Home Staging Is Key to Marketing Success for Award-Winning NYC Broker, Carol Halt

Congratulations to Carol Halt, Senior Vice President & Associate Broker at Barak Realty in New York, who was recently honored with top awards at her firm:

WINNER BARAK 2009 BEST IN CUSTOMER SERVICE

WINNER BARAK 2009 DEAL OF THE YEAR

WINNER BARAK 2009 #2 TOP PRODUCER

Carol has built her reputation for client trust and satisfaction
through proven results, integrity, loyalty, market knowledge and
unparalleled personalized service. She utilizes great communication and
follow-up skills, sharp negotiating know-how, analytical ability and
strict attention to detail to achieve the client’s wishes. Because of
her desire to satisfy, Carol eases the process without sacrificing
toughness or determination.

Carol truly understands the importance of professional home staging
in the marketing of real estate in today’s competitive marketplace and
has integrated home staging in her comprehensive marketing plan for
each seller. She says,

You only get one chance to make a first impression” and “a
picture speaks a thousand words”, both seem like just corny phrases but
are critical to selling property in this type of market. The property
needs to be prepared by a PROFESSIONAL STAGER to optimize and enhance
the property’s appearance, making it appeal to the widest audience of
buyers. Since most buyers begin their search on the web, the
photographs need to show the property at its very best. I always
include professional staging as part of my marketing plan when pitching
for a listing; it’s critical and gives the property an edge over the
competition. It results in a quicker sale at the very best price.” 

It is always such a pleasure to collaborate with savvy agents like Carol. At Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc., we always share the seller’s and agent’s goals of selling quickly for top dollar. Certified Staging Professionals
are experts at handling staging challenges, always working with tight
deadlines and limited budgets. Once we are on the team, the agent can
focus their full attention on their areas of expertise – marketing and
selling. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

We transformed an Upper Westside property for Carol last year. As Carol says, “the examples shown are of before and after staging by Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc.
. It would have been virtually impossible to sell this property in the
original state. Buyers would focus on the all the clutter and personal
items, a total distraction plus the space appears very small. After
staging, it showed how large the space really is and the staged
furnishings were neutral and not distracting.”

Carol Halt is an outstanding broker who always focuses on what is
best for her clients. To learn more about Carol and her services, visit
her website or contact her at carol@barakny.com

To learn more about Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc. and my services, please visit IngenuityPizzazz.com.. I am also very proud to a trainer for Certified Staging Professionals,
the leading staging training company in North America. If you are
interested in a career in professional home staging, we have CSP training classes scheduled across North America.

If you are a real estate agent who is interested in increasing your
sales and commissions by incorporating home staging in your marketing
plan, Certified Staging Professionals offers the one day CSP Elite Program for agents.

My upcoming 3-day, hands-on, Certified Staging Professionals classes are:

Ottawa – February 15-17
Philadelphia – March 8 – 10
New York – April 10 -12
Teaneck – May 3-5

Nairn Friemann, MBA
Certified Staging Professional & Trainer
Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc.
IngenuityPizzazz.com
nairn@IngenuityPizzazz.com

Home Staging in New York City Spells Success

After a challenging year in New York, buyers are returning to the
marketplace in search of the best values. Price, location and terms are
still key factors in any sale, but never before have condition and
presentation been so important.

Savvy real estate agents are collaborating with professional stagers
to ensure their marketing efforts reap top financial rewards for their
clients, their real estate companies and themselves. It is a fact that
professionally staged properties sell faster and for more money than
comps that are not staged. So the big question is, why aren’t all properties being professionally staged?
 

Too many agents and sellers are unwisely stuck in the mindset of
staging as a cost or an expense, instead of truly understanding the
amazing short-term investment opportunities of professional staging.
For most sellers, their home is their most valuable asset and they
should be determined to maximize the financial return on the sale of
their property. As staging experts, we can help sellers and agents achieve their goals of selling for top dollar as quickly as possible.

Here are a few testimonials from some of my recent success stories:

“The Upper Westside property went on the market Sunday, January 10th
for $1,595,000. On Tuesday January 19th an offer of $1,575,000 was
accepted. Without your staging, we would probably have received closer
to $1,400,000.”

