HOME STAGING AND 'THE RECESSION', REAL ESTATE AND REALTY

By
Home Stager with Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island

 

There was a Reuters article, posted today on Yahoo, which spoke about the possibility of an economic recession and how it is partially fueled by the mortgage crisis.   Of course other key factors would include rising oil prices, sluggish retail sales and falling prices on homes for sale.

As a Home Stager, I have noticed a decrease in business for the months of September and October; so far November hasn't produced all that much revenue from stagings either.  Oh, don't misunderstand me, I still get the phone calls asking for information on ‘how it works and what it costs', however there are fewer ‘bookings' and more "I'll get back to you" promises.

I am painfully aware of the state of the Real Estate market, and am sympathetic to the plight of realtors in general.  Most reports state that this trend will continue throughout 2008, and perhaps beyond, while the market ‘corrects itself'.  I have been told by realtor friends that many of the newer realtors cannot work under these conditions and they are being forced out of this career and into a job that will actually produce a steady source of income. On the other hand, I am discovering that more than a few realtors are beginning to attend classes on Home Staging and using the resulting information to ‘stage' for their clients as part of their ‘service'.

Now, I know that in the past we have ‘discussed' how time-consuming and strenuous the actual act of ‘staging' is, and, as a group, we stagers have wondered how a realtor can possibly ‘do it all'?  The realtors that I know are hard-working, conscientious, and detail-oriented and spend a great deal of time while researching data for every market analysis that they prepare for potential clients.  When you factor in the work involved in getting photos taken, virtual tours compiled, visiting new MLS listings, and the time spent showing the house, as well as holding the numerous Open Houses that will ensue, one has to wonder where any professional realtor (‘worth their weight in salt') could possibly take on the many demands, expense and tribulations of Home Staging?  In addition, does the realtor really want the responsibility of advising their client, the seller, of all of the ‘negatives' about the ‘property' that need to be addressed (and that might include ‘strange' odors)?

Another issue that has come to the forefront, is that with home sale prices falling, sellers feel that they are already making a huge concession in the selling price (as opposed to the prices that were realized in a better market) and are very reluctant to ‘invest' money into a house that is already ‘losing money'!  Of course, nothing could be further from the truth!  Houses that were sold in the years leading up to mid-2005 were very fortunate to bring in ‘over-the-top' prices, however the houses that are on today's market are, for the most part, still bringing in a healthy profit for sellers that have lived in their houses for a certain period of time. 

If I can get only one point across to anyone who is selling their house and NOT considering Home Staging, it would be that EVERYTHING is different in today's Real Estate Market - not just pricing!  Today's seller must do more than ‘de-clutter, clean and paint'!  In order to compete with the many newly-constructed homes that are so prevalent in this market, occupied houses (and any ‘vacants' that are the result of an early ‘departure' or a ‘flip') must show EQUALLY as well.  This translates to updated kitchens and baths, and rooms that ‘show' as ‘spacious.  How many sellers can be objective enough to ascertain that their house is ‘up to par'?  How many have the ‘skills' that it takes to turn ‘ho-hum' into ‘WOW'?!

Home Staging is a FIELD.  Real Estate is a FIELD.  We need to blend these fields, with a professional at each ‘helm' that combines the TWO into ONE equally successful story!

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
352,325
Elaine Stewart
Remax Consultants - #1 Agent 2013,2012, 2011,2010 - Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs Real Estate
Staging really does work, I have done my own staging for sellers for many years. However, I advise that people use  professional stagers like Val. Thanks for the informative post.
November 08, 2007 07:40 PM #1
Rainer
10,731
douglas moore
Alain Pinel Realtors - Walnut Creek, CA

Val-

My wife, laurie, does the staging and i do the real estate-- and her input and influence on my business has continued to expand as the market gets tougher.  I agree with your observations that it is not enough to lightly brush across any home with a little freshen up-- most often it takes so much more than that.  Most of the time, the more we can get owners to remove from their homes the better chances we have to get to the WOW look that laurie can offer.  The tough part for many realtors is as the money gets tighter, it becomes less exciting to stage homes.  I guess that's the good news for the rest of us.

