A Photo Is Worth A Thousand Words – Long Term

By
Home Stager with Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC

It's important to me that my clients know I will always try to have their best interests at heart.  I develop relationships for the long haul, to benefit everyone; believing that what I give out, I usually receive back.  Believing this and in fact recognizing it as a core value  of mine has helped to shape the way in which I conduct business.  This is important information, because it has helped to frame a policy my company has regarding a practice most home stagers are involved with and one in which I not only differ, but do not offer to prospective clients.

 

The practice I refer to is the use of  before being staged  photographs of occupied properties.  My reasoning is this:  If my entire goal is to draw attention to and highlight a property, why on earth would I ever take the risk that a potential home buyer would ever see that same property in anything less than the optimal condition the home is or has been in?  

 

Additionally, there are people  that live in that homepeople with feelings and not all of them are adult; some of them do not want their not so proverbial dirty laundry aired.  Take a good look at your own home on its very worst day and ask yourself and your family if you would like that image of you, your family and your home displayed for anyone. 

 

It seems amazing to me that I can click on a button and gather information on a home that will tell me all public data that is available on a specific property.  I can click another button and zoom in on a swing set in theback yard.  Is it that far of a stretch to imagine, some day, the possibility of someone collecting all the images ever posted on a particular property and compiling them into the same database?  Mmmmm....not that hard for me to imagine.  And, it's not in the best interest of my clients for me to participate in this practice.

 

I am able to display before  and  after  photos - I just do it a bit differently.  I use my digital camera.  Yes, I said digital camera.  You see, when I provide a no cost bid I'm able to convey my care for my clients, explain my company's policy and the reasoning behind it and then I take just a short amount of time to "stage" a small room, say a bathroom, or set up vignettes in the kitchen or stage the breakfast area.  I take the before image and then the after image.  I display, via the camera screen and in person, the before and after's.  Thus far, it hasn't hurt me a bit. 

 

Should I encounter a potential client that is insistent on those before and after photo's that most other stagers use, I'll be happy to refer them on - I do after all have to protect the best interests of my current clients.

*** NOTE:  After reading and agreeing with important principles in Carole's blog Post found here,  I've amended my wording on the "always" found in this post.  I also believe that Jackson West brings a great amount of validity to his perspective that is found in the comments below and they tie in well with Carole's post.  Thank you to both of you for expanding my own "never land"!

 

Jackie Peraza is the Principal of Perceptions AdverStagingTM, LLC  - A Home Staging, Redesign and Dewey Color Consulting Firm located in Framingham, MA.
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Rainmaker
424,571
Frances C. Rokicki
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC - Bolton, CT
Broker-Mentor,CRS
Very good point!  There is so much to consider when we are working on client's homes.
Nov 07, 2007 03:37 PM #4
Rainmaker
328,299
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager
Hi Jackie:  Well written post - I think you've really communicated your issue, and I will CERTAINLY be taking another look at how I present any "befores".  Thanks for sharing - Julie
Nov 07, 2007 04:10 PM #5
Rainer
46,116
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Hi Kathy - Let me ask you a question, would you consider it an oxymoron to say that "most buyers purchase based on emotion" and then spend time using everything but  sincere relationship building and care in trying to help a homeowner understand and buy -in on the virtues of staging?  

I have the same agreement and I do ask them to sign it.  I have to, to protect my business; at the very least the photo's are excellent for insurance purposes.  Thanks for commenting, I really do appreciate your comment.  

Fernando - I'm glad I could provide another perspective.  You're right, privacy is important and should be respected.

Anthea- Wow, another stager that specializes in vacants.  I had no idea!  Vacants are definitely much easier to deal with in relation to privacy, but don't you still have the "best foot forward" issue?

I'm waiting to hear about whether or not I will be staging a $1.8 million vacant.  On that particular property I may  post a photo of a problematic area or two, but not the entire unstaged property.

Fran - Thank you; many facets to consider.  I'm hoping more Realtors will read this and maybe take just a little more time taking those listing photo's if they're not willing to bring stagers in before  the house is listed.

Jackie

Nov 07, 2007 04:26 PM #6
Rainer
46,116
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Julia- Thank you!  I so enjoyed our conversation the other day, thanks for letting me verbalize this, it made it much easier to blog about.  I'm looking forward to getting together with you!

Jackie

Nov 07, 2007 05:06 PM #7
Anonymous
Anonymous
Jackie that is something I've never thought of before.  I don't use before photos because I think the after photos speak for themselves.  I've seen lots of before and after on AR and after a while all the before's start to look alike.  Personally I think the after photo is what sells the concept.
Nov 07, 2007 05:10 PM #8
Rainer
46,116
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Terry - I definitely agree with you about the after photo's speaking for themselves.  Can you imagine a cleaning company walking around with a brochure of before and after of cleaned homes??  No way would I ever hire them! 

Jackie

Nov 07, 2007 05:42 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,594,885
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Authentic Feng Shui Expert
Jackie, What an excellent point to consider!  I'm not sure if I would want my home posted...I think you have a wonderful policy.
Nov 07, 2007 06:08 PM #10
Rainer
46,116
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Carole - thank you.  If I can't live with a policy myself, how can I expect a client to have to live with it?

There's also the new home owner to consider - will they call me one day when they want to sell?  Maybe, if it's obvious I know my business and value the clients that drive my business. 

Jackie

Nov 07, 2007 06:24 PM #11
Rainer
124,025
Jackson West
Reveal Estate Home Staging - Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

Hi Jackie,

This is a well written and thought provoking post. Having your clients best interests at heart is a necessary trait in this biz. Because of this, much of my business is due to referrals.

