A Top Design “Trick” Professional Home Stagers Use to Sell Homes
Whether you are a realtor or homeowner looking to sell a home, you know there are steps you must take to prepare it for market. Your best bet for getting the home sold quickly and for top dollar is to transform it into a home that others see themselves living at. You can hire a professional stager to do this for you, or you can use some of their techniques and transform the home yourself. So, what do professional home stagers know and what do they do to help sell homes? Let’s find out.
Why is Staging Important?Professional home stagers know that a well-staged home makes an impact on how soon and how much the home sells for. Check out these statistics from the National Association of Realtors:
A Favorite Design Trick of Home StagersYes, home stagers use all sorts of candles and décor. They group accessories by threes. They bring in rugs to soften hard floor surfaces. They may change out the bedding and drapes or rearrange the furniture so rooms feel bigger. And of course, they remove family photos and other personal items from the walls. However, once the walls are bare, they can’t leave them like that. Unlike coffee tables and shelves, walls are always in sight. And if they are bare, the house feels bare. So, one thing that is crucial is artwork. And a favorite type of artwork to use is canvas prints to stage a home.
Why Use Canvas Prints to Stage a Home?Canvas prints are a favorite choice amongst professional home stagers for several reasons. First and foremost, they fill the empty walls. Once you remove all the personal photos and mementos, the home can feel bare and sterile. You need something to add interest and color, especially if the colors in the home are neutral, which they often are for staged homes.
Yes, this interest could be achieved with other forms of art as well, and sometimes it is. But, canvas prints offer some benefits that other types of artwork do not. For example, they are lightweight. Because they are lightweight, it is easy to transport them and it is easy to hang them without causing too much damage to the walls.
Another reason that canvas prints are a popular choice is that they can easily blend into various styles of décor. When you choose artwork with frames, you must commit to a style – modern, traditional, contemporary, etc. Home stagers like canvas prints because they can use them in a variety of homes with different styles and they still look good.
Canvas prints are also relatively inexpensive compared to framed artwork. So, whether you own the home and want to stage it, or you want to use the artwork for multiple homes, it is a small investment that can potentially yield a substantial return.
Use What WorksSo, when you are ready to sell a home and need to stage it, why reinvent the wheel? Go with what works to create a well-staged home. Clear personal belongings, keep it neutral and create your “pop” of color and interest with accessories and beautiful canvas prints on the walls. Canvas prints are a great design element that many home stagers use, and they can be yours too.
Article written by Stacey Baliff of #CanvasPress for #TheLuxuryLook
What does a real estate agent do all day anyway?It's not as easy as it looks on TV
From a consumer’s first thought about making a real estate move to actually taking the leap (whether that means right now, next month or three years from now), the agent is incubator, initiator, action-taker, coordinator, scheduler, personal concierge, resource person, problem-solver, mediator, miracle worker, red-tape cutter, transaction manager and chief make-it-happen officer of everything else that doesn’t fall into the prior categories.
They may delegate some of these roles, but nothing gets completed without their oversight and input into what needs to be done and how.
An agent has a workday like anyone else, but there are typically little to no boundaries to that agent’s day and week. Here’s how an agent’s workday often goes:
Responding There are no official days off in real estate. You might have spans without any scheduled appointments, but there are always inquiries, emails and texts to respond to.
Agents are “on” no matter where they are. In our instant-response society, there really is no waiting until tomorrow.
If a consumer contacts them about a property, they respond. If other agents contact them to ask questions about their listing or want to show one of their properties, they get back to them.
If they receive an offer, they work on it regardless of the day, place and time. There is no stop-and-start in this business.
Despite what people might say, it is nearly impossible to shut off the communication, ever. The workplace is anywhere an agent is and that doesn’t mean agents have to go to an office for the day to start — work happens at home, in the car, during vacations and on the go.
The job often begins early in the morning or the night before managing emails and follow-up communications — phone calls and texts about any number of things from showing feedback on listings, following-up on in-progress transactions and creating to-do lists for assistants and staff.
Reviewing MLS activityAgents review MLS activity for any pertinent listings and updates on properties of interest to their buyers and sellers (competitive listings, price changes, under contracts, back on the markets, off the markets or solds, etc.) and notify their clients of relevant information.
Keeping up a databaseAgents must continually update their contact databases with new customer information, updates to existing customer contact information, birthdays and new-home anniversaries, and more.
Agents put together property itineraries for clients who are planning a house hunting trip, which could involve numerous showings in a short period of time.
Scheduling these tours requires a delicate dance that takes into consideration geography and logistics against the backdrop of unknown time constraints that sellers may impose. (“Can you come at 2 p.m. instead of 10 a.m.?” or “Today’s not good, but how about Friday?”)
