Ask the Expert – When to Stage

Christine, I always stage my properties; well, nearly always depending on the price of the property, the location, and how the property looks. Many of my clients have nice homes. […]

I always stage my properties; well, nearly always depending on the price of the property, the location, and how the property looks. Many of my clients have nice homes. They are neat, clean, and, in my opinion, they show well; and when they don’t, I use a staging service.

Recently I was discussing my strategy with a colleague and she was shocked I discriminate based on the valuation of a property. It was my turn to be shocked; I am mortified to think a potential client might thing badly of me for not offering the service. My question is: “surely I am right, and not every property needs a staging service?” My thinking is you always want agents to work with stagers and I do that but I just don’t think (all properties) need a stager. Here I am thinking I am helping my client to save money by not referring staging services to certain cases, and now I am just confused.

– Carole K., Ohio

aThanks for asking this great question, Carole.

I understand how it can be confusing. The problem emanates from the industry itself. Staging grew from a cottage industry with a philosophy of clear the clutter, clear the counters, and clean; so this became synonymous with what a staged property looked like. The message was drilled into agents that “staging” really was “just” a word to get home sellers to pick up and pack up early (something many agents had been doing for years). You know what, Carole? It did make a difference back then. Today, we have the internet and TV showing a different view of staging. Sellers and buyers are greatly influenced by this. And guess what? They expect more for their money. A seller is looking for all the help they can get to sell quickly and for the most money; buyers expect move-in ready. In fact, we know more than 63 percent of buyers will pay more money for a move-in ready property. By not providing the recommendation for thoroughly preparing the property for sale you may inadvertently be preventing those property owners from securing the most equity possible.

What does “show well” mean? it’s not about having nice stuff that counts – it’s where the stuff is placed in addition to being updated. Today’s stagers are consulting on renovation of kitchens and bathrooms as well as maximizing budget, flow, feelings, placement, color mapping, function, space, and so much more. I hope this helps, Carole.

PS I do think you are really smart to not stage your listings yourself. Your time is much better invested marketing the listing. I am sending you a gift of the CSP Elite agent designation training, Carole, as a thank you for the question. It will really help you with scripting the message to your client.

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About Christine Rae

Christine Rae blends her passion for the staging and decorating industries, her desire for helping people develop their potential, the thrill of training to the presentation of the CSPâ„¢ workshop. She has honed her skills and built her knowledge through extensive training in a variety of disciplines. During the last five years Christine has trained over 1600 people and in 2004 was recipient of an International Staging Award. Christine believes a crucial part of success as a trainer is to keep your hand in the industry you speak and teach about. This is why she continues to work (outside of training sessions) at building her own staging business, and works with a select group of Realtors® . The best business anyone can have is from a referral - it is an honor and privilege to work with you and your sphere of influence. Wellness with Essential Oils: