Sheron Cardin's Input...: Overcoming the Objections of Home Staging

I have been an interior designer for over 27 years and I have always taught my clients the principles I used while decorating their home so they may enjoy decorating too. The home staging trend in residential real estate is a great way to reach more people every day and what I enjoy the most is they are learning the basics of good design through staging. It is my dream for every person to know the joy and pride of living in a decorated home.

Overcoming the Objections of Home Staging

Home Staging and Marketing come out of the same budget. Home sellers do not give marketing a second thought when they decide to sell their house unless it is an fsbo. A home seller's perception of marketing is the agent's job because that is what they do! "Why should we pay for that?"

It is no wonder they are astounded when their agent tells them they need to get their own home MARKET READY! "What? That is not our responsibility, it is yours!"

Home sellers expect to have to do some things like clear off the refrigerator, make their beds every morning, keep the dishes up and mow the lawn.

Now they are told they need to do what?

  • "Stage our house?
  • "What the heck is that?"
  • "We don't have the money for that!"
  • "How much is that going to cost us?"
  • "Why should we pay for that?"
  • "Bob and Mary sold their house last year and they didn't have to do that!"
  • "What is wrong with our house?"
  • "We have been living here for years and it is just fine!"
  • "If we have to do extra stuff like home staging, then you should pay for it!"

These are reasonable and natural responses. So let's see how we can handle these objections...

If you are a real estate agent and you have just sat through a meeting where a Home Stager was the guest speaker and he or she has convinced you that home staging is necessary in today's market for many reasons, and you are sold on the idea. So now you take on a new listing and you hit a road block as defined by the bulleted comments. What can you do? What are you going to say?

Overcoming the objections:

  • A new industry has emerged in residential real estate called Home Staging or Point of Sale Merchandising because the value needs to equal or exceed expectations for today's buyers. Buyers need to see what they are getting, and you, the seller, are competing with new construction model homes at similar price points
  • Trained professionals know what buyers are looking for and will show you what you need to do to optimize your home to compete in your neighborhood and sell.
  • Home Stager's are very much like set designers or window dressers and know what lifestyle buyer's are looking for in your area.
  • A house that is not staged in today's market will be left up to luck no matter how great your Realtor is, and you may not get your house sold at all. The market has changed that dramatically.
  • You can do the work yourselves or Home Stager's will do it for you but it must be done
  • Home Stager's have made it easy for you. You can pay for a consultation with a credit card. (If your local stager does not offer financing, ask them to add Paypal or some other type of shopping cart on their web site for your customers)  The will come into your home and show you exactly what needs to be done to get your home resale ready and competitive. They will leave you with a detailed to-do list.
  • If upgrades are needed such as appliances, flooring, painting, landscaping and you don't want to do it yourself, then you can get that financed and added to escrow which will be paid at closing. It is proven that upgrades in the kitchen's, bath's, flooring, and paint, get the best returns and add value to the sell of your home.
  • I strongly recommend that all the work needs to be completed before the open house. The open house and the first two weeks are critical and increase the chance of a successful sale!
  • Let's give our STAGER a call right now and see when he/she can meet with us. 
Feel free to add your experiences of objections you may have encountered and whether you were able to overcome them and how.

            

 

Namaste

Comment balloon 43 commentsSheron Cardin • February 16 2007 11:32AM

Comments

Home staging can make all the difference not only in empty homes but also in ones with poorly organized funiture.
Posted by John Marlow, John Marlow (Foxhall Investments) over 12 years ago

My thoughts are...don't you think most buyers would want to feel like they are getting a model home?  Afterall, it's the buyer's new home.  That's why for new construction model homes are such a marketing tool.  Their objective is to make you want to live there, or see yourself living there.

 

Posted by Susan Cunningham, R.E.VISION - Suwanee, GA (NE Atlanta Home Staging) over 12 years ago

Sheron -- In the words of Craig Schiller --- WOW...WOW...WOW!!!  What an awesome blog!  I have bookmarked this and printed it out.  With your permission, I am going to use it in my marketing materials.  You really hit the nail on the head with this post...great job!

