Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Staging a Home Doesn't Always Work to Your Advantage

Staging a Home Doesn't Always Work to Your Advantage

Don't get me wrong.  I'm a firm believe in staging, but it needs to be done correctly for it to yield the results you're looking for.  Otherwise, it might not work to your advantage.

I've been going back and forth with myself for the past few weeks about whether or not to write this blog, and I decided I didn't care if the company got upset because I would never use them again anyway.

I sold my personal home in Dallas.  For most of the listing, I was still living there, and I had it staged with my own things.  However, at some point, we had to move out and move on with our lives in our new city, and I was left with three options.  Which door to open?

The first option was to leave the house vacant.  We lived in a very nice neighborhood, so there were no worries about safety of a vacant house.

The second option was to have a stager come stage the house.  I met with someone and we discussed some options and the fees.

The third option was to have an actual staging company come stage the house and have home tenders staying there to make sure everything was always in its place, and nice for every showing.  This was the option we chose because not only was there someone there to mow the lawn and take care of all the maintenance, but that meant we did not have to incur utility costs on a home we weren't living in.  That was approximately $400 a month we were saving.

The company? Showhomes of America....

However, things never work out well when you're out of town and trusting someone else to do something for you.

The first bell?  We had a showing and they commented about the boxes.  Oops, they hadn't fully unpacked yet, though they were given plenty of time.  The next bell?  I received utility bills for dates I wasn't living there.  They "forgot" to put utilities into their name...  Have I been paid for the bill yet?  NO, and it's several months later.

Another bell went off when we received calls and emails from some of our neighbors about all the people that were always at the house, the fact that they were always working on a junkie car in the driveway or garage, and the LOUD car that could wake the entire neighborhood when they started it.  Sounds like they should have taken advantage of the Cash for Clunkers program.

YIKES!!

Then, I received a call from my listing agent saying he received a call from my neighbor asking when we were going to take care of the fence.  The fence?  What was wrong with the fence?  I know a big storm him Dallas a couple of weeks earlier, as my parents had to put up a complete new fence at their house.  I called ShowHomes and asked what was going on, and why I was not informed our fence was on the ground.

Ummm, the home tenders said the neighbor was taking care of things.  So?  It's my house, and I deserve to know that the fence has been down as we continue to have showings!!

Finally, I decided to make the trip to Dallas to see things with my own eyes.  Oh no!!

I pulled up, and I was like, You've got to be kidding me!??  Right in the drive way, and NOT in the garage, was a junkie car.  I had specifically asked them about the junkie car I was told about and told them they needed to be in the garage and out of site.  We're talking about a $400-500k neighborhood!  Why was there a junkie car in plain site?

I entered the house, and walked around with my jaw dropped to the ground.  When I moved, and saw it vacant for the final time, I was sad because it's a gorgeous house.  I looked around this house, and didn't even recognize it as my fabulous house.  It was sad.  The furniture was horrid, and should never have been put in a house valued over $250k.

Everything was brass and cheap-looking, and didn't go with the house at all.  Almost like this family bought furniture about 15 years ago, and have never updated anything since.  I can't stress enough how bad everything looked.

I walked out of the house stunned.  I called Showhomes of America to let them know my experience, and questioned why they allowed these specific people to move into my house when they didn't have the caliber of furnishings for it, which I had questioned before I even signed the contract with them, but they assured me they had staging people who took care of everything to make sure it looked good.

I should never have trusted anyone being out of the area. I should have made a trip as soon as they moved in to see it for my own eyes.  Instead, we sold our house for a much lesser price because the staging did not work to our advantage in anyway whatsoever!

Lesson?  If you're going to be out of town, make sure you either make a trip back, or you send someone over to take a look and send you pictures.  I had asked for pictures, but were told they don't like to do that and just want the home owners to separate from the house.  I should have known something was wrong right then.

If you made it this far through this long story, great, I hope you learned something to watch out for when you stage!!  Staging is supposed to "cost less than your first price reduction" however, this staging experience cost me thousands of dollars...  Last lesson, don't use Showhomes of America in Dallas (I don't know how their franchises work across the country) as they don't take repsonsibilty for their mistakes!

**edit: So I don't get hit with slander charges, let me say this, directly from the website of the company I'm talking about:

"A. Kelly Rose, along with Dan Ortega, began Showhomes of America in 1986... Mr. Rose sold his interest in the National Showhomes Franchise company in order to concentrate fully to the success of his Showhomes flagship office located in Dallas, Texas."

