What To Expect When A Stager Interviews YOU

Staging a property is  first and foremost  a business decision. Lots of buzz in the media-OH YES, it’s a great idea...just don’t  see a heck of a lot of confidence-or comfort- in many of the agents I meet and speak with.

LOTS of different ways a property can be Staged-or prepared for sale-and that doesn’t mean how many different walls the sofa can go on.

I’ve prepared properties by way of providing a detailed written checklist for the homeowners for several hundred dollars, and overseen $60K worth of needed updates (paint, carpet, floor refinishing, landscaping, etc) while using all the existing furniture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and a good Stager will do their  homework. .

Staging is a creative service, but consider finding the right one for you in the more traditional manner, via a job interview. Last post were questions agents and sellers should ask a Stager, here’s  some questions I ask at first meetings:

For the listing agent

1. Tell me about the neighborhood, and this property.  Why is it special, why would it be in demand, who will likely be looking at it?  Real estate is hyper-local, let me think of ways to reinforce what you and your seller know to be  attractive to buyers.

Recently sold a high-end condo in White Plains…pet-friendly in the big city was a drawing card,  finishing touches included a great dog dish, treat canister on the counter, and a leash on the doorknob.

Did they buy a $475K condo because of a cute bowl? Not conciously, BUT pet lovers are a large, specific and very passionate market, it got their attention in a way other units did not.(kind of like this picture), they might have been able to see themselves here more easily…yes, new owners have 2 dogs. Come on, say it with me now, a-w-w-w-w-w.

2. How does this fit into the local market? Tell me about the comps, and your strategy.  Do you consider your price aggressive, accurate or negotiable? The more you can tell me about what you’re thinking and why, the better. I’m not competing with you, or looking to second-guess you.  YOU are the real estate expert, I want to come up with solutions that will compliment, and support your plans.

3. What are your client’s needs, motivations and plans?  Staging  success is generally commensurate with a seller’s motivation.  NOT looking for any confidential or overly specific info, but often you’ll have unique insights the seller is not even aware of.

If your seller MUST sell by a certain time,  has a specific amount of funds to spend, or need to get a certain price for the house, let me know. Updates with a high ROI, seasonal buying cycles and carrying costs are some of the things I factor into my recommendations.

For Sellers

1. What do you know about Staging?  What’s the history here: Have you ever had the house on the market before?  Tell me what you did, what happened.  If I know where you’re  coming from it’ll save us both time and energy. Opening up the discussion levels the field and can lead to new insights.

2. If we set a strategy of what needs to be done, how is the work going to get done-who will be doing it?  A motivated seller is key, but so is being  realistic about your time availability and expertise.

Washing windows, cleaning out closets and clearing off the kitchen counter is do-able for most; more ambitious projects like painting,  power-washing, or replacing a fixture are things that might best be left to professionals. Even if you have the ability, do you have the time?  2 or 3 weekends tied up in painting could be wrapped up in days by professionals, ,and your house would be marketable that much sooner.

3. Let’s talk about your resources. Resources DO NOT always mean money. Resources could be friends or relatives who could help paint and clear out, it could be a neighbor with furniture they’re not using, you could belong to-or look into joining-a barter club, where you could trade say bookkeeping skills for someone to fix your roof.

How could I know specific ways to help you get your house sold if I don’t know more about you?? Take the time, and have that conversation. You will get comfortable with Staging by first being comfortable with the Stager.