Why is it so difficult to get Agents to accept staging?
Before I directly answer this question lets see what we can learn from history. Cast your mind back to Y2K, yes that far…. Year TWO THOUSAND”… I bet some of you were in kindergarten! IMAGINE though, it was a time when there were no stagers, no warehouses, no storage spaces, no agents recommending staging, no HGTV shows, no staging books, no IG, FB or social media at all, barely an Internet, no Google, no Apple, no iPhones AND not a thought in anyone’s head about helping seller’s get the best result when selling their house. 1980’s mortgages hit 20% and buyers were saying we don’t want to buy your old house however, even back then an idea was forming, a subtle movement starting which would eventually revolutionise the way Real Estate would be sold.
Fast forward to Now:
Much has happened in the world, inventions, technology, wars, housing concepts & real estate as an Industry. I was actually there at the dawn of Staging, pioneering, opening the way so others could follow more easily, what I know for sure is educating the agents and sellers is a must. Let’s just take a quick look into real estate history to gain perspective. Owning a house became an iconic dream in North America after WW2, however owning property as an investment started after the recession in 1980’s. Check the history of real estate agents here: The History of Real Estate Brokers | Curious History
The Real Estate profession has been around for maybe 150 years, and last year 89% of all properties sold were via a real estate agent, so their industry has done a great job of building credibility for their expertise.
The Home inspection industry was created in 1970 (53yrs ago) when buyers were hiring contractors to inspect property pre-purchase. By the 1990’s, mainly because of real estate law enactment & increasing consumer awareness, most properties have an inspection prior to being sold. It didn’t take long before the more experienced agents recognized the idea that a professionally performed property inspection could be employed as a marketing tool, but may also help shield them from potential litigation after the close of escrow.
In 1984, the landmark case, Easton vs. Strassberger lawsuit changed this idea from a theory to a fact. The court held that the duties of a real estate broker include “the affirmative duty to conduct a reasonably competent and diligent inspection of the residential property listed for sale and to disclose to prospective purchasers all facts materially affecting the value of the property that such investigation would reveal.” So, over the last 30yrs this had the effect of a major increase in properties being checked by professional inspectors before the close of escrow and according to a 2009 NAR statistic close to 80% of all houses nationwide are now inspected. In some parts of the country the percentage of inspected are even higher. 99% of real estate agents in USA recommend home inspections to their clients. This statistic is a powerful indicator of the importance of home inspections to the real estate industry. It shows that real estate agents recognize the value of having a professional inspection done before a home purchase and are willing to recommend it to their clients. The strong endorsement of the home inspection industry speaks to the trust real estate agents have in the services. The Staging Industry needs to get here too.
FAST FORWARD AGAIN: STAGING INDUSTRY:
In a mere 22years the idea of presenting an owner-occupied property, as pristine and delightful as a new model home, literally has changed the way real estate is sold. I was there, in 2001 when real estate agents (REA) were saying staging won’t work, people won’t do it, REA will not discuss it, and yet now there are thousands and thousands of people who didn’t listen, who pursued their dreams and are delivering their staging services daily! We have come a long way in a relatively short time. Since 2007, Stagers have a trade association, RESA, (www.realestatestagingassociation.com/history) it’s the only not for profit trade association for stagers; we have a code of ethics, stager specific insurance, real certification, even a survey from NAR stating that 82% of BUYER agents (the people who work with people buying property) said staging made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as their future home, and STILL, real estate agents, the industry, journalists, real estate industry statistic gatherers, do not fully understand or recognize what it takes to get a house ready for sale, they think it is merely decluttering & cleaning -at best decorating and they think it doesn’t take any skills to do it. Stagers are continually undermined and under valued as professionals who provide this service. Don’t worry – this too will pass. We are still in our infancy. If the Real Estate was a tree, it would be a mighty oak. We are visual people so here is an illustration to help put some perspective on why you meet resistance.
Also remember there are new real estate agents entering the industry every month, and they don’t know how powerful of a marketing tool staging is. You may have a lot of talent for the creative element of staging, however being able to articulate well why someone should work with you, and pay you is the key to securing business. Indeed, we at CSP International™ Staging Business Training Academy face the same challenge as stagers do everyday. Why? How? Well, just like there are cheap stagers there are many training options which are ludicrously inexpensive. There are some training options with little substance, some written by people who have never staged, but they all present as “staging training”, when the only similarity are those two words. Choosing the right provider for you takes research, conversation, and careful consideration. That’s where the CSP training & certification program is different. It goes beyond teaching you the creative elements of staging and delves into the business and marketing aspects that are crucial for success in the industry. One of the biggest challenges stagers face is getting real estate agents to accept staging as a valuable tool. Despite the proven benefits and the success stories of countless stagers, there is still resistance and skepticism in the industry. But history has shown us that change takes time.
Remember it took years for the concept of home inspections to become widely accepted and recommended by agents. It wasn’t until real estate law evolved and consumer awareness increased that home inspections became a standard practice. The same transformation is happening with staging, albeit at a faster pace.
The CSP program recognizes the importance of educating both agents and sellers about the value of staging. It equips you with the knowledge and skills to effectively communicate the benefits of staging, not just as a means to sell a property faster, but also as a tool to help buyers visualize their future home. Moreover, the CSP program sets itself apart from other training options by providing a rigorous curriculum and professional true certification. It is not just a superficial “staging training” but a comprehensive program covering everything from business planning and marketing strategies to client communication, project management & profitability. The CSP certification carries weight and credibility in the real estate industry, demonstrating your expertise and commitment to delivering top-notch staging services.
As new real estate agents enter the industry every month, there is a continuous need for education and awareness about the benefits of staging. CSP provides scripts, presentations, and sales process. By completing the CSP program, you position yourself as a knowledgeable and skilled professional who can effectively articulate why someone should work with you and pay you for your services. You become a trusted resource in an industry that is still evolving and discovering the true value of staging.
Choosing the right training provider is crucial, and that’s why the CSP program stands out. With its reputable track record, comprehensive curriculum, and professional certification, it offers the education and support you need to thrive in the staging industry. Don’t settle for cheap or inadequate training options that undermine the profession. Invest in your future and join the ranks of successful CSP graduates who are making a difference in the real estate market.
Staging is not just about decorating. It’s about educating prospects, convincing agents, and ultimately transforming the way real estate is sold. It’s a matter of recognizing the power of staging as a marketing tool and equipping yourself with the knowledge and skills to make a lasting impact. Take the leap, invest in your education, and join the CSP program to unlock the full potential of your staging business.
There is no better time than right now to take the plunge if you are interested in starting a home staging business or training a team member to be your in-house stager at your brokerage. Contact me, Christine Rae today to learn more! Or learn more & get our 65 Steps to Starting A Successful Staging Business ebook.