I heard it again as I entered the front door of a three-bedroom house in Warrington. The owner let me in with a sheepish look and said, “I’m sorry for what you’re about to see. We haven’t had time to clean.” The house was clearly lived in by parents and children, the floor and counters were filled with evidence of an active family, and a cat circled my legs.
Time and time again, an apology follows a “come on in” when I visit your listing clients to do a home staging consultation. Of course, it’s a natural reaction; we want to be proud of our houses when we invite people in. So, I immediately work to put sellers at ease by reminding them that I expect to see houses that call for honey-do lists. I tell them that as a home stager, I excel at doing two things simultaneously: I see the house as it SHOULD be at listing time, and I see the house as it IS and know how to bridge that gap.
The second most common reaction I get from sellers is defensiveness. I often hear something like this: “I don’t know why my Realtor said I need a stager. My house looks great/I recently decorated.” You need a diplomatic way to take the wind out of their sails when it comes to prepping their houses. So, here is a mini-script you can steal shamelessly from me when your sellers give you push-back about having a staging consultation:
“You’ve done such a lovely job creating a home for you (and your family) that reflects your personality(ies) and your passions. I feel right at home here already. But now, my job is to take your home and turn it back into a house—a product that anybody can picture themselves in.
“I want to help you create a house that appeals to people in every possible demographic category. In order to do that, we need to take your (and your family’s) personality out of the house. So, my stager will give you great advice to help you create the kind of environment that anybody will pay good money to live in!”
It’s amazing how quickly resistance and defensiveness wane when you use this script to help your sellers understand why staging is necessary and what it will do for them. You’re letting them know that making changes to a house isn’t a criticism of how they’ve decorated and how they live; instead, it’s a positive step to get them as much equity as possible out of their asset.
I hope this mini script is helpful to you. I’m here to answer any questions you have about the staging process.