Sunday, September 11, 2016

Staging: Things every real estate agent should know

If you're a listing agent, there are certain things you HAVE to know - like how to fill out the listing forms, how to defend your commission, and how to stage a room.

Wait, they didn't cover that in real estate school!  Knowing interior design tricks and tips isn't necessary in real estate!

Au contraire mon ami.

I'll concede that you don't have to be a professional designer - heck, you don't even have to take an interior design 101 course.

But don't make the mistake that you don't have to know anything about design.  You should learn a few basics to aid your sellers in showcasing their home in the best possible way.  This way, their home sells for the best possible price.  If you don't know these few basic tips, you are costing your sellers money.

1.  Get it right.  Every agent knows that we need to counsel our sellers to "de-personalize the home." But to really get the home show-worthy, it's not just about removing family photos, religious symbols, and diplomas from the walls.  Most sellers need to be coached on what to leave on the wall, and where to leave it.  Most of the time, there are pictures hanging in the wrong spots on the wall.  Sure, it's where the seller likes it - but that's just a personal taste issue.  Which is perfectly fine until it's time to sell.  Now they need to be as appealing as possible.  Hanging photos at the proper height and with the right composition is imperative.

2.  Take it down.  Many times the decor is just right, but is still wrong.  I remind my sellers that the potential buyers that will be looking at the home need to be able to see and experience the home itself.  Sometimes even the most beautiful artwork can distract.  Buyers begin to admire the art and forget to experience the home itself.

3. Know what's hot - and what's not.  Real estate agents should stay on top of the latest design trends.  What colors, textures, and materials are the going trend in interior design?  Knowing the answer to this can make or break your commission bank.  Sellers WANT our input!  They don't need us to validate their design choices, they need us to sell their home for the most money possible! So they consult with us and want us to give the pointers and tips on how to make that happen.  And knowing what's on trend in interior design is a big part of that.  If you go into a listing appointment and the sellers tell you they are planning on replacing the countertops, you should be able to advise them on what materials are most appealing to buyers right now.  If they mention that they're willing to paint, you should be able to mention what color is getting the best response right now.

I've included a few resources below for real estate agents who want to educate themselves on basic design tips and what trends are in now:

1. Books on home staging:  Click here to access some top recommendations on books for home staging.  If you really want to be a proactive agent, pick a favorite and bring it with you to listing appointments.  You can use it as a leave-behind for your sellers.

2.  Blogs on Home Staging:  

  • does a great job of staying on top of design trends.  The best part about this blog is that it's written for REALTORS - so the WIIFM factor is high for any agent doing their homework.
  • HGTV - You know your clients are watching and paying attention to what's on HGTV.  You should be, too.  But most of us don't have time to watch the shows themselves.  Plus, let's face it, the last thing you want to watch on TV is a virtual recap of your working day! So stay tuned to their blog instead.  
3. Pinterest for home staging:  Yep, I said it.  Pinterest is an awesome way to stay on top of home design trends and staging tips.  I keep a Pinterest Board on Home Design Tips, as well as a few more like this one on  home organization and this one with overall ideas.  I'll follow up a listing appointment where my sellers were asking for tips by emailing them a link to these boards.  I've even followed up with sellers by creating boards specifically for their needs.  When I create the board, I name it something that will make it relevant to others as well.  This way I am doing my sellers a personal service, but also creating content that will stay around.  This is an example of one I did for sellers that had a mid-century modern home.  I encouraged them to really embrace the era by adding a few design touches.  My goal was to make someone feel like they walked into an episode of Mad Men. (I'm happy to report that it worked and we received a full price offer within 1 week!)

Hope that helps.  And hey, if you DO find yourself with some free time, you can always just catch up on this.'re welcome :)

Until Next Time, Jacki

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