10 Ways Preparing A Property For Sale Is A Lot Like Yoga
Regular readers will know I started an absolute beginner yoga class in November. Training my body to move in certain, specific ways has been more of a challenge that I thought it would be, but it’s been paying dividends in ways I could not have imagined.
Had been contemplating it for a while, but it was an act of faith I was finally ready for. And by ‘act of faith’ I mean because I was finally really looking to change things up, the analytical brain took a back seat and the sensing, intuitive heart takes over.
Have noticed many of my thoughts as a novice mirror those of people I meet and speak with about preparing their property for sale. Some see its apparent simplicity and equate it with little worth. But even if they-sellers and agents/brokers alike-vaguely sense it could be a good thing, but will derail and frustrate themselves by struggling with what (they think) it takes to get there.
Here are 10 ways I’ve found yoga to be identical in how the refreshed home approaches preparing properties for sale:
You start with an open mind and a willing attitude.
The focus is on what you CAN do…not what you can’t do.
There is trust and respect: You trust the instructor to guide you to the best standard, the instructor respects your limits.
There is no judgement.
You work with what you have, and do the best you can.
It can take you out of your comfort zone.
You use props to help get the best possible results.
There is a commitment to the process, and to doing the best you can.
It can be uncomfortable.
It can free you up from stupid stuff, and you will literally breathe easier.
Preparing a property is a business decision, and a life decision. You are choosing to plan, and make decisions, so you can get on with your life. If your space, stuff, or circumstances are dragging you down, we should talk about how to change that.
Just call, and start the conversation. It’s really that easy.
Welcome to the inaugural post of Word Of The Week !
Every Saturday I’ll be posting a Word Of The Week: a word that is floating my boat that particular week. Could come from any number of sources, but something meaningful and appropriate for what is going on.
This weeks’ word is ANTICIPATION. And no, you don’t hear Carly Simon singing in the background.
In the last few weeks have been getting this very powerful, recurring vibe…and image.
Buyers and sellers are tired of being unhappy, tired of waiting. They want to be happy, and get on with their lives.
Like Olympic athletes-shoulder to shoulder, tightly coiled, waiting for that CRACK! of the starters’ pistol. They are quivering, straining not to jump too early. But they ARE ready. And they WILL be jumping.
Via the conversations, the new inquiries, the attitudes, the buzz in stores-it’s that frozen moment of time, when you know you are on the threshold of something happening, a nano-second away from action. Determination mixed with nervous excitement, it’selectric, and palatable.
When preparing a house for sale, some projects involve getting rid of the red flags-the immediate and obvious turn-offs no buyer wants to see.
But more and more I am seeing projects in need of green flags.
Whether it’s an HGTV-obsession, sellers trying to save money and pre-stage before they call a real Stager, or over-zealous but well-meaning agents, friends or neighbors- there are lots of neat, clean, sanitized and B-O-R-I-N-G properties out there.
Nothing stands out, nothing engages, nothing inspires. Nothing to cause a buyer to remember a house.
That may see like a contradiction of the ‘de-clutter, de-personalize’ mantra that many chant, but de-personalizing a space does not mean stripping away all personality.
YES-preparing a house for sale means packing away what is unsuitable, distracting, inappropriate. ANYTHING that will otherwise get in the way of the seller getting the most traffic (online, AND foot) and the best price for their property, in the shortest time.
Depending on the market, your goals and expectations, it can also mean making changes, or bringing things in that will make the property shine, and catch a buyer’s eye.
Now that lenders are loosening some of the thumb-screws, and balance has been creeping back into the market- a property buyers WANT will be the property that gets SOLD.
It’s not enough for buyers just to be able to see themselves in it, there needs to be BUYER LUST. They want it, gotta have it, can’t stop thinking about it. There are workable solutions at almost every level of the market, which is why you want to talk to me.
So-so showings, low-ball offers, no online traffic? Your life on hold, waiting for your property to sell? Well, you know what hasn’t worked….
Help buyers remember your house. Now is the time to start the conversation. Better the space, sell your house, and get on with your life.
In the last week I’ve met with 4 new potential clients, each with a different agent.
Their houses have been on the market for anywhere from 3 to 5 months.
Each seller had made efforts to prepare the house for the market, and to have it show-ready at all times.
Yet in each case, there were few showings, and no offers.
