Until recently the ability of an estate agent to offer the services of a home staging company to their clients gave them a USP when they pitched for an instruction. That has ceased to be the case in the last 12 months.
An agent who is not offering the services of a staging professional ahead of marketing a property risks their reputation and their client’s sale.
Let me explain; when I first set up Lemon and Lime Interiors as an independent business, home staging in the UK was a relatively unknown concept. I spent at least as much time explaining to estate agents and their vendors what I meant by home staging and why it was a good idea, as I did helping someone with specific tips. It was hard to get a new agent to take a phone call from me never mind refer a client.
All that has changed. Since the Brexit referendum in 2016 the UK market has been very tricky. There have been a few good months and lots more slow months punctuated by a dearth of new instructions for agents. Getting good stock onto the market has been difficult and the flow has been inconsistent. There has been a lack of buyers around at times and those that do need to move, have been very careful about how to spend their hard-earned cash.
Adding to the challenges of a difficult market, social media channels, in particular Facebook and Instagram are now mainstream channels for an estate agent to advertise a property for sale. As a result, the properties that attract offers quickly have, in the main, been those which look great on their photos, videos and virtual tours and have a flood of viewers in the first few days of going live on the property portals.
At the same time, the rise of the self-employed estate agent has given a significant challenge to those employed in a traditional firm or a large corporate. These agents are lighter on their feet, able to be more flexible in their approach and can often offer a more personal service to each vendor. This model of agency has seen a meteoric rise since the pandemic hit. Many of these agents understand clearly that their clients are more concerned about exceptional service and about the end result of their sale than about a short term promise about a low fee. They are a group with no hesitation about recommending home staging to a vendor to get the absolute best photos and video before launching a property to market.
As a market leading home staging company in the UK we have seen a big change. I have arrived on the doorstep of a property on more than one occasion, to be told by the vendor, ‘I knew I had to call you. I saw four agents and three of them recommended home staging. They all told me you are the person to do it for us.’
The fourth agent, the one who didn’t recommend staging, doesn’t even make it onto the shortlist of this type of vendor. They know that three agents on their list really care about how the property looks when it comes to market. In their eyes, the fourth clearly doesn’t care about them, only about the fees.
The other change that has happened this year is that now at least 30% of our business comes direct. In other words, a vendor will find their staging partner before engaging the services of an estate agent. A common story in that scenario is, ‘I knew staging would help but none of the agents I spoke to on the phone could recommend someone. I found you from your website. Who would you recommend I use as my estate agent?’. And who are the agents a stager will recommend to their clients who come to them directly? We have been able to successfully recommend instructions worth around £100K in fees in the last 12 months. Definitely worth building a relationship!
The market will be patchy this year, according to most of the analysts, the chances are high it won’t really start to pick up until the autumn. Staging makes a huge difference in a difficult market. There are always people who need to move. Those people who want to buy are much more likely to jump at the chance early in the year if they see a home they love. And often a home to fall instantly in love with, has had professional help to work out who the target buyer might be and showcase the lifestyle they are looking for.
Our top tips for early 2021:
- Don’t leave money on the table by not staging a home for sale whether you are an estate agent or a vendor
- Don’t find yourself left behind because everyone around you is using staging to get great sales and you are not
- Build relationships, get a trusted professional team around you for all aspects of a sale for the very best results
Get in touch with us today, call 01332 987740 or email [email protected]