When I was a kid I used to watch the Popeye cartoon on TV. (To be honest I don't even know if it is on anymore or if the strip even runs in news papers.)
Anyway, one of the cartoon's secondary characters was named Wimpy. While Wimpy was a sweet harmless loveable oaf, he also had a problem... he had a "jones" for hamburgers.
Hamburgers! Hamburgers! Hamburgers!
Wimpy just could not get enough of them! He craved them and would do ANYTHING for one, even if he didn't have the money to buy one, he would often hit up other characters for cash. Wimpy became famous for the line, "I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
Well in the 3+ years we have been home staging Chicago-land we sometimes get asked if we would accept payment for our staging services at time of closing. (Homesellers usually pay for our services, NOT Realtors, for the seller has the most to gain from using us.) I gotta admit EVERY time we are asked that I can't help but think of Wimpy.
So.. when should a home seller actually expect payment for staging services? Well, it might help if you look at it this way...
First, staging services are much like any other services provided by any other independent contractor. So would you ask or expect a painter who had painted a house, in order to get it ready for sale, to accept payment once the house is sold? Or would you ask a landscaper who trims back bushes, edges the lawn, and plants some flowers to accept payment for their services once the house is sold? No! So why would a stager be expected to be paid at closing?
Second and MORE importantly is the fact that while the whole purpose of staging is to prepare a property and IMPROVE its attraction... staging does NOT guarantee the sale.
A stager's job is to ready a home for sale in the market... NOT SELL IT. A realtor's job is to sell the home. Once a stager has completed their work... the Realtor takes over to make the sale happen. Once we set a home and leave the premises, a Home Stager has NO control over things that can and WILL impact the home's saleability. Things like:
- PRICE - A property that is priced too high will never sell, no matter how much staging you do.
- MARKETING PLAN - A property can be staged all nice and pretty, but if a Realtor is not getting the word out on it, then staging will not help.
- INSPECTION CONCERNS - A home might look great on the surface... but lurking below a pretty surface may be problems that ONLY a home inspector will find. Concerns that come up in an inspection can easily kill a sale.
- SELLER MOTIVATION - If a seller has underlying "issues" that thwarts a sale... then a sale just might not happen.
- REALTOR SALES SKILLS - Some deals are just harder to close than others and require more sales acumen. Again while the home might look great, if the Realtor is can not close deals, staging will not help.
- BUYER'S FINANCING - Stagers have not control on a buyer's eligibility or ability to secure financing for a staged home they want to buy. (So did we NOT do the job?)
- MAINTENANCE - If a home seller reverts to their untidy cluttered ways, the staging work will be compromised. Also if a home is not kept clean... that also will undermine the positive impact a staged home can have.
So if your sellers feel compelled to ask that Wimpy question about payment... know that this Real Estaging Bluto will reply "NO...but we do take Master Card, Visa and American Express."