All parties-sellers and agents-were discouraged, and yes, TIRED. The kind of tired where you’ve been back and forth so many times, you can’t think straight and just want to walk away.
Sellers are tired of being ready, living their life in limbo, and giving it all they had, with no results.
Agents are tired of having no news or bad news for sellers; tired of having neither a vison for change, or the words to even address it.
Given the overall fatigue, and costs both sides have already incurred-agents in marketing the property, sellers in carrying it longer than they anticipated-who knows what will happen.
But this is why they best time to talk to me is before your house goes on the market. Before you spend time, money, or waste that all-important first 30 days of a new listing.
Staging supports all of your efforts, and makes the most of what you ARE able to do to prepare your property.
Whether your property is about to be listed, or is currently on the market-if you haven’t been getting the results you want, dare to look for a way to make changes. Call me, let’s talk about getting your house SOLD.
But first, I know you could use a smile, so enjoy this clip from one of my favorite Mel Brooks movies.
Last moment, last chance, to win big. You’ve run out of options, back against the wall. Nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
It’s dramatic and nervy, a move borne of both confidence and desperation. Once it’s launched, all spectators hold their breath, and time stands still.
It makes for great sports experiences, but when selling a property… not so much.
Considering Staging as a fall-back, or Phase Two kind of plan will cost both agent and seller time and money.
Homes get the most interest/traffic in the first 2 weeks they are on the market, and MLS has rigid guidelines about what constitutes a ‘new’ listing, so taking it off to clean it up, and give it a second chance to make a better first impression is not encouraged.
Whether you are an agent, or a home seller, do yourself a favor and talk with a professional Home Stager early on. There is nothing to be afraid of-in fact, consider these comparisons:
1. Like any other profession, talking with a Stager is not a decision to hire anyone, you are gathering info.
2. Like any other job interview, you both get to ask questions.
3. Like dating, it needs to work for both of you.
4. Like holiday shopping, delaying and last-minute decisions limit your options.
5. LIke any other major destination, there are numerous ways to get there.
Stagers, are, for the most part, nice and regular people, who just want to help get houses sold. Even if you don’t hire a Stager right away, you will be smarter, and make some better decisions.
Thought yesterday’s post was enough, that I was frustrated over all that happens in April.
But this morning I read a post on Active Rain by Richard Weisser that got me all sorts of agitated. In a good way. Well, at least I THINK it’s in a good way.
Richard is a very smart Realtor with Coweta Fayette Real Estate in Newnan Georgia, and every day, in about 250 words or less he has something important to say.
Today he posed the question: Earth Day 2011: Are we as green as we think we are?
Not a unique thought, but Richard was both passionate and rational-a position I support, but personally find hard to maintain on this matter.
There are very few things I cannot see both sides of, but the dichotomy of how we get our collective panties in a knot over Earth Day, then go right back to our wasteful and over-consuming ways the next week makes me absolutely nuts.
One day at time, we are poisoning our environment, and threatening our very existence. It is not enough to talk the talk, we need to walk the walk, and make every day Earth Day.
Here are my passion-driven wish list:
-Dig up your dandelions I grew up in a neighborhood called Indian Village, on Susquehanna Road in Ossining, neighbors actually went from yard to yard, en masse. I remember it was fun, you got to see people and everyone had a nice lawn.
(I’m told the greens are delicious-but it’s also very therapeutic, pulling one of those deep-rooted suckers out the the ground!)
-Buy a bunch of BPA-Free water bottles and have them at the ready in the fridge. Fill one up with ice every morning and take it with you in the car. Or, take a thermos if you prefer hot beverages.
-STOP buying convenience packs of things. If you want to only eat 100 calories worth of cookies, buy the regular package and pre-package them yourself in re-usable containers-they make them to fit in the tiniest of hands.
-If you smoke, OWN IT! There is a reason automobiles have ashtrays.
I am not judging you, or your habit. But let’s be real-tossing a butt out the window-so it’s out of sight, or so you don’t stink up your car will not make you a non-smoker.
But it COULD though blow into someone else’s open window,,,or dry grass nearby. ALSO-it leaches an unbelievable amount of poisons into groundwater. SORRY-this is first-degree selfish.