November 08, 2007 07:40 PM #2
Rainer
3,740
Tom Cunningham
Agent Support 360 - Austin, TX

 

Hi Val,

Think of this link as "staging for a blog post". Best of luck.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/138164/5-Principles-to-Creating

 

November 08, 2007 08:02 PM #3
Rainer
179,089
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating
Val ~ You are so right "Everything is different in today's Real Estate Market . . ."  I hear, and see the blogs of realtors, who want to know what they can do to set themselves apart from their competition - offer the services of a home stager.  Even if its just a consultation report and the seller's want to do the work themselves, at least offer it.  
November 09, 2007 07:11 AM #4
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Val, you got that right!  I get lots of calls for information, but never that "I'll call you next week" call.  I've learned not to expect that call.  I'm not sure what we can do to get sellers and realtors to understand, the paultry amount they spend on staging could make the difference between making a sale and sitting on a listing.  You  mentioned recession.  I've heard from several sources, many of whom are economists, we are headed for a depression that will make the Great Depression look like a picnic!  Recession, depression, regardless of which occurs, and one will, we all need to start getting ready personally.  Its not going to be pretty.
November 09, 2007 07:27 AM #5
Rainer
21,766
Ann Krewson
A.L.I. Designs, Inc. - Houston, TX
A.L.I. Designs; Staging Houston Homes; Allied Member of A.S.I.D.

Val,

I absolutely agree with you. Realtors and Stagers should be able to team up with each other to show the homeowner that they not only have one person on their side, but they now can have two people helping to get their home sold quickly and at a fair price.  

November 09, 2007 02:32 PM #6
Rainer
135,611
Phyllis Pafumi
ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey - Old Bridge, NJ
ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ

Hey Val

You're back with a great post and I could not agree with you more. As things slow up, REALLY slow up I too am finding that we are getting a lot of seekers but no takers. Yes the houses we are staging are still selling but the sellers are taking the first offers they are receiving because they need to SELL the house.

We need to develop teams with realtors to help clients as much as possible. Too many people are getting into this profession now and this too has created alot of confusion. So now you have sellers confused about choosing the right realtor, setting the right price and then choosing the right stager.  I have a feeling it is going to get tougher

Phyllis Pafumi

November 09, 2007 05:35 PM #7
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Val, this post is absolutely true.  We need to work together to get the job done.  In our market, more and more realtors are staging their own listings.  Staging to them is putting in rental furniture and that's that.  I don't think they want to invest in accessories and I don't blame them.  But for heavens sake call us - we have the accessories to give that wow factor.  Betty
November 09, 2007 11:38 PM #8
Rainmaker
249,206
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento

Hey, we are still alive and Staging out here in California.  More and more Realtors "get it now" and know that Staging a home in this market is working. Stage it, List it, and price it correctly....its a winning team!

November 10, 2007 12:59 AM #9
Rainmaker
635,320
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pro's"

Some of the Realtors that "stage" have been calling me to stage what they've tried to stage.  I don't see how you can truly do a full-service staging and be pulled in so many directions as Realtors are.  I think some of them are beginning to realize there's a lot more to it than just accessorizing.

November 26, 2007 11:58 PM #10
Rainmaker
251,334
Kathy Riggle
STAGING SMART N SOLD - Houston, TX
Houston Home Staging

Hi Val-

We can see the result of some realtor staging in the vacants on the internet.  It is just a very few items set around and doesn't showcase the property or create emotional appeal. A partnership approach with a professional stager would provide that buyers impression that's so critical.

Kathy

November 27, 2007 05:26 PM #11
Rainmaker
251,610
Tina Maraj
RE/MAX North Orange County - Fullerton, CA
Fullerton, California Real Estate 714-403-7901
Now that the market has changed realtor are less likely to pay big up front fees.
November 27, 2007 05:37 PM #12
Ambassador
1,537,648
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
Val, I agree that they are two different fields and "normally" two different individuals do REALTOR and Stager. Some "super women" do both. Good luck to them, I don't know where they find the energy.
November 28, 2007 02:26 PM #13
Rainmaker
71,131
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis
Hello Val, Just as with Lori Kim in California, here in Indianapolis we have not slowed down a bit, in fact it is just as busy as it was this last summer.  Indiana ranks at the top of the list of states for foreclosures, with many more to come unfortunately, so some of why it's busy may have to do with desperation.  Most of our business however is coming from clients who are relocating.  Indianapolis is also a major hub for people to transfer in and out of.  Just in the last few weeks we have staged 2 smaller homes, 3 mid sized homes and 1 whopper of a home (2nd largest home currently on the market in the state).  So some people are starting to understand the value and believe in the results.  There are just so many that still do not yet.
November 28, 2007 02:57 PM #14
Show All Comments
Rainer
89,076

Val Allocco

HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island
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