How Real Estate Staging Can Up Your Game—And Your Profit!

Be realistic about pricing real estate

To get the big bucks Sellers of real estate need to Stage

In real estate, you will frequently come across a client who has a completely false idea of what their property is worth.

On the one hand, you may have a client who seriously underestimates their property, and you get to be the one to tell them the good news. However, much more often it’s the opposite: Real estate clients who think their property is worth more than it is.

Last year I got a call from a man who said he wanted to sell his house in the southern part of San Francisco. Like many real estate sellers, this new client, Stuart, had an inflated idea of what his property was worth.

He had heard that a house around the corner from him had sold for a million dollars; however, that house had been remodeled, had a finished apartment in the basement, a beautifully landscaped yard, and was on a more sought-after street.

Stuart was a bachelor in his early forties who still used his college futon as the couch in his living room. To make matters worse, the living room also held a broken wooden coffee table and a huge outdated television set. He had a beer distiller in the dining room and his second bedroom was filled with boxes of books and assorted items as if he had just moved in–even though he had lived there for 25 years! The appliances in the kitchen were mismatched, including a very strange avocado-colored refrigerator. 

The yard was a dry patch of dying bushes and weeds. His bed didn’t even have a bedspread, and there were old-fashioned window shades, but no curtains on any of the windows. I clearly had a big job ahead of me. First, I had to get Stuart into a realistic mindset about pricing, and he was resistant. It would require a lot of confidence on my part to tell him the truth he really did not want to hear. When I came back for a second visit, I brought a comprehensive real estate market analysis that showed houses currently for sale, ones that had sold in the past six months, ones that had expired, and those still languishing on the market.

I reviewed each real estate property with Stuart, and emphasized the importance of presenting a home for sale in the right way, explaining further that the higher priced real estate properties had more amenities and were in better condition.

I did not want to insult him, but he did need to come to grips with his situation. He took the news rather hard, but I also knew that an over-priced listing would not sell. Since Realtors only get paid when a property sells, a home that won’t sell doesn’t increase my income one iota.

Before I left, I suggested that if he wanted a higher price (and all Real Estate Sellers do) he should consider hiring a stager/interior decorator to help him present his home. This intrigued him, so I gave him some more pointers. While this was not going to be a million-dollar luxury home, I knew it had potential.  I recommended he call someone who would work per hour and help him buy some new, sorely-needed furnishings. “And remember,” I added, “a coat of paint, which is not costly, can transform a home.”

The person I recommended Stuart call was Crystal. She was just starting out in the business, and had recently called me to ask for referrals. My client agreed to meet with her. Crystal was soft-spoken and thoughtful as she went through the house, giving Stuart plenty of time to take in all her suggestions. The meeting took two and a half hours. I stood confidently by and nudged Stuart to this new way of thinking the best I could. Although Stuart was uncomfortable and a bit unwilling in the beginning, our team effort convinced Stuart that he needed both our help to get his higher price. 

Thanks to my self-confidence in telling Stuart the hard truth, he was able to finally agree on a realistic selling price, so I brought out the listing papers for him to sign. After all, a realistic sale price is the most important part of real estate negotiating.  

For more valuable real estate advice and compelling stories visit or contact Paula directly at 415.860.4209;  You can also go to to purchase Paula’s popular new book, Getting the Property SOUL’D – A Breakthrough System for Successful Stress-Free Buying and Selling.

Be aware that any clients’ names have been changed to protect their privacy. Furthermore, Paula Pagano does not accept any liability for the content of any Blogs and this Website or for any actions you take or resultant consequences of actions taken based on the information provided in this communication. Any advice is my opinion after being a 35 year experienced real estate agent in San Francisco.


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