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Avoid the DEADLY Staging Mistake Made on HGTV's "Buy Me"

What was the huge mistake made on HGTV's show "Buy Me"? Don't make similar mistakes as a staging professional. Avoid the dramatic error and learn how that communication with clients can mean the difference between a satisfied, happy client and a client who views your staging project as a "nuisance".

Copyright (c) 2009 Alice Chan

I've been watching the HGTV program, "Buy Me" which is a show about the drama that Real Estate Agents and Sellers go through as they sell a home. It's actually pretty comical for me.

Just like sports enthusiasts who yell at the television screen about how the players should be playing, I'm making comments about what the sellers should be doing, what the real estate agents should be doing, and what the Stagers should be doing.

I know, it's absolutely ridiculous and it's obviously easier to be objective and hardnosed from your couch than it is when you're in front of your customers. However, there was one HUGE error in judgment that occurred on one of the episodes that I wanted to address.

On this particular episode, the sellers were told by their Agent that they needed to Stage their house and she talked with them about de-cluttering, packing and changing the use of their sunroom, but she really glossed over the details.

The Agent did not include the Sellers in the conversation with the Stagers about what really needed to be done and why. She also did not find out what they would need while they lived in the home during the selling process.

Long story short, the sellers left for a week long vacation during which time the Real Estate Agent and the Stagers took care of packing, redesigning and Staging their home. When the Sellers returned to their "Staged" home, they were extremely unhappy about not being able to find things and the overall inconvenience of the Staging.

Because they were never educated they actually viewed it as a nuisance rather than seeing the value it added to the marketability of their property. The big lesson here is NEVER Stage a House without participation by the occupants!!!

First of all, this applies to both vacant and owner occupied properties, but more so for the latter for obvious reasons. This is important for vacant properties if the sellers are going to be visiting the home frequently and overseeing its maintenance.

It is absolutely imperative with owner occupied properties because making the house showcase ready for the big debut is important, but it's even more important that it stays in that condition during the duration of the time the house is on the market.

Consider these rules of thumb regardless of who hired you or who's paying for the staging services:

1) Keep all parties in the loop.

Parties include the Real Estate Agent AND the owners/sellers/occupants (hopefully these are all the same people). I always recommend providing ALL parties with a copy of the written consultation so everyone is on the same page about what needs to be done.

Everyone should know what needs to be done, the timeframe for completing the tasks and who is responsible for doing the work, i.e. is it the owners/sellers sole responsibility or will there be a need to hire outside sources to help move the projects along.

2) Sellers/Occupants need to be educated about what the Staging process is and what it entails.

3) Sellers/Occupants need to be educated about how to live in a staged home.

Sometimes this could be dramatically different from their regular lifestyle and they have to be made aware of that.

Even if you have to discuss the smallest details like keeping the toothpaste in the medicine cabinet vs. on the sink counter or vacuuming up hair in the bathroom every morning before they leave the house, to making the bed EVERY DAY, that is your role and responsibility as a Stager to get the message across to the client.

DON'T put yourself in the position where your clients view your service as a nuisance rather than a value add. It is really a collaborative effort between the Real Estate Agent, the Stager and the Homeowners/Sellers.

Keeping a clear, definite line of communication open is the key to a successful relationship during all the "drama".

Article Tags: Real Estate Agent, Real Estate, Estate Agent

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Alice T. Chan is the Staging Designers' Success Coach and founder of Our tools/programs help Staging Designers catapult their success by turning an expensive hobby into a profitable expression of their talent. Alice publishes the bi-weekly ezine "Set the Stage for Your Success". To skyrocket your Staging Design business and gain credibility in record time, get FREE tips now at .

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