"Hello, this is Karen."
"Hi Karen. This is (name concealed to protect the innocent). I need to schedule you ASAP for a staging consult. How soon can you come? We really need to sell this place fast."
"Umm... well, let me check. (digs out appt book out from the midst of various gas, grocery and note-to-self paper scraps from purse, while balancing tiny little cell phone between shoulder and ear) How about Tuesday at 2pm?" (2pm = perfect natural light)
"Can't you come any sooner? We just need to hear if there's anything we've overlooked." Apparently, one day seemed like an eternity to this particular agent. Either that or there was some kind of contract out on them if this place wasn't turned around pronto.
So, I, being the compassionate and flexible gal that I am (translation: wimp) scheduled for the very next day. Columbus Day.
Monday, October 12, 2009
8 a.m. arrived. So did I. I'll just catch those sales at the mall next year.
Well, well, well.
Not bad. Decent enough curb appeal. Bodes well for what the inside may look like.
Got out of car with notebook and camera. (tip: leave coffee in car for a myriad of obvious reasons).
Slowly walked to front door while observing every detail of exterior. Scribbled notes in notebook.
Entered foyer and received warm and fuzzy welcome from agent while homeowner stood quietly with arms folded across chest.
Looked to the right:
Looked to the left:
And straight ahead into the kitchen:
Then down the hall to the media room.
I'll spare you the rest of the house. I kid you not. Every room was black and white. White wall-wall carpeting in almost every room. There was not one speck of color to be found unless grey, beige and1980's oak qualify. There was nary an accessory anywhere. This really was how they "lived". Nothing was taken down or put away prior to my visit. The place was spotless. I give them that.
Ummmmm, nameless real estate agent person? You wanted to know if you've overlooked anything, huh? Wow - I had a lot of writing to do that evening.
Typical scenario after a house tour and verbal consultations:
1)Agent and homeowner are informed by me that a report summarizing all recommendations will be emailed to both of them within 24 hours.
2) I am paid on site either by the agent or the homeowner.
3) Within an average of one week I am sent pics of whatever recommendations were implemented as proof of the wonderful and wise advice I imparted.
What really happened::
1) No payment at time of service. (I was assured it would be mailed the next day).
2) Reports were written and forwarded as stated
3) One week later - No pics in my inbox; no check in my mailbox
Monday, October 19, 2009
"Hello - (nameless real estate agent person) here."
"Hi (nameless real estate agent person). This is Karen. I am following up on our meeting at the blah blah residence last week. I sent out the reports the following day. I have yet to receive payment. Is there an issue we can resolve together?"
"Oh, gee. I'll send it right out! Just so busy. You know how that goes!"
Yeah, I know how that goes....
December 3rd, 2009:
Check in mailbox, finally.
Still no pics in inbox. Questioning my wonderfulness.
Via my inside sources at this office, I learned the following: The agent TOLD the homeowner a stager would be a good idea and then TOLD the homeowner, (after the fact), that it was THEIR bill to pay. Did I mention the homeowner did not want anything to do with a Stager to begin with? Then when I waltzed in and unknowingly added the cherry on top with my comment of "Oh - so you must have already bought a new home and aren't living here anymore", it was a lost cause. Gone.
In all fairness to me though, look at those pics. Would you have ever guessed that a family of 4 with a dog the size of a cow lives there? And have for 13 YEARS? Just sayin'......
Fast forward to Feb 14, 2010: Property remains UNSOLD. No implementation of my recommendations evident in MLS listing pics
1) For better or for worse, a home really does say a lot about the people who live in it. If you are trying to sell yours, Stagers are an important part of the process. Use them. Their fee is such a small price to pay for the return you will get when you sell. It is an investment on your part, not an expense.
2) And even though they love what they do, Stagers have bills to pay, too. So, please pay them in a timely manner. They are worth every penny.
3) As important as Staging is to the sale of a house, please, real estate agent people, don't force us onto clients who aren't interested. Kudos to you for recognizing the need for our service. So, if you have to, pay us yourself. Make it part of the service bundle you provide for your client.
3) "No" is a complete sentence. When nameless real estate agent person called me recently for yet another consult, I learned how great it felt to say it. Call me crazy, but value and integrity are sorta important to me.
Have any of you ever turned down a job in order to maintain the integrity of your business?
disclaimer: This post is not intended to generalize all agents or all homeowners one way or another.
.(note: Not sure why my camera reverted to the previous day's date after taking the first outside shot. Weird)