Interview with an agent

When did you first start introducing your clients to staging?

March 2014 I listed a great little vacant colonial. My clients asked me if I knew anyone doing styling in town as they had heard of the benefits.

I’d heard Deb & Gill had just started their business, so I contacted them. Since then I’ve used them regularly for both vacant and lived-in homes, and staging has been of great benefit to my clients.

 

How did you find that first experience?

The results were spectacular! Both myself and my clients were thrilled. The girls were very professional and what they did to the kitchen was amazing. The property photographed beautifully, so the house sang in all advertising media. Buyers immediately connected with the whole property. We went quickly into a multiple-offer situation and the home sold for above the asking price.

If I could have every vacant property staged, I would.

 

What service gives you the best results?

Staging vacant homes has always been hugely successful for me. It’s so much easier to sell a house that not only looks like a home, but is a beautifully presented one at that.

Deb & Gill also offer a Pre-Sale Zhoosh which I love! This is great for clients who live in their homes and are on a really tight budget. The girls can turn a house around using all the vendor’s own furniture and accessories in as little as two hours, with outstanding results .

I’ve found their vouchers for this a great tool.

Has using home stagers assisted you with finding new business?

Definitely and in more ways than one!

  • I’m finding that because many of my listings are staged and look fantastic they are moving much more quickly and achieving great prices. This has helped to raise my profile. Offering staging and its benefits gives me a point of difference from many other agents in town.
  • You can’t beat word-of-mouth! Our local home stagers can be a great source of clients! Deb & Gill constantly have sellers contact them before they have decided on an agent and are frequently asked advice on who they would recommend.

What motivates you to continue introducing staging as an option for your clients?

Five great motivators:

  • I can achieve better results for my clients.
  • My listings move quickly.
  • It enables me to achieve higher volumes and higher prices.
  • Staged properties attract more buyers which helps me build my database.
  • Future sellers see first-hand the importance of great presentation for when they go to sell.

 

What hurdles have been minimised for you as an agent by having home stagers on board ?

I love that I don’t have to be the person to point out the negatives or to suggest a good clean and tidy! And I also love that it leaves me to concentrate on my job.

  • Whether the property is lived-in or vacant, leaving my clients to the presentation experts, I know it will look amazing when they are done and it’s going to be so much easier to sell.
  • As part of the service, HST clients have a comprehensive to-do list for inside and outside.  This is tailored to their property and guides them through the process of readying their homes for sale.

Do you recommend staging for higher-end properties only?

Not at all! My job is to get the best price possible where-ever the home sits in the market!

I’ve sold staged listings as low as $295,000 and plenty in the mid to high-range also. One property this year was appraised at $340,00 by a number of agents. With staging I believed I could get my client closer to $350,000. He decided that for an investment of under $4000, the possibility of another $10-15,000 above the other appraisals was definitely worth it.  With staging we achieved $355,000 in the second week on the market. That was a great return for my client and for me. With staging I get to move on to my next listing quickly!

The higher the price category, the higher the potential return on investment for my clients. In this day and age, staging any property just makes good sense!

Have you had any reservations about suggesting staging?

My view as a professional is to offer everything that is going to make for a great sale. It is not my decision what the client will spend. As a service available in Toowoomba these days, I don’t feel I have the right to deny my clients the opportunity of staging and achieving outstanding results.

There are certainly those who it turns out are not in a position to make the investment in staging, however in most cases, I feel comfortable introducing the idea and allowing them to make up their own minds.