I am a real estate agent in Iowa. Staging isn’t really done out here yet. If there are any stagers, I don’t know of them. What I want to know about is the yard aspect of staging. We usually have pretty big pieces of frontage and acres in the back. All the material I have read about curb appeal references itty bitty flower gardens; what about the rest of it?
—Betty S., Iowa
A: Betty, you are right on the nail.
I would imagine at this time of year there really isn’t much drive by with all the snow out there. It’s true that anything you read will have a focus on staging from a town or suburban perspective, because it is the most prevalent out there; however, I am sure staging principles can be adapted anywhere in the world. A CSP will target the staging recommendations to the person who is most likely to purchase the property. That’s where you start, Betty. Knowing is one thing, and application is another. If the acreage is large with pasture, then it has to look like the best pasture in the world; if the property has a stream, then a tour with your prospect will include that stream (perhaps on horseback to enjoy the acreage); a working ranch will need to be staged with an entirely different feel. Get the picture? Feel free to send me photos if you need more specific help.
I have been in real estate for thirty-five years. During that time, trends have come and gone and are on their way back again. Is all this hoopla about staging and renovating property just hype to get the seller to spend more money? Agents have a tough enough time securing listings without having to get sellers to spend more money. I think it’s crazy.
—Wayne D., Niagara Falls, Canada
A: Well, Wayne, staging is really about your clients’ return on investment and how appealing the property is to a prospective buyer. The statistics and results prove over and over that staging property before any marketing (including agent tours) provides huge returns. In today’s market, to give the very best service to your client you do need to know more about staging so you can introduce it well during the listing process. I would also say you need to know more about how the service affects you, the seller, and the buyer. You would be a good candidate for the CSP Elite Agent Program as it teaches you how to protect your clients’ equity with staging. Check out the program online at www.stagingtraining.com/csp-elite, and then contact me or the professional on the front of this magazine for more information. Remember, we are really here to help you be the best real estate agent you can be.