-Investigate and support alternative energy suppliers. At the Earth Week fair last week at Kensico Dam, our Furniture Sharehouse booth was sandwiched between 2 of them. Yes, NOW it MAY add some $$ to what you pay…maybe what you now pay forall those water bottles?? More subscribers now will send the right message to suppliers, all the way up to people who invest in alternative energy producing technology.
-Maintain your car. Now, more than ever: keep tires properly inflated, and get it tuned up for maximum efficiency.
-Plan your driving, and don’t be too busy to carpool.
-Keep your re-usable bags in your car at all times. Better yet, decline a bag if whatever you’re buying is able to be carried by hand, or in your pockets/purse. Science has determined it takes 400 years for one of those bags to de-compose.
Without hesitation, let me say Westchester County does an amazing job of establishing and running recycling events throughout the county; many thanks to County Executives, past and present for establishing and continuing this support.
BUT-it is not enough that we get all whipped into a frenzy in mid-April. Think thoughtful choices year-round, and plan ahead for the stuff you no longer need.
Here is the direct link for the entire 2011 Recycling Event Schedule, and here are some suggestions you can do to make a difference:
Open link and save as, or cut/paste and make link part of your email signature
Mark your calendars NOW of all the events
Send it to your clients or co-workers; submit to any company newsletter, or e-bulletin board
Share with the lacrosse moms, book club, PTA, scouts, etc.
Top/right on menu has link to Treasure Hunt, a free service to post and give-away-or get-unwanted, but usable items.
Link will keep you apprised of the upcoming events, like the launch of the facility that can process #3-7 plastics, and the opening of the permanent household recovery center, sometime later this year.
For out of the area friends/family/colleagues-suggest they go to their municipality’s website and get/forward that info to their friends…remember…we’re all in this together!!
In this business, seeing is believing, but the #1 corollary is that they have to like you, and trust you, first.
Recently I got a call from a Realtor I met last year-he was the listing agent on a property my Staging clients bought, after they sold their house.
He had a seller whose house needed help…not a new story-it had been on the market, with no success. It was a neat and clean space, no conditional issues. They had done some updating, but more needed to be done to make it competitive in this market.
I was there 2 days later, and sent them my report the next day. This was the email the agent sent me:
Thanks so much for all your time and care of the Smiths. I enjoyed being with you on the presentation – you have a velvet boxing glove, that’s for sure.
I have wanted to say something about the ‘nothing’ colors in the bathrooms and the kitchen, but they were already a little overwhelmed by my suggestions; it was a relief that you felt the same way, and addressed it with them.
I will catch up with them today, but I think they were very impressed with you and even better LIKED you and TRUSTED you. The changes you suggested are not ‘impossible’ and I think they will help set the property for a definite sale!
I will be in the office tomorrow, let’s talk more then.
Realtors:I know you invest months, often years in educating people, nurturing relationships. I totallyget all that is on the line when you make the giant leap from listening to me, to actually bringing me into one of your transactions.
Sellers: I also realize all of what you have at stake. When we meet, I will understand and respect your situation, and all you have gone through. I will be your partner, and show you how to get to the other side.
I have made a successful living working in people’s homes for 30 years.
I know nothing to be truer than no matter what, people willalways care about their homes. So four years ago I made my own leap and createdthe refreshed home.
My business model is not the most traditional. I have never ever chased dollars, so goals are not set or evaluated on sales figures.
My business has grown by simply striving to make people smarter and happier by showing how to make their space and stuff work better, so they can get on with their lives.
Solidly connecting with a responsive, professional, knowledgeable and now trusting Realtor was a home run.
Not a home run that is an insurance run, or even wins the game.
Because he can now comfortably speak with his other sellers and fellow agents about how Staging with the right person can work, this is a bases-loaded,bottom of the 12th, walk-off home run. In the playoffs.
Except in this scenario, everyonewins!
If you have a home you need to sell, let a professional Stager help. All you have to do is just start the conversation.
A few hours ago, a fast-moving fire took the life of an elderly woman in Yorktown Heights. It was noted several time throughout the newscast that firefighters did all they could to rescue the lone resident of the home.
While the cause is still being investigated, firefighters told News 12 that the amount of debris in the house made searching for, and the attempted rescue of the victim very difficult.
In January 2008, under eerily similar circumstances, an elderly couple in Yonkers also lost their lives when their home caught fire and firefighters could not navigate the home to search for them, due to piles and piles of debris-many 5 feet tall or more.