No where on their website, nor on any paperwork I signed, does the company refer to themselves as Showhomes of Dallas.  They are Showhomes of America on all documentation.

**Are You Packed Yet?** 

donna harris Realtor Austin TX blog

Donna Harris, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Austin Skyline
www.DonnaHomes.com
Donna@DonnaHomes.com

Austin TX Real Estate and the surrounding areas of Lakeway, Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Spicewood, Circle-C, Steiner Ranch, and everywhere in between... Hill Country Austin TX Real Estate and beyond. Whether you're buying or selling an Austin home, I'll be with you every step of the way. 

For real time Austin MLS listings, click here.

** #1 Agent in my Office for all of 2008 **

All my blog posts were first published on donnahomesblog.com.
Copyright© 2009 By Donna Harris, All Rights Reserved. You may re-blog with links back to this post.
* Staging a Home Doesn't Always Work to Your Advantage *

Comment balloon 33 commentsDonna Harris • August 30 2009 07:50AM

Comments

Wow Donna, Why didn't Showhomes of America remedy the problem. Put the tenants out or something? How horrifying. You probably could have found a better tenant you yourself on a month to month basis?

 

Posted by Monique Hailer, South West Florida & Southern Maryland Homes (Schooner Bay Realty., Inc. & CENTURY 21 New Millenniun) over 9 years ago

What a way to learn an expensive lesson. The truth is no one cares for your belongings the way you car..so check often!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Wow Donna, This is a great lesson for all sellers like your self who must move and leave their home that they are selling in the hands of a company who really could care less about your home.

Posted by Joseph D. Federico, Eastern Massachusetts Real Estate (Donahue Real Estate Co.) over 9 years ago

Donna, what a terrible story! I am sorry to hear that you had to go through that. They lost you as a client and all the potential referrals that they could have received from you.

Posted by Lourdes Hoglo REALTOR® Three Village & North Shore Suffolk Co. Long Island (Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Statistics show that a satisfied client will tell something like about 3-4 other people about their experience. A dissatisfied client will tell about 100. Particularly when dealing with a real estate professional, this company needs to make sure they up their service or they'll be out of business soon.

Posted by Julia Odom, Chattanooga Homes for Sale (Select Realty Professionals) over 9 years ago

What is so offputting about a vacant property for sale.  I PREFER SHOWING VACANT PROPERTIES.  We, the buyers and I, can take our time, look at every nook and cranny of a property that they may buy.

They're not going to buy furniture.  They're not going to buy staging junk.  They not going to buy some plastic flowers or admire the angled sofa for purchase.

I just do not get the entire staging "schtick". 

However, I do respect honest businesses.  So, unless the stager starts with that phony claim that "staged homes will sell faster and for more money", I leave them alone. 

Fact is, when it comes to real estate, most stagers don't have a clue.

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Donna - While reading this, I was instantly reminded of a similar story from Atlanta.  I think one the GA agents posted it on AR last year.  The house tender was "allegedly" running an escprt service from the home.  She had pictures advertising herself while posing in various locations inside the home.  The local new crew setup various phony showing appointments to try to gain access to the house and she kept putting them off.  When they finally did get in, it was a wreck.  I forget the rest, but it seems like the owner was having to sue to get the tender out. 

I am truly sorry this occurred to you.  Hopefully, your post will help others avoid a similar experience.

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) over 9 years ago

Hello Donna, from your story it seems clear that home staging can be a double-edged sword.  Done correctly it seems to aid in selling homes for a better price + time-on-market equation; done poorly as in this case you the home-seller lost equity.  Thanks for letting is know about this unreliable business.  John

Posted by Alexander- Slocum, Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate (Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington) over 9 years ago

What an awful experience Donna. I don't know the the company you used but read they were suposed to match the house-tenders furnishings with the home. Obviously they did not. Is this company also suppose to provide a house manager to keep track of the house-tenders?

I hope you get some sort of satisfaction for the company you used. Please keep us in the loop as to the outcome.

When Lenn stated "They're not going to buy furniture. They're not going to buy staging junk." I have to say it depends on the furnishing because I had multiple offers to purchase my furnishings with my last two homes. I guess they liked my staging 'schtick'.

