September 19, 2007
In case you missed it, I am running a 5-part series on Seller Objections:
- “I don’t believe in staging”
- “My kids are preventing me from staging”
- “I don’t want to pay for it”
- “I am too busy to keep the home staged”
- “Me and significant other both work and we have no time”
“I am too busy to keep the home staged”
I totally get it. At the end of the day, I just want to lie in my bed with my feet up and someone spoon feed me dinner because I don’t want to lift one finger at all. The last thing I want to do is doing the piles of dishes that I have in the sink and listen to my agents nagging me about how staging can help sell the house.
But as real estate professionals go, it’s our job to help motivate the sellers to keep the home staged while they live in it. It has something to do with our bottom line as well. If the home doesn’t sell, our reputation is at stake and our success rates go down. We are in a result-driven business, and we need to produce results.
Here are a few tips that may come in handy to help sellers to overcome that hurdle:
- Provide a list of simple to-dos, check list & reminders (your stager may already provide this for you): When I redesigns, I ASK for seller behaviors: “Where do you normally eat?” “What areas in your house is high traffic?” If the sellers eat at the dining table frequently, I don’t set the table. I only place a vase, centerpiece, etc. where it’s easy for seller to do. If the sellers need new bedspreads, I tend not to change their sheets (they are generally in good conditions anyway and the comforter covers anything). Just put the bedspread over and I provide the shams & pillows so they can still sleep in their regular bedspreads. All they need to do is to pull comforter over and put the pillows up. Easy, breezy, beautifully staged bed. When the seller lives in the home, I just don’t do high maintenance stuff because it will be hard for them to recreate it.
- Arrive early before open houses to prep for the unexpected: Give yourself 2 hours before an open house to kick the sellers into gears and prep for the uncertainty. There may be dishes in the sink (I know, I hate dishes too, especially someone else’s). But if your commission and success rate is important to you, I recommend to get those dishes out of the sight, even if it means placing everything into the dishwasher for them or hand-washing them one by one. Make sure there are no visible trash or obvious odors in the home. Once over the bathroom by helping sellers to remove their personal belongings into the cabinets below.
- Behave, don’t berate. I know it’s so tempting to tell the sellers what you are really thinking while you are cleaning their house for them for the open house. But say it nice and gentle. After all, they are clients. We are still in the service industry. It pays to be nice. Plus, all these extra efforts will generate good will and good referral points for you as an agent. My client Ed is the perfect example of that. He goes above and beyond for his sellers. When I was staging his listing 2600 14th Avenue, San Francisco this Monday, he was on the kitchen floor scrubbing. His kindness and sincere efforts show through his work and his results.
- Conquer the clutter monster with a crew & an understanding: The most common thing in a staged home is that life got into the way. Sellers had the best intention to do so but kids, work and life sometimes are little tougher to juggle especially in the selling time. The most common thing that I see when sellers fail to keep the home staged is the clutter & keeping it clean. See if you can develop your relationship with local cleaners where you will contract them to clean the house right before open house if your sellers just cannot do it. Also when you stage the home, work with your stagers to help train your sellers to develop habits of cleaning up immediately instead of putting it all in a pile until it got so out of hand it became impossible to do. (I am going to have a guest blogger who will touch on packing & organizing, and I will keep you posted on that.)
- Acknowledge good behavior and gently nudge: One thing that a lot of stagers do is to ask for sellers’ commitments. “If you do this by this time, then we will stage it!” Similarly, do it with your client. Say you show up the home, nothing has been done “Oh, I guess I have to re-schedule the photographers and DARN! I guess we will have to delay the open house date because staging will be delayed since the house is not done. Oh BUMMER, I was looking forward to have open house next weekend because I know traffic flow would be high….” Use that to help to motivate your sellers to get into shape.
Got any other tips? Feel free to share!
Cindy @ Staged4more
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