Six Things Real Estate Agents Need to Know About Professional Home Staging
A seller’s agent typically has one goal in mind for their client—selling a listing for the highest price in the shortest time frame.
In a hot seller’s market, real estate agents get accustomed to properties practically selling themselves, and some home stagers have a tough time convincing agents that staging can still speed up the process and increase profits.
The problem is, in a buyer’s market, the agent and the homeowner either think that home staging services are too expensive, or that it’s a process that can happen overnight—as though staging services were a quick 911 call away.
Some real estate agents don’t understand how home staging actually works, and how using these services can lead to a faster sale. We talked to home stagers and asked them what they wish real estate agents understood about professional home staging.
Here are some of the most common things about professional home staging that agents misunderstand:
1. Staging is Not Interior Design
A professional home stager is an interior designer in reverse. Their objective is to make a home look as inviting as possible to a broad audience, so in reality, they take away design elements rather than introducing new ones.
Decluttering a house is always the first thing on a seller’s to-do list, and professional stagers simply organize and fine-tune that process. When all the extraneous items are taken away, the stager may add some neutral touches that will help buyers see themselves in the home.
2. Professional Home Staging Services Are too Expensive
Real estate agents and sellers need to realize that a home stager’s overhead can be pretty high. They maintain constantly rotating inventory, and storage or warehouse costs. They also have to pay for transportation and gas, as well as ordinary business expenses such as insurance, payroll, and business licenses.
Klara Dove, RESA home stager shared this,
“I’m a REALTOR® too, and I wish other agents would understand the cost of labor these days. It’s not just about hauling a couch over there, the moving prices with labor that’s insured is expensive. Movers make more money than I do sometimes!”
In light of the services stagers provide, it’s a real bargain.
As RESA member and Founder of Home Harmony, Laura Jones points out,
“I wish agents realized how much less staging a home professionally is vs. a $10-20k price reduction when they don’t get an offer in a reasonable timeframe.”
Find out the laws in your state regarding moving expenses and income taxes. In some states, sellers can deduct certain moving expenses, and staging service may be included.
3. It’s More than Installation Day, Professional Home Stagers Need Time to Prepare
In the words of Andrea Young, Founder of Intuitive Design Studio
“We don’t drive around town with a truck filled with furniture. There is planning and preparation that goes into it!”
You should bring the home stager in for a consultation as early as possible, so that they can work with the client to discuss the listing agent’s process, timeline, and budget for staging.
Savannah Jones, Founder of Where the Heart Is based out of Texas put it perfectly,
“Staging shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be a priority, like photography or cleaning”
4. Stagers Really Mean it When They Say the Property Needs to be Ready on Installation Day
In a perfect world, the property would be vacant and the landscaping and cleaning already done. In the real world, stagers can’t work if the house isn’t fully prepped.
“As it relates to vacant staging projects, agents and homeowners would have all work (contractors, landscapers, cleaners, etc) completed a minimum of 24 hours prior to arrival.
Access details would be provided a minimum of 24 hours prior to arrival and no other people (including the homeowner and agent) would be on-site for the duration of the stage.
Finally, pictures would be scheduled a minimum of 24 hours after the trucks arrive.”
5. Let the Home Stager Sell Their Services Directly to Sellers
You don’t want to jeopardize the listing by pushing outside services, and frankly, it’s easier for a professional third party to tell a seller that their cat odor is really bad. Let the professional home stager do the dirty work.
“Far too often real estate agents pass along our bids to the sellers, void of context and the expertise to sell staging at a high level. Simply by allowing us to meet with sellers directly, the odds of selling our services and increasing the competitiveness of their listing increase 10-fold.”
And this points directly back to collaborating with a home stager from the very start.
6. Professional Staging is Your Silent Partner
Agents may balk individually at professional staging, but according to NAR, 82% of buyer’s agents report that professional staging helps clients visualize a home as their own. As more and more buyers search online, it’s more critical than ever that sellers make a great first impression. Staging a property has a tremendous influence on a buyer’s decision to see a property in person, and perhaps make an offer.
Founder of Simple Elements Home Staging, Nicole Schenk put it perfectly when she said;
“Professional home staging can be an agent’s silent salesperson.”
Hire a RESA home stager that adheres to a code of ethics, who can help your real estate career by accelerating sales—resulting in happy clients and referrals.
RESA member Kathryn Lenhardt, offers a unique perspective as a licensed real estate broker, and Founder of First Impressions Staging + Design in Seattle, WA. Kathryn wishes agents understood that;
“Stagers want to be real estate agent’s partners to elevate not only the value of the property, but elevate the agent’s value and brand.”
Download our Consumer’s Guide to Real Estate Staging and include it in your onboarding tool kit for clients.
Collaborate with a RESA home stager in your area for top-dollar sales and happy clients.