All About Staging | Podcast with Agent Sauce
I recently participated in a podcast with Agent Sauce to talk about the benefits of Home Staging.
I had a great conversation with Adam and Kimberly Small, owner of Agent Sauce. AgentSauce is a comprehensive digital marketing system specifically designed to meet the needs of the real estate industry.
About Agent Sauce
AgentSauce is a comprehensive digital marketing system specifically designed to meet the needs of the real estate industry. They have been providing marketing solutions to agents since early 2007 and have continued to expand their offerings based on new technology and feedback from real estate agents.
By offering a comprehensive digital marketing tool for real estate clients, AgentSauce enables agents to focus on exceeding the expectations of their buyers and sellers instead of inputting data into yet another system. This is why their service offers a CRM, Email Marketing, SMS Lead Generator, Audio Tours, Virtual Tours (online and mobile optimized) Social Media Integration and more. The system is ideal for the Rookie Agent, A Seasoned Pro, or any agent in between. To learn more or to start a 30-Day Trial, visit agentsauce.com.
Home Staging Interview Transcript
Adam Small: Good afternoon and welcome to the Real Estate Marketing Podcast. I’m Adam Small and today we have a couple of special guests in the room with us. First off, we have Kimberly Small from Agent Sauce. Hi Kim. How are you?
Kimberly Small: Doing Great.
Adam Small: Great. Then we have Whitney Vredenb from Nested Spaces. How are you today?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Hi, how are you?
Adam Small: Doing great today. Doing great. Today we’re going to be interviewing Whitney and Whitney is with Nested Spaces, like I said, and she is a home staging expert. We’re going to learn a lot about home staging today. Whitney, why don’t you just start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and how you got into home staging?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Sure. I started Nested Spaces around two years ago and always had an interest in decor and design, and beautiful spaces. I have a background in corporate marketing and communications, and was looking for a change from that, that lifestyle. My mom was in real estate for 20 plus years. Over that course of that time, I saw what sold and what didn’t, and why.
Adam Small: Pretty spaces so much better than empty spaces, right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. It really intrigued me because it’s more than just fluffing pillows. There’s a psychology behind staging. I got certified through Home Staging Resource, Hsr.com.
Adam Small: Okay. I didn’t even know that there were certifications for that, so we’ll have to talk about that in a minute. Go ahead and finish. Sorry.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Sure. Really, just got certified. It was a lot of just, I knew what I needed to know, but it was reinforcement with the certification and it was a great training. From that, I built a website, I staged a couple of homes for free just to get my name out there and then it really took off from there.
Adam Small: Great. Let’s talk about the certification a little bit. Are most stagers certified or all of them, should they be?
Whitney Vredenburgh: There are a couple of different certification programs and it’s great that we have options. I’m a member of RESA, which is the Real Estate Staging Association. It’s an industry group and they provide recommendations on where to go to get trained. There are currently two fully recommended training programs in the US and one is Home Staging Resource. What’s really nice about the training is that you can do most of it online. You can do it as you’re getting your business up and running, as you’re building your website.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Then, to follow up on that online training, you can then meet with a mentor stager. I chose to meet with my mentor stager who is in Peoria, Illinois. It’s a great just reinforcement for me on why I was doing it and that I was doing the correct steps and it also gave me a lot of material. That is actually open to realtors and folks that are interested in starting their own staging business.
Adam Small: Nice, so the association is open to realtors and people that are … right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Correct. So is the training as well.
Adam Small: Oh, training too? Nice, really nice.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes, from HSR. Yes.
Adam Small: Great. Along those lines, certification is always, I don’t know, a feather in your cap or something important to look at. What other things should real estate agents look at when they’re looking to stage a home, or looking to hire a stager, is probably what I should be saying?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. If you’re looking to hire a stager, I would first make sure that you like what the stager does.
