Unlike real estate agents, home stagers can profit from the slow real estate market if they avoid a common mistake that bankrupts many stagers, says home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®.
The Easiest Way to Prevent Bankrupting Your Staging Business
It’s tough right now for anyone on the front lines selling real estate. This slow real estate market is saturated with agents and they’re waiting a long time to sell their listings.
However, if you’re a home stager, chances are that you’re building your real estate staging business with the help of the market’s downward spiral.
In a buyer’s real estate market, the people prepared to make offers are pickier than ever. Homeowners are desperate to sell. They’re scrambling to find an edge that doesn’t mean dropping their asking price, and that’s great news for home stagers.
More homeowners than ever before are turning to home staging professionals for advice on how to best decorate their homes to stand out before they list with a real estate agent.
If you’re one of the lucky stagers enjoying an increase in inquiries because of the market’s decline, you have to keep the fine line between “free estimate” and “free advice” good and clear. Otherwise, you could burn out and bankrupt your business faster than you think.
If you are a home stager, you know when you walk into a house to provide a home staging estimate for a homeowner, you’re peppered with questions like these:
“Should I repaint the bathroom?”
“What do you think of the rug in the living room?”
“Should I leave the high chair in the dining room for showings?”
“Do you think the kitty litter in the washroom will turn off buyers?”
These are legitimate questions. But if you answer them during a free estimate appointment, all you’re doing is giving away free home staging advice. By the time you’re done, this prospective client will see no reason to hire you anymore, because they’ll have the information they wanted.
Because you can increase the perceived value of a home from $10,000 to $70,000 by staging it properly, and significantly increase the chance of a quicker sale, you deserve to be paid (and paid well) for your expertise and advice.
Unfortunately, if you’re new to the business of home staging, you might be tempted to visit sellers to provide free estimates of what it will cost for you to stage their homes. If you continue down this road, you should know it almost always leads to burnout and bankruptcy.
“If you consider yourself a professional stager, you shouldn’t be out there wasting your time and gas money, visiting potential clients to give away free advice,” says home staging expert Debra Gould. “Any serious home seller seeking professional home staging advice will be happy to pay for your services because they know your work will result in a faster sale at a higher price than without staging.”
It is rarely necessary to visit a home to provide a rough estimate of what it will cost to stage it, especially if it’s already furnished. If you have any experience at all, you’ll be able to tell from one telephone interview approximately how long it will take and roughly what staging will cost the seller.
However, you have to be confident enough to explain everything thoroughly to someone who has probably never hired a real estate stager before. They need to understand the services you provide and how these services will benefit them.
So how do you stop walking right into the free estimate trap and start taking the reins right from the get-go? You arm yourself with the information you need to enable home sellers to understand your services and realize how much they need you.
Gould has created a tool called the Staging Diva® Sales Script: How to Avoid the Free Estimate Trap and Turn Homeowners into Home Staging Customers in One Phone Conversation. It’s a script of what Gould says to prospective customers to turn them into buyers over the telephone. She has used this script since 2002 to build her staging company, Six Elements Inc. This resource teaches home stagers what to say when the caller says, “I’m thinking of having my home staged. What does it cost?”
Stagers no longer have to fall into that “free estimate trap” in the hopes of winning business.
With the opportunities opening up for you as a home stager in today’s slow real estate market, it’s certainly not the time to give your services away for free. Educate yourself and enjoy the profits waiting for you as you help desperate homeowners sell faster and for more money.
Their real estate agents will appreciate it too since you’ll make their job of selling houses so much easier!
About the Author, Debra Gould
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is President of Six Elements and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. Gould has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate and uses her expertise to train others worldwide. Visit her at StagingDiva.com and SixElements.com.