What do you make of a professional home stager that advises some of their clients not to stage?
Well, I certainly want to continue growing my business which may sound odd from someone saying they advise some clients that it is not in their best interest to stage NOW. But one of the founding principles of my business is to be trusted by my clients. I have always believed that every action I take today is either building or destroying my reputation for the future. So, from day one I wanted to be known as someone my clients could trust and rely on. With our real estate agent clients, TRUST is a huge factor, knowing that when they place their clients in our hands that they are placing their own reputation in our hands as well. That is a huge responsibility and one I think needs to be taken most seriously.
Seems like every day we hear stories from our clients that make us stop and evaluate where staging fits into the selling process. It is not realistic to make the comment that everyone should stage their home prior to putting it on the market. We all know where staging fits into the selling process, but we find ourselves asking more and more where staging fits in relationship to return on investment and budget constraints compared to everything else that has to take place in preparing the home.
On some occasions, I am asked to evaluate the best use of a set budget amount that the home owner has to spend and how to prioritize that investment to maximize their marketing potential. And the factors I have to take into consideration can be overwhelming at times. Some of those factors are related to the condition aspect of the property such as outdated light-fixtures, countertops, cabinets, faucets and hardware, old tired and outdated wall colors and/or wall treatments, worn carpeting, overgrown or sparse landscaping and the list goes on and on and on. When a home owner is considering all of this the question inevitably becomes “What’s the best use of our limited funds?
As an example, with a $2,000 budget, there are things on this list that must be addressed before the staging option should be considered. Placing my nice furniture and accessories in a home in dire need of new paint, new carpeting and upgrades will get me and my business $2,000 dollars but do little to increase the marketability of the home and therefore does little to increase the sales potential. My best advice in those rare cases is to put the monies into repairs and cosmetic fixes first and then if there is money leftover then and only then should you stage the property. Condition issues and repairs should trump staging when allocating funds for the potential sale.
A cold hard fact is that not all homes that are “for sale” will be sold. The statistics are really staggering concerning number of listing verses the number of homes that actually sell.
“How far do we have to go before it is a sellable product?” It appears that if you’re not competing in the top echelon of your market on price, condition, presentation, one would have to wonder if your product (house) is really competing at all. And then there is “How far do we have to lower the price to make it a sellable product?” I’m not sure that is relevant in many cases today because there are many sellers up-side down or close to it, with limited or no funds to bring to the closing table and are left with the “all of my options have been exhausted feeling”. So with great sadness on my part, often times I’m helpless to provide the solution so many desire and truly need to project their properties forward and toward the SOLD sign. I can and do recommend they trade some creative services like cooking, sewing, for storage space at their neighbor’s house or take on extra work to buy painting supplies, but I’m sure to them it’s an insignificant suggestion and not the answer they were hoping for. In reality, I sometimes have to turn them down on staging before the condition factors have been addressed because I know that it is in their best interest that I come to that unfortunate conclusion. How about you? Have you ever had to turn them down because you didn’t want to let them down?