Posted by Judy Kincaid over 12 years ago
Good infromative post.  I have not had much success finding a good professional for home staging.  It seems that in my area, it tends to fall on the Realtor.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 12 years ago

I couldn't agree more!  When a house is enmpty it lacks warmth and atmosphere so go with the staging if you don't have it furniture.  You might think that the house is bigger without furniture and look at that as a pluse, but think again....it's an illusion, it looks smaller.  Along with giving the prospective buyers a false sens of placement/room, it leaves a cold, unempty feeling with your buyers.

Patriciia Aulson/SEACOAST NH,ME  REALTOR

Posted by Anonymous over 12 years ago
Great article. I have a holster full of information now. THanks.
Posted by Robert McArtor, Top Listing Agent for Baltimore and Harford County (RE/MAX Components - Fallston Maryland) over 12 years ago

Great post, Sheron!

With the concept of Home Staging in the "Early Adopter" phase of its life cycle in so many regions, objections are going to come up frequently.

What I like most about your post is that you give Realtors the tools to overcome those objections.

Well done!

Veronica

Select Home Staging

Denver, Colorado

www.selecthomestaging.com 

Posted by Veronica Harbert, Select Home Staging (Select Home Staging) over 12 years ago
Sheron this is a great post.  Your statement "...the value needs to equal or exceed expectations for today's buyers." hits the nail on the head.   Your points should really help agents and sellers better understand what Home Staging provides.   
Posted by Gina Dougherty, Home Staging Redondo Beach, CA- FusionDesignConsulting.com (Fusion Design Consulting) over 12 years ago

Sheron-

Another great post !  I like it when you organize the post in bullet points.  Easy to read

Posted by John Hruska (Homes Charlotte, LLC) over 12 years ago

Hi Sheron:

In our area we have a couple of Home Stagers, its a fairly new business here.  I do have to say that most people are open to suggestions.  I had one family whose home looked like a nursey school and within hours we had it sale ready.  Offer on it today as a matter of fact. 

Your post is excellent and great for agents who are afraid to make comment on the sellers "home sweet home" for fear of losing the listing.  Unfortunately the vacant or unstaged home often sits for months without offers. Most changes cost next to nothing to complete and really put a sparkle on the place. 

 

Posted by Denise Brophy, ABR ePRO CERC (Re/Max Realty Specialists ) over 12 years ago
Sheron- you already know that  I want to know can I use some of this?
Posted by Marci Toliver, Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging (438-4642) over 12 years ago
You have been providing great posts and only yesterday tried to convince someone they needed to stage, could pay at closing and the extra fee may make the difference between theirs being the next sold or still on the market.  The 1% of salesprice cost will be returned in less than one house payment so if staging is the reason your home sells why wouldn't you do it?
Posted by Teri Isner, GRI, CRS, CIPS (Keller Williams Realty at the Lakes) over 12 years ago

I have to be honest.  I like my house, and if I were to sell it I'd never hire a home stager.  I don't think I need one.  My decorative sense is incredible and my home is beautiful.  People ask me to do their interior decorating for them all the time.  But, that being said, I think most people DO need a stager.  So, am I absolutely right in both thoughts, or am I in denial?  I guess we won't know until I try to sell my place.

:) Abe

Posted by Abe Loper (Nobility Partners, LLC) over 12 years ago

Sheron - Great Blog.  Very timely.  Just today I received REALTOR magazine online.  In their article 4 Minor Improvements That Bring Big Results they discuss home staging and how minor changes can equal big bucks. 

"Sellers who refuse to make minor repairs are likely to pay dearly for their stubbornness," http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2007021204?OpenDocument 

Posted by Maureen Maureen over 12 years ago
Here is a question for you.  What do you think about staging the home and waiting for payment at time of close of escrow from the sellers proceeds?  That way, no one comes out of pocket at the time of staging.
Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 12 years ago

John - I love that...poorly organized furniture! You are very polite

Hi Susan and welcome to Active Rain! And yes...most people would never have the opportunity to live in a model home and when it appears that they can buy a home that looks like one, they can better see how to decorate it themselves as well as the sellers learning how to do it as well.

Thank you Judy, and of course you can use this info as well as anyone in the rain.

Randy -  If you don't have a home stager in your area then I can help you. I will email you.

Patricia - Sounds like you speak from experience. I would be nice to hear some of your experiences here at Stage It Forward.

