Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why Accepting the Lowest Bid for Home Staging Can Prove Extremely Costly for Sellers

As a very experienced stager and president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc., (I have collaborated with home sellers and real estate agents in the staging and marketing of over $500 million in real estate in the Tri-state area), I feel the need to comment on the issue of hiring a home stager, based on the lowest bid. Some home staging companies are now marketing themselves by their willingness to accept sellers’ lowest budgets. It is well known that in any business, you cannot achieve all three of the following at the same time: high quality, low price, and fastest delivery. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for.

For most sellers, their home is their number one financial asset. The return on the sale of this asset will be key to their future financial well-being. Statistics prove that professionally staged homes sell faster and for more money than comparables that are not staged. Furthermore, with a surplus of inventory, the competition for any home seller today is greater than it has been in years. With more than 90% of buyers shopping first on the internet, the website marketing is the key to attracting traffic to a listing. Viewing the property, buyers need to fall in love within minutes – the first impression is that powerful to buyer decision making. Professional home staging is not decorating – it is marketing, pure and simple.

Would any business launch a product into a competitive market in an unattractive package or damaged condition? Of course not. Because the only way that type of product will sell is at a significant discount! Staging is not an expense – it is an INVESTMENT- in fact, the best short-term investment a home seller will ever make. Just compare the financial return from a profitable and quicker sale (which also reduces monthly carrying costs), with the interest the banks are offering for 6-month CDs.

The choice of a professional home stager, is a critical decision that should only be made in consideration of many criteria – and certainly not just on price! In many cases, the savvy real estate agent already has a professional stager working on their marketing team. If the agent can’t recommend a stager, then the home seller needs to base their decision on the stager’s expertise, experience, track-record, professionalism and portfolio. Of course everyone has budgets and professional stagers will do their best to get the biggest impact for the client’s investment. However, it is wise to listen to the professional stager’s comprehensive consultation and recommendations before making any final decisions on what should be invested in the staging project. Home sellers today have too much at stake to be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

Certified Staging Professionals understand the importance of explaining to sellers what needs to be done to get their homes market ready. As consultants, we accept that it is our responsibility, not only to showcase the strengths of a property, but also to address the weaknesses – even when some of these issues might be sensitive in nature. The bottom line is that this is a marketing collaboration between the seller, the home stager and the agent to achieve the highest possible return on the sale of the property in the shortest amount of time.
The Certified Staging Professionals training does not only teach staging techniques and tips but also sets the highest standards of ethics and professional responsibility. It is the most comprehensive home staging training program available. Unlike the on-line training companies, CSP provides trainees with hands-on staging experience and incomparable after-training support. I am confident that the CSP home staging training program is the best investment budding home stagers can make in themselves and their businesses. I am extremely proud of being a trainer for this exemplary organization and am pleased to share my diverse experience and expertise with all my trainees.

I am looking forward to my upcoming home staging training classes in New York City (Oct. 17-19) and Ottawa (Nov. 2-4).

For more information, please visit www.csptraining.com and www.ingenuitypizzazz.com or contact Nairn Friemann at nairn@ingenuitypizzazz.com.

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