The estate agency market has always been highly competitive. According to Rightmove’s house price index for April “the number of new sellers coming to the market is up by 12% compared to this time of year ago…Homeowners are springing into action with Thursday, the 28th of March seeing the highest number of new sellers coming to the market in one day so far in 2024 and the third largest since August 2020.“ With increased competition and new agencies opening all the time, now may be the time to consider the benefits for your agency of offering access to a professional home stager to your sellers. In this blog I want to outline some of the benefits for estate agents of offering this.

* All stats are from the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland Report 2023

Why Presentation Matters

Presentation has always mattered. Prospective buyers always form an opinion when they view a property. Yet it is more important than ever when selling a property these days. Why?

  • Expectations. With the advent of the Internet, people’s expectations have soared. Whether it’s the online portals, estate agents websites or social media platforms, buyers’ expectations are much higher. 
  • Online property searching. Since prospective purchasers are doing their property hunting online, if they don’t like what they see they will scroll past and you might not even get them through the front door. 
  • Buyers will have most likely made a decision as to what properties to view before contacting an agent to book a viewing. They may even have been able to book a viewing online without actually speaking to an agent. In the past, with buyers visiting all the local agents, agents would have had an opportunity to recommend properties that buyers might not have initially been interested in. Although those conversations would still take place ,if they are not happening face-to-face in the office there isn’t perhaps the same opportunity to build rapport.

 

Statistic "in your Opinion does home staging make it easier for a buyer to visualise a property as their future home?" 100 per cent
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Your USP

Home Staging is still a relatively new concept in the UK although it has actually been around for several years. Offering home staging is a way of genuinely distinguishing yourself from the competition. If none of the other agents in your local area include the option of a consultation with a professional home stager then it makes sense to take advantage of this opportunity. You don’t have to offer to do the staging yourself rather you offer this just as you might refer a prospective seller to a mortgage advisor or solicitor.

Increased Revenue

Most estate agents charge on the basis of a percentage of the selling price. Statistics from the Home Staging Association UK and Ireland show that staging increases the offer value. They also show that staging increases the number of viewings. The greater the interest in a property the greater than number of offers and the greater the likelihood that offers will be higher. Ultimately this translates into increased revenue for you the agent.

Statistic "When comparing similar properties did staging increase the offer value?' 25% said between 1-3%, 50% said between 4-6% and 25% said between 11-15%
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Cash Flow

From my experience I know that properties can take a long time to sell and of course until a sale is concluded the agent doesn’t get paid. Even worse, if a frustrated seller decides to switch agent or to remove the property from the market altogether, a lot of time, effort and money will have been expended for no result. Again, statistics show that staged homes self faster than non-staged ones. Properties selling more quickly and therefore fees being paid more quickly improves the agency ‘s cash flow. With bills to pay, turnover and cash flow is of crucial importance.

 

Less Stale Stock

I use the phrase ” stale stock” to refer to those properties that have languished on your books for a period of time and remain unsold. Now there can be a mixture of reasons why this might be the case, one of which could be that the property doesn’t look very appealing whether this is on the property portals, your website or social media. You don’t want to have properties that prospective buyers recognise as having been on the market for a long time, it doesn’t create a very good impression and it adversely affects your stats.

Graphic of two people shaking hands. With a statistic "Does a staged home sell faster than a non-staged one?" Yes, twice as fast
Two cups of coffee side by side

Empathy

A person’s property is often their pride and joy. They care about it and they want the selling agent to care about it. They don’t want an agent who simply treats the sale as a business transaction. Talking to property sellers about wanting to do your best for them and to ensure that they maximise the potential in their property, demonstrating that you are on their side and that you are working for them not prospective buyers is powerful. Unfortunately, some agents give the impression that they don’t actually care about the seller but only about the deal.

Additional Service For Developers

Any business owner wants repeat custom. In the UK, we tend not to move very often, on average only eight times during our lifetime. People can stay in a property for anything between 19 and 30 years. Obviously it varies from area to area and according to age. At least in the early stages, homeowners might be focused on moving up the property ladder which means they move more frequently. In any event, it doesn’t lead to much repeat business. One sector that does present the opportunity for repeat custom are small scale developers and property investors. Many people struggle to visualise themselves living in an empty property so staging can really add value. It therefore makes sense to cultivate relationships with this sector. Offering the developer or investor the opportunity to work with a home stager represents an additional service that you can offer to such clients.

Image of a beautiful bedroom
Graphic of the word Team

Testimonials

We are all used to using testimonials and reviews as a means of making choices in all areas of our lives including choosing an estate agent. Good reviews and testimonials can really have an impact on the success of your business. If you achieve a good outcome for your sellers in terms of speed of sale and/ or selling price, then that is likely to result in a positive review and glowing testimonial. 

 

Happy Clients

If a customer has had a good experience with your company, they are more likely to recommend you to friends and family or others who mention that they are thinking of selling. Imagine if a neighbour notices the Sold sign going up quickly they may be reassured and they are likely to ask the owner about their experience. If they have wondering whether or not to sell this may encourage them to go ahead. 

Thank you card on table with flowers next to it and a pair of glasses and a pen
Graphic of statistic "At what point do you recommend staging properties?" At the outset

At What Point Should You Recommend Staging Properties ?

I always recommend staging a property at the very outset even though for you the agent this may mean a period of time before the property can be listed. Sellers may want to test the water and market the property for a period of time after which, if it hasn’t sold, they may then consider staging. This is a mistake. For one thing, if the property hasn’t sold in that initial period then that’s been wasted time and possibly additional expenditure on mortgage. or rent etc. Any property inevitably attracts most attention when it is first listed so you want to take advantage of that initial interest. Time spent while a property is staged can ultimately mean a quicker sale for the agent. I always explain to clients that home staging is an investment not a cost.

 

Professional Photography

Home staging and professional photography go hand in hand. To give a property the maximum appeal in the marketing, what prospective buyers see in the images needs to be visually appealing and the quality of the images themselves needs to be high. Just as you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear as the saying goes, no matter how attractive the property is it can still be let down by the quality of photographs and videography. Any tool is only as good as the person using it. Whilst the quality of smart phones and DSLR cameras has improved, to take good quality photos the person taking those photos needs to have an understanding of factors such as angles, light and what to actually photograph. The more expensive the property, the more important this is. I collaborate with a local professional photographer who specialises in interiors.

Image of a camera on a tripod in front of a beautiful sunset
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Further Thoughts

A property sale is a bit like a machine. There are lots of cogs and parts that have to work together to ensure that the machine functions smoothly and doesn’t break down.  There can be any number of reasons why a sale falls through but the sale of a property doesn’t just involve one person. Apart from the agent it involves the conveyancer,  any mortgage or financial advisor etc. You can minimise the risk of fall throughs by creating a team of like minded professionals around you. My aim is to be part of that team helping faciliate the sale.

Summary

There are numerous ways in which offering access to professional home staging services can really benefit an estate agency business these include:-

  • USP
  • Increased revenue from fees
  • Improved cash flow
  • Less “stale stock”
  • Testimonials
  • Happy clients

I understand that approaching the subject of presentation might be something that you are nervous about, but I will always work with you to develop an approach that you’re comfortable with and this can be tailored to each potential customer. If you would be interested in having a chat to find out how this could benefit your agency, give me a call.

If you would like to learn more call me on 07745 876182. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and North Wales