Staging Statistics – Where do they Come From and Can they be Trusted? by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP
I read a fellow Blogger’s post about Staging statistics being unsupported and wanted to address this concern in my own blog post. I believe the post was about where statistics come from and should that be the only success criteria measured when selling a house. Staging Statistics are tossed around freely – and I can understand a concern where the origin of the statistics comes into question. Just where is this data gathered and who is compiling it and can it be trusted? As a professional ASP Master Home Stager and business owner, I have ALWAYS tracked my own statistics for my own personal business. It is imperative that I am able to demonstrate that my work is successful and I am making a difference. Any Stager that does NOT do this as a standard business practice not only is missing a huge opportunity to promote their success and quantify it for clients, but perhaps is not operating their business at the same level of professionalism as others that DO track their statistics. Just as not all Realtors and real estate agents are created equal, the same can be said for Stagers. I am not unique in this activity. Most professional Home Stagers (those that have set up a business, have training, accountability, etc.) can tell you how many houses they Stage, how quickly they sell compared to the overall regional market, and can quantify in some manner how successful their involvement in the listing and selling process is. We also share our numbers with each other and when a group of professional Home Stagers is able to share numbers in a region, we can capture a snapshot of what IS happening relative to Staging in a particular market. We can also segment out vacant versus occupied houses, high end versus modest. Realtors: Before you throw out the baby with the bath water and discredit ALL Stagers or the Staging process by doubting statistics, it’s important to remember that since the Staging industry is NOT regulated and anyone can call themselves a “stager” – for statistics and data on the market that you can trust, find an ASP Stager that has training and credibility – and I bet that Stager will be able to offer you credible, reliable data you can share with Sellers. Recent example: I Staged a house that had been listed for A YEAR with no offers. Then it was rented for a year. The owners decided to try their hand at Selling again – and this time decided to Stage. After Staging was complete the house SOLD in 10 days. Here’s the other KEY PART: it was also PRICED RIGHT FOR THE MARKET. Do Stagers believe that THEY are “the schizz” and the only reason a house sells is because they get their magic hands on the house and transform it? I hope not. Selling a house is a PARTNERSHIP with the REALTOR. It takes both presentation and price to sell a house. Anyone that believes otherwise is living in their EGO and needs to remember that pricing the house for the market is the most important part of selling. A house that is Staged and overpriced won’t sell. Back to Statistics: Where do they come from anyway? One of the best resources is the www.Stagedhomes.com site. For YEARS they have been tracking the success of ASP graduates who input statistics into a survey portal and then generate graphs and data based on the information. The houses are not just all the “good ones” either. A stat is a stat. When it sells – that data is put into the system. There are THOUSANDS of houses in the survey and it is a national snapshot of what is happening with Staged properties. For this reason, it is a great resource for the media, and often referred to by reporters writing articles on Staging or on television segments such as The Today Show that recently used the data on their segment on Home Staging with Barbara Corcoran. Home Gain has been another good resource for Staging Stats. They track the Return on Investment for putting forth some money and time into making modifications to the house prior to listing. It’s quantified. And they have been doing this study since 2003 – putting out new results of their survey of 2,000 agents every 2 years. With ANY statistic – whether real estate, staging, diets, health, etc – the key is to ASK WHERE THE DATA came from for the survey? If the person cannot answer you – chances are they are regurgitating something they “heard” and it should not be trusted. If they can point to a reputable article (because reporters do their homework!) or other media segment – I would trust the data. If they can point to an actual survey that is being done and is ongoing – like the Stagedhomes.com site or the Home Gain survey – I would trust it. If they have their own data from their own work – trust it. Statistics are only as good as those that submit the data. It boils down to trusting that the people in the industry have integrity and are reporting what the truth is relative to Staging and selling. So – when a house SELLS after it is STAGED – and the rest of the marketed competition sits and the days on market for the Staged house are clearly far less than the average and the price is better than if it sat and dropped in price – should that house be counted in a statistic? Yes. Should the agent use that data to get future listings? Absolutely. Should the Stager credit him or herself with helping the sale? Of course. Don’t be skeptical of reputable statistics. Instead use them to help you get your Sellers on board with Staging – and then put that key partnership in place that helps everyone WIN.