Sunday, April 14, 2024

home staging

    If I were to ask you which room in a home is most important to stage, what would you say?

    Kitchen, right? Or, perhaps, bathroom.

    According to a NAR survey of buyers’ agents, however, “Staging the living room was found to be most important for buyers.”

    So, the kitchen and/or bathroom must be second in importance, right?

    Actually, slightly more than 40% of buyers’ agents recommend staging the master bedroom.

    Staging the kitchen came in third.

    The folks at homelight.com surveyed nearly 1,000 buyers’ agents and learned that more than half of them feel that “… staging increases a home’s value from anywhere between 1% to 10%.”

    Nearly 30% of the aforementioned NAR survey respondents claimed that staging a home had no impact on the sales price. Twenty percent of them claimed that “… staging a home increased the dollar value offered between one and five percent, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.”

    While the Real Estate Staging Association claims that staged homes sell 73% quicker than homes that aren’t staged.

    As you can see, whether or not staging is valuable to the seller depends on who you ask. If you have a challenging listing, however, staging should be a must.

    If you don’t offer staging as one of your sellers’ services, at least give your listing clients some tips on how to do it themselves.

    Who will likely buy the home?

    Read any staging website and you’ll learn that most stagers aim for the impossible: “universal appeal.” You, as a real estate agent who works with real estate consumers on a daily basis, know how impossible this is. Nothing is universally appealing.

    Perhaps what stagers are alluding to are aspects of staging that appeal to a broad spectrum of homebuyers, such as:

    • The homes and the closets are light and bright.
    • The home has been depersonalized. Despite what many real estate bloggers claim, this doesn’t mean removing personal items such as photos and certificates. It means personal items, such as toiletries, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products and even used bars of soap, according to a study by Andrea Angott, Ph.D at Duke University.
    • Each room’s purpose is immediately evident. Remove office paraphernalia from the dining room and baby stuff from the master bedroom.
    • Each room gives the perception of lots of space. Remove excess items from the pantry, closets and cupboards so that they appear larger. Ensure the lighting is bright in closets. Remove oversized furniture.

    As the listing agent, it’s important that you have a good idea of who makes up the buyer pool for each listing you take. Often, it’s obvious. Others, not so much.

    If the home is a penthouse condo with a city view the buyer won’t likely be a family with young children. If the home is in a good school district, on the other hand, you can almost guarantee a family will buy it.

    Once you have a good idea of the buyer pool you can offer more specific staging tips.


    How do you get those new listings that you’ll be helping stage? How about launching a Get More Listings Campaign?

    Get More Listing Campaigns are ON SALE 10% OFF the first month – 3 More Days!

    Get More Listings Postcard Campaign (shown above). Learn more, HERE

    TO LAUNCH A GET MORE LISTINGS CAMPAIGN:

    Hit the “CLICK HERE” link, below, to schedule your campaign (from a desktop or laptop computer).

    USE PROMO CODE: LIST10 to get 10% Off at check out.

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    Please reach out to our support team at 866.405.3638 with questions or if there is anything we can do to help you with your success.


    PLUS: When you have time…below are some helpful tools to support your success.

    1. The Free 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

    The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

    2. The Free Interactive Real Estate Business Plan

    The Free Interactive Real Estate Business Plan allows you to enter your business goals for this year and get a breakdown of how many prospects, listings, closing, and so on are needed to reach your goals.  – Click Here

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    Become branded in a specific neighborhood with a 12X15 marketing piece sent automatically each month to an exclusive carrier route. Watch this video to learn more or Click Here.

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    5. The Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

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    Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

    6. The Free Online ROI Calculator

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    Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here

    7. The Free Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

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    The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted prospect list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here

    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.

    Notify Them The Time is NOW (Available in “Get More Listings” postcard section)

    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.

    Get Them Calling YOU (Available in “Get More Listings” postcard section)

    Interview time

    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:

    1. Ask about rates, especially whether or not the stager requires a consultation fee.
    2. Ask for the address of one or two of their currently staged properties so that you can visit before the interview.
    3. Get a list of the names of other agents they’ve worked with.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Does the stager use the homeowner’s existing furniture or does he or she have a warehouse with everything needed?
    7. How long does the average staging job take?
    8. What is required of the homeowner pre-staging?
    9. 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?
    10. 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.

    Let Them Know You’re the Area Expert Agent (Available in “Get More Listings” postcard section)

    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!

    PLUS: When you have time…here are 4 free ways we can help you have an INVINCIBLE 2019!

