Staging properties is often thought of as a service for sellers. But there is another aspect to consider, and that is how staging helps real estate agents – their career, reputation and income.
An article by David Fleming, a broker with Bosley Real Estate David Fleming Group in Toronto, discussed agent production in Toronto during 2017. I think the results could be indicative of any major marketplace. He said in a market where there are many licensed agents (Toronto has 50,000) 34 per cent completed zero transactions and about 8,300 closed only one. That means 51 per cent of the licensed agents did one or fewer transactions. The average agent completed four transactions and spent $10,000 on marketing themselves and their listings.
I wonder what would it take to get the underperformers, the struggling or non-starters, to sit down with a certified staging professional and have a serious conversation about how staging will improve their business. Yes, staging helps secure and sell listings!
The National Association of Realtors say 97 per cent of potential buyers look at property online first (and 99 per cent of millennials). Most use a mobile device to search for properties. They look at websites with photos, property listings and information about the buying process. Then they contact an agent and visit 10 homes over several weeks before purchasing; most buying after they have seen six.
Staging vacant or occupied homes before marketing is crucial to ensure the best photo opportunity possible. Great photos ensure your listing hits the “must see” list.
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We know seven out of 10 millennial buyers will willingly pay more money for “move-in ready” property. Why?
The main reasons are financial. They scrape all their money together for the deposit; don’t have cash flow to support renovations after move-in; can readily access long-term, low-rate mortgages, which makes it easier to afford a higher price point; and ultimately, they don’t have the skills to do the work after they move in…. and they don’t want to learn. Sixty-six per cent of first-time buyers are millennials.
A great stager will not compromise the property recommendations based on agent fear, seller reluctance or budget restrictions. What the seller does with the recommendations is entirely up to them – it is their equity at stake, but they will go to the negotiation table with eyes wide open, fully understanding the things they decided not to do may in fact jeopardize the sale. Certified stagers are coached about how to deliver the recommendations and overcome objections to make the most sense to your client and not offend them.
How else do stagers help agents’ business?
1) More memorable, impactful showings and open houses:
If your buyer is seeing 10 properties today, how will they remember what they saw? First impressions happen in the blink of an eye and neuro scientists tell us every cell in a body has a memory. To remember well, the emotions must be activated. Emotions enhance memory and improve recall of important experiences. Emotion acts like a highlighter pen, emphasizing certain aspects of experiences, making them easier to recall. Certified stagers do not simply focus on what the eyes see; they know all the senses need to be engaged and they know how to do that.
2) Maximize the results of your marketing:
Think about all the time, work and money you put into getting colleagues and prospective buyers to see a listing. Their first impressions count too. People only know what they see in front of them; if you are showing them toilet lids up, unmade beds, loads of clutter, photographs and personal belongings, they leave with impression they saw someone else’s house (not theirs) and there was no room for them. Staged properties create first great impressions for buyers and agents.
You know happy clients tell others about their experience and are more likely to refer. Are you aware there is a hidden market you will never tap into if you are not partnered with a stager?
About 40 per cent of a stager’s business comes to them directly from a seller. Someone who wants to sell at some point in the future but knows from research, experience or TV that if they want to maximize their equity they need help before listing. They contact a stager first for advice. That stager works with the seller, sometimes for months, and when it is ready to list, the seller asks for a referral from the stager, to an agent they trust.
4) Lower DOM:
Research and statistics prove staged properties sell in less time than those that aren’t staged in any economy.
Improve your reputation by keeping your promise to list and sell your client’s property while protecting their equity. Be known as the agent with the best listings!