While we are probably all guilty of letting clutter accumulate from time to time, this much stuff is not clutter, it’s a deadly hazard.
In the event that any emergency worker is needed in your home, precious moments are lost when clear access to, and through rooms is not available.
Children’s toys, too much furniture, piles of paper or magazines, even ‘neatly’ stacked boxes-anywhere in the home-can contribute to a tragedy.
Senior citizens, often with diminished mobility and limited social contacts seem to be the most as-risk.
They may not have the strength or funds to remove things, they may be embarrassed to ask for help, or they may just not recognize the danger. To that end:
-Clean out: sell, donate, recycle what you don’t want/need, and get off-site storage for what you must keep, but don’t need or use regularly.
-Make sure you have the correct number of smoke, fire and CO2 detectors in place. It is simple, cheap and smart; it is also the law. Test the batteries monthly, vaccumn dust out regularly, and change batteries at least once a year.
-Reach out to your neighbors, especially the senior citizens. Check in, know who-and where the rest of their family is, and how to reach them.
The town of East Rochester NY will always have my deepest gratitude: their keeping a collective eye on Grandma Stella let her stay in the town she always lived in, and gave us-7 hours away-real peace of mind.
If they need help with chores, offer- or research it within your community. Most high schools have community service as a requirement for graduation now, and here in Westchester, the Volunteer Center can point you in the right direction.
-While you don’t want to interfere, or violate any one’s privacy, if you do notice any dangerous conditions, let family, and/or officials know. And spread the word! As the poet Robert Louis Stevenson once simply noted, “Take care of each other”
In most any room, walls- all vertical surfaces, including windows-make up the largest surface area, followed by floors. Depending on the quality of the product and wear it’s received, 8 to 10 years is an expected life span for most broadloom.
WHYOHWHYOHWHY do sellers wring their hands, whine and gnash their teeth when the Realtor and Stager suggest replacing carpet from the last millenium?
Here are ten reasons there is no reason to keep old carpet:
-Old carpet-and old padding-retains odors and allergens from stains long dried, pets long gone, and former smokers.
-It can be so reasonable. Many carpet stores now stock rolls of nice, neutral carpet for just this purpose. This means qui
ck delivery and a better price.
-Old padding breaks down after a while, especially in high traffic spots-which makes that part of carpet wear faster.
-New padding of the the highest quality is a mere pittance (about $3.50 a square yard in our area). It is so luxurious, and provides sound-deadening benefits to the rest of the house.
-Buyers will often over-estimate what it will take to replace icked-out old carpet, which sets the stage to arm-wrestle about an allowance…just what you’re looking for.
-It is the quickest and easiest way to deal with flooring issues-no dust/fumes/drying time…you will also know for sure what condition the wood floors are in.
-The crud that blows out of HVAC vents just does not clean up, no matter what anyone tells you. Really. Trust me.
-If you are decluttering and moving furniture around, traffic patterns, stains and fading become more apparent with less to look at.
-Even if it’s in good shape, outdated colors or styles suggest to buyers that other things in the house are outdated as well…perhaps they need to look harder??
-In New York State, it’s allowed as a cost of selling the home, taken as a deduction against the profit when the house sells.
An 11 x 15 room will need about 20 square yards of carpet, even at a padded/measured/installed reasonable to generous price of $35.00 a yard, it’s less than $750.00 ..one fifth…of one percent…of the price of a $400K house. What part of that does not sound like a great idea??
…truly I don’t, but have to ask: is it really part of your marketing plan to show your properties as estate sales? And if so, how’s that working for you?
Last week I was looking at the listings on a local agency’s web site. I know the agency, they are quality and successful, and I’ve done business with a number of agents there.
IMHOP, most of the listing photos looked sad- very, very sad: white-or overly bright-colors on the walls; small/underscale/old furniture-faded, and just placed wherever; no lamps, and-this is the worst-twin beds, in white chenille spreads.
It read-this is the detritus of what heirs did not want, and we’re just going to toss it when it sells. It was leftover Nanna furniture. I love, and miss all my Nannas very much, so these photos reminded me of a sad time, not a happy one.
Take a look at the photo above (not from afore-mentioned agency) Can you tell if it’s from a 1 BR coop in a pre-war building, listed at $145K, or the Master in a 4 BR single family home, currently being offered for $765K? Could your buyers? And is either scenerio motivating?
