Who…. Who… Who is your favorite Indianapolis home staging company?

Posted by admin under Home Staging in Indianapolis

Don’t worry. Today’s blog is just a little tongue in cheek. As I was sitting looking through some of our recent Indianapolis home staging project photos I was chuckling to myself as I played a little eye spy. Then I wondered if local Indianapolis agents have noticed that Home Matters nearly always includes a small reminder of our tag line, “A Wise Choice in Property Presentations.”

Have you seen the Home Matters Owl at your recent showings?

The next time you are viewing a property, particularly one that you think may be staged, look around and see if you spot a small owl.  It may be peeking behind some greenery, sitting on a shelf, or standing guard over faux baked goods.

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home matters staging hoot owl


While we often hear from agents that they know us from our distinctive style, now you may also recognize our trademark owl and remember that Home Matters is “The wise choice in property presentation.” as you play a little game of eye-spy during the showing.

home staging indianapolis

Learn more about home staging is the privacy of your real estate office.

Posted by admin under Home Staging Education

Are you interested in learning more about home staging but don’t know where to begin to ask questions or talk to your customers? Do you not offer services because you are afraid that the seller will ask you to pay for it, or the stager you bring in will tell your client that you should? First off, most home staging services are paid by sellers, who need to be invested in the project, and Home Matters works to be in an collaborative alliance with our Realtor customers. Continue reading to find out how you can learn more so that you can do more to help your customers sell faster and for more money.

Home Matters Home Staging is offering 45 minute in office educational sessions

home staging educational sessionsI’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” This is true of home staging. Many real estate professionals believe that they understand our industry because they’ve seen a show on HGTV, worked with a stager who walked around and told sellers to put away their family photos, or worse yet, think that they stage their homes already because they make suggestions on cleaning and de-cluttering. There is a significant difference in preparing a home for sale and staging it. 

Find out what you don’t know by attending one of these workshops in your real estate office. Don’t have one scheduled? Let us know that you would like one and we’ll work with your Broker to set one up. Chances are if you would like to have one, others would too!

What you’ll be able to learn in our educational sessions:

Find out how staging works. Learn the processes of Home Matters and what kinds of services we offer to help your customers.

home matters staging indianapolisLearn how to talk to customers about home staging. Today many of our new customers come from internet searches by individual sellers. They are reaching out to us, often before they’ve talked to an agent. When they talk to you first, are you prepared to answer their questions about home staging? We’ll make sure that you know how to answer all of their questions when they ask, or at least know how and where to get the answers.

Learn how much home staging costs and what the benefits are. Whether you have an occupied listing, or a vacant one, we have options to help you and work in your customer’s budget. Find out how with a minimal investment in home staging your customers can earn a tidy return on investment and you can earn a positive referral base.

Learn how we can help you earn more business. Because we are being contacted more frequently by consumers before the listing agent is called, being part of our referral network is an opportunity for you to earn additional business simply by helping the customers you already have.

A quick look at the home staging process.

Give us a call to schedule an educational session at your real estate office. Find out how home staging can help you grow your business and help your customers earn more money off the sale of their home.

A home staging evaluation can keep agents from being the bad guy.

While the real estate market is shifting quickly to a seller’s market, the truth is that not all homes are properly priced and selling quickly. Often because sellers have heard of the market shift and the increase in home prices, they become a little overly ambitious, asking agents to price their price a little too high. If the home is close to the range of new construction pricing, an existing home may still be able to compete if it has more features or hard to find qualities (often based around location). The biggest problem comes when that home isn’t move in ready, or doesn’t have the features/benefits of other homes that are for sale in that same price range.

What happens when your listing doesn’t measure up?

home staging evaluation importanceFor example, a home with granite counters in the kitchen, hardwood floors, freshly painted neutral walls, and gorgeous furniture may sell for much higher prices than the average home with laminate counters, worn carpeting, or customized wall colors – particularly if the furniture is not fine, there is a lot of clutter, or there are un-addressed maintenance issues. Sellers on the same street, or in the same neighborhood may hear of this higher priced sale and believe that their home should be priced similarly. The question really is whether the home measures up, however. Will buyers be willing to pay the same amount for both homes?

As a professional real estate agent you may know this and have tried to convey it to the customer, but they don’t always listen. Inevitably, you know the outcome. In just a few weeks, you’ll be sitting at their table discussing price. While you know that the problem is their home and the work that it needs, they’ll wonder why you haven’t done your job of selling it.

This is when a home staging evaluation can be it’s most valuable.

How a home staging evaluation can save your reputation (and your sanity).

No doubt that you have done everything you can to sell your customer’s home at the price that you recommended. You may have even had a low-ball offer that was rejected by the seller. The best way to ensure that the seller understands that it wasn’t you who didn’t do their job is a home staging evaluation that was done at the beginning of the listing period, ideally before the home ever went on the market.

When you provide a home staging evaluation, you can be assured one of two results. Either the seller will understand the importance of the recommended work, complete it before the home is listed, avoiding the dreaded “not measuring up” scenario, or it will provide evidence later that the problem with the listing is the condition or presentation of the home, not your work as an agent.

When you have to make that difficult presentation on adjusting the list price of the home, the first thing you can do is to discuss the recommended changes and find out if the customer is ready to make them, or to make a price reduction. This puts the ball squarely in their court and out of yours.

Not all Realtors are Created Equal. Neither are Home Stagers.