                                                                                                                     D. Anderson, BHS

Thanks to Nairn Friemann we received a higher than expected offer
for an estate-condition apartment at Imperial House. I recommend her
for three reasons: a) she gave my customers very viable staging options
at several different price points; b) she delivered a terrific
finished product in quick time; and c) her prices were as reasonable as
she was flexible and cooperative.

                                                                                                                    J. Charnas, Fox Residential

Staging works for rentals too!

“Thanks so much Nairn. You are the best! The apartment rented in two weeks with a lot of interest.”

                                                                                                                   D. Dickinison, Fox Residential

For more information about my company Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc. and my services, please visit IngenuityPizzazz.com or contact me at nairn@IngenuityPizzazz.com

If you are interested in a career in home staging, I have also have upcoming Certified Staging Professionals training classes scheduled as follows:

Feb. 15-17 Ottawa
March 8 – 10 Philadelphia
April 10 – 12 New York

For more information about the training, visit www.csptraining.com or contact me at nairn@IngenuityPizzazz.com.

Nairn Friemann, MBA
Certified Staging Professional and Trainer

Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc.
IngenuityPizzazz.com
nairn@IngenuityPizzazz.com

Home Stagers Master the Art of Difficult Conversations with Sellers

As president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc. I have met hundreds of real estate agents and collaborate with some of New York City’s top brokers. With all the media attention home staging has captured over the past few years, I would think that all real estate agents would be advocates for home staging. But in fact, many of them don’t discuss home staging recommendations at all with their clients because of a very basic communication problem.

 Ann Mehl, is a certified coach through the Life Purpose Institute and Martha Beck’s NorthStar program. Her recent blog, Mastering the Art of Fierce Conversations, and interview with author, Susan Scott, provides timely and valuable information for home sellers, real estate agents and home stagers. It describes how people generally avoid uncomfortable conversations, even when the cost of not having them is high.

This is especially true of some real estate agents, who are fearful of upsetting home sellers and perhaps even losing a listing, if they tell them honestly what needs to be done to prepare their homes for sale. As a consequence, many properties are listed without adequate staging and end up lingering on the market, leading to significant price reductions and increased carrying charges.

Economic Theory 101
If a new product is launched into a highly competitive market place in unattractive packaging and/or damaged condition, the only way it will sell is at a DISCOUNT! In real estate, the discount represents significant financial loss for the sellers.

Fear of having a difficult or awkward conversation with a home seller, is not a good excuse for reduced selling prices and extended time on the market. The solution is very simple. A real estate agent needs to have a Certified Staging Professional on their marketing team! CSPs are experts at handling the tough issues. They are trained in the art of comprehensive staging consultations, where all issues – good and bad – are addressed in a professional and tactful manner. They not only know what needs to be said, they know how to say it.

When necessary, a CSP can even play the “bad cop” while the agent remains the “good cop.” This is especially helpful when sensitive issues, such as odor problems, need to be addressed. The agent need not fear having that difficult conversation with the seller because they are confident that their CSP will handle the entire situation diplomatically and offer solutions that will resolve the problem.

All properties benefit from some degree of home staging in any market. However, when supply exceeds demand, not only is there more competition, there is more “staged” competition. Agents who don’t address the topic of home staging are not serving their clients’ best interests. In fact they are giving the competition the advantage! 

Some agents are afraid of suggesting staging because they think it will cost “too much money.” Home staging is an investment, not an expense. In fact, professional home staging is the best short-term investment a home seller can make! Just consider the financial return of a 12-month CD at today’s interest rates. An investment in their most valuable asset is the wiser financial decision for any home seller.

Statistics show that staged properties sell faster and for more money than comps that are not staged. Owners do not save money by not staging. They lose money by not getting the highest price for their asset and by incurring additional carrying costs for the extra time on the market. The investment in staging is always less than the first price reduction – so agents who don’t recommend staging are not saving their clients money – they are costing them significantly.

If the financial aspect of the conversation is intimidating to an agent, again, the solution is simple. A CSP is skilled at communicating the value of staging to sellers and making recommendations that will have the greatest return on equity.

Although it is understandable that many agents are fearful of having these sometimes difficult, but always critical, conversations with clients, not having the conversations is not acceptable. The consequences are much too costly to the home sellers. The best way for agents to handle these conversations is to hire a home staging expert to deal with all the sensitive issues in a thoroughly skilled and professional way. Certified Staging Professionals are trained in mastering the art of difficult conversations.