Adam Small: Aren’t they all-
Whitney Vredenburgh: Take a look on their website and see. Most stagers will have a portfolio page or they’ll have a social media account, and you can flip through and see what their style is, and see what their background is. If that appeals to you, then I would say reach out to that person and see if they’re a good personality fit. Because every realtor has different needs and different styles of working
Adam Small: Well, and they’re working with different people in that sort of stuff as well. You want to make sure that it’s a fit too, right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. You want to make sure that of course they are a good fit with your clients and they’re a good fit with you, and that they are part of your team. I love it when a realtor introduces me and they’re like, “This is Whitney and she is a part of my team. She’s my stager.” It’s very similar to how most if not all realtors will use a photographer. “Hey, this is so and so, and he’s part of my team. He is my photographer.” That’s how I feel like the industry is evolving. The agents have had these team members, “Hey, here’s Kimberly and she’s part of my team. She’s from Agent Sauce.” It’s along those lines.
Adam Small: It’s a working together as a unit instead of, “Well, I hired a stager and they better get it right,” as opposed to, right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: It’s a partnership. Yes. Every time before I do a consultation or a vacant stage, I follow up with that agent and I say, “Hey, anything I should be aware of with the house, with the clients? Did you have any ideas, anything you want me to implement into the home?” That just gives me a foundation of what to go off of. Some agents never have an opinion, or recommendation and others do. It’s fun to work with different agents to feel out what they want for each property.
Adam Small: Right. Interesting. Along those lines, you have your ideas obviously and you know what you’re going to be doing, and agents may or may not have their own ideas. What exactly does it mean to stage a home? What can an agent expect from that, or a homeowner expect in that?
Whitney Vredenburgh: I love that the staging industry gives options. Depending on the property, the homeowner’s needs, the agent’s needs, there are a couple different things that we can provide. Most agents will have stagers come out and do a consultation prior to the pictures and the listing going live. That’s really important.
Adam Small: Well done, taking any good to take the pictures before you stage a home. Right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Right. I heard a stat that something along the lines of, and I don’t have a source, but 90% of buyers go online to view properties and that makes their decision about whether they’re going to see the home in person.
Adam Small: Whether they’re going to view it or not. Right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes.
Adam Small: That’s actually from NAR. They’ve been taught in that for a few years and it’s been interesting to watch because it started out, it was like, when they first opened out, it was like in 82 or 83%, and it’s just slowly crept up over the last few years where it’s in the 90 range, that all home searches start online. When you start talking about, home search start online, what are they seeing? They’re seeing pictures. How important are the pictures in order to get that person into the home? They’re probably the deciding factor, right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: They really are. They really are. They are so important and that’s why I cringe when someone will call me and the house has been on the market for six months, and then I look at the pictures.
Adam Small: And you know why.
Whitney Vredenburgh: You know why. All that to say, I’ll circle back on the question. There’s a consultation that a lot of stagers will do and that can be verbally, go room by room with the agents, and or the homeowners, or it can be in a written format. That’s one option, the consultation. Another option is vacant staging. If the home is vacant, then realtors and sellers will invest in staging, at least some of the main living areas of the home. It softens the space, it makes it warmer, it makes it more inviting. It makes it feel like a home.
Adam Small: Well, and it also makes it easier for somebody to walk in and imagine themselves in it-
Whitney Vredenburgh: Picture themselves in it, yes.
Adam Small: … as opposed to an empty room where you got to use your own imagination and say, “Well this could go there and all that,” as opposed to having it all in and laid out and you see the functionality, the useful, and the homeliness of it. Right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Correct. There’s something really to that because your eye is recognizing that this space could be their home and “Oh, this is where their kitchen table is, but my kitchen table could be right here.” Then they start picturing their family around the table, and so it is a really like emotive process. Vacant staging is a second option and a third option is an occupied stage. That’s where the sellers are living in the property and they need new or additional pieces of furniture to complete-
Adam Small: Accentuate.