Robert - watch where you point that thing!

Veronica - thank you...I am hoping that all you need to do is use them and voila!

Gina - that perverbial nail gets a lot of use in the rain forest...just feel sorry for the head it hits!!!

John - Robert has a holster, Gina has nails, and you like bullets...I'm getting scared =0

Denise - Exactly! Did you help them or did a stager do it? Happy to hear the success stories. We are always looking for statistics...do you have others you can share?

Marci - I give you carte blanc on all my work because I know you will put it to good use!

Teri - Financing is going to make it so much easier for home sellers. Coming up with the cash for something that appears intangable is not an easy sell. Thank you for your support.

Abe - Isn't it fun to decorate, especially if your good at it. If your home has beautiful appointments and flair, the last thing you would need to do is tone it down. Most home stagers get into the business because they have a flair or talent that they need to express. However, you may want a consultation just in case :)

Maureen - thank you for the link. I hope everyone reads it, not because that would provide stagers with work, but to make selling their homes a more joyful experience...

 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

Tony - The Professional Stager can defer the cost of furniture and accessory rental, merchandise for upgrades etc to the home seller and then have those paid for by escrow (don't quote my lingo...I have talked to several lenders and they can cut checks to vendors and contractors/labor before the sale of the house and those dollars will come out of escrow) But the stager should be paid seperately either by cash or credit card. The home stager is not responsible for the sale of the house and if the sellers decide to pull their house off the market, they will be responsible for the purchases and the Stager may never get paid for their services. 

Does this answer your question? 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

Sheron - what a fantastic post!  As I was reading it, I kept thinking "I hope she gets featured because this is awesome!", and I was so happy to get to the end and see that you did!  So congrats!

That being said, this is without a doubt one of the best Stager's blogs that I have read in quite some time...boy oh boy did you hit a home run with this!  On behalf of all the stagers whose life you have just made easier as a result of sharing this information, I say thank you sooooo much!

If you don't mind, I would like to add this information to my Realtor's Info packet?

Way to go Sheron!

Posted by Val Allocco, HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island (Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island) over 12 years ago
Val - coming from you I think my work is done for the day. I completely and wholeheartedly support all of you and I will do everything I can to stage it forward. Even though it may look like I am you competition...I am not. But what I do as my business at how2homestage.com fills in the blanks for the industry itself. Thanks Val and everyone. This post got featured? Cool. Should do some good!
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

Isn't it funny that they don't have money to invest to Stage their house but when the realtor suggests lowering the price by $10K or more they don't blink an eye. I don't get it.

Phyllis Pafumi 

Posted by Phyllis Pafumi, ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ (ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey) over 12 years ago

Sheron,

Wonderful post!  It has given me some things to think about

Posted by Kimberly Uksik, Home Stager - Durham, Toronto, On. (Independent) over 12 years ago
Sheron - Yes and No.  It's the answer I expected, and I agree that the Stager should be paid regardless of whether the house sells, however, Sellers may not be in a position to pay up front out of pocket - cash or cc - a couple of thousand dollars, and therefore may have no choice other than to lower the price instead of improving the way the home shows.  Seems like there may be a market niche for Stagers who are willing to bill escrow and take a risk....what percentage of houses that are staged DON'T sell?  If that number is small - not much risk - and possibly great rewards.  Sort of the way the real estate agent is compensated!
Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 12 years ago
Christine - the Seller sees it as cash out of pocket now versus less cash in their pocket at close of escrow.  Not the best bottom line result - but typical "seller human nature"!
Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 12 years ago

Tony - Home stagers are more than happy to work with home sellers by working up a to-do list based on the stagers knowledge of what the buyers want and expect and then the home seller can do the work themselves. That should be affordable to most people. In California, it costs no more than a family of 4 going to the water part for the day.

Plyllis - home sellers may figure that the asking price for their house was too high to begin with. And then if they lower it and it sells, they haven't lost anything or spent anything...that is my guess. 

Christine - It is my experience that many people need to sell these days out of less than desirable circumstances and the thought of paying for something so etheral as home staging when they need to fix their car is not fathomable to them. These people need to do it themselves and that is great. They still need to know what to do. These types of sellers will really benefit from agents who offer staging as a service.