This week we met with a potential new customer. This Realtor confessed that he has worked with several other home stagers in the past and while they can create a beautiful room, they don’t have the interpersonal customer skills that Home Matters is known for. In the discussion he mentioned that he chose other stagers because our company is also known for being a little bit more expensive than some of our competition. In the end though, after exhausting several options, he confessed that the extra expense is worth the value that we provide.

What is the value of customer service?

indianapolis home stagingOften Realtors think that home stagers just make rooms pretty. The truth is that making a visually attractive home is only part of our job. Even that can have it’s own obstacles though. While we may seem more expensive than some of our competitors, that’s only true when everything goes right. Much like Realtors, when something goes wrong, that’s when our value appears. Also, like our Realtor counterparts, the likelihood of something going wrong is increased when corners are cut.

The Realtor we met with gave us examples of some of the staging problems that he encountered over the years. We also have a history of fixing staging problems from other Realtors. Here is a recap of some of the problems we’ve encountered, or heard from other agents.

The home stager doesn’t use professional movers. It’s a clear indication that you may be dealing with a hobbyist when you see the stagers unloading their own furniture. While there are staging companies in some areas of the country that employ their own movers and have their own truck, if your stagers are carrying the furniture into the house off the back of a Uhaul then it’s a great time to ask what insurance they are carrying. Do they have liability insurance in case they accidentally break something, or hurt themselves? While these things can happen even with professional movers, the likelihood is less and their insurance, not the homeowner’s insurance will cover any problems that occur.

The home stager isn’t insured.  Just like the movers situation, home stagers should carry their own insurance. Often with new construction, builders will ask to be listed as additionally insured. You can be assured that Home Matters can provide proof of insurance and the forms that your builder customers need.

The stager doesn’t understand the potential buyer. Realtors understand this right away when they see that the furnishings don’t match the likely buyer, the home, or the neighborhood. The wrong setting won’t set the mood for buyers. The right one will create an instant emotional connection. If the buyer doesn’t connect then the home could take longer to sell.

Under-staged properties or over-staged properties. Under-staging is the most common problem when we are hired to restage the home after another stager has come by. There is a fine line between keeping clean lines and emptying a home, making it cold and uninviting.

home matters staging indianapolisInability to clearly quantify necessary changes. When the home is occupied the most important part of the home staging process is being able to talk to the seller in a way that helps them understand and agree to necessary changes. More than just creating a checklist, the professional home stager advises the seller and gets everyone on the same page for a successful sale.

The home stagers doesn’t have a list of qualified professionals to complete the job. Recommendations are no good without knowing how to get them done. Home Matters can help your customers find a professional that can complete any recommendation we make. Because we’ve been in the business of helping sellers sell, we know who to call.

Not all Realtors are Created Equal. Neither are Home Stagers.

Most of the successful Realtors I know have frustration over the idea that all agents are created equal. Some Realtors go the extra mile for their customers, making sure that the process is smooth, while others are order takers. Order takers are fine so long as their are no hiccups in the transaction. When you hiring your home staging company that you know whether you are dealing with a professional, or an order taker. This way when something goes wrong, and eventually something always does, that you know your stager can handle whatever it is, keeping your reputation as a professional intact.

Are you upgrading or simply updating your home?

We recently heard a local Realtor discussing the idea that a home seller did not need to upgrade their home before putting it on the market, discounting the idea of switching out counter tops, light fixtures, or flooring.  During this conversation it became clear that there was some confusion between the concept of upgrading and updating when putting your home on the market.

Are you upgrading or simply updating your home?

home staging indianapolis

One of the most important parts of knowing the answer to this question is to understand buyer expectations. The size, price point, and location of a given home may create a different answer. Let’s look at a few different recommendations that may be made and determine whether they are likely to be upgrades or simply updates.

Granite counters – upgrade or update?

This should be an easy answer, right? Not really. In a home that is inexpensive to the market, like one that is typical for most first time home buyers, granite counter tops are probably an upgrade. However, for homes that are at or above the average median sale price, granite is probably considered a “standard feature”.

When buyers are looking at homes in this price range, what are their expectations? One way to determine this is to look at what builders are doing in the price point and general location. Generally speaking, builders represent the standard for the general market. The fixtures, finishes, and “upgrades” help create buyer expectations. Nearly every home on the market is competing against local new construction.

Do I really need to get new light fixtures? 

home staging indianapolis

This question has to be looked at in almost the same fashion as the granite counters, with some exceptions. Generally speaking if the fixtures in the home are more than 15 years old, replacing them is probably an update, not an upgrade. Most homes can be spoken of based on the decade they were built. If I were to tell you a home is original 1970s or 1980s, you would probably know the difference in decor and finishes. Both were probably brass. 1970s fixtures were more ornate, often with etched or laminated images. 1980s fixtures became a little more sleek and modern adding in more glass and crystal, often in geometric form.

Today, regardless of the price point of home, both of these style fixtures feels very dated. The more brass in a home, the more likely that buyers will feel the need to update. 

What kind of return on investment will I get?

If you are considering making updates or upgrades, understand that updates, unlike upgrades, is money that buyers will feel they have to spend and therefor when done before selling have a tendency to create a higher return on investment. 

Depending on the upgrade, you may still earn 100% return on investment or better because the home will be more appealing than other homes without those upgrades, creating the possibility of multiple offers, or full price offers. The best option is to have a custom evaluation of your home prior to making improvements for the reason of resale value. Call Home Matters Home Staging for more information or for an evaluation.