Whitney Vredenburgh: … the look. Yes. That could be artwork, it could be decor, it could be a couch and chairs. Then that’s really the third, but you have varying ranges of that. Let’s say a homeowner just wants to rent a couple pieces of decor, or artwork, or furniture, that’s available as well. It runs the gamut, which is really nice depending on budget and need.
Adam Small: Okay. Let me ask you this. Do you ever walk into a place and go, “That has got to go, or that piece has got to get out of here. We’ve got to get rid of some of this stuff.” How does that work?
Whitney Vredenburgh: There is a lot of truth and grace.
Adam Small: Okay. Not sure I know what you mean by that but let’s go there.
Whitney Vredenburgh: I try to be … When I walk in, I explain the process to the seller or their agent. I say,” Hey, I’m here and I’m providing you a recommendation, and this is not a judgmental recommendation. You may be at a place in your life where you don’t have time to do X, Y, and Z, and that’s why I’m here, so don’t feel bad.” When I do walk in and I see that piece of furniture, I say, “We really need to store that, or let’s donate that.”
Adam Small: It does happen.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes, it does happen often. The other big thing I see quite a bit it’s just pairing down and decluttering. That’s huge.
Adam Small: Well, it’s funny you say that. I remember when I bought my first home, talk about decluttering. I walked in and there was an entire wall, it looked like a shrine dedicated to this woman’s daughter, the one that owned the home. It wasn’t just like three or four pictures on the wall, it must have been a hundred pictures of her daughter who was only like eight or nine years old on the wall. It was hard for me to see past it, but ended up buying it anyway. Anyhow-
Whitney Vredenburgh: It didn’t stop you too much then.
Adam Small: No, but it was hard for me to see pass it, and here I am 20 years later and I still remember that. It stuck out not in a real positive way. You talk about depersonalization a little bit there and decluttering is what you actually said. I felt like that could have probably been removed.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes, a lot of times I encourage folks to store all personal pictures. Like you said, there shouldn’t be a shrine to a pet, or a family, or a child. While I appreciate any religious symbols that you may have up in your home, store those. Just because you are selling a product, you are not selling your home or your lifestyle, you are selling a product and the product is a very neutral property.
Adam Small: Right. Exactly. One of the things I’ve always seen, I’ve never used a stager myself, but I’ve always heard that from a cost benefit analysis that it may be a little tough for some people to swallow that pill when they’re like, “I got furniture or whatever.” How do you get agents and even home buyers on board with that concept? How do you educate them about the benefits of staging and why it should be done, why it’s going to work out well for them?
Whitney Vredenburgh: We talk a lot about days on market, and of course, homeowners are thinking about the investment of staging and how much it’s going to cost up front because moving is expensive. But then if you look at a staged home versus a non-staged home, and the days on market of those two, and I have a stat. One of the stats from the NAR, which this is, I think a 2017 report, it says about one third of buyers, agents said that staging a home increase the dollar value offer between 1% and 5% compared to other similar homes on the market that are not staged.
Adam Small: On a worst case scenario, you’re going to break even with staging. That’s what it sounds like.
Whitney Vredenburgh: That is worst case. My goal is to sell the home in 60 days and get 5% more on the property at least.
Adam Small: Right. That’s an interesting thing because you’re talking about time on market, days on market, and that sort of thing. Lately, across the US, the real estate industry is somewhat booming here and homes are going quickly if they’re good looking homes, or if they’re priced right and that sort of thing. How does that work? It’s essentially a seller’s market. How does staging work in a seller’s market? Is it necessary? Is it still important? How does that affect you as a stager, it’s what I guess I’m asking?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes, it’s interesting. I’m still busy even though it is low inventory. It is a seller’s market right now. There’s always going to be a need for staging. I think during the recession there was still a need for staging. You’re going to have folks that are still going to need to declutter. There are still going to need to neutralize regardless of the economy and regardless of low inventory or not. Now the homes that you’re seeing that have been on the market for six months, it’s a red flag. It’s like, well, it’s low inventory.