Thanks everyone again for offering your comments 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

I know alot of dirty people here that should have staged their houses.

I just don't see how they can live like that! You should be doing well in a down market like this.

Posted by Luke Constantino, Residential/Commercial Real Estate Brooklyn NY (Brooklyn/Manhattan Real Estate) over 12 years ago
Fantastic information, Sheron.  Its great to get advice from those who have been in business for a while so we youngins' can learn and prosper. I'll have to bookmark this one.
Posted by Tina Parker, CNE, REDM, SRES, CSP Home Staging REALTOR, Halifax (Keller Williams Select Realty) over 12 years ago
Sheron - In the Phoenix area the best "deal" I've found so far is $350 - to be paid at time of staging.  So far I have picked up that expense on houses which absolutely must be staged.  Is that amount in line with what you see in the CA market?
Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 12 years ago

Tony,

Are you talking about $350 for a Staging Consultation which in essence gives the seller the tools to stage the house themselves, or are you referring to an actual 'staging session'?

VAL

Posted by Val Allocco, HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island (Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island) over 12 years ago
The $350 includes a tour of the property, a written report with instructions to the Sellers about what specifically needs to be done, and a return visit after the items have been completed for another tour/inspection and up to an hour assisting with the "final touches".
Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 12 years ago
Tony - We really appreciated your interaction here and want very much to get to the bottom of all resistance to staging. The fee of $350 sounds right. That is 2 trips, consultation and the development of the to do list, then follow up and adjusting. That is really a good deal! Your Stager is dedicated and committed to her work and is not over charging you at all. You can be confident that you are not wasting your money!
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
Luke - we are trying. We have a few stagers in New York. Do you use anyone we know?
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
This is an excellent post, thank you so much Sheron, can we use some of your blog as a marketing tool to Realtors?
Posted by Theresa Gamble (Simply Put Home Staging & Redesign) over 12 years ago
We would love to include it as part of our standard listing package, at our expense.  We already include a Home Inspection at time of listing at our expense - however - the payment is deferred until the property closes escrow OR doesn't sell and comes off the market.  Either way, I guarantee the payment to the Home Inspector.  With the number of listings we take it would put a serious upfront expense - one of those cash flow things :-) - however - am wondering if any stagers out there have an arrangement with agents to defer payment until time of sale/ no-sale.
Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 12 years ago

Theresa - Yes, you can use the scenario above in part or as a whole.

Tony - Now I understand your original question. If it were me staging your properties, I would want a contract to stage all of your office listings and I would charge more than a normal fee.  So that is a good question. Why don't you put that out there in a post and see what happens. 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
Sheron - That's a good idea.  Is it OK with you if I come back here and leave a comment with a link to the post once I've created it?  Thanks,  Tony
Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 12 years ago
Absolutely Tony...it is really important to find out ways for everyone to get every listing staged. Just think how nice this country will look one day if homeowners keep up the staged home created for them. 
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
Sheron - Have created the post and tagged it as advertising - so not sure how visible it will be.  Here is the link.  Any input as to additional information or editing would be welcome!  Thanks,  Tony
Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 12 years ago

I love your posts Sheron!

I have been staging for a few years now for friends, collegues and myself ;) but I am now entering into the biz full time back in my home town, which represents some personal challenges but I still know many people locally and professionally - just havent seen them for 10 years! every bit of info and pointers you give on here boosts my confidence and helps me think about things on a new angle to better apply the staging 'pitch' to each person on my list and how specifically it applies to them...

Anyway - Please keep posting - you truly are 'uniting' the real estate industry :)

Posted by Cheryl Reynen, Set The Stage - Comox Valley, BC (Set The Stage) over 12 years ago
Happy to be here for you Cheryl...show us what you are doing.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

Is it ok if I clip this & print out to show around?

Thought I'd better ask first.

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 12 years ago
You and everyone is invited to reuse this post. I am also going to put in my April newsletter. It can help move things along. Thanks for asking Kathleen!
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

I don't know how I missed this post.  What a fabulous blog!   Informative and well written. Thanks Sheron!

Posted by Alyse Bromberg (Dressed for Success) over 12 years ago
Yer welcome! I wrote it back in Feb...that is probably why you missed it. Thanks for stopping by!
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

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