These impromptu changes in plans wouldn’t be a problem if agents didn’t have anything else to do, buyers had the luxury of time and they were local — but rarely are agents working with that kind of flexibility.
And Murphy’s Law says the property that’s causing the scheduling difficulties will be the one at the top of buyers’ wish list. Agents have to find a way to make it happen.
Making contactAgents reach out to establish initial contact, discuss real estate needs and provide advice on the market to customers who have just been referred to them.
They conduct in-depth research on possible options for buyers and dive into market comparables to get an idea of what sellers’ homes can realistically sell for.
Setting and attending appointmentsThen there are the appointments — meeting buyers and sellers for initial discussions, previewing and touring properties, meeting inspectors, appraisers and a plethora of specialists, contractors, stagers, photographers and repair professionals.
While out on these meetings, business carries on and the emails, calls and texts flood in.
Oftentimes agents will be juggling these meetings with the sellers from six months ago who call and want to meet immediately — or the inactive buyer couple who suddenly found the perfect home that they need to see right this minute.
Negotiating offers and managing the saleNegotiating offers may go on for days or weeks. Once an offer gets worked out and a property goes under contract, that is just the beginning. There’s no jumping up and down, high-fiving and laughing all the way to the bank. Quite the contrary, this is where it can all go wrong.
At this point, agents have to make sure that everyone involved in this process does their job. From whatever side of the transaction they represent — buyer or seller — agents need to make sure everyone is fulfilling their obligations of the transaction in a timely manner.
If a lender is involved, active and frequent communication is a must to ensure the loan process is on track.
Agents check in with the title company or attorney’s office to make sure the file is being handled and all details and nuances are being attended to. They also address anything unexpected that may arise — a closing that needs to be a mail-away to the seller, or a situation in which a power of attorney needs to be present because one of the buyers will not be.
There are an endless number of tasks that agents must ensure get done from contract to close, from reminding clients about utility transfers to ensuring the seller has everything moved out on the day the buyer legally takes possession.
Problem-solvingProblem-solving and crisis management happens at every turn. This entails educating clients about the realities of what they are trying to accomplish; running down information about a community, association or property; or troubleshooting umpteen potential issues that could derail a property search, transaction or closing.
Unlike many jobs, no two days are the same. One week could be plagued by multiple snags (a buyer’s financing falls apart, home inspection issues, etc.), and on another day, it may all come together in an eerily smooth manner. But never fear; in this business, the other shoe is always about to drop.
Speaking of the other shoe dropping, there is no guarantee that the time spent and the hours put in will result in a paycheck.
Agents can’t bill for the time and effort they’ve expended giving advice and information, showing properties, attending showings, creating and hosting broker and consumer open house events and more.
The buyer may never buy; the seller may never sell, and the agent’s paycheck is affected by other people’s circumstances and decisions.
The enthused buyer could have job transfer fall through. An unexpected medical situation could put a house hunt on hold for someone else. Or a couple of sellers could suddenly decide they love their house more than they did before.
The agent — if he or she is lucky in these cases — will get a “thank you.”
MarketingThen there is the marketing and business development agents pour into their brand, knowledge and expertise. That website, newsletter, postcard, video or other marketing pieces (social media posts, custom property ads) didn’t appear out of thin air.
Agents devote thought and resources to each marketing piece with an eye toward implementation, execution and tracking results at every turn.
In short, real estate is a profession full of follow-up, follow-up, follow-up; multi-tasking; prioritizing, re-prioritizing; juggling; figuring out how to be in three places at once; evaluating, advising and coaching; hand-holding; researching and problem-solving; and responding.
Despite what reality television portrays, agents don’t simply ride around in expensive cars or have their private driver take them to unlock a door. They don’t show up in designer clothes at some swanky place to negotiate a deal over trendy cocktails.
It might appear glamorous and easy, but showing a customer properties or putting a home on the market happens sometime in the middle of a very involved process.
Marketing, branding and creating top-of-mind presence usually comes first, and those are the things that motivate customers to choose an agent.
Agents are the catalyst for the entire process of buying, selling or renting a property; and, from that perspective, they help keep the economy moving in every sense of the word.
Cara Ameer is a broker associate and Realtor with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you Cara for sharing.
Home staging is the act of preparing and showcasing a house for sale to attract a large pool of prospective buyers. Professional staging is a powerful marketing tool, not only giving a seller a marketable advantage over the competition, but potentially fetching a higher sales price and reducing the number of Days on Market (DOM) for a listing. As competition in the housing market increases, a growing number of real estate agents and home sellers are enlisting the services of professional home stagers to meet the high expectations of buyers and help sell a home fast for the highest price possible.
The longer a home stays on the market, the further its price drops, inviting bargain hunters and low offers. Hence, for the best return on investment, sellers should stage their homes prior to listing. Staging accentuates a home’s best features and downplays its flaws, ensuring it shows well and makes a good first impression on prospective buyers.
