Last week I wrote a post called, “Stagers, don’t let real estate agents discourage you”. I was motivated to write it because for the many years I’ve been staging homes I’ve been running into real estate agents who:
- don’t understand why an empty, disorganized or ugly home is harder to sell
- list it as is, put a few bad pictures on MLS and then talk their client into subsequent price reductions when the property doesn’t sell
- are afraid they’ll have to pay for our services if they recommend them, or worse, feel threatened by what home stagers do instead of realizing we make them look good and their selling jobs easier
- want to be proud of a listing that has their name on it because they know it reflects on their reputation and who know if they have great MLS photos they’ll attract more showings and quicker and higher offers.
Sadly, that last group is harder to find. The good new is that the “unaware” or “fearful” real estate agents can be educated and many of them do come around to understanding the benefits of home staging to themselves as well as their clients, as you’ll see from the comments from home stagers on my original post. That’s why I emphasize the messages and selling points you should use with real estate agents when selling your home staging services in course 4 of the Staging Diva Program.
I was also motivated to write that post because for the 5 years I’ve been teaching home staging courses, I’ve watched too many really talented stagers feel they should give up on following their dreams because they let the discouragement of real estate agents stop them in their tracks.
It’s important to note that in the past, most of a real estate agent’s power came from the control of information.
Before the Internet, you couldn’t get any details about a house for sale without using a licensed real estate agent. I’m old enough to remember when listings were printed out and carried around in binders and the only way to see them was through an agent. Then MLS was available by computer, but the public couldn’t access it. There was no way to tell how fast homes sold or for how much, without a real estate agent.
As the gate keepers of all information about real estate, agents had tremendous power to establish asking prices, sway buyers and to convince their sellers to accept certain offers.
They still have power and influence of course (which is not a bad thing as a good real estate agent has an important role to play), but the rest of us no longer exist in an information vacuum.
With 90% of buyers in Canada, and 70% in the US doing their own online search for properties before even calling a real estate agent, the competitive environment agents operate in is completely different. Not all agents have woken up to the paradigm shift in their industry. That’s where a lot of the resistance home stagers run into comes from.
Not to mention that change always brings up fear. For agents old enough to remember when they controlled all information, it’s hard to let go of habits that came with that. For newer agents who flooded the industry when the market was booming, it’s hard to recover from the giant reality check the last 12 to 18 months have brought, and look for ways to change how they sell properties.
All this is to say, home stagers and aspiring home stagers: don’t give up your power to real estate agents. Many of them will discourage you, but keep on going anyways.
We offer a tremendous and valuable service to home sellers that makes a huge difference in their lives. If you have any doubt of that, please read the many examples of what Staging Diva Graduates have done for their clients here.
I welcome your comments to this story. Let’s keep this conversation going!
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Home Staging and Voice of Possibility Group Inc.
Debra Gould knows how to make money as a home stager and she developed the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love while helping others at the same time.