As a trainer for Certified Staging Professionals, I share my diverse experience with all my trainees. For more information on my upcoming CSP classes in the U.S. and Canada, please visit: IngenuityPizzazz.com or www.csptraining.com or contact me at nairn@IngenuityPizzazz.com

The following is an excerpt from Ann Mehl’s blog, Mastering the Art of Fierce Conversations.  You can read the entire blog on her website, www.annmehl.com.

“There are certain conversations we all dread: the ones in which we have to deliver bad news, discuss a sensitive or “political” subject, or talk about a project that’s gone wrong. Have you ever recognized too late that a client was frustrated because you failed to resolve an issue? Or perhaps spent time cleaning up in the aftermath of a discussion that didn’t go according to plan?

In a polite society, we are generally hardwired to avoid confrontation.Nobody wants to play the bad guy or have a situation blow up in their face. But often the cost of NOT having these conversations can be far costlier than the temporary discomfort you may feel. You want to take charge and talk about it – candidly and effectively. But how??

One of the best business books I’ve read on this subject is Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott (SS). In this book, she provides the tools we all need to master the art of “difficult” conversations.

AM: How do you personally define “fierce conversations”?

SS:The word “fierce” wakes me up.  Synonyms include robust, unbridled, uncurbed, untamed.  A bit unnerving, and exhilarating. The simplest definition of a fierce conversation is one in which we come out from behind ourselves, into the conversation, and make it real.  Such conversations are rare, because most people are deeply uncomfortable with real.  Having worked with people all over the world, at all levels within organizations, it seems to me that withholding what we really think and feel is a global pandemic, resulting in costly, painful outcomes for all of us.  The economic meltdown occurred gradually then suddenly, one failed, one missing conversation at a time.  Based on results, it is the unreal conversations that should concern us.  They are incredibly expensive for individuals, couples, teams, organizations, for countries, for our planet.

Small Is the New Big for Home Staging Professionals

I have just read an inspiring business book, Small Giants – Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlington. A finalist for the Financial Times/Goldman
Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, this book rejects the mantra of
growth for growth’s sake in favor of a passionate dedication to
becoming the absolute best and demonstrates that big does not equal
great and great does not equal big.

As home staging entrepreneurs, we are not corporate giants – but we
can be great! Common attributes of these small giants were: close
connections to their communities and demonstrated and meaningful social
responsibility; outstanding customer service, close ties to employees,
suppliers and clients; and leaders who were passionate and had deep
emotional commitments to their businesses.

What are you doing in your business that makes you great? As president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc.,
I have developed close relationships with my community of real estate
agents and vendors. I am committed to delivering excellent staging work
and incomparable customer service to every client – regardless of the
price of the job. I am absolutely passionate about the value of staging
and the work I do, including training new home stagers for Certified Staging Professionals.
I support Habitat for Humanity and local NYC non-profit organizations.
I am also dedicated to my professional communities and am always
supportive of my CSP alumni. Of course we all want to increase our
success and profitability, but it is critical to stay focused on being
the best we can be.

With this, small is the new big, thought on my mind, I made
another connection while reading the Sunday newspaper, Parade
Magazine (Oct. 11/09, p.6). “American Houses Are Getting Smaller”. In a reversal
of a decades long trend, houses are getting smaller and downsizing
continues. The McMansion era has come to an end.

“Demand has shifted from people looking to trade up to larger homes
to first-time buyers, who are typically younger, with less income,
looking for a place that is more modest. Smaller houses are also
attractive to empty-nesters looking for places that are more energy
efficient and less expensive to maintain.”

This presents several opportunities for home stagers:

STAGING SMALL SPACES: A few years ago, some agents
didn’t bother staging small spaces. Of course that was a mistake,
because all properties benefit from staging, and all sellers deserve to
achieve the maximum ROI on the sale of their homes. But now, agents are
paying attention to the marketing of these smaller properties because
they are in demand. And while more buyers are now interested in smaller
properties, they still desire the best value. Properties that are
staged to look bright, spacious and appealing to the targeted buyer
will have the competitive edge. I have recently staged two studios and
a one-bedroom apartment, that may not have been staged just a couple of
years ago.