YES-Real Estate is hyper-local, there are very specific markets within even the same ZIP code. This agency is in a beautiful small town with reasonable average income per resident, and many unique properties. Many people live there well- FOREVER, so there is not a lot of turnover, until, well, you know…
I know of several communities where an inherited, old-money look is appealing; and there are agents-even other businesses that actively cultivate it, for many reasons. There is nothing wrong with that.
My concern is-is it a concious choice? Is it what buyers in your market expect, and most importantly, is it successful for you and your sellers?
Staging is a business decision. For sellers, it is about choosing to move forward. For buyers, it is about having a vision of what the future can hold, and often that future means moving up.
I am in the business of helping sellers and agents get their properties SOLD. If what you do works for you, that’s what matters. If it doesn’t work for you, call me and let’s find something that can does. Remember, if you are in charge of your space, you are in charge of your life!
While these days find it ohsotempting to be one with the sofa, while decked out in comfy-cozies, I find too much ‘relaxing’ dulls the gray matter.
Exploring new horizons, meeting different people, engaging in something new doesn’t just make the time pass quickly. It builds new brain synapses, and is a great quick-start to your creativity. You will feel empowered, inspired, and well, refreshed.
Here are three quick, easy and cheap-to-free ways to keep you in top form, you know, forwhen it finally stops snowing…
1. Go to a bookstore, or the local library and browse through the new titles. There is a lot to know/see/think about in this world of ours, the new releases will span a broad spectrum of topics, great food for thought, and for those ‘small talk’ occassions that seem to sneak right up on you.
2. Go to a museum. PLEASE. I can’t say this enough (or keep writing about it!!) No matter where you live, I can almost guarantee that there are a handful of places you have never visited within a half-hours drive, and many have free or reduced admission at certain times. Learn something new, see something from another’s point of view.
3. Take a class, or attend a talk. This is ‘High Season’ for Adult/Continuing Education in most local school districts or community colleges.
I took scuba diving at the Y this time of year once. While it wasn’t a hobby I ultimately pursued, I completed the course, and got my certificate, and for 6 weeks, got out of the house doing something different one night a week.
Staging is the art of making someone’s space, and their stuff look their best. With more and more sellers needing to stay in their house til it sells, you are working with their things, that more often than not, need a little TLC.
Take a good look at the next few kitchen/dining sets you come across. Specifically, the legs and/or bases of wooden tables and chairs, especially if they are painted or finished in a light color.
In a home that’s really lived in, these really can get scuffed up. While there are lots of creative solutions and specialty products out there, I’m very fond of quick, easy and cheap…and of instant gratification.
On a very damp-but not dripping wet- sponge, or even paper towel, make a small amount of toothpaste into a watery paste, and rub GENTLY on the offending marks, along the legnth of the leg.
The dissolved abrasive will break up the mark, then just wipe and dry. Each chair might take just a few minutes, and when you’re done, they’ll not only be scuff-free,they’ll be minty fresh as well!
This is one of the projects I do, or assign to the homeowner, very early on. If they see how simple and easy it can be to make a difference, it’s a lot easier for them to get behind this big, mysterious thing we call ‘Staging’.
Here in the lower Hudson Valley, we are snow-weary. That giddy “snow day!” excitement we all had is long gone. Instead we are re-calibrating our schedules everyday, and there is salt residue, clunky books and bulky outer garments everywhere.
What a great time to look at houses…and I mean really look AT them.
With most of the foliage gone, or buried under the white stuff, you have a clean palette. There is very little to distract the eye, you can see every detail…which, in the end, is a good thing.
If you are staying in your home and thinking about painting or updating, drive around and check out color combinations and trim, and other details. Shutters? New front door? Hmmm maybe that slate blue color you love isn’t the best choice for your southern-exposure house…
Less than 5% of the population can comfortably visualize anything other than what’s in front of them, and you’ll see things now that would not be as visible the rest of the year.
Some you’ll love, some maybe not so much, but guaranteed: you’ll develop your style, and your confidence to make decisions when the springtime rolls around.
If 2011 is the year you are going to sell your house, same principle, same idea, different focus. Take a long, hard look at your house, then drive around and look at other homes…which ones would you want to buy?
All this snow is a great filter that will help you see your house through the eyes of a buyer; very easy to see the difference between the houses that have been maintained, and those that have deferred the maintenance.
