Teary. Angered. Offended. Insulted.

These are some of the emotional seller reactions created by…Staging!?

As a listing agent, I have come to consider staging the “3rd rail” of real estate.

Recently, I had yet another case of “Staging Shock” with a seller. It left me wondering yet again, if there is a better way to prepare the sellers for the staging process?

Pictures are great way to illustrate. In my listing presentation, I show these 2 photos:

I explain: the first may be how you live, but the second is how it must look when we market it.

Every room has to tell a story. The buyers are going to view your home on-line, and make a decision whether or not to take their valuable time to personally view your home. Setting the stage properly can convince a buyer a visit is worth their time.

A client once said to me tearfully, “you made my house look like a hotel”. I often repeat this story to my clients. I was sorry to see my seller upset, but actually what she observed is exactly the outcome I desire from staging.

I use the picture below to illustrate that even a well-decorated room can be a “skip it” for a buyer.

Keeping it neutral never hurt anyone’s marketing…

Staging is one of the make or break aspects of preparation to market a home.

Staging is not temporary. It is the way your house should look for every showing. Good staging equals more showings, equals more offers, equals the maximum sale price for your home.

Will your property be treated respectfully? Will things get lost, or broken?

We go out of our way to be careful with the owner’s property. Knock wood, we’ve never broken anything. To avoid having a scavenger hunt to find your things post-staging, it is a good idea is to have some packing boxes on hand. A designated location for larger items to be moved to, is also helpful.

Should you be home during staging?

Quite often, our staging is done while the owners are at work. Sometimes owners prefer to be at home, and are willing to help. This is great, since it means an extra pair of hands, but I’ve seen a fair number of owners become overwhelmed. The right choice will be what makes you feel most comfortable.

I always ask if there is anything the owner does not want touched? If it still needs to be moved, I ask the owner to move it, in advance of the staging.

While I understand staging can be a trip-wire of negative emotions, the positive reactions can be surprising too!

One seller asked me to cancel my listing contract? She came home, saw her beautifully staged home, and suddenly the place was fresh again. She found herself reconsidering her decision to sell?! That one had a happy ending, though. After a few months, the seller listed, and we happily sold the house.

My parting message is: Remember you are moving. Go with the staging recommendations. When you live in it, your house is your home. When you put it on the market, it is just a house – which with good staging, will soon belong to someone else!