Dealing with Cryptic Agents

An Awkward Dilemma
You received an inquiry for home staging from a local real estate agent. They are on the phone, pressing you hard for information about your services, what it will cost to prepare your home for sale, your price and terms, your schedule ... and throughout the process, they are reluctant to give you the information you need to properly answer their questions.

Perhaps they have a discreet client that doesn't want to be disturbed. They are insistent that a property address, a specific location, or the proposed list price of the home should not matter. They ask, "Why do you need all of that to give me a price for home staging?"

Product vs Service
First and foremost, we need to deal with the underlying assumption: that home staging is a product. Yes, home staging involves product, like furniture, artwork and decor accessories. But home staging is much more than furniture rental. As professional stagers, we help people prepare their homes for sale.

We need to emphasize the service and value we offer our clients. A successful outcome involves several moving pieces -- interior design expertise, coordinating home improvement contractors, selecting furniture, hiring a moving company and staging the home for sale.

My Favorite Analogy
Just say this: "to simply give you a price for home staging without considering all of the details would be allot like a real estate agent making a list price recommendation based only on your neighborhood or city." In both instances, we know that would not be a meaningful price!

A good real estate agent will take into considerations many factors when making a list price recommendation, including but not limited to:

  • property address
  • size and characteristics of the lot
  • square footage and number of rooms
  • age and condition of the home
  • style, upgrades and features
  • seller's time horizon and financial picture
  • comparable homes for sale and those recently sold

In the interior design and home staging industry, you can find products (i.e. Sofa) from $200 to $20,000 and in many cases they might look similar. At White Orchid Interiors, we can provide home staging solutions from $2,000 to $20,000 and as much as $200,000 in some cases. Big picture, home staging is a service and starts with a relationship. Our goal is to best help a seller prepare his or her home for sale. We need as much information as possible to build a personalized and meaningful proposal that includes the product, service and price for staging.