Gould, who founded the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, has written a series of free articles about how home stagers can market to real estate agents at open houses. She says, “You have a captive audience to introduce your services, and if you handle it well, it can lead to many future home staging projects.”
Gould also advises home stagers to visit open houses to evaluate whether particular agents would be ideal to work with. She recommends that home stagers pay attention to the real estate agent’s behavior and demeanor. In doing so, home stagers can look for warning signs and ultimately opt against introducing themselves in a business capacity.
“First, does the real estate agent greet people nicely when they enter the home, and do they get them to sign in?” Gould asks. “A professional real estate agent will care about the first impression he/she creates and ensure that any visitor feels welcome. After all, the whole reason they are giving up a couple of hours on a weekend to sit in this house is in hopes of generating some business out of it!”
When visitors aren’t greeted warmly by agents, Gould questions how caring the agent will be when working with actual clients or with home stagers. If visitors aren’t required to sign in, she believes the agent is either apathetic or afraid of asserting themselves, neither of which bodes well for a future business relationship.
Next, Gould suggests reviewing whether the feature sheet for the property is attractive and includes proper photos.
“If the house is a total pigpen, don’t expect to see lots of interior shots,” Gould says. “However, if the house looks reasonable and there are no decent photos of it, you have to wonder how much care the agent takes to market the home effectively. If they don’t care or don’t bother, you can’t reasonably expect them to go out of their way to recommend staging to their clients, especially when they’ll be worried about being asked to help pay for it.”
According to Gould, home stagers should also analyze whether the real estate agent’s coat, shoes and other possessions make an otherwise neat home look messy.
“This shows a total lack of respect for the home seller,” says Gould. “The real estate agent is unlikely to appreciate the attention you’ll pay to staging and will never be a source of referrals.”
Gould states that her intent in writing these articles is not to bash real estate agents: “I have total respect for the truly professional REALTORS®. Unfortunately, there are many agents who aren’t, and they need to be called out for this kind of behavior.”
By visiting open houses, Gould believes home stagers can learn a lot about real estate agents in their locale: “By observing how an agent handles an open house, you’ll know whether this is an agent you might want to work with, and then you can take the next step in introducing your services to them.”
For additional tips on working with real estate agents, home stagers are encouraged to visit the Home Staging Business Report on the Staging Diva website.
About Staging Diva
The creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, Debra Gould has staged millions of dollars’ worth of real estate, including 7 of her own homes. She is the president of Voice of Possibility Group Inc., which operates a home staging division, SixElements.com, in addition to StagingDiva.com, which has trained over 7,000 home stagers to start and grow their own businesses.
Debra has gained international recognition through features in major media in the US and Canada including: This Old House, HGTV, CNN Money, CBC National News, CBS Radio, Global TV, City TV, The Wall Street Journal, Women’s Day, Reader’s Digest and more.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
Voice of Possibility Group Inc.
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Entrepreneur and home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva, knows how to make money as a stager and has taught over 7,000 others to do the same. Discover her secrets to business success in the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program.