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Use Your Resources

As you plan the conversation, consider showing your client our website or inviting an ROI stager along for the appointment. We are always happy to speak to your clients about our services, and having us there makes it easier for sellers to get answers to all their questions. As one of our clients puts it, we can be the “bad cop” to her “good cop.” Conversely, another of our clients brings us along for the opposite reason—to allay any fears that the sellers may associate with staging. And if you choose to refer your client to this website, the Staging Portfolio and This Works: Staging Statistics sections make it easy for your clients to see the benefits of staging.

Before You Go on the Market
“I recommend ROI for all my clients. It works every time.” Many of our realtor clients use our services every time they list a home. Even if you aren’t ready for that level of commitment, you can borrow their approach. A few key points: “I always recommend using ROI HomeServices to prepare a home for the market. They offer many levels of service to fit any budget. A stager comes and sees your home, then makes recommendations on how to best place things in order to feature your home in a way that appeals to buyers. I recommend their services for all my listings and I have seen the difference. ROI-staged homes sell faster, for more money.” By telling your client that you recommend staging for all of your listings, they understand that the need for staging is not personal.  It is a service that all homes benefit from. One of our realtor clients has even gone so far as to tell potential clients that she will not take their listing if they do not agree to stage. She has said that in some market conditions, it is a waste of her time to attempt to market an un-staged property.

“Here is an example of a staged home, and here is an example of a non-staged home.” One of our favorite clients told us that this convinces his clients every time.  He walks them through an ROI-staged home, then walks them through a comparable non-staged listing. They instantly see the value and his efforts pay off with a staged, in-demand listing.

“Staging can be more budget-friendly than you think.” Finish your conversation by discussing the levels of service available, including written consultations, staging and estate rehabilitation. Refer them to this website and leave a brochure for them to look over. Let them know that an ROI stager would be happy to come speak with them more about staging if they would like. Reiterate that staging should be thought of as a strategy toward making money, not as an expense.

“I have so much faith in staging, I will be happy to invest in it myself.” If it becomes apparent that your client is unwilling to invest in staging, or if you would like to offer staging as a special service to your clients, ROI has ways to make it easier for you. As a gesture of our appreciation for our clients, we offer “realtor rates” when the billable client is the agent. Ask your stager for more details.

Vacant Homes

“Empty homes feel cold.”  If the home is vacant, tell your client the truth: Empty homes look cold, barren and leave potential buyers feeling uninspired. While a home for sale should appeal to the masses, it should also showcase architectural features and offer a lifestyle. A good stager uses furnishings as visual cues to a style that best flatters your home, such as an urban loft highlighting an exciting city lifestyle. A good stager also knows how to use color, form, scale, etc. to manipulate the feel of a home—to make it feel bigger, smaller, lighter, darker, cozier, more sophisticated, etc. Let your clients know that once they vacate, a stager can enhance the features that they love so much about their home and show buyers what the sellers appreciated when they bought it.

Owner-Occupied Homes
If your listing is an owner-occupied home, this conversation can be challenging. Set aside some time immediately after listing the property. If you wait until the house has sat on the market, this conversation will be more difficult because your clients will see their furnishings as “the problem” and may become defensive. Have it early, and let them know that this is a conversation all homeowners must have with their realtors because the way we live is not an effective way to sell.

“All homes need preparation. Yours won’t need much.”
  Begin by reassuring them that you like their furnishings, and that you are very excited about helping them sell their home. Tell them that all homes need to be prepared for the market, and you don’t think that their home will need much work comparatively. This is a good way to instantly circumvent any defensiveness.

“I’m concerned that your pieces may distract from the home itself.” Do not say that any of their things are bad, ugly, distasteful, or dated. Do not assume that there is anything in their home that they think of as disposable.  Instead, use the word “distracting.” We have found that this is the most honest, respectful way to let your client know that their possessions are working against them—they are distracting from the house. There are many reasons that things distract—they can be bright, interesting, exotic, fancy, expensive, abundant, antique/vintage, shiny, unique, etc. But ultimately, you and ROI are both there to help our clients sell their home, not to impose our taste on them.

“Buyers need to see this as their home, not yours.” 
There are many different personalities in this world, and while we may all appreciate one another’s tastes, in real estate, if buyers cannot see themselves and their lives in a house, they will move on to the next. Tell your client that only 5% of the population is able to envision something that they have not seen, so even if buyers know that the house--not the furnishings--are for sale, the furnishings do shape their vision of the house and can keep them from seeing their own lives in it.

“ROI will keep it comfortable.” Add that ROI will use as many of the homeowner’s things as possible, and will ensure that the home is comfortable to live in, while keeping the ultimate goal of a successful sale in mind.

“It’s about making money, not spending it.” Finish your conversation by explaining that ROI offers many levels of service for any budget, including written consultations, staging and estate rehabilitation, and that a stager can come out to talk more with them if they would like, free of charge. Refer them to this website, and leave a brochure with them to read over. Let them know that staging fees are always much, much less than the cost of a price reduction, and it often will prevent that as well as save them more than a few mortgage payments. Reiterate that staging is about making money, not spending it, and that you believe that using ROI will maximize their return on investment by helping their home sell faster, for more money.

On the Market for Months
“Let’s re-strategize.”  If you have a house that has been sitting on the market and you know it’s time for a new strategy, let your client know that and schedule a time to discuss that strategy. This gives them time to mentally prepare for any criticism and open their minds to new ideas and concepts.

“Staging makes more sense than a price reduction.”  Approach this new strategy from a business perspective: Let your clients know that staging fees are always much, much less than the cost of a price reduction, and it often will prevent that as well as save them more than a few mortgage payments. Make them feel that of the options available, this is the least expensive for them.

“The buyers need help envisioning themselves here.” Educate them about the benefits of staging, without focusing on their furnishings too much. Try to make them feel that it is not personal, and their furnishings are not “causing a problem.” Tell them that only 5% of the population is able to envision something that they have not seen, and you think that this may be hindering potential buyers, keeping them from being able to envision themselves there. Frame your conversation so that it is the buyers who need the help, not your clients. If they need more specific explanation, tell your client that the feedback you have gotten is that potential buyers are noticing their incredible/interesting/beautiful furnishings more than the house, and are walking out not really having seen the home itself and so it does not stand out in their minds. Staging can use those same furnishings or rented furnishings to feature the home, taking the focus off the items and placing it on the house.