Ask the Expert: How Can Staging Pave the Way for a Better Sell?

Today’s Ask the Expert column features Patty McNease, director of Marketing for

Q: How can staging pave the way for a better sell?

A: Staging allows your clients to show off the unique features of their home that buyers can come to love. During the holiday season, staging can make a home stand out even more. The following staging tips will help buyers fall in love with their future home just in time for the holidays.

Is staging really necessary?
Many homeowners are concerned about the overall cost to sell their homes. One place they may look to cut expenses is staging. While some think it’s unnecessary, proper staging is crucial to selling a home since it allows buyers to imagine what living there could look like. In fact, according to a recent National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) survey, 77 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as their future home, which decreased the amount of time it was on the market.

Which rooms are the most important to stage?
According to the same NAR survey, the living room, master bedroom and kitchen are most critical. This is likely because these are the spaces where future owners will be spending most of their time. When planning these rooms, space and functionality are important. Rooms that are cluttered or difficult to navigate will not appeal to potential buyers.

How should I stage a home around the holidays?
Keep in mind that buying a home is an emotional experience for both the buyer and the seller. Often, the buyer’s emotional connection to the home is what really solidifies the sale. The holidays are a sentimental time for many, as they bring back warm memories and allow younger buyers to imagine future celebrations. Enhance these emotional connections to draw buyers to make an emotional investment in the home.

That being said, it’s important not to go overboard. Since different types of potential buyers will be coming to visit, avoid including overly religious décor. Instead, opt for simple and classic. Also, consider burning a pine- or cranberry-scented candle for those buyers who come over for a tour.

My client is hesitant. How can I convince them to stage their home?
If your client is against staging, remind them that 86 percent of buyers believe viewing a property online is the most useful part of their home search. With so many different options, it’s important to capture their attention in this initial stage of viewing so that they want to see the home in person. If you’re still struggling, show your client a before and after photo from another property you’ve staged, and ask them which home they would rather see.

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In today’s market, it’s all about staying competitive. To that end, PNC Bank is focused on improving the home-buying experience by helping customers take control of their home mortgage borrowing experience. Whether it’s buying a home, saving for retirement, investing for the future or finding the right credit card, PNC helps customers gain the confidence they need to make important financial decisions.

“Culturally, there’s something about this company that separates us from the competition,” says Charlie Crowe, market manager, Washington, D.C., PNC Bank, National Association. “We really do pride ourselves on doing business the right way by ensuring a positive experience and putting customers first.”

Offering a suite of mortgage products, all the way from affordable to portfolio jumbo loans, PNC has its own 3-percent down affordability product, in addition to down-payment assistance, for those buying in a low- or moderate-income area. PNC also offers the whole suite of FHA, VA, Rural Housing Service loans and conventional products—both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—which are attractive to a lot of borrowers, as well as a suite of luxury portfolio products.

“The fact that we retain servicing on each and every one of our loans is another key advantage we have over the competition,” says Staci Titsworth, vice president/regional manager, Northern Ohio/Pittsburgh Region, PNC Bank. “This means a lot to clients as it shows we’re committed to building relationships with our customers.”

Building relationships with customers and offering a high level of service are two of the founding principles that guide every decision made at PNC.

“The level of service and transparency we provide is instrumental in helping real estate professionals stay ahead of the curve when working with today’s buyers and sellers,” says Jordy Castillo, market manager, PNC Bank, New York, N.Y.

“We pride ourselves on doing the best we can upfront, which includes communicating with both the client and other parties involved in the transaction so that they always know what’s going on,” adds Castillo, an even more important piece of the puzzle today thanks to the new TRID requirements that are now in play.

“It’s now on us to disclose to customers in a slightly different way, which has not only added time to the process, but it’s made us more cognizant of taking the time to prepare the borrower for the process in order to hit closing dates on time,” says Crowe.

But it doesn’t end there. In fact, PNC is upping the ante even further as they launched PNC Home Insight® Planner, an online home-buying experience geared toward millennials that helps homebuyers understand true home affordability.

Planner provides customers with the ability to prepare a budget, calculate payments and ultimately shop for homes within their budget, while at the same time providing real-time mortgage rates and product information. The experience ensures homebuyers understand the true cost of homeownership, beyond just the monthly principal and interest payment. Planner even prompts buyers to consider retirement and savings when thinking about affordability.

“The more education a buyer has about home affordability, the easier it will be for the agent and lender to guide them through the experience,” says Crowe.

For Castillo, it’s the level of transparency intrinsic in everything the company does that will provide the biggest benefit in integrating Home Insight into his business model. “It gives us a better handle on the process and keeps buyers better informed, while providing the clarity and transparency we love.”

Continued growth—and a focus on doing more of the same—is a common theme as we head toward the future. “Looking forward, we’re going to continue expanding our presence in the markets we serve while delivering for our customers every step of the way,” concludes Crowe.

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PNC and PNC Home Insight are registered service marks of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”). PNC has a pending patent application directed at various features and functions of Home Insight® Planner. All loans are provided by PNC Bank, National Association, a subsidiary of PNC, and are subject to credit approval and property appraisal. This information is provided for business and professional uses only and is not to be provided to a consumer or the public. This information is provided to assist real estate professionals and is not an advertisement to extend consumer credit as defined by Section 226.2 of Regulation Z. Programs, interest rates, and fees are subject to change without notice.

©2017 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. PNC Bank, National Association. Member FDIC.

Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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