Adam Small: They really need help, right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Why is this? What is wrong with this house? Why is it still on the market? I think there’s an exception to that. We’re here in Indy and the average home price is what, in the threes or fours?
Adam Small: Something like that, yes.
Whitney Vredenburgh: If you’re selling a $1 million property, it’s likely going to take a little bit longer to sell.
Adam Small: It takes a little longer to find that bigger buyer. Right.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Right, but if you’re in the twos to the fives or sixes, right now it’s a really good time to sell.
Adam Small: Right, they should be selling. Your point is if it’s sitting on the market, you’ve got a problem in there and it could be pricing, but it could very well just being the need for staging, proper staging to illustrate and highlight the homes features, right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Correct. Yes.
Adam Small: Very cool.
Kimberly Small: What are some of your challenges that you have with working with sellers? We talk to agents a lot and they don’t want to pack up their stuff before it’s time to leave. I know that showing that a home is spacious regardless of its size is important, but if they’re bursting at the seams and moving up, and hesitant to start boxing up their stuff, a potential buyer is going to look at that and say, “Oh, there’s not enough space.” How do you work with the sellers to transition them to think, “Okay, I’m moving on. These are the things that I need to do before I get the pictures out and stage, and that kind of stuff.” How do you … How can they help you do your job well? What are some things that you talk to them about?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Again, I hit on the fact that this is their home, but they’re selling a product. If there is stuff that needs to be boxed up, paired down, I call it paring down a lot because it’s just a nice way of saying, “Let’s move. Let’s move this stuff out.” Then we’ll talk storage units, pods. How can we make more space in a garage or a basement? Although you don’t want to clutter that up. Those are some of the ways that we pair down, especially those main living areas, because I would not recommend if they’re bursting at the seams, that they store more stuff in their closet, for example. I also explain that, “Hey, you are selling your house because you’re moving, you’re not actually staying here. Keep only the items that you need access to. Your children do not need all of their toys. ”
Adam Small: Keep your children.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Keep … Well, if you could send them off to grandma’s while the house is on the market, that would be probably helpful, right? “Your children do not need all the toys in the basement.” You ask them what their favorite toys are and keep those toys in their play area. The rest of the toys will get boxed up and hey-
Adam Small: You box them up and then give them to them again for Christmas next year, and they’ll never know the difference.
Whitney Vredenburgh: … They’ll think it’s new, exactly.
Adam Small: Exactly.
Whitney Vredenburgh: You open that bin that it was in and you say, “Hey, do you remember this?” They will play with that toy all day, but they won’t miss it when it’s gone. Things like that. Even for adults they have their toys too, right?
Kimberly Small: Correct.
Whitney Vredenburgh: I say, “If you haven’t utilized this and six months store it, store it while the house is on the market, label it and say, love until you’re in your new property.” Then, the other thing is when houses are on the market, you’ll often get a call like 30 minutes prior to a showing. I also encourage folks, “Buy some baskets where you can store mail, or you can store remotes, you can store keys, so when you get that call, that is where all of your stuff that’s usually on the counters, you put that in that one box and that box should be sitting nicely on a counter. Then, you have a system in place as you’re selling your home. Really, it’s all about creating a system when the house is on the market that will make the seller’s life so much easier.
Kimberly Small: You mentioned storage, using storage units and stuff like that. I know that sometimes little projects like paint or new countertops, or those types of things make a huge difference in the way a home sells. I know a lot of agents work with different vendors and stuff. Do you guide the seller on who they can use as far as to get those little projects out of the way?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes, so most stagers will have a recommended list of vendors and contractors that they use frequently that they’ll pass on to the agent or to the sellers to give them a path forward. Because really, as you’re prepping your house for the market, I’d rather see you make updates to the home if your walls are purple. Don’t think that staging a home will offset the purple walls, paint first. That to me, that’s a part of staging, but that’s more important than putting a rented a couch in the living room, for example.
