Work smarter instead of harder
Working hard to get a listing is the first step toward a commission check. In some markets, you may work just as hard to get the listing sold. (By the way, if you’re in need of more listings, send out postcards from our Get More Listings Series they’re great at driving new listings).
In reference to getting your current listings sold, did you know you have 8 seconds to make a great first impression on a potential buyer who has just stepped foot into your listing? This is according to Barbara Corcoran.
Counseling your clients on how to prepare the home for the market is a given. But we all know that many homes need more than a good cleaning and thorough decluttering.
This is when the home stager is worth his or her weight in gold. Taking a home from ho-hum to drop-dead appealing is the magic that sells homes for the most money the market will bear.
Read on to learn how to find this magician and the important questions to ask before recommending a stager to your listing clients.
Where to find stagers
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Just enter “home stagers in [your city] into your favorite search engine’s search box.
But there’s more to it than that. Just as you hope your real estate clients will interview more than one agent, you should have at least three stagers (more is better) to compare. And, the best place to look for them is right there in your office – your colleagues.
Find out which agents in your office use stagers in their real estate business and then make note of who they use. The beauty of this type of referral is that your colleagues did the heavy lifting when vetting the stagers.
All that’s left for you to do is a bit of sleuthing and then interview them to determine if they’re a good fit for your business.
Stalk that stager
Visit each stager’s website to find their portfolios. Remember, if they’ve posted something on their site for all the world to see, they are most likely presenting what they consider their best work.
Try to determine if each stager has a preferred niche. For instance, some specialize in staging vacant homes or condos. Others may have a preferred part of town.
Then, check each candidate’s ranking at Yelp.com and their information at the Better Business Bureau.
When you’ve come up with a list of promising prospects, give each one a call to set up an interview. Here are some ideas of what to ask during the interview:
- Ask about rates, especially whether or not the stager requires a consultation fee.
- Ask for the address of one or two of their currently staged properties so that you can visit before the interview.
- Get a list of the names of other agents they’ve worked with.
- Does the stager have a niche? If you, as an agent, practice in a niche, this question is quite important. Luxury agents, for instance, should look for luxury home stagers.
- Ask the stagers which areas of town they primarily work in. This is important information since knowledge of the neighborhood’s target audience is critical.
- Does the stager use the homeowner’s existing furniture or does he or she have a warehouse with everything needed?
- How long does the average staging job take?
- What is required of the homeowner pre-staging?
- What is the average DOM for the stager’s clients? Is this over or under the average for the market? And, the average list-to-sales price ratio of the company’s staged homes?
- Ask if the stager is insured and if you decide to hire him or her, get a copy of the insurance certificate.
Regardless of the incredible customer service you provide your clients, regardless of your impeccable reputation, it takes only one lazy, shoddy, or dishonest vendor to ruin it. Not only is it important to take your time when interviewing vendors, but to consistently follow up on their work.
Call your clients to find out how the job is going. Follow up after completion to get an idea of how it was working with your vendor. Never remain loyal to a vendor after receiving negative feedback.
It’s your reputation on the line.
Send at least 100 Activity in Your Neighborhood postcards from our Get More Listings Series to an area where you want more listings.
Then get your stager lined up and ready for the flow of new listings coming your way.
Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!
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