Staging is often done by a staging professional hired by the listing agent or the seller. Trade associations, such as the International Association of Home Staging Professionals®, Real Estate Staging Association®, and the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners are good starting points for finding stagers in an area, as are sites like Home Staging Resource.
Several studies, including the recent National Association of Realtors® 2015 Profile of Home Staging report, back the merits of home staging. In the infographic below, we have highlighted why staging has become a key selling strategy for agents and sellers, along with the associated costs and tips on how to hire a professional stager. Considering the potential payback, staging is indeed a smart investment for home sellers!
- See more at: http://www.upnest.com/1/post/the-power-of-home-staging-infographic/#sthash.w8NGQvAF.dpuf
I read a featured post today called ‘So You Want to Be a Real Estate Agent? Some Unsolicited Advice written by Liz and Bill Spear and it really resonated with me. Reason being is that every week we get anywhere from half a dozen emails or resumes or phone calls from people who want to become a stager and work for our company or they want to start their own staging business and would like to be mentored. I like to help people and appreciate the inquiries but it is a little overwhelming.
It’s really easy to become a home stager – easier than wanting to start in real estate – because unlike becoming a realtor, you don’t even have to take any courses. You can just wake up one morning and decide“hey, today is the day I start staging houses!” Presto! Now you’re a home stager! Do you know what you’re signing up for? Many don’t; they think it’s this glam job where TV cameras follow us around all the time and we get to tell people their stuff is ugly and they should throw it out and buy all new. Ummm! It’s not quite the same thing and it takes a lot of time, perseverance and talent to make a staging business a success.
So here are the top things to consider if you want to become a home stager:
1) Realtors aren’t immediately your friends and most of them won’t want to work with you right away. Often home stagers when they first start out think that if they go to the different real estate offices and introduce themselves, bring some business cards, their portfolio and some treats that the realtors will flock to talk to them. This is a common misconception. Because there are SO many home stagers, especially in larger cities, realtors often feel overwhelmed by all the home stagers who drop by their offices. Many are still figuring home staging out and will say ‘no’ without even considering what is being offered to them. It takes time, perseverance and creating a good reputation to change that. Even then, rejection is a normal occurrence even for seasoned professionals.
2) It costs money to start a home staging business – sometimes a lot of money especially if a stager is investing in building an inventory right from the start. From business registration, liability insurance, staging training & education, branding, marketing materials, gas, storage fees, website, cellphone, laptop, camera … and the list goes on. These are all essential business building items however if you didn’t budget for them they can have you wondering what you got yourself into.
3) Its hard prospecting for clients and if realtors aren’t interested in your services then its even more difficult to get actual staging jobs. If you live in an area where staging just isn’t taking off then it can be very hard to make a living staging homes. I know of many stagers who want to work but are frustrated because the people in their area ‘just don’t get it’.
4) Many aspiring stagers contact experienced home staging professionals looking for guidance, advice and mentoring. As our industry has evolved over the past five years, there are now larger home staging companies that can and do provide all of these things. Our advice is to do your research and seek out the ones which you want to be trained by. When you ask for help and they respond – even if they can’t mentor you or hire you – thank them! We reply to each and every inquiry we get however it is staggering the number of new stagers that do not respond after we have sent them information, advice and/or guidance. For those that do thank us, we remember and are far more likely to hire or mentor them in the future.
5) Home owners and realtors will get upset with you; you WILL offend some of them no matter what you do. Staging by its very nature is intrusive for most home owners and you touch on some very sensitive topics so its only natural that at some point you will offend some of them. Additionally because we tend to work on very tight timelines so that homes can get listed for sale, there is a high level of stress that is felt in both the sellers and realtors and can make for some tearful and angry blowups.
6) Other stagers in your area may not be your friends right away. As much as we want to all get along, the reality is that stagers are fiercely competitive and some may just not play nice at all. The Real Estate Staging Association and local Chapters has come a long way to helping stagers get over their fears so that they can work collaboratively together. If you aren’t a member of RESA, the official trade organization for home stagers and re-designers, we recommend checking them out! RESA is a phenomenal industry resource and provides everything new stagers need to get their business started.
7) The road to becoming a successful home stager is time-consuming. From consults to staging jobs to social media to presentations … and more .. its easy for the job to take over your life. This is one of the areas we constantly struggle with which is creating boundaries between work and my family life. It’s very easy, especially when we are incredibly busy, to be working 10 – 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Investing in business coaching and prioritizing tasks will help new stagers balance both a work and social life so that they don’t burn out too quickly. Additionally, creating a solid business plan and charging appropriately for your services – not giving away services for free – will ensure you work effectively and earn a steady income.