Kimberly Small: You’ve talked about renting items to the seller to better fit their space, showcase or space, make it look bigger and more appealing. How does that work? Do you do rent by piece, do you rent by time-frame that it’s in their home? How does that work?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Most stagers have inventory either like in a storage unit or warehouse and they can pull lots of different things for the seller and it usually … So if it’s an occupied stage and it’s already a furnished house, they’ll rent just, pieces here and there, kind of like an all a cart and it varies based on the piece. So it’s hard to give a price range because it’s different for every city in every region, but it’s a lot less expensive to rent all the carts than to furnish, let’s say an entire vacant property, for example. But a lot of stagers will bring in artwork, they’ll bring in some florals just to add some pops to the property. I don’t know if that answered your question though.
Kimberly Small: Yes. You alluded earlier that you work with different budgets in that and so I think sometimes people think staging that there’s a high cost because they’re bringing in all of this furniture and nice artwork, and that’s going to be really expensive. And you work with the seller to try to figure out, A, what you can use from their home already first and then how you can accent that and bring pieces in that really work with their budget.
Whitney Vredenburgh: And a lot of times we’ll like shop their home, so we will rearrange furniture within the existing whatever they may have.
Adam Small: So take something from one room, move it to another
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. Or completely rearrange the living room, for example. And you’d be surprised how much of a difference that makes. And then if they need extra pieces, they either rent from us or say, they know they’re going to need some new pieces in their new house, then some stagers will even shop for them, and they’ll stick to a certain budget to get those pieces. So there are a lot of different options. It’s nice to have that.
Adam Small: A lot of flexibility in there. Right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes
Adam Small: So in line with your, talking about budget and that sort of thing, earlier you mentioned that the goal for the sale price was 1% to 5% more than average, right ? Do you have a goal for like days on market or something along those lines that to help expedite the sale of the property?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. And it varies. I guess my recommendation is that you price the house correctly from the get go.
Adam Small: That always makes a difference, that’s for sure.
Whitney Vredenburgh: I think pricing it correctly and then marketing it correctly. Staging the right photos, if that is aligned, yes. Then my goal is always 60 days on the market and that’s let’s get an offer the first couple of weeks it’s on the market, let’s get a contract, let’s negotiate, then let’s go through appraisal, inspection and then we always move out the furniture by closing. But that’s like a 60 day window because most agents prefer to keep the decor and the accessories, and the property while they’re going through like appraisal, and inspection.
Adam Small: Right up to the moment that closes almost.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Correct.
Adam Small: Just because they want to be able to line up a backup if they need to
Whitney Vredenburgh: That and you want the buyer when they’re walking through to have the same experience that they had when they walked through that first and second time.
Adam Small: That never occurred to me.
Whitney Vredenburgh: So you don’t want them to walk in and be like, “Hey,” you know.
Adam Small: “Wows. It was amazing. But now not so much.” Maybe a little buyer’s remorse there or something.
Whitney Vredenburgh: And that a lot of times what will happen if you do online, if you look at an online photo and it’s looks beautiful, and then say the seller’s moved out, and then they walk in and it’s vacant and it’s like..
Adam Small: It doesn’t have that same impression. Right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: It doesn’t have the same impression. It’s like driving the, I don’t know the CRV. That’s the point of life where I’m at a CRV with the bells and whistles and then you get the sub version, the stripped down base model.
Adam Small: Cadillac versus the KIA.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes.
Adam Small: Exactly. I just had something in my head there I was going to ask you about and I’ve forgotten now, Kim.