    1. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

    Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here 

     

    2. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan

    Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan  – Click Here

     

    3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

    The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

     

    4. The Free Online ROI Calculator

     Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

    Also…check out these game-changing tools!

     Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

    MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

    Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand & achieve 20% market share

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    Based on a recent NAR survey, 77% of buyers stated home staging made it easier to visualize the property as their future home.

    In fact, the majority of agents agree home staging decreases the home’s time on the market and increases the sales price (up to 15 percent).

    With options from hiring a professional, to doing it yourself, here’s why more agents are choosing virtual staging.

    Search the internet for virtual staging and you’ll find lots of articles on how “dishonest” the practice is and how “deceived” potential buyers feel when they visit the home and the staging they saw online isn’t there.

    But, read who is writing these hit pieces – professional home stagers – and it’s easier to take them with a grain of salt. Besides, many agents are successfully using virtual home staging and have great tips to offer.

    The vacant home

    Regardless of the type of market or home, staging is a must for most vacant homes—even if it’s staged only for the listing photos.

    But, there’s more to it than marketing. Vacant homes send a message to potential buyers: this seller is desperate.

    At the very least, buyers may assume there’s an urgency on the seller’s part to get rid of the home. Hello, lowball offers!

    Most buyers first view a home online. Therefore, having at least virtual staging in place avoids the “vacant home syndrome” that may lead to low offers. 

    What virtual staging is, and isn’t

    Virtually staging a home for sale involves digitally enhancing the home’s rooms with furniture and accessories.

    Many companies offer the service and it’s quite easy to use. All you, as an agent, need to do is send high-res photos of the rooms your client wants to be staged to the staging company. Depending on the company, you can have the finished product within 48 hours to a week later.

    Costs vary as well. BoxBrownie.com charges as little as $32 per photo. While other companies can charge up to $100 or more per photo.

    Virtual staging isn’t a DIY project. Sure, you can purchase software, but it isn’t the same software the pros use and, without a staging background, it’s not wise. Unless, of course, you think homeowners going FSBO is wise, then, by all means, go for it.

    Unlike most of the out-of-the-box virtual staging software, the professional virtual staging software doesn’t virtually remodel homes. It presents the home’s architecture as-is and design the staging around what is actually present.

    The photos are high-resolution and far more realistic and professional-looking than you’ll get with consumer-oriented software.

    So, how do you keep a potential buyer from feeling manipulated?

    Hard feelings may ensue when what a potential buyer sees in person isn’t what was presented online. Buyers may feel deceived, or like the victim of a bait and switch type of con.

    Kiawah Partners in Charleston, S.C. has a brilliant solution.

    “The company shows two versions of the photos: the room as it was originally photographed and the virtually staged room with the word ‘visualization’ prominently watermarked in the corner of the image,” explains Realtormag.com’s Erica Christoffer.

    “The potential home buyer can see that the kitchen currently has beautiful dark wood cabinets and dark quartzite countertops, say, but can also see what it would look like if the cabinets were painted white and the dark countertop was replaced with a white marble,” explained Tiffany Jonas, Kiawah’s advertising and marketing manager

    The company also includes a disclaimer in the property’s MLS description.

    At vacant properties, the empty rooms contain large photos of the virtually staged room, “mounted on foam board and sitting on easels,” according to Cristofer.

    “The potential home buyer can plainly see the original, real room in front of their eyes and, in the mounted photo, how that room would look with different furnishings and finishes,” Jonas told the magazine.

    Other agents who employ virtual staging have the most popular rooms staged several different ways. “To help buyers visualize, for example, how a space could serve as a study, an exercise room, or a guest room, depending on one’s needs,” according to Boston Globe correspondent Marni Elyse Katz.

    What to look for in a virtual staging company

    Choosing a virtual staging company is rather like choosing a professional real estate photographer—it’s all about the photos.

    Of course, you’ll want to ensure that the photos are realistic. You’ll also want to ensure that they take into account all the other aspects of stunning photography. These include lighting, scale, color, and composition.

    A virtual staging company should also offer experience in home décor and styling. This includes the ability to create tasteful combinations of furniture and accessories, wall colors and flooring.

    Finally, consider what you get for the money you are willing to spend.

    We recommend BoxBrownie.com, not only for their skills and affordability but for the extras they offer, such as professional copywriters, to really make your listing sing.


    Another way to attract more buyers is to send the Still Renting postcard from the First Time Buyer/Renter Series to at least 100 renters in your area. Need a mailing list of renters? Click Here.

    Always know that we are here to help you in any way we can. 

    Call our support team at 866.405.3638 if you would like help creating a new mailing list or marketing materials.