To be honest, until now I assumed that all stagers used before pictures in their portfolio. For me they really drive the point of staging home without having to go into great detail of the benefits of staging. My clients sign a release allowing me to use the before and after photos on my website or in any marketing materials. This is clearly pointed out to them before they "sign their life away"

Because I never post the asking price, amount of time on market, property location or surname of my clients, the photos are of an anonymous nature. I can see how this would be different if I didn't work in a metropolis of 2 million people. I am also careful in making sure that there are no personal photos in any before shots I use and I have yet to photograph the outside of a property. In fact something I have done since day one is email both the before and after shots to each client once their property has been staged. The reaction has always been great, knock on wood! 

You have given me something to think about. I am moved to asking future clients permission to use before photos instead of telling them via contract. The last thing I need is an upset client.

Thank you for posting this. 

 

 

Nov 08, 2007 09:59 AM #12
Rainer
46,116
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Jackson - I think with before photo's that protect the client, such as yours are - and in fact some other stagers that I see, it can be done.  You obviously think very big picture and are very client oriented, unfortunately, not all are; and indeed many mls photo's are posted in similar or worse manner. 

I have to tell you, candidly, your post has broadened my own perspective.  I will give consideration as to the possibilities and area's that I can incorporate some of your idea's into my own business practices.

Thank you for responding to my post and sharing as you have.  I am most appreciative and this only adds to the reasons I have for respecting you as a talented stager and business person in the staging community.

Jackie

Nov 08, 2007 02:36 PM #13
Rainer
222,463
Anthea Click
Fresh Perspectives - www.InsideNashvilleHomes.com - Franklin, TN
Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly!
Jackie,
I only advertise the after photos while the house is listed. The befores will go into my portfolio and sometimes in a brochure after the fact.
Nov 08, 2007 05:56 PM #14
Rainer
46,116
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Anthea -  You are very considerate of your clients.  Thanks for coming back to respond - I appreciate it.

Jackie

Nov 08, 2007 09:17 PM #15
Rainer
91,792
Faina Sechzer
Henderson-Sotheby's International Realty - Princeton, NJ
Real Estate Expert - Princeton, Montgomery ,Hopewell, NJ

Jackie -not being  a stager, but just using my common sense -it seems that the difference is why the before and after photos would be used. They certainly should not be used while the property is marketed. The whole point is is for every one to see the After in their minds eye. Why would you be showing the before even on your web site? The only benefit of the Before is for marketing purposes of the stager, which is a very valid need.

When the property is sold perhaps then the Before are more OK, but does the new owner want to see the old owner's "dirty landry"? You are raining an interesting issue in your post.

Nov 09, 2007 06:01 AM #16
Rainer
46,116
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Faina- Thanks for stopping by to comment on this post.  I realize this is a shift in traditional thinking; and it really is just that - a paradigm shift.  Homeowners are being asked to trust Realtors, stagers, inspectors and the full gamut of real estate professionals with sometimes their most expensive and emotional investment - what have we or what are we doing to betray that trust? 

When I read consumer message boards I notice more and more a lack of respect for many of us that are associated with the real estate industry - the question comes back to, but what are they really doing for me?  Personally, I don't believe it always comes down to the dollar bill.  I believe many consumers have lost trust in us as professionals. 

Me?  I buy from those I trust - I read Consumer Report, I contact BBB, I ask for referrals, I search Google, I look for someone, anyone I can trust with my business (much like your own camera purchase, Faina).  I want my clients to know I have their best interests at heart and they can trust me.  That's my standard.

Jackie

 

Nov 09, 2007 11:45 AM #17
Anonymous
Anonymous
Hi Jackie,
Trust---what an important relationship that is with our clients but something that must be earned through respect, honestly and diligence.  I like the way you think, Jackie.
Nov 10, 2007 11:25 AM #18
Rainer
28,568
Brian Bloom
www.AllinOneStaging.com 1-630-292-2710 - Bartlett, IL
All in One Staging Inc. - Home Staging Consultant, Redesign Expert

Jackie,

what a wonderful post, Trust is something that is hard to earn.

Best wishes,

Brian Bloom

Nov 10, 2007 04:38 PM #19
Rainmaker
87,120
Nancy Pav
Long & Foster - Ashburn, VA
Nancy Pav, Your "GottaHave" Realtor

Jackie,

That makes a lot of sense.  I've seen the before and afters and while I appreciate the difference, I really appreciate your delicacy.

Nov 10, 2007 06:14 PM #20
Rainer
46,116
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Cynthia- Thank you for stopping by.  Really, you summarized it best with the three words you used; respect, honesty and diligence. It's a three legged stool; with one-third missing, the remaining two-thirds just aren't sufficient.  Thanks for summarizing - you might just have yourself another blog post there!

Brian - Thank you!  I'd much rather have to earn someone's trust than to have to re-earn it! :)

Nancy - Truth is sometimes folks do need a visual and I recognize that.  Hopefully I've not communicated an 'absolute'.  This works for my business and may not work for other business owners. 

Thank you for popping in, I appreciate it!

Jackie

 

Nov 10, 2007 10:16 PM #21
Anonymous
Anonymous

Jackie,
Hmm, I just might now if I can organize my thoughts which seem to be uncooperative this morning........

By the way, your hair looks good.  :0) 

Nov 11, 2007 05:40 AM #22
Rainer
46,116
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Cynthia - Why thank you!  Now if only I could get the girls to agree :)

Corral those thoughts in - I'll be reading your blog.

Jackie

Nov 11, 2007 10:45 AM #23
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Jackie Peraza

Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts
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