by Sara Ifert
on Friday, April 10th, 2020 at 12:42pm.
Many parts of the real estate process can be done virtually, including staging. Staging is an important part of the home selling process. A staged home tends to have better listing photos, which attracts more buyers and helps it sell faster. For a while now, a home's first showing has been on the internet. But in this unique time of social distancing, listing photos and a virtual tour may be the only ways a buyer can see your home before writing an offer. It's more important than ever to showcase your home through great staging, photos, and a virtual tour.
Debbie Lea of Showcase Home Stagers has been helping clients virtually for years, so staging a home without ever stepping inside isn’t a new challenge for her. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Debbie has moved all of her consultations to virtual. Even though staging consultations are handled from a distance, sellers can expect high quality advice and great customer service.
According to REALTOR Chris Venden, clients have been very receptive to the virtual staging, especially since COVID-19. “Clients can send Debbie pictures or video chat with her if they are unsure how to implement her advice or whether they made modifications as expected. She is easily able to help them from a distance,” said Chris. “Homes that she has virtually staged for my listings have sold very quickly. Debbie is a true professional!”
For a virtual staging, Debbie has clients take photos from all four corners of each room as well as one from the room's entry point. She uses the photos to get a good visual of the floor plan and to get a sense of what someone sees as they first enter a room. Clients upload their photos to Google Drive or Google photo.
After Debbie reviews the images, she calls the client to discuss the photos of the rooms and makes notes on the photos. This helps her and the client figure out which items and furniture can be removed from the spaces. Then, Debbie reaches out to the client over Facetime or another video call platform and works with the clients to stage their home in real-time. If the seller isn’t comfortable using video chat, she’ll give them detailed instructions over the phone. Sellers send follow-up photos after they have staged their spaces and she helps them tweak it further. Agents can also share photos from the MLS listings with her before they go live, and she can offer last minute adjustments so the listing is the best it can be.
While staging, Debbie takes the viewpoint of the photographer. What elements of the home really shine? How can furniture placement open up a room and create a feeling for the buyer? How can a great view be maximized in photos? Debbie sees her job as setting up the photographer to get great photos of a home, and to help a house tell its story. “I look at the home as part of this team, it wants to shine,” says Debbie.
Many times clients are concerned they don’t have enough items on hand to stage their home, and that they’ll need to buy a lot of things. But usually, she can work with whatever the clients already own. While on Facetime with clients, she’ll often ask them to open their cabinets or closets so she can spot long-forgotten items that might help create a new look in the home. She gets creative with what they have to design inviting spaces. If there are items that the seller might consider purchasing for their space, Debbie sends Amazon links to make it easy to create the right look.
She also helps clients deal with the overwhelm of staging their spaces by suggesting they work on one room at a time - not the whole house. “Once one room is staged, sellers often feel more confident in what they’re doing, and the process seems less intimidating,” says Debbie.
Debbie sees her work with clients as a partnership. She is always willing to see images and go back and forth with clients to provide ongoing support and to continue to help the listing shine.
Debbie has 15 years of experience staging homes in the Madison area, so there isn’t a floor plan she hasn’t seen. She has even staged one home four separate times! We are lucky to have her expertise on our seller's listings.
Are you looking to sell your home soon? Reach out for a virtual consultation with one of our agents. We can connect with you via Zoom, FaceTime, or other video platforms to learn about your goals and support you in getting your listing ready to shine.