Posted by Cynthia Bartch, Redesigned Spaces; All Round Nice Gal (Home Stager/Property Stylist & more! Granville, Ohio) over 9 years ago

The company is responsible to find the appropriate tenders into your house - it doesn't look like it happened. When they - the company hears about any problems what so ever - they should inform you. And I did think they have specific instructions on NOT to have any extra cars parked on driveways, and they are to approve the furniture that is brought to the house. etc. etc..... that is very sad. ~Rita

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Hi Donna~ I am sorry that happened to you!  I guess it goes to show that there are good and bad in every business.  In your case, vacant would have been a lot better! 

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 9 years ago

Sorry about the bad experience, but, quite honestly, I'd never let someone move into my home without seeing their furniture and meeting the tenant.  These companies are supposed to do the homework, but they'd first have to earn their trust with me. I guess the good news is they're gone and so is the house.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago

You have had a horrible thing happen to you,  You carefully and diligently prepared your home for sale, and this staging company really screwed you over.It should not have happened.

It puts a black mark on staging and stagers, and that is such a shame, because protecting your equity and expediting a sale is always the priorty of a professional stager.

Staging is big business, but ultimately, it is SO PERSONAL to let someone come into your house and pump up it's charms and rectify  (NOT HIDE) it's flaws.  Every job we do is so different than the last. I don't understand how such a personalized service can be franchised. It's the commitiment a stager makes to a house, to a seller, and to the future buyer to do right by all, that makes us worth our salt and then some.

Hind sight is 20/20. I know some really great stagers in Dallas. Everyone loses when an opportunity like this flops so badly, ESPECIALLY THE SELLER.

 

~Michelle

 

Posted by Michelle Molinari, Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts (FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor) over 9 years ago

Donna, it's frightening to hear your story.  Thomas Scott, with Showhomes, has commented and blogged often here and he needs to know your story.  If you don't want to contact him, I will for you.  I know that they are a franchise run business but the franchisee has some responsibility in this.  I also remember very negative reports like Erik.  Let us help you attack this problem and set the record straight regarding staging reliability. 

Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) over 9 years ago

What a terrible and unfortunate experience!  I read Cynthia's reblogg and was very sorry to hear what happened to you.  I would love to see a response from Showhomes.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 9 years ago

Donna -- this is a terrible example of a home staging service.  I think Showhomes owes you a full explanation.  I'd be furious!  They are a franchise operation so obviously they work better in some cities than in others.  However, in my opinion a local staging company serves the market better -- there just isn't a need for what they call "home managers" in most cases.

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 9 years ago

WOW & OMG!  What a mess, literally - and I am also VERY sorry to hear that this has happened.  I've always been one to tread lightly when it comes to referring "home managers" or I guess "tenders" as they are called; primarily because I don't know much about them and have never worked with them.  Showhomes needs to address this not only with you, but the rest of us as well... one small seed planted soon  grows into an oak.

& Lenn, same as Cynthia:  I have had at least THREEhomes sell with the request that they be FULLY FURNISHED with MY "schtick".  As well as many Sellers buying my "schtick" to furnish their new homes.  Maybe you just haven't met the right Stagers in your area with the "RIGHT schtick". 

Posted by Connie Tebyani, Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County (Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro) over 9 years ago

You should file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau it might save someone else the problems you experienced.

Posted by Maureen Maureen over 9 years ago

Wow, what a horrible story!  Why wouldn't a professional home stager want to take after pictures of their work and send it to the client? That sounds like a real red flag.

Posted by Kate Talarico, RESA, Top Orange County Home Decorator & Stager (Kates Home Staging and Interior Design) over 9 years ago

Donna, I agree this is a terrible story.  When you entrusted your property to this company, you had every reason to believe that they would care for it and have your best interests at heart.  I'm really sorry this happened to you!

Posted by Mary Douglas, REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado (United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado) over 9 years ago

Without a doubt unprofessional to say the least. And Lenn, there are many sellers who do not think they need real estate agents to sell their homes either.  But we know they do and some sellers need stagers just as much as they need agents because they haven't a clue how to present their home for sale.  And when they lose the first and strongest buyers who visit their homes you lose too as an agent.  But bottom line is that no one should put down anyone who is trying to assist so many people in this tough market while just trying to make an honest living.  Shame on you.

Posted by Carol Heap (Hometown Real Estate Group, Inc. & Hometown Stagers) over 9 years ago

Thank you Carol for saying what many of us were feeling.  No matter how many POINTS someone has accumulated, as professionals we should all be mindful of what we say and how we say it.  Ditto to the Shame on You Lenn!

Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) over 9 years ago

Thank you for all the comments, and I apologize for the delay in my response, as I've been sick.

Monique, I didn't see the house until a couple of weeks prior to closing, and the complaints from the neighbors came in slow as no one wanted to say anything to offend.

Gary, You make a great point!

Joseph, Lesson learned!

Lourdes, It's a shame many companies don't look in the future with losing referral business.

Julia, Exactly!

Lenn, Most guys prefer a vacant home, but women do not.  They need help knowing where to put their furniture, especially if the floorplan is awkward.  I showed houses today, while sick, and we saw two houses just a couple down the street from each other, same floorplan, but one was staged to sell and looked really nice, and it made the house seem more homey for these buyers.  They didn't even consider the other house, and it is priced $22k less.  Both are still overpriced, but people like to see what relates to them, and vacant or crappy furniture doesn't get the job done.

Erik, That is a horrible story!  These tenders were not allowed to decline any showings no matter what, and I appreciate that.

John, It was a SHARP double edged sword!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 9 years ago

Wow!  What a royal mess.  I would be broken hearted walking into my house and seeing such a mess.  Quite the rip-off that company has going.

Lenn - did you get up on the wrong side of the bed?  Your blog just sounds angry, not informative or objective.  I wonder how helpful your realtor services are to your clients?

Posted by SHARON CHARBONEAU (UPSTAGING YOUR HOMES ) over 9 years ago

Cynthia, They are supposed to match the furnishings with the home, and I was told everything looked great, per the manager over my house. Great to one can be mediocre to the next.

Rita, What you say is true, but it doesn't mean it happens...

Vickie, Oh yes, Vacant would have shown WAY better!

John, But I had experience with the company prior to this as they moved people into another one of my listings, and things were great.  4 kids, but those kids never made a mess.

Michelle, Yep, and I talked with one of those great stagers in Dallas, but with the experience I had with Showhomes in the past, and the expenses we calculated, the route we chose should have saved us thousands, but it didn't.

Ginger, The sad part is that the Dallas Showhomes is the original Showhomes.  They sold the company off as Franchises a few years ago.  You can have Thomas contact me, but I don't think I would contact him directly.

Sharon, Me too!

Maureen B, They believe they lived up to their contract.  I disagreed.  We agreed to disagree... but I still haven't seen the money the tenders owes me for the gas bill.

Connie, I agree.

Maureen H, Except on my blog, I hate to ruffle feathers, but I might do that.

Kate, Because they aren't "stagers".  They move people into homes to stage them, yes, but they aren't staging like a stager would do like ordering furniture specific for the house.

Mary, Thanks for the support.

Carol, Yes, very unprofessional.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 9 years ago

Donna, I sent a private email to Thomas Scott.  I hope that he contacts you. 

Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) over 9 years ago

Nightmare to say the least.  Not providing pictures of the final product?  

"they don't like to do that and just want the home owners to separate from the house"

Talk about a spin move!  We provide the final pictures for MLS as well as slideshows, most reputable companies offer this as part of the package. 

Posted by Michele Kurelich, Raleigh Home Staging and Design (Triangle Home Staging & Design/Lasting Impressions) over 9 years ago


Donna,

Ginger was kind enough to alert me to your post. I was alarmed to read that you referenced our company in connection to your horror story. Showhomes and Showhomes of America are trademarked names owned by Showhomes Franchise Corporation in Nashville, TN. Showhomes is a nationally franchised home staging company with offices in 51 markets and a three decade record of excpetionally high customer service. Our sole reason to exist is to keep customers from having the expereince you describe - using a home tender can make an enourmous impact on the time it takes to sell a home and on the selling price. This year alone, we're selling a home a day with an average list price of $800,000 - and we are doing it when nothing else is selling. Using home tenders is a proven solution but you need to make sure the company you hire has both the expereince to know what they are doing and the systems / insurance to make sure everything works the way it should. The experience you describe is NOT what a customer of our company receives.

Showhomes (our company, not the one you mention) has helped sell over 26,000 homes since the early 1980s. These homes are valued at over $8 Billion. Nobody could post those numbers unless they were truly expert at what they do.

Your client did not hire Showhomes nor Showhomes of America. The company you reference is a knock off to the real brand. If you look at our website, www.showhomes.com, you will see that we do not currently have offices in either Austin or Dallas.