Kimberly Small: I was going to ask you about photographers, how you work with the photographers because there are some agents that take their own photos, but a lot of them, there’s some great photographers out there that can really capture a space. Do you work closely with them as you’re staging? I’m sure you know what to highlight in the room and I’m sure that I know that a lot of photographers have an eye for that as well, but do you work closely with them as well to say, “Hey, this is just my input on what needs to be highlighted”?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes and no, and it depends on the property. So at times if we’re trying to photograph a house that may have like an odd layout that’s tough, then we will definitely talk through what angles we’re going to shoot at and what that should look like, because it’s really important to highlight the home in its best light and for people to see that, “Hey, this may be a little bit of an odd layout but this is how this home would function when we live there”. So most photographers have that eye and know the angle. But yes, having that conversation is always really important.
Adam Small: Kim’s question about photography target, what it was I had forgotten earlier, you were talking about looking online and then coming up to the place, and being disappointed, right? And it’s funny because one of the things that we do at Agent Sauce is, in fact, virtual tours and the gamut of pictures that you see on tours is amazing. And I always tell our agents, I say, “Put just enough up to get somebody to go, right. Don’t put up so many that you highlight every negative thing about this home”.
Adam Small: And I’ve seen virtual tour pictures that were just amazingly poor, is the best way to phrase that. With garbage bags, multiple garbage bags in the living room and holes in the roof and stuff. But then when you look at the outside photo in the yard and even look, if you can see beyond that, it’s really a great home. But somebody just wow, what were they thinking putting those pictures up? So to your statement though, I think there’s a fine balance between overselling the home and making sure that it aligns with expectations when they do show up.
Adam Small: And then I’m being brutally and bluntly honest with how it looks. I think there’s that fine balance of photos and matching with reality. There’s really all I was going to say, is just pictures are amazingly important there and you don’t want to overdo it, but I guess you don’t want to under do either.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes, I mean, I think a general baseline is that most people use like 24 pictures on their tours. And I think that typically does the house justice now, if the property has acreage or barns, or a pool house, all that stuff, then it may be a little different. But I think generally speaking 24 is a good number to showcase the property’s best features.
Kimberly Small: Every industry has their misconceptions. Anything you want to talk about that you think people, when they hear the word stager, they have their thoughts and that you might want to address?
Whitney Vredenburgh: HGTV has been great for staging and it’s brought more awareness about the industry. But when you’re watching a show, you see like a minute Max of a couple people bringing in furniture and fluffing pillows, and it’s led to some misconceptions about staging because it’s a labor intensive process. Because if you’re staging an entire property or the main living areas of a property, you’re pulling inventory from your warehouse, you have movers that load everything onto a truck. Then you have movers that unload everything onto a truck, and then you’re basically moving in and creating the whole-
Adam Small: It’s a for moving process.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. So you’re steaming linens for the bedroom, you are making sure that there’s a story, like a theme throughout each room that starts in the entry, goes to the living room, the kitchen, and into the master. And I highlight those rooms because that’s where most folks focus on. And a kitchen sells a home. But typically for staging, you’re going to see the majority of staging and a living room, a kitchen, the Eden area, because those are the most important rooms of the home. And then also in the master suite.
Whitney Vredenburgh: So that’s the focus area for staging, but you know, a lot of times it’ll cover dining rooms and offices and things like that. But it’s interesting that people are like, “Oh, I want to be a stager. It sounds so much fun”, and it is fun and it’s creative. But there’s a lot of moving parts behind the scenes.
Adam Small: You said that HDTV is create a misconception there, right. Another area I think where they’ve created misconception is that you get the house staged up and have that open house, and yo get the offer right then and there.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. Put The for sale sign out front or open house sign.
Adam Small: Exactly.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Then you get three full price offer.
Speaker 1: That’s exactly right there. You know, so it’s that easy, right. But that’s TV for you, right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: That is. And it’s interesting because we give millennials a really hard time, but I’m going to add to it. I feel like they so much HGTV. And I think I fall into the millennial bucket, but when they come into a home, they like expect it to be turnkey and to be staged perfectly. And if there’s light fixture that looks like a chandelier or something and there’s nothing there. They’re like, “What’s that for?” Well, it’s next to the kitchen. It’s either the dining room or the Eden. “But what would you put there?” Well, a round table with chairs or a rectangular table with chairs.