DOWNSIZING SERVICES: Another opportunity for home
stagers is to help home sellers transition into smaller spaces with
space planning, color choices and downsizing strategies, as part of
their staging for living services.

ECO-STAGING
: And with revved up interest in
energy efficiencies and cost savings, there will be increased interest
in Eco-Staging and Green businesses.

I suggest we embrace the “small is the new big” in our business practices. Enrich your staging skills and become a  Certified Staging Professional and pursue continuing-ed classes in staging for living and Green Build Science. Add these services to your business to capture niche opportunities. And as always, focus on being great.

Nairn Friemann, MBA, is a Certified Staging Professional & Trainer. As president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc., she has
collaborated with sellers and agents on the staging and marketing of
over $500 million in real estate. Her next CSP staging training class
will be held in NYC, October 17-19.

For more information visit IngenuityPizzazz.com and contact Nairn at 917-952-4669 or nairn@IngenuityPizzazz.com

Why Accepting the Lowest Bid for Home Staging Can Prove Extremely Costly for Sellers

As a very experienced stager and president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc.,
(I have collaborated with home sellers and real estate agents in the
staging and marketing of over $500 million in real estate in the
Tri-state area), I feel the need to comment on the issue of hiring a
home stager, based on the lowest bid. Some home staging companies are
now marketing themselves by their willingness to accept sellers’ lowest
budgets. It is well known that in any business, you cannot achieve all
three of the following at the same time: high quality, low price, and
fastest delivery. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for.

For most sellers, their home is their number one financial asset.
The return on the sale of this asset will be key to their future
financial well-being. Statistics prove that professionally staged homes
sell faster and for more money than comparables that are not staged.
Furthermore, with a surplus of inventory, the competition for any home
seller today is greater than it has been in years. With more than 90%
of buyers shopping first on the internet, the website marketing is the
key to attracting traffic to a listing. Viewing the property, buyers
need to fall in love within minutes – the first impression is that
powerful to buyer decision making. Professional home staging is not
decorating – it is marketing, pure and simple.

Would any business launch a product into a competitive market in an
unattractive package or damaged condition? Of course not. Because the
only way that type of product will sell is at a significant discount!
Staging is not an expense – it is an INVESTMENT- in fact, the best
short-term investment a home seller will ever make. Just compare the
financial return from a profitable and quicker sale (which also reduces
monthly carrying costs), with the interest the banks are offering for
6-month CDs.

The choice of a professional home stager, is a critical decision
that should only be made in consideration of many criteria – and
certainly not just on price! In many cases, the savvy real estate agent
already has a professional stager working on their marketing team. If
the agent can’t recommend a stager, then the home seller needs to base
their decision on the stager’s expertise, experience, track-record,
professionalism and portfolio. Of course everyone has budgets and
professional stagers will do their best to get the biggest impact for
the client’s investment. However, it is wise to listen to the
professional stager’s comprehensive consultation and recommendations
before making any final decisions on what should be invested in the
staging project. Home sellers today have too much at stake to be “penny
wise and pound foolish.”

Certified Staging Professionals
understand the importance of explaining to sellers what needs to be
done to get their homes market ready. As consultants, we accept that
it is our responsibility, not only to showcase the strengths of a
property, but also to address the weaknesses – even when some of these
issues might be sensitive in nature. The bottom line is that this is a
marketing collaboration between the seller, the home stager and the
agent to achieve the highest possible return on the sale of the
property in the shortest amount of time.

The Certified Staging Professionals training
does not only teach staging techniques and tips but also sets the
highest standards of ethics and professional responsibility. It is the
most comprehensive home staging training program available. Unlike the
on-line training companies, CSP provides trainees with hands-on staging
experience and incomparable after-training support. I am confident that
the CSP home staging training program is the best investment budding home stagers can make in themselves and their businesses. I am extremely proud of being a trainer for this exemplary organization and am pleased to share my diverse experience and expertise with all my trainees.

I am looking forward to my upcoming home staging training classes in New York City (Oct. 17-19) and Ottawa (Nov. 2-4).

For more information, please visit www.csptraining.com and IngenuityPizzazz.com or contact Nairn Friemann at nairn@IngenuityPizzazz.com.