We are considered one of the best in the staging industry and are really proud of it. I'd appreciate it if you woudl remove the trademark reference in your post since it really slanders the high quality work are team of home stagers does. The company you reference should not be using our name and your blog post really does damage to our brand.

It's a shame we don't have an office in Austin - we'd love to show you how it's really done and what an amazing expereince working with a professional company should be.

Thomas Scott

VP Operations, Showhomes Franchise Corporation

www.showhomes.com

Posted by Home Staging (Showhomes) over 9 years ago

Michele, Granted, I didn't need pictures for the MLS or tour because I already used all my furniture as I had it staged prior to listing it.

Thomas, As I mentioned in my email, the company I used is Showhomes of America.  Their website link is in the post above, and you can see that they use the term Showhomes of America.  It's between you and them if you're going to pursue any legal actions if they're not a true franchise.  My complaint is that I used this company, and will never use them again.

And by the way, saying that you average an $800k house is not the greatest thing if you're trying to convince people in the $150-300k range to use your services, which is more typical in states like Texas. Houston has an even lower average than Austin and Austin's average is in the $190's.  A home owner would think a service like yours is way out of your league for a smaller priced home.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 9 years ago

So I don't get hit with slander charges, let me say this, directly from the website of the company I'm talking about:

"A. Kelly Rose, along with Dan Ortega, began Showhomes of America in 1986... Mr. Rose sold his interest in the National Showhomes Franchise company in order to concentrate fully to the success of his Showhomes flagship office located in Dallas, Texas."

No where on their website, nor on any paperwork I signed, does the company refer to themselves as Showhomes of Dallas.  They are Showhomes of America on all documentation.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 9 years ago

Ouch, Donna.  That was incredibly difficult to go through.  About a year ago, I was contracted to stage a property, but the owner had ALSO contracted with a similar company for "tenants" who would stage.  The breakdown in communication was awkward to say the least, but I previewed anyway.  The tenants were defensive that my services would not be needed, but the agent disagreed.  I previewed on Friday, after they moved in on Wednesday.  By Sunday they had moved out, miffed that I was planning to change a few things they had done. This  was an almost $800,000 property that they brought early American furniture and furnishings into, quilts, rockers, "precious" family heirloom antiques that I was not to touch unless they were present, and they would not be available ANY DAY I was available to stage, (I offered several!).  In theory, this sounds like a GREAT idea, and it sounds like Thomas is proud of his company and what they stand for.  Hopefully he will be able to bring action against these imposters and regain their good name!

Posted by c m over 9 years ago

Gasp!

There are SO many things wrong here!

First I want to say that I am genuinely sorry for your bad experience.  But I entreat you and everyone else reading to look at the big picture.  This is clearly a blemish on staging and even more of a bad mark on managed staging, but look at it this way: we have bad experiences all the time in other industries.  Travel.  Car repair.  Real estate transactions...

When an incompetent agent burns a client, do you tell them that they should never use an agent again and they'd do just as well to represent themselves in every deal from now on?  Of course not!  You recognize that it was probably the agent, and possibly the agency (individual location, not the franchise if one is involved) that was sub-par. 

When we go to a bad restaurant, do we say that we are NEVER going to eat out again?  At the most we say that we will not go to that location.  We don't usually avoid the chain.

When we have a bad stay at a hotel, do we conclude that we will quit traveling?  Or that we wiill only stay with friends and family when we do?  We don't speak against the entire industry or the concept of hotel stays. 

And if you think about it, there is more than enough to worry about when eating food prepared by people you don't know and sleeping in beds where thousands have been before you.  How clean are those sheets and towels and carpets....hmmmm?

But we keep eating out and keep taking vacations and mostly enjoy ourselves.

I have been a dissatisfied customer when it comes to other products and services and I understand the need to vent.  Especially when the problem has not been properly resolved by the company.  I also feel that it is my responsibilty to warn other unsuspecting consumers.

However, your experience is not reflective of Showhomes ~ America's largest home staging company.

I know you have the ability to go in and edit your post.  If you leave it the way it is, it will do much more damage to our company and our brand than it will do to the Dallas location you dealt with.  They are not part of our system. 

As an independent location, they probably don't care as much as we do about keeping the same standards.  Personally, I will wait weeks to fill a house if no qualified candiates are already in my stable of home managers.  And I would have no problem telling a manager to exit the program oif they broke the rules.

Until now, I have been fortunate enough to weed out the duds in the pre-screening process.

