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How do I discuss home staging with clients?


Has this happened to you? You walk into a potential listing, and you know that the sellers have some work to put into the home before you can list it for top dollar in your market. You want to earn the listing, but you also want to avoid offending or upsetting your seller clients. Right?

Even with the most beautiful homes, staging should be a discussion. Sellers may truly believe that their home is “show ready”. So, how do you break the news, gently, that some work should be done? As a realtor or stager, here are four steps you can take to discuss home staging with your seller clients:

1. Stop telling your sellers to “declutter”.

When you enter your clients’ homes, keep in mind that what you (and a potential buyer) may see as clutter, your sellers see as their possessions. Whether it’s a bunch of Star Wars helmets (I have these in my home!) or paperwork strewn over the counter, the sellers have these items in their home for a reason.

Instead of telling your sellers to “declutter”, try explaining that they are “pre-packing”. If they’ve decided to list their home for sale, they will be moving, so it’s time for them to start packing anyway. This will also encourage them to get a head start and help their home look good to potential buyers. Plus, if you have a relationship with a local storage company, that will help your sellers during the home selling process.

2. Focus on the positive.

Instead of explaining to your sellers that their furnishings are out of date (no one wants to hear that!) or mismatched, focus on the positives of their home, and how much you want to highlight that to buyers.

When living in a home, the furnishings are there to enhance your life and serve your needs. But, when selling a home, the furnishings are really there to subtly promote a way of life. Bring this difference to life for your sellers, so they are on board and understand how to use all, or some, of their current furnishings and décor to feature their home in its best light!

3. Explain the impact of home staging.

If you’ve sold a few homes, you know the impact of staging. But, do your sellers know? Here are just a couple of quotes for you to keep in your back pocket:

“When staging a home, 22 percent of sellers’ agents reported an increase of one to five percent of the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes. Seventeen percent of respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between six and 10 percent.”

National Association of Realtors

“On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than non-staged homes.”

Also, keep in mind that if the home is occupied, staging typically costs much less than the first price reduction. Let your sellers know you want to get it right from the outset, rather than having to reduce the price, which could cost the homeowners additional equity they could put toward their next home.

4. Remember how hard staging and selling is for your sellers.

Don’t forget to empathize with your sellers. Staging your home, pre-packing a bunch of possessions, and keeping your home show-ready at a moment’s notice is hard. Add in the potential stress of not knowing where they are moving, or trying to arrange a move (potentially with school changes, pets, job changes, etc.), your sellers may feel anxious or overwhelmed.

Take a moment to heap on the appreciation for every bit of the staging they do accomplish, and recognize they are doing their best!

Helping your seller clients prepare their homes for sale doesn’t have to be a daunting process. By openly discussing the power of home staging up front, you can help alleviate some stress for them, while also steering them on the right path to prepare their home for a profitable sale.

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