1. Be blunt: Give honest feedback.
Remember: everyone thinks they’re the expert on their home—even after hiring you. If you actually want their listing to close quickly, you need to be upfront with your feedback.
Smart sellers will appreciate your insight and hop on board with your plan. Others will only appreciate it down the road after they see their way doesn’t bring in the right offers. If you get pushback, point to your sold home history and other selling successes to show clients that you know what you’re talking about.
2. Be inspired: Tour before (or while) you talk.
One of the best ways to show sellers what their home lacks is to have the staging chat while touring other listings. Seeing what other homes have to offer not only supports your suggestions, but may inspire some creative ideas.
At the very least, send sellers to a few open houses. This helps them see how their home measures up to others and gives them an idea of what it’s really going to take to compete in today’s market.
3. Be complete: Stage from the outside in.
Most sellers are real estate media obsessed — addicted to HGTV, Trulia, or one of the many other shows or sites out there. This is good because it means most aren’t completely oblivious to the fact that selling will take some effort on their part.
The downside is that many clients are used to focusing on the insides of houses. If you’re watching house hunters the front of the home is on the screen for 10 seconds tops. But first impressions matter. Start the staging talk outside and work your way in. Don’t let your seller ignore the importance of curb appeal.
It doesn’t matter if your seller’s listing has the biggest master bedroom ever; if the outside paint is peeling you’ll have a tough time getting buyers in the door.
4. Be clutter-free: Have your clients pre-pack.
Let’s face it. Most buyers don’t have an imagination. The more stuff they see, the less they can envision themselves in a home.
The framed children’s artwork may be cute, but it could be taking away from the formal dining room a buyer-prospect is trying to picture.
Depersonalization, decluttering, changing the aura—whatever you want to call it—it’s sometimes hard for your sellers to hear it. Like a lot of things in this business, it’s all about how you package it.
Need those counters cleared and family photos off the walls? That’s just “pre-packing.”
Serious sellers aren’t just thinking about the sale, so frame the staging process as a way to help them get a leg up on the move ahead and keep personal decorations from getting in the way.
5. Be neutral: Make it a canvas.
To be clear, when it comes to being bland, we’re not talking about personality. But the more neutral your listing’s color scheme, the more ready it is for a potential buyer to come in and make it their own.
Be sure to think about the paint and fixtures as well. The bright red walls that were perfect for your client’s couches are more likely to be hurdle for the next owner.Go with neutral, but don’t take it too far. If you can avoid it, never show an empty home. Doing so can make it hard for buyers to see a house as a home, lead to super-boring listing photos, and make most places look smaller than they actually are.
Make sure my clients know that staging is a must if they’re serious about selling.
6. Be generous: Spend cash to make cash.
You have to spend money to make money. Convincing clients to spend money on a home they are leaving is usually one of the toughest staging conversations you’ll have.
When clients object, remind them of the cash they stand to make and the big boost their listing will get from a little bit of investment.
It doesn’t have to take millions or even thousands of dollars to stage a home well. Help your clients be thrifty without being stingy: it’s an investment that can have a serious return if you help them do it right.