic tips and tools is the most often selected solution.