Home Staging in a Low Inventory Market, A Hangout Lesson

Home Staging in a low inventory market was the topic of a great Google Plus hangout that I moderated for the Real Estate Community. Unfortunately, as happens with technology occasionally, things went awry and it didn’t record. It is really a shame because it was a full house. I’m not actually sure how many were in attendance, but I received a number of Google Plus messages, emails, and texts, that the room was full so community members could not attend. So, while I would love to have a great YouTube clip to add here, I’ll just have to do my best to summarize what we discussed and learned.

The real estate market is shifting

home staging hangout in the real estate communityIf it hasn’t happened in your area already, then it is coming. Here in the St Johns, FL real estate market, we only have 3.5 months inventory on market. A flat market measures at about 5 months on market. Anything above that is usually referred to as a buyer’s market, while anything below it is labeled a seller’s market.  Lower inventory not only means rising prices and fewer days on market, but it also means that more agents will likely begin to swell inside local real estate companies. Unfortunately it also means that agents are likely to get less aggressive in their marketing.

In a recent conversation about my frustration on how homes are featured in MLS (bad photos), my broker advised that with the shift in market, it is only likely to get worse. You see, he explained, when homes sell more quickly, agents have less incentive to pay or wait for professional photos. The name of the game is just getting them online quickly. {insert the sound of a record scratching}

Home Staging isn’t just about selling faster or for more money

Don’t Realtor’s understand that home stagers are one of the best marketing tools they have? I’m not just talking about getting their listings sold either. I’m talking about getting them more listings. Let me explain….

In my real estate office, each week there is a new agent in our office. When I first joined, there was a new agent every month. If you don’t think that the numbers are shifting, go check out the real estate schools in your area. In 2005, I don’t think that I had any friends who didn’t have their license. Everyone thought selling real estate was simply putting a sign in the yard and information on MLS. Days later they would have a contract and a fat check. As the market shifts, more and more average moms and wanna be investors will decide that this is easy money and if they get in now they will be primed for the big time. They didn’t need to pay their dues, they are here to cash in.

Home Stagers help Realtors compete against other Realtors in listing presentations

As the market swells with agents, sellers will begin to interview more of them. The sellers will decide that 1) they can price their home for whatever they want, after all, it’s a seller’s market 2) that they just need anyone with a license to get it on MLS and it will sell itself.  Consider how partnering with a home stager can help set you apart from every other agent that sits at the dining room table.

This is actually a huge topic for discussion, one that I’ll need to write a separate blog about.

Home Stagers can help you save your commission rate, or maybe even raise it

Angela Batchelor Pucella, a Wilmington, NC Realtor gave great testimonial how she uses Just Perfect Home Staging & more, her home staging company, to not only get more listings, but actually charge a higher commission rate than other agents in her area. Angela points out that not only do home stagers make their products look better, sell faster, sell at a higher list price, but that she uses these statistics to net more commission on fewer sales.

“Other agents tell me that I get the good listings. I get the same listings as everyone else, I just make them look good.” Angela Batchelor Pucella on the importance of home staging.

Great listing photos bring more buyer leads

Let’s face it, today’s buyers are looking on Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia (along with many other sites) and often when they find a great home that they like, that’s the agent they reach out to. If those great looking listings are yours, then you are more likely to get more buyer leads.

how home staging can help realtors get more listings

It’s your portfolio and statistics that lands you the listing, not the home stager’s

While we can effectively lend you our home staging statistics and home staging portfolio the fact is that when you are sitting with potential sellers, how you marketed your last listings, and how you say you will market their listing, will likely determine whether you close the deal. Even if you are only up against yourself, you are only as good as your last listing. How many listings do you want to do this year? Imagine how a portfolio of great looking listings that consistently beat the market will appeal to potential sellers still deciding if its the right time to sell.

Home Stagers can help you get the price you need to sell your listings

Especially as the market shifts, you will need all the ammunition  you can get to be sure that this listing sells and that you are able to get them to price it to the corresponding level to make that happen. If they think that the home is worth more than it really is, a home stager may help you get the reality check they need.

Most home stagers are not above playing good cop / bad cop. Before I sold my Charleston home staging company, one of my top producing agents hired me for consults knowing that either the homeowner would do what I told them to do and the home would sell or that they wouldn’t and he would use that information to get a price reduction.

So, what did we learn at the Google Plus hangout?

For me, it was a good shake up on the way I think about the relationship between a home stager and a Realtor. For the last several years we have said that home staging will help you sell your homes faster and for more money. As the real estate market adjusts our real job begins to shine through. In a low inventory market, the role of a home stager is to help you market not only your product – homes – but also your services. In other words, home stagers make Realtors, not just their products, look good.

A special thanks to all of the attendees on today’s hangout and to those who tried to join but weren’t able. Next time, we’ll try to get that recording right!


Melissa Marro

About melissamarro

Melissa Marro is an international award winning home stager and professional speaker for the home staging and real estate industry. Founder and CEO for both SAR, Staging and Redesign Training and MRRE, Market Ready Real Estate's online home staging consultation program, Marro continues to help inspire and empower new and existing stagers as well as move the industry standards forward.


  1. says

    Great Post Melissa! As a Barrie Home Stager I see the challenges here in Ontario as well. Inventory is low and its harder than ever to sell our product and services. The savvy REA gets it, its not just about selling faster for more equity, its making them look good by having the right people represent them as experts in their field.
    Love your posts, and always take time to read them. Thank you so much!

  2. says

    This is something I have been working on since I started my Home Staging business, to build relationships with Realtors. When I look at how many listings an individual Realtor is getting I am also looking at home many Realtors I need to develop a relationship with to keep me busy and earn the level of income I desire. I am trying to figure out my best approach to entice agents to want me on their team.

    • Melissa Marro says


      My best approaches were (in order of importance and success):

      1) newsletters – creating top of mind awareness
      2) lunch and learn educational sessions – we stopped doing these after about 2 years because we just didn’t need them anymore. For the first year we always sold out (charged $15 – $25 per agent and provided lunch with that money).
      3) keeping and publishing statistics – hopefully you’ve been gathering your statistics and putting them out there. Proving how staged homes sell faster than comperably non staged ones sealed the deal for most sellers and agents alike.
      melissamarro recently posted..Why online home staging training may be right for you. My Profile


  1. […] in a low inventory market, home staging is effective. Consider, if you will, what kind of an offer you would put in on a home when it has […]

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