As a home stager we are a critical part of the “team” that sells a house. That’s not to say we always feel like team members, or that we’d necessarily even want to!
It all depends which real estate agent we might be dealing with and their attitudes towards home staging.
Sometimes, we aren’t dealing with the real estate agent at all because the home seller hires us first. In these cases, we often don’t meet or speak with the Realtor® who is eventually hired to sell that particular property.
Real estate agents are an important audience for your home staging services.
But real estate agents can also pose some challenges as described in this Ask Staging Diva Home Staging Business Dilemma sent in by “Chris” (name changed), who writes:
“How or what do we do when a real estate agent goes in AFTER I have staged a house and changes around some of my home staging as they didn’t like the inside of the home’s interior the way I had staged the home?
This happened to me on my last home staging project!
I saw red, as I felt the Realtor was insulting me by rearranging my home staging. I didn’t appreciate her touching items that belong to me, especially the accessories.
She also convinced the home seller to change the furniture as ‘she’ the real estate agent, didn’t like the style of furniture. The owner then rings me to ask “How can we change the furniture?”
Please can you advise me how to handle this sensitive topic?”
There are both new and experienced home stagers reading this home staging business dilemma. And, even if you’re totally new to the staging industry, you have life experience that will help us find the right solutions.
Please share your point of view in the comments below.
I’ll summarize the best ideas and add my own thoughts in an upcoming post. Your participation will help us “crowd source” a solution, so your participation is key!
We’ll all learn from this and it will help us face similar situations in our own home staging business.
Chris to Owner: After she counts to 10….
This is the emotional stage of the process where we now must
let go and admit that it is no longer about us, it is about the buyer.
80 % of the hard work is completed, you have your listing, your
agent and we can learn from team effort. Did the potential buyer
insist on the furniture re-arrangement or re-design so she could
get a feel for the home with her items in it ?
Owner: No this was my real estate agent acting alone. She didn’t
have a client..
Chris: Let’s get feedback from our first potential buyer. We want
their thoughts and feelings about the home. If the furniture arrangement is sole reason, they are not paying you the asking price today, then our team can boast another staging success story. Aren’t you thrilled they did not object to your personal
furniture & you have just made a 100 % return on your staging
costs and you already paid for delivery and pick up.
Owner: Do you have an imaginary sign to post: Agents without Buyers- NO ADMITTANCE
Debra Gould says
Karla, thanks for sharing that dialog! I know “Chris” will enjoy it!
This is always tricky when an agent comes in and does some “re-swizzling”. I have had this happen on occasion. Typically, it’s small changes they have made and I have left the changes as is and decided not to say anything. However, when it’s larger changes (ie., furniture moved) that becomes a problem. i.e., What if the floor is scratched in the process of someone else moving the furniture that was carefully placed in the property? That potentially is a liability issue for the stager. This is where a contract is important. The contract should note that items placed by the stager should not be moved without discussion with the stager first (and if a return trip needs to be made to reswizzle if it’s agreed upon, then this would be an additional charge) As far as bringing in additional furniture . . . my contract states that it is the stager’s discretion to pick out the appropriate inventory for the property (We are the experts in knowing what sells a home and appeals to the broadest potential buyers, right?) The contract also indicates that any agreed upon changes for furniture – again will be an additional charge to the client. Only once have I had a realtor ask me to switch out a sofa. It was a very dark townhome and I brought in a simple lined beige sofa. She wanted me to bring in a brown sofa. (Maybe she was going for the “cave-look”) I politely shared with her that in my “professional” opinion, this would really detract from the space. She kept pushing and I stood my ground. (She also didn’t like me sharing that to do that – regardless – it would be an additional fee and delivery cost) P.S. The town house sold in about 21 days. Good Luck and keep smiling!
Debra Gould says
Excellent points Barbara. “Chris” has already written me that this was most helpful.
Sally Lewis says
I have it in my contract that what I put in the home is not to be moved, rearranged and/or taken out of the room. This is also in my Policy & Procedure Book and I discuss this with the seller at the time of the staging.
Debra Gould says
Sally, I love your suggestion! Of course this would only work in an unoccupied home.