Real Estate Agents: So you’re thinking of using a home stager?

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Home staging is a growth industry in Australia with more and more agents staging their listings.

If you are an agent and you want to know more about home staging (or property styling as it is also known) or want to decide if it’s right for you and your clients then I hope the information below helps:

Firstly, What is home staging?

  • How your sellers live in their home and how they need to prepare their home for sale so that they attract their ‘most likely buyer’ are two different things.
  • Home staging is simply the merchandising of a house to capture the hearts and offers of potential buyers so that a house gets sold quickly, for the best price and with the least stress.

Why would a real estate agent recommend a home stager?

  • Staged properties sell quicker  – a huge motivator for all agents
  • Staged properties sell for more. For more information on these 2 points click here
  • With over 90% of buyers looking to the internet first for listings, staged properties look better on-line
  • Staging your properties sets you apart from other agents with a ‘never needed it before, not doing it now’ mindset.  With an increase in well presented properties on the market, if your listings aren’t staged they help to sell the ones that are.

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When  would you recommend a stager?

  • For virtually every listing!  These are the only times that you wouldn’t call a stager
  • Staging isn’t just for high end houses or a club for elites. Every house can look its best come sale time. I’ve worked with a $350k workers cottage in Acacia ridge to a multi million dollar house in Clayfield and all points in between
  • Home stagers are particularly recommended when: the home is dated, in need of repair, very cluttered, has little or no furniture or the furniture doesn’t match or is the wrong size for the house, if there is a mismatch between the seller and buyers (e.g. older seller, younger buyers), if the seller needs to move quickly (ill-health, divorce, move interstate). Basically, if you see a house and you know it’s not presenting well but don’t know what to suggest to your client, call a stager.
  • If you want to keep your client/agent relationship sweet and don’t know how to broach the presentation subject then a stager can have these difficult conversations for you.

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How does home staging Work?

  • You give the stager’s details to your client and recommend they call.
  • The stager and your client meet at the house for a consultation. You are welcome to attend if you want to see the stager ‘in action’. By the end of the consultation your client will know who the most likely buyer of the house will be, the purpose and layout of each room to attract those buyers, repairs, upgrades, painting, yard, cleaning, what to store, what to keep, how to style what’s left, what to buy (e.g. new bedlinen, towels, fresh flowers) strategies for open houses and lots more. Stagers can also help in recommending suppliers (e.g. handyman, storage unit). This may be all your client needs to get into action.
  • If the client needs to hire furniture or accessories the stager will measure for these in the consultation then hire and install everything for the client. To see the full process of hiring furniture read the blog titled : so you’re thinking of staging your vacant house to sell?

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Got more questions?

Who pays?  Generally speaking the client does unless you as the agent want to pay for the initial consultation (most don’t).

What’s the time period? It depends. Staging can be turned round in a week but 2-3 weeks is more normal. You can’t expect someone who has lived in their house for 30 years to prepare for photos in 2 day’s time. Nor can you ring the stager last minute to help them.

How much does it cost? From c. $300 for a consultation up to $5k for a vacant 4 bed house and everything in between (These are my costs but give a general idea).  Staging is always more cost effective than a price reduction if the property doesn’t sell

What’s the proof?  Take a look at this infographic  or this Homegain survey

How do I know what stager to use? This could be a whole blog in itself but select a stager based on their good web presence, word of mouth, testamonials, experience, gallery (before and after pictures), communication skills, people skills and organisational skills.  Find out what properties or clients they love working with. You don’t have to just use 1 stager. You might select one for vacant staging and another for cluttered family houses.  One key question to ask is if the stager has their own inventory of furniture and accessories or whether they hire the furniture and who they hire it from. If the stager doesn’t have much to choose from their work won’t be as good.

It’s an expensive time for my clients how do I ‘sell’ the concept of home staging?  By sharing the research above, by showing them the difference between poorly presented and well presented homes, by getting them to imagine themselves as the buyer and what the buyer is looking for. By talking about return on investment (e.g. $5k outlay vs higher price for house).  70% of my business comes from home owners direct. In my experience, sellers see the benefit!

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Where can I find more information?  I have written over 100 blog posts.  Most of these are pinned on pinterest in one place. Just click on the one you want to read and it will take you through to the actual post. Feel free to share any of this information with your clients or on your blog or website.

Here are a couple of my favourites:

How not to sell your house in 4 easy steps

15 presentation mistakes that put off buyers when selling your house

And finally. Imagine it’s open house day. You have 5 properties to show. You turn up at each one and it’s presenting at its best. The photos on-line look great and you haven’t had to do anything except recommend a stager. Now, go sell!

I’m Imogen Brown a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you are an agent in Brisbane and are thinking of partnering with a home stager I’d love to talk. Call me on 0432994056 or contact me through my website

2 thoughts on “Real Estate Agents: So you’re thinking of using a home stager?

  1. Sue Cowie says:

    Hi Imogen, We talked some time ago and I would like to reschedule if that ‘s ok. I am definately not ready to sell – maybe 3 months or 3 years depending on what I see that I like but I need help in making my house look like a home ie pictures/styling so good for me and for selling when ready. Are there any days that work best for you. Address is 10 Margaret St Scarborough. I have taken lots of pics in furniture stores of ideas etc but not good at putting together. I have a very large 1920’s Queenslander. ph 38800909 or 0411687843. Best dates for me are between 6th and 24th March – and not Tuesdays or Wednesdays. By the way, very much enjoy emails/blog and your ideas/education. Thanks very much, regards Sue Cowie

    1. ib69 says:

      Hi Sue, great to hear from you. I’ll send you an e-mail with some dates : )

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