Whitney Vredenburgh: And it makes me laugh because that’s why I’m in this business because I can visualize all of it, but some people can’t. And so that’s, that’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re helping people with.
Adam Small: Cool.
Kimberly Small: That’s funny that you brought up HGTV because a lot of agents will bring that up as well because people see that as, “Oh, they opened a few doors to a few houses, they call it make a quick call to get the offer and that’s it. And that’s all they do.” And there’s a lot of heavy lifting, so to speak, on the back end for them to get a lot of stuff done in order to get a deal closed and that kind of stuff. So it’s interesting, it’s not the magical 30 minutes of work that is involved in the home buying, home selling process and staging.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Right. You don’t make one call and close the deal. I mean, it’s multiple probably calls and lots of paperwork, and lots of behind the scenes.
Adam Small: Along those lines, there’s a lot more to is what we’re talking about. And so, what’s been one of your most challenging projects to illustrate that, emphasize that it’s really not that simple.
Whitney Vredenburgh: There are a couple of, I call them learning opportunities. One big one, and this is just in general, be sure prior to the picture day and installation day, if you’re staging a home that the property is clean, have it deep cleaned. Even if you are a very clean person, have a professional come in deep clean it. I guarantee that you’re not going to want to do that prior to getting everything else ready and then be sure that it’s truly vacant. I’ve arrived at houses and I’m doing a vacant stage and their furniture is still there, and so my movers are waiting.
Adam Small: Because they’re really not supposed to move somebody else’s furniture.
Whitney Vredenburgh: And it holds up. Well, that that wasn’t part of the bid.
Adam Small: Right.
Whitney Vredenburgh: So there’s that. And then you know, to just like high level things, communication and shared vision. If you are selling a house and you are particular or if you’re an agent that has a particular taste, share that with your stager so that your stager can pull pieces that you feel like fit too. I mean, it should be a collaborative process, but you know, some agents will just say, “I trust you to take care of it”. And others are like, “well, this is what we did in my house”. And then that’s like, “Okay, red flags. Let’s talk about what you’re looking for. Hey, do you want to meet me at my storage unit or warehouse and pull some items to make sure we’re aligned?”
Whitney Vredenburgh: Because the most important thing is that the staging fits with that shared vision and that everything goes smoothly and seamlessly so that we can get the house on the market, because the staging has to work. Then we take photos, then the open house happens.
Adam Small: So there’s a whole order of operations has got to be put together, smoothing, communicated, so it’s all smooth is what you’re saying.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Correct. And you know, even expectations, right? Set those expectations early. “Hey. This is when we plan to do the install. Oh, you have the photographer coming four hours after that. Have him come the next day, let’s do a walk-through of the staging and then why don’t you have them come, you know, the next morning or something.” And I’m not blaming agents because there are so many moving parts to getting a house listed. But those are some things to think through as you start utilizing a stager.
Kimberly Small: You talked about moving furniture not being part of the bid that you provide. Is that something that if you had that initial consultation and you say help them make a list, these are the things that need to be put in storage. Sometimes having that dropdown, “Okay, we’re coming on this day, these things need to be ready and you’ll be charged for moving them whether they’re ready or not.” Do you offer that as a service so that you can help them?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. We give them a couple options. If they need help moving then we can help them move it to their storage unit or wherever their new house potentially. And then I have everything written down and all stagers should do this in a contract, so that it’s very clear as to what we’re doing while we’re there.
Adam Small: That’s get back to setting expectations, right. So that you don’t show up and it’s supposed to be empty, and there’s a whole house full of furniture. They don’t want you to move it, so exactly.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Right.
