As an industry, real estate may not be operating the way that it traditionally does. But that doesn’t mean agents have stopped helping clients with their needs. Sellers are still eager to get their homes prepped for sale and might be wanting to know more about staging.
In that case, agents can opt to educate clients on how home staging can be done with e-consultations or virtual consultations. In today’s world, technology has allowed us to provide services to homeowners without having to be inside their homes.
When it comes to staging in particular, the process can be handled online, start to finish. All it takes is a little bit of coordination, planning and a willingness to work together to achieve a common goal in this uncertain time. Here’s what every step of the process looks like.
1. Determine the type of consultation
The first step is setting up a consultation. Appointments with the seller can be done using video chat. Luckily, we have a myriad of options to choose from, like FaceTime, video calling, WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom. It depends on what type of consultation process the stager provides or the seller prefers.
2. Provide photos
For virtual consultations using interior photos, sellers need to send photos of each room in their home — from the doorway to around the corners — and send those to the stager.
For virtual consultation using live or video footage, your clients and the stager can schedule a time to host a virtual tour of the property. During this walk-through, the stager will share some suggestions with the homeowner via Zoom or their videoconferencing tool of choice. Your seller can take notes on the recommendations provided.
3. Implement recommendations
If you used interior photos for your virtual consultation, then the stager will prepare a detailed, to-do list of recommendations for the seller. The seller then has to implement those recommendations. If your client needs some added help getting it done, the stager can do hands-on staging in their property, following necessary safety precautions.
4. Follow up
If your clients need the addition of any items such as décor or furniture, that can be discussed in a “phase two” follow-up appointment. At this point, the stager can share what the seller can purchase in order to complete the overall look for their house and make sure it appears its best in photos.
Sometimes, sellers might want to add a few things to achieve that “wow factor,” or fill in the blanks in rooms that are missing furniture. And maybe they don’t necessarily own the right items.
In that scenario, the stager can bring those items — whether it’s a piece of furniture or artwork or wall decor — and install them in the house. (These items are typically provided for a monthly use fee, and they’re picked up once the house is under contract and when it’s safe to do so. The benefit to the sellers is that they don’t have to buy items they may not want or need for their next house or pay to move them.)
This can all be coordinated virtually, making sure that both parties follow safety procedures and complete the process contact-free. Alternatively, if your clients don’t want anyone in their homes, the stager can provide a shopping list for homeowners who want to do the work themselves. They’ll get a detailed action plan from the stager on what to purchase and where to place them in the home.
5. Share the finished look
Once the recommendations are implemented, the property owner can send photos of the finished work or do a video walk-through to get the thumbs-up from the stager. Since this is all done virtually, the process is quick and efficient and does not risk the health of anyone involved.
It also helps preserve the relationship between you and your seller as it’s important that listing agents don’t put themselves in the position of being seen as “critics” of their clients’ home and allow the stager to deliver the messages the owner needs to hear from an objective third party.
Until this crisis is over, finding creative ways to continue to serve your clients is necessary. We are fortunate that most services can be provided using technology that we use and know today.
Jennie Norris is the chairwoman of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.
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