But back to you and your experience with this Dallas Showhomes: As Thomas mentioned, they are a knockoff and our corporate office has no ability to make them hold to OUR standards since they are not affiliated with us.  We can only try to make sure that customers don't get us confused.

We can't really patent or trademark the idea, but if you provide a link to our site in your post when you say we are not affiliated, people will be able to visit our national website and see that the branding and logo are not the same at all, even though the services they are supposed to provide are similar.

You might feel like the differentiation is clear (or maybe after having this experience you believe in the back of your mind that the concept doesn't work and you want to speak against it all).  But I am asking for one thing. Please edit your post to say: "Showhomes of Dallas Inc., is not to be confused with Showhomes - America's largest home staging company, which does not currently have an office in Dallas."

I know you don't have to, but it would be kindly appreciated by us all.

I understand that their website says Showhomes of America, but the actual web address that it links to is showhomesofdallasinc.com.  We do need to look at it from a corporate level and take some action to make sure that the distinction is made more clear, but in the mean time, hundreds if not thousands of people will read your post and probably not scroll through all the comments to read my rebuttal or Thom's.

So, just as professional courtesy, could you please edit your post?

If you take your car to a mechanic to be repaired because they advertized themselves as a BMW specialist and you have a bad experience, you don't slam BMW as a manufacturer or blame your local dealership for not seeing to it that they did a better job.

You recognize that the individual mechanic was not affiliated with the company and therefore solely responsible for anything that was negative about the service and transaction.

I am not denying the fact that this didn't work for you.  I was horrified by the details.

The larger we get as a franchise, the more imposters there will be.  That's why our branding is so important.  That's what we all bought into as franchisees.  Good branding and a superior business model where we are trained to identify and recruit and retain good home managers who will take care of homes as if they are their own.

When I stage a home, I want to do a good job every time because it's in my nature to provide excellent customer service and that's what garners praise and produces repeat business.  But I also know that dissatisfied customers can complain to the corporate office and enough complaints would tarnish the brand.

They check up on us.  We are subject to field reviews and we were recently told that we will be evaluated by secret shoppers in the near future.

Our corporate office does hold us accountable and with the very first complaint,  I would come under scrutiny.  They would listen to my side and give me advice and suggestions on how to make things right, but if it was determined that I was severely at fault in one instance, or habitually at fault over time, I would have my franchise taken away.

All of the franchisees know that going in.

Our corporate culture encourages us to go the extra mile at all times, but especially when a customer is dissatisfied.  We are trained to really bend over backwards to make sure that we have done everything we could to make it up to them, even if they have been difficult to deal with and even when hairs could be split and we could argue that we were not at fault.

Showhomes Dallas that staged your home did not follow any of the guidelines we are given.

I am a franchisee and I can testify to the amount of training we get on protecting the brand and standards.  We have continuing education from the corporate office and constant reminders about how to prevent situations like yours by proper screening and how to deal with potential home manager problems.

All of our training goes back to learning the importance of anticipating and PREVENTING potential problems, but when they arise we are encouraged to rectify them in an expedient manner.

Non-complient home managers are dismissed from the program, we keep their considerable deposits and we hold contracts that allow us to take legal action against them if necessary.

On the client side, we are encouraged to offer refunds or comp services to make up for breakdowns in communication.

Thomas isn't just proudly naive about whether managed staging works.  It does work and it is superior to traditional staging - WHEN OUR BUSINESS MODEL IS FOLLOWED.

We cannot be held responsible for every spin-off and knock-off who comes along.  We can only set ourselves apart by continuously providing high-quality sevice.

 

Posted by Natasha Little, Showhomes Greenville (Showhomes Greenville) over 9 years ago

Natasha, no where in my blog did I say to stop staging homes.  If you read it, you would see that it says I'm a firm believer in staging.  Again, I did not bash your company, so it's up to you to make yourself look a little better if you want to modify your post, but I won't be deleting it.  Maybe others will see the uncallled for attitude of both you and Thomas and choose not to use your companies based on attitude alone.

The last thing I will say on this topic, and then I'll be diabling the comments, is that the Showhomes of America based in Dallas is represented by the link within the blog.  NO where in my blog do I mention the words "Showhomes National Franchise Company" so stop emailing me and telling me I need to apologize to your company on MY blog.  If you want to infer that the Showhomes of America in Dallas is infringing on your company, go to them and ask for an apology, but you're not getting it from me.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 9 years ago

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