Dirt/mildew on any of the surfaces- missing spindles on decks- peeling, faded or outdated paint- gutters in need of repair-overgrown landscaping-even old mailboxes or undersize house numbers-buyers will see it all.
Talk it over with your Realtor, make a list, and start interviewing contractors-you want to be ready to roll when the weather permits. (And if you need further encouragement, have your accountant confirm how much of your list is a deductible expense!)
Again, same idea if you’ve decided to buy in 2011. Looking at lots of houses will develop your eye, and give you insight into what you like and why; excellent time to get a good sense of specific houses and the property; how it has been cared for, and what might need to be done.
For all of us, really ‘seeing’ something is a call to action. Whatever decision you might be contemplating, this is a good first step.
January has arrived in a big way, and it’s hard not to get drawn into the whole resoloution thing.
While we may want a new set of circumstances, that whole actual change-thing…well, maybe notso much.
Many find the allure of setting a new path, and aiming high for the New Year comes to metaphorical fisticuffs with the realities of the cold, short days of winter.
What if I had a suggestion that could help save, even make you money? Required no special clothing, no measuring or weighing, no renouncing of anything. No lifestyle change, or on-going time commmitment; in fact it could free up some time, and make you more productive??
There is a lot of pressure in January, but if you are a REALTOR, or a property owner who wants to sell in the New Year, here’s your key to a long-term lease in a happy place: resolve to start a conversation with a Professional Stager.
Sorry, no Ginzu steak knives will be thrown in, but finding out more about how to put your property’s best foot forward could be the most most productive hour you will spend all year. Buyers who want to be in a house by summer are looking now, is your house ready?
“Astonished” is a good word to describe most people’s reaction when the first super bookstore opened here. BOOKS?? Andthey want you to sit down, drink coffee and read, even if you don’t buy??
Conventional wisdom had them there not too long. Well, WHO KNEW, these would come to be such hopping places, full of people seeking both knowledge and camaraderie at 10 PM on Saturday nights?
While recent years have not been kind to places like this, our passion forongoing learning has not abated.
A holiday gift that embraces, enhances and encourages another’s gifts and curiosities could be a most welcome surprise, so here are a few local ones you may not have thought of:
The New York Botanical Gardens -They offer year-round programs/classes for kids and teens; Gardening, Horticulture, Photography, Floral, and Landscape Design are some of the adult ed classes coming up. There is also a dandy of a Winter Lecture Series starting in January.
Gift certificates are available for classes or lectures, they can also be separately purchased for the gift shop; additionally gift memberships are $75.00. How cool would it be to find one of those folded up inside a new pair of garden gloves, or in an emptied seed envelope, in the toe of your stocking?
Know someone who’s had the interest, but perhaps not the time for music lessons? No time like the present (!!) to start.
The Westchester School of Guitar works one on one with any age or experience level, on every facet from traditional lessons for the beginner, to composing and techniques for the more advanced students.
Owner and founder Jeff Brown (left) has s been teaching guitar for 30 years, and feels it is the intuition he has developed on how each different student can be best taught that has accounted for the success and growth of the business.
Very conveniently located in Briarcliff, they offer a complimentary intro lesson, and a 4-lesson ‘try-out package’, as well as 12 week tri-mester.
Any drummer wanna-bes in your life? Simply, John Arrucci is the one you want to know.
As a percussionist, John has composed, performed, taught, recorded and traveled extensively for nearly 3 decades. He works with percussion instruments from many different cultures, all around the world, and offers private classes in composition, drumsets, percussion and piano.
Don’t overlook WCC! A SUNY school, their Spring schedule (starting mid-January) is chock-full of things include lessons in 9 different languages; plus courses in Writing, Dance, Film, Art History, Cooking, Politics, Wine Appreciation, Tai Chi, Area Rug Making, Boxing and …well, you get the picture.
It’s close, and quite affordable: while costs vary, but many 5 or 6 session courses are inthe $60.00-100.00 range. While the student would have to register themselves, you can still surprise them with an appropriate small gift-like a book, or accessopry on the topic, with the course description tucked away inside…
Like the idea, but none of these exactly right? Or maybe you’re not so local? Just look around, chances are the perfect gift is right there, in your own backyard.
1. It is not easy being involved in the housing industry these days, but of all the things I know forsure, the desire for a space to call one’s own is in our DNA is near the top of the list. If we all took a deep breath, we’d all be a lot better off.