Adam Small: So what areas, we’ve talked about staging in general for a while now let’s talk about your company in specific here. What areas do you cover regionally speaking as well as maybe even house types or that sort of thing?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Nested Spaces is based in Zionsville, Indiana. Suburb of Indianapolis. But we cover Zionsville, the Northern suburbs. So Zionsville, Carmel, Westfield, Noblesville Fisher’s, all the way down to like Greenwood.
Adam Small: Okay. So most of Indianapolis and actually that would be all of Indianapolis, and then some. So Nice.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. And so you’ll see us in Meridian hills, Meridian Kessler, Broad ripple downtown. We’re doing an install and the Bates Hendrick District. Which is such a cool area. We’re doing that early next week. So Brownsburg and that’s most stagers have a pretty wide swath of area that they’ll cover.
Adam Small: What about types of homes that you cover? I mean, and I guess maybe that’s vague, right? But do you do everything from like the $50,000 one bedroom, one bath type house up to the $2,000,000? How does that work?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. So you’ll see us in condos, you’ll see some stagers in apartments too, you’ll see us in the suburbs and subdivisions and you’ll see us in million dollar homes.
Adam Small: It really doesn’t matter. I mean, you can work with a pretty much any type of home in order to make it easier to sell.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Correct?
Adam Small: Great. So for those of us that are listening and aren’t in the Indianapolis area, how would they go about finding a stager? I mean, are you a network of some sort?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. So there are a couple of different places. The Real Estate Staging Association, which we talked about earlier. RESA, they have a directory of certified stagers and they have a certification or accreditation called RESA Pro. And I’m a RESA Pro member and there are probably hundreds of other RESA Pro members that you can find on the RESA website.
Adam Small: So you’re saying that somebody listening could reach out to you and you could help put them in touch with somebody else across the country or if in the area. that’s what you’re saying.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. Or they could go to the website and look either way.
Kimberly Small: What’s the website again?
Whitney Vredenburgh: I believe if you search Real Estate Staging Association, which is RESA
Adam Small: It’s realestatestagingassociation.com. At least that’s what I’m seeing here. So they can always go there too, right?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. They can go there. And there’s a section on there for agents as well. Just FYI.
Adam Small: So agents can connect with RESA while and utilize that as a good resource too. Great. Great.
Whitney Vredenburgh: And then the other certification, which I think we touched on is home staging, resource and you can go to homestagingresource.com and find stagers there as well, or information on staging too. Both are handy resources.
Adam Small: Always good to have those resources. Well, I think I’m about out of questions. Kim, do you have anything more that you want to ask her at?
Kimberly Small: I think that’s all the questions I have. I’ve had the opportunity to see your work, talk to some of the agents you’ve worked with. You do some great stuff if people want to check out your work, nestedspaces.com, correct?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Yes. Nestedspaces.com and they can find me on Instagram and Facebook Nested Spaces.
Adam Small: Well, hey, why don’t you go ahead and put your Instagram handle and Facebook out there. I guess you just said Nested Spaces. So it’s Instagram is @nestedspaces
Whitney Vredenburgh: Its @ nestedspaces for Instagram? And then Facebook is nested spaces.
Adam Small: Search for nested spaces. Okay, great. All right. Whitney, you got anything else you want to add?
Whitney Vredenburgh: Thanks for having me. This was fun.
Adam Small: Thanks for coming. That was good. I really enjoyed it. I’m surprised we come up on three quarters of an hour. It’s probably our longest podcast.
Whitney Vredenburgh: Is it really?
Adam Small: It is, yes. So, well, hey, thanks for listening. Whitney, again, thank you very much for joining us. And if you do want to connect with Whitney, she just said Facebook, Instagram @nestedspaces.com. And if you want to learn more about Agent Sauce, you can check us out at agentsauce.com or contact us at infoatagentsauce.com. Thanks for listening, have a great day.