Staging homes can make all the difference to a sale price. The question is, how do you know whether a home would benefit from a staging consultation? This article will help you glean some on-the-ground knowledge about home staging, and give you some tips along the way to give the best impression of your home.
When undergoing a home staging consultation, it’s important to begin by looking at the listing photos. You can find these online or ask your seller to provide them if they haven’t been posted yet. The seller may have some ideas of what they’d like help with, but you should make an objective evaluation of whether their concerns are valid or not. For example, if your client thinks that the living room is too dark but you think that the window treatments are working fine, don’t be afraid to tell them so!
Once you’ve done a thorough walk-through of the house and made some notes about problem areas in each space, it’s time to look at the photos again. This time you’re looking for opportunities to stage those problem areas and improve upon them. It can be helpful for home stagers to have a list of stock items (e.g., throw pillows, vases) that work well in different situations so that when you see something that needs more “softness” in a photo, you know exactly what will do the trick!
Every home staging consultation you do will have its own unique challenges. But one of the first things you can do to get off to a successful start is to set a goal for your consultation.
Your goal should always be to determine what the seller wants from their consultation. Knowing that information will help you assess how much time you should spend with them, and what the best approach for their home would be.
First, ask yourself: What does the seller want? How much time do they have? How willing are they to make changes? Once you have that information, it’s easier to assess how long your consultation should be based on how much work needs to be done.
Now that you’ve set your intentions and scheduled a consultation, it’s time for the real work to begin. Everything I say from here on out should be viewed through the lens of “I want to sell this house as quickly as possible, for top dollar.”
The first thing to do is take notes. Lots and lots of notes. At the very least, jot down:
A consultant should be thinking of ways to maximize the client’s space with what they have. You are the hub of information, and your job is to pull in information from the client as well as tell them how things will be carried out. If a potential client asks you why she should hire you, then give her a reason (but not too many). This is about being heard; more importantly, it’s about listening to others. More questions often lead to providing more solutions for clients.
You’re unique and special. Your home is too. Sometimes, it needs a little help to tell its story.
That’s where staging comes in: by highlighting your home’s strengths, downplaying its weaknesses, and showing off its personality, you can help buyers fall in love with it.
The first step to staging a house is giving it an honest evaluation—and we mean really honest. Once you have a good sense of what the house can be, the second step is preparing an estimate for your clients to get their approval on which improvements to make.
If you want to wow your clients, then you need to focus on what they need most. You can do this by nailing the initial consultation. Before you meet with the client, ask the real estate agent in charge of the listing whether or not any work has been done on the home recently. If so, then it may be a good idea to bring a builder’s tape measure to double-check room sizes and window dimensions.
When you arrive at the home, pay close attention to your client’s body language and facial expressions—this will tell you what they like best (and worst) about their space. In some cases, it may be best to allow them to give you a tour of their own home so that they can point out any areas that concern them most.
Once you have seen all there is to see, narrow your discussion down by asking your client what he or she wants potential buyers to feel when walking through their space for the first time? What are his or her main concerns about getting top dollar for their property? The more information that you can gather from your client during this initial conversation, the better able you will be able to serve them later on down the road (and win yourself repeat business).
Once you’ve completed your evaluation, it’s time to present your findings. This part of the consultation is crucial. Your client will decide whether or not to accept your ideas based on how you explain them. You’ll have to clearly articulate what the problem areas are and why they need fixing. You also have to do so in a way that doesn’t overwhelm or offend the homeowners with your suggestions for change. Here are some best practices:
Give them an estimate of the value that staging can add, and why you think this house will benefit from it.
The average home takes 150 days or more to sell. The average home that sells in 11 days is staged, and the average home that sells in 30 days is staged. The same holds true for homes that sell for 17% more than non-staged homes.
Why? Staging makes a space look better to buyers. It can make a small room look bigger, a cluttered room feel calmer, and a dark room appears brighter. Staging ensures your listing photos look their best, and so will the house when buyers come to see it in person!
Staging is an effective marketing strategy because it highlights your home’s best features, creates an emotional connection with buyers, improves buyer traffic, and shortens time on the market.
A good home staging consultation requires a delicate balance. You want to be friendly, you want to make them feel heard, but you also want them to know that you’re the expert on the situation.
Your job is to help your client present their home at its best, and they have chosen you because they trust that you know what they need. It can be a challenge to make sure that your client feels like they’ve had an opinion in the process while still maintaining control of the consultation, but it can be done!