Staging is real estate marketing and the best way to attract full priced offers, quickly.
8) Bad things can and will happen on the job. From scratching a seller’s brand new cherry floors to dropping their antique birdcage that their husband’s mother bought for them for their wedding, these things will happen. Ensuring you are insured, have contracts with your clients to cover you for when of surprises goes a long way in this business. You can’t protect against everything however and there will be jobs where because something unexpected happened, you make no money or you lose money. C’est la vie.
9) That you need to have a solid business plan – and stick to it – to make your staging dreams a reality. Some stagers never do this but the really successful stagers that I know of have business plans not only for the short-term, but also for over the next 5 – 10 years. They are extremely detail oriented, organized and focused. As we said above, charge appropriately, value yourself and the services you offer so that others do too. We have seen too many stagers over the years offer their services for next to nothing only to end up folding their business in under a year because they made no money. If you offer it for free once, people remember and expect you to do that again. Know what your services are worth and don’t be afraid to charge appropriately.
10) You’ll need to become a social media expert to some degree to ensure that you are hitting all your target markets. From interactive websites to Facebook Fan Pages to Tweeting to Blogging .. all of these play vital roles in creating a viable staging business. Building brand and name recognition happens slowly however if you aren’t online then the odds are high your target clients will never find you.
Staging as a career can be incredibly rewarding – especially if it is your passion! Taking the time to create a solid business plan and invest in your staging training will ensure that your passion is also profitable. And if you don’t want to run a staging business, invest in training and then look for a position with a larger staging company. There are lots of ways to be a part of this dynamic industry – you just need to find your niche.
As stagers we are always asked if it really works and chances are unless you’ve actually experienced the results of home staging you are still probably a skeptic. To that I say if staging didn’t work I would not have a successful business. Now yes other companies go out of business and quickly it’s more often a business issue than a staging issue. Many stagers are good at what they do but they can not run a business. Why? because it rely’s on the two opposite sides of the brain the creative side and the analytical side. This is why I chose early on in my business to hire amazingly creative and professional women to do the home staging while I focused on the business and driving it forward.
Six years later we are still going strong, won many awards along the way.
So let’s get to it what are 5 ways staging WILL save you money.
1. Decrease your days on market (DOM)
This is important because every day you are on the market it is costing you money. Monthly operational costs add up and quickly if you’ve already moved out into your new home. To find out how much you will spend by not staging and sitting on the market take all your monthly costs of heat, hydro, mortgage,
seasonal fees, ETC add them up and multiply by 6. This is the average DOM a empty home will sit on the market with out an offer.
2. Attract buyers online
We are in a digital world and let’s face it everyone views the homes they want to see on their computer, iPad or smart phone. When homes are staged they will appeal to buyers online by showing them an attractive space they can live.
This will increase foot traffic and in the life of numbers the more buyer foot traffic you can get into your home the more likely you will receive an offer.
3. Reduce lowball offers
Buyers want the BEST home that they can afford which means if you have bold paint colours, significant updates or damages be prepared to get a lowball offer. No one wants to pay for the previous owners wear and tear on the property. To avoid lowball offers address everything you can first. Paint is the cheapest and easiest way to update a home make sure it is neutral and appeals to your targeted buyer. Which means ANY neutral is NOT good enough. If you do not know what neutral is appropriate a stager can help you.
4. Sell for top dollar
Homes that are properly addressed and well staged are more likely to obtain multiple offers. This happens when many homes on the market are not able to compete with this home on price and attractiveness. Some agents will price a staged home near or under market value so it is an attractive home at an excellent price which has been known to obtain multiple offers. Note: This strategy is not guaranteed as it depends on many factors including market conditions however it does allow for the likelihood of a multiple offer situation to happen greater than a standard selling situation.
We’ve helped a high end home that sat vacant for 4 years with no action sell in 2 days for $15,000 over asking after we staged the entire home.
During a buyers market we also helped a town home sell the first weekend it was listed for over $40,000 over the original list price just by fixing up many issues with in the home prior to sale.
5. For every $1 you invest into your home you will SAVE $3-5
This loosely links to reduce lowball offers. That’s because home buyers will obtain multiple quotes on how to paint or fix an element with in the home and submit to the sellers the WORST CASE quote so if it costs you $100 to fix the issue the home buyer will be asking for $300-500 off of your home. HOLD ONTO your homes equity by doing as much as you can before you list your home.
Written by Kristy Morrison - thank you for sharing
Kristine Vowles the Founder of The Luxury Look still enjoys after 30+ years being involved in the Real Estate Industry as a Leadership Trainer, Investor, Mentor as well as the world of Design and Renovating. Now it is about building relationships, good design, assisting others in achieving their goals and having fun with family, friends and colleagues.