2. Start the conversation What most people know about Staging is what they see on TV. HGTV elevates your level of pain, but it’s not reality. Stagers know what buyers like to see, and how to make your house look it’s best, but a good Stager will welcome your questions, because that’s how we come up with solutions you can live with.
3. You can do more than you think you can. REALLY.
Have written about belonging to ActiveRain before, the nationwide online community of Real Estate professionals, almost 197K strong.
As a Stager, it’s a great place to be-these are some of the smartest people in the business, and the more I understand what Realtors think about and why, the better I am at my job.
About every 3rd or 4th day a Realtor writes a featured post about getting a house ready for sale: how important it is, what it entails and why. INEVITABLY agents from all corners respond, YES! OF COURSE! IMPERATIVE!!
These responses make me crazy.
OK< I admit, my inital, gut level response is why the heck are none of these vocal, pro-staging agents located in my state, or even my time zone??
Then-frustration. It is the same (small-ish) pool of people. Saying the same thing.
The reality is there is a big disconnect most Realtors have between Staging as a good thing in principle, vs. Staging that actually puts money in their pocket. The few and the vocal are preaching to the choir, the rest view Staging as an intellectual pursuit.
Investing time energy and some funds in putting a house’s best foot forward is something that needs to be spoken of at the first meeting, directly and confidently. You get confident about something by doing it.
I find it absolutely stunning that new agents are indoctrinated on presentation scripts, but not this. That experienced agents take less-than-desirable listings, thinking the buyer’s agent will work the magic. Or brokers allow dated, out of focus, under-lit and otherwise odd/unhelpful to abysmal photos be shown on their listings. .
I understand the plethora of challenges you all face, but if you, your seller, fellow agents or agents you supervise/mentor are not getting the results you want, might it not be time to change things up a bit?
Being pro-Staging does not mean you talk about it when it is easy and the sellers are amenable. It does not mean you talk about it in the third person, as in you’ve seen it done in other homes, or on all the HGTV shows.
Instead, you need to find a local professional Stager that you like, and start the conversation BEFORE the house goes on the market. BEFORE you meet your next listing call. BEFORE you start thinking about the next/newest techno-way to bump up your business. BEFORE you plan the next price reduction.
Invest the time NOW. To that end, I am declaring December to be Start the Conversationmonth.
To any now-enthused Owner-Broker, Mentor, or Office Manager reading this: Call me.
If your office is within a 25 mile radius of White Plains, I will come to your office for a 1/2 day during the month of December and run a workshop for your INTERESTED agents, for free. REALLY.
This coming weekend is probably the busiest weekend of the year for high school reunions. You may even be holding onto an invitation to one!
You know where it is-in the top drawer…or tacked to the bulletin board. It’s been there for weeks…can’t bring yourself to toss it…or commit to going.
For the record: I was not a joiner, and definitely NOT one of those rah-rah, let’s-s-get-the-old-gang-together types.
I knew ‘of’ ‘ a lot of people back then, but there was no ‘old gang’ for me; the first 20-something years after high school I had kept in touch with 2 people, sporadically at best.
Something happened at around year 25. For purely selfish reasons (walking in, I wanted to have people to talk to) I volunteered to help.
They wanted me to find people. &@ %#*!!! I’m a decorator, put me in charge of flowers or something….but n-o-o-o-o-o.
OK, gave it a shot. First person I ‘found’ was Colleen. We had been in some classes back then, so I knew who she was. Back then she was, well, tough. Tough, kind of angry, and not seeming to be headed in a good direction.
It’s a wonderful long story, but short story is that Colleen was now an ordained minister, head of an outreach mission. I was hooked. Reconnected with 2 friends, and brought in one of my two originals, and we four ran a successful #30, and now planning #35 for next year.
Reunions have a way of bringing back the mindset of those awkward years in a nanosecond. They are not for everyone, and the room can get crowded in a hurry, all those hopes and dreams, old loves, past snubs and dramas under one roof…
But there are good stories, ‘new’ people to meet, and interesting experiences to be had.
As the years pass, life sends us reminders of exactly how precious time is, and if we are lucky, the stupid stuff often falls away. If you have the opportunity, stop thinking about it and just GO! (Even if just for the evening, it’s fun to be in a room full of other 18 year-olds again!!)