Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Staging Statistics: Where do they come from and can they be Trusted?

I read a fellow Blogger's post about Staging statistics being unsupported and wanted to address this concern in my own blog post. I believe the post was about where statistics come from and should that be the only success criteria measured when selling a house.

Staging Statistics are tossed around freely - and I can understand a concern where the origin of the statistics comes into question. Just where is this data gathered and who is compiling it and can it be trusted?

As a professional ASP Master Home Stager and business owner, I have ALWAYS tracked my own statistics for my own personal business. It is imperative that I am able to demonstrate that my work is successful and I am making a difference. Any Stager that does NOT do this as a standard business practice not only is missing a huge opportunity to promote their success and quantify it for clients, but perhaps is not operating their business at the same level of professionalism as others that DO track their statistics. Just as not all Realtors and real estate agents are created equal, the same can be said for Stagers.

I am not unique in this activity. Most professional Home Stagers (those that have set up a business, have training, accountability, etc.) can tell you how many houses they Stage, how quickly they sell compared to the overall regional market, and can quantify in some manner how successful their involvement in the listing and selling process is. We also share our numbers with each other and when a group of professional Home Stagers is able to share numbers in a region, we can capture a snapshot of what IS happening relative to Staging in a particular market. We can also segment out vacant versus occupied houses, high end versus modest.

Realtors: Before you throw out the baby with the bath water and discredit ALL Stagers or the Staging process by doubting statistics, it's important to remember that since the Staging industry is NOT regulated and anyone can call themselves a "stager" - for statistics and data on the market that you can trust, find a Stager that has training and credibility - and I bet that Stager will be able to offer you credible, reliable data you can share with Sellers.

Recent example: I Staged a house that had been listed for A YEAR with no offers. Then it was rented for a year. The owners decided to try their hand at Selling again - and this time decided to Stage. After Staging was complete the house SOLD in 10 days. Here's the other KEY PART: it was also PRICED RIGHT FOR THE MARKET.

Do Stagers believe that THEY are "the schizz" and the only reason a house sells is because they get their magic hands on the house and transform it? I hope not.

Selling a house is a PARTNERSHIP with the REALTOR. It takes both presentation and price to sell a house. Anyone that believes otherwise is living in their EGO and needs to remember that pricing the house for the market is the most important part of selling. A house that is Staged and overpriced won't sell.

Back to Statistics: Where do they come from anyway?
One of the best resources is the site. For YEARS they have been tracking the success of ASP graduates who input statistics into a survey portal and then generate graphs and data based on the information. The houses are not just all the "good ones" either. A stat is a stat. When it sells - that data is put into the system. There are THOUSANDS of houses in the survey and it is a national snapshot of what is happening with Staged properties. For this reason, it is a great resource for the media, and often referred to by reporters writing articles on Staging or on television segments such as The Today Show that recently used the data on their segment on Home Staging with Barbara Corcoran.

Home Gain has been another good resource for Staging Stats. They track the Return on Investment for putting forth some money and time into making modifications to the house prior to listing. It's quantified. And they have been doing this study since 2003 - putting out new results of their survey of 2,000 agents every 2 years.

With ANY statistic - whether real estate, staging, diets, health, etc - the key is to ASK WHERE THE DATA came from for the survey? If the person cannot answer you - chances are they are regurgitating something they "heard" and it should not be trusted. If they can point to a reputable article (because reporters do their homework!) or other media segment - I would trust the data. If they can point to an actual survey that is being done and is ongoing - like the site or the Home Gain survey - I would trust it. If they have their own data from their own work - trust it.

Statistics are only as good as those that submit the data. It boils down to trusting that the people in the industry have integrity and are reporting what the truth is relative to Staging and selling.

So - when a house SELLS after it is STAGED - and the rest of the marketed competition sits and the days on market for the Staged house are clearly far less than the average and the price is better than if it sat and dropped in price - should that house be counted in a statistic? Yes. Should the agent use that data to get future listings? Absolutely. Should the Stager credit him or herself with helping the sale? Of course.

Don't be skeptical of reputable statistics. Instead use them to help you get your Sellers on board with Staging - and then put that key partnership in place that helps everyone WIN.

Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP, Owner & Principal Stager, Sensational Home Staging serving the Greater Denver region

•International Staging Expert, Blogger, and Media Personality
•Member of International Assoc of Home Staging Professionals since 2003
•Why Trust Your House or Listing to Anyone Else?
•Over 2,700 Houses Staged and Thousands of Satisfied Realtor and Seller Clients
•303-717-7918 or 888-93-STAGE

Don't "Test the Market" - Stage it Before Listing!

Don’t “Test the Market” – Stage it Before Listing!
by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP - Owner, Sensational Home Staging
 Back when I first got started Staging, the “belief” that Staging would work was just not really there. Realtors knew inherently that a house needed to look good, but understanding the principles of Staging (depersonalizing, declutter, clean, color-pizzazz) was missing. Also, conveying the facts to a Seller about how Staged houses sell at a better price and faster than the marketed competition was a challenge. Sellers were skeptical and did not want to make “unnecessary changes.”

When I finally did get opportunities to Stage and the house sold quickly the “belief” was still not 100% that what I did really made an impact. Some thought, “Well it is the market, the house would have sold anyway.” So I kept plugging away and keeping track of statistics that supported Staging. Eventually my track record of success spoke for itself and doubters could not explain away why a house I Staged sold in 10 days while the other listings sat and sat for months.

Flash forward 10 years and in most places in America we are in a market now that demands Staging. A seller that wants their house to sell NOW versus sitting and waiting needs to use every tool available to attract a buyer. Stage the house BEFORE it is listed. Don’t wait to “try” or “test” the market thinking that “Well we don’t want to ‘spend’ the money on Staging if we can sell without doing that.”

What sellers may not fully understand is with Staging, you either invest up FRONT in the process of preparing a house for sale to maximize the rate of return, or you LOSE it on the back-end with a price reduction, low-price offer, and extended days on the market.

I went to Stage a house recently and the office was dark burgundy and had been that color when the current owners bought the house. They never liked it but just had not yet gotten around to painting it. After showing them pictures of how dark and un-welcoming that room would look in photos and for buyers, they agreed to paint. They invested less than $200 to have a painter paint the room a nice warm tone neutral color (Sherwin Williams: Blond) and said, “We wish we had done this when we first moved in.” Now the room is bright and inviting – and since they are competing with lots of other properties, they have not given the buyer a reason not to choose their house. Best foot forward.

Don’t test the market – Stage it now. Even if you happen to be one of the lucky ones in a market where it’s a Seller’s market, think about how much money you might be leaving on the table if you choose not to Stage? Yes, the house might sell but could it have sold at an even BETTER price if it had been Staged? The answer is – yes. . . Statistics prove this.

And the best part is Staging helps everyone WIN. The Seller wins with a faster sale and a good sales price, The Realtor wins with a faster sale and more commission, and the Buyer wins because they can picture living in the house and make that connection that helps them make an offer.


If you live in the Greater Denver area and need to prepare your house for sale, give me a call! Affordable prices, expert recommendations that work and professional standards.

Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP - Owner, Sensational Home Staging - 303-717-7918

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stunning Home in Highlands Ranch - For Sale!

Listed by Lee McCue - Keller Williams Realty, Cell: 303.859.0198. Call now to schedule a showing!

5940 S. Cimarron Way - Littleton 80123 - Staged and Ready to Buy!

Listed by Susan Miesen, Remax Professionals, 303-521-2133. Call today to schedule a Showing!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sensational Staging Project - Littleton, CO - Staged and Ready to show and SELL!

Check out the latest Staging success from Sensational Home Staging - Denver Region's Premier Home Staging Resource!

This staging project came from a Seller that found me online - and impressed with what she saw, she hired me to Stage this property. It was listed for 90 days with another agent - did not sell. Enter Staging - and working with professionals that know how to market and sell a house.

Not only did I get the Staging work - but I also REFERRED the listing to a Realtor client that I do a lot of business with - and it was my pleasure to give her this opportunity as a way to say, "Thank you" for all the business she has brought me. I also know she gets the job done - and has successfully SOLD some tough properties! Of course, they were all Staged - so we are a good team.

For help in Staging your house or listing, please give me a call. 303-717-7918 or 888-93-STAGE. After successfully staging over 2,500 properties, I have yet to meet a house or client that I could not help. - Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP, WCR

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Home Staging Success - ASPs Set the Scene for the Buyer

This house in Indianapolis was transformed using what the Seller had - and the principles of ASP Staging. We packed, rearranged, repurposed and set the scene in every room of this house. The results speak for themselves! Enjoy!