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As an agent, you know that getting a home “open-house ready” and listed to sell can be a lot of work. You also know that staging a home can help it sell more quickly—and for a higher price, yet many clients balk at doing so because of the cost and inconvenience. So what do you do when your clients are looking for a more budget-friendly alternative? We’ve put together a few tips to help.

Start by giving your clients a “to-do” checklist. That is, a list of low-cost and time-effective things they can do to improve the look of their home:

  • Give the place a deep cleaning.
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color.
  • Spruce up the landscaping and garden.
  • Remove knickknacks and personal items

De-cluttering and de-personalizing the home is an important step for your clients to carry out so potential buyers can envision their own belongings in the house. All those items in your client’s home that they haven’t touched in years? Suggest they start making a Goodwill donation pile of these things. For the items they want to keep, recommend nearby storage companies where they can temporarily rent a unit. Boxing up these items for storage will give your client a jump-start on packing, too. Bonus tip for you: negotiate a discount for your client at a local and trustworthy storage company by agreeing you’ll refer future clients in return.

Another essential reminder is the importance of each room having a defined purpose. If your clients have a room that serves as both a home office and a playroom, have them adjust that room so that it becomes clearly one thing or the other. Using one room for several purposes can indicate to a buyer that the home is lacking space. Have your clients remove the multi-use spaces so potential buyers walk away with a clear understanding of what the home offers. You can even keep a few extra items on hand (e.g. furniture, tablecloths) to help them achieve this—why not go above and beyond and let your clients use them?

If you do have a home that desperately needs professional staging and a client who resists, consider alternative options such as offering to pay for the initial consultation or covering half of the staging costs yourself. After all, once you’ve helped your clients get their home looking sharp and sold, you can be sure they will share their great experience with others and refer you to their friends.

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