Selling property is not all about marketing the place’s facade, its features, and the price. It is also about getting into your potential buyer’s subconscious and putting up the right symmetries to the things that they see and feel about the property. Host, Jen Du Plessis, sits down with leadership speaker, Sean Abbananto, to talk about what he has found out that brings success to real estate transactions, particularly for the stagers and realtors, as backed by science. Sean shares how he and his wife Micah discovered different strategies to up their listings game that has been taking people’s business to the next level. Learn all about what it takes to have buyers make that offer in this episode.
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I am so excited because I have a very special guest with me, Sean Abbananto. He has such a wonderful story as well as his wife has a wonderful story that we’re going to bring on. I want to share with all of you something cool that Sean does that I think will help you as a realtor, and as a loan officer. You can help your realtor partners. Sean, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Jen, so much for having me on. I’m excited to get connected with you and your audience. My wife, Micah and I are thrilled to be part of your network and to be able to share with everyone what we’ve discovered that is changing the listings game for realtors and rocking their business. We’re happy to be helping people take things to the next level.
You and I had a little conversation beforehand. We were chatting and learning about each other and I said, “Shawn, you got to be on the show.” Sean, one of the things that you were starting to talk about is the story about the tornado in Oklahoma. Why don’t you share with us how this all started and what you’re doing?
My wife Micah is a rock star and you’ll want to have her on. I don’t want to tell too much of her story. I’ll hit some highlights. She survived the F5 tornado with her three children back in 2013. It was a life-changing moment for her. She came out of that shelter. She lived right across the street from the elementary school that was hit where the children were lost. She realized that her own life, even though she had survived this F5 tornado, was still in quite a bit of a storm. She had been married to a gentleman that had struggled in life with addiction for several years. She said, “I have to change some things to protect my kids.”
When she comes, I’ll let her tell more of the story. Moving forward, she found herself in a place where she did leave him and she had to find a way to support her kids because she had no support. She does seeking God and saying, “I’ve been a stay at home mom. I’ve worked a little bit, but what do I do?” He many times will remind her who she was. She had a flashback memory of being a little girl. When her friends would come over, they didn’t play with dolls. They didn’t do tea parties. They moved her furniture in her bedroom again and again. She was born and created to be a stager and a designer. All these years later, she launches a staging company here in Oklahoma City.
Before this all happened, what was she doing?
She’s pretty much a stay at home mom. She had spent a couple of years working at a school as an executive assistant to the headmaster. She found herself desperate. I love it when she speaks on this at conferences because it’s a powerful story of how your life can be turned around when you truly live your dream and your passion. She came to work for me. This was way before I knew her. I met her because of the called Where Was God? It was about the tornado and I knew the producers. They invited me to a pastor screening and I learned about her family and that she wanted to do more speaking. One of my favorite things is I have been speaking and coaching people for many years.
I love to help new speakers go from nothing to good or good to great. I wanted to help her out. We didn’t talk for two years until I put a post on Facebook looking for some office space for a new business I was starting and she reached out and said, “Do you need help?” She came to work for us. I got to know her that way. What I realized very quickly is that she had a passion for design and staging. I said, “You are so much more than who I see coming in every day helping us here. I’m going to fire you and make you go live your dream. I’m going to coach you as you do it.” Jen, as you know because you coach people, you work with people, you help them take things to the next level. One of our greatest joys is to help people get started and take off. What happened over the next few years, to readers, you want to lock in because it’s going to help you in your business and your life. She launches out. Because she was created to do this and she has a tremendous passion to help realtors and homeowners, her business exploded. She went from no inventory. She had no furniture. She loves to tell the story. She used her furniture.
One of her favorite pictures she shares during her keynote is she used her patio furniture from outside in the living room. All the living room furniture was on the stage. Within a short amount of time, she had purchased about twelve sets. We were buying other staging companies out. It exploded because when she started doing consultations for occupied listings, there was something that was happening in the marketplace here in Oklahoma City that was catching fire blowing realtors away. Homes that had set for months and months were suddenly selling within days, if not hours when she was brought in to consult or when she was brought into stage on top of another stager.
Which may have been the realtor too because a lot of realtors have that designation, they think they know how to stage and that could be it.
The reality is, God bless them because a lot of them, they can’t afford a stager. We get it because it’s expensive. When your average consultation is $250 to $500 a pop, people can’t afford that, especially when they’re starting out. Most realtors are transitioning in from another career. They have to start fresh. One of the things we loved about what we discovered is how to help people ramp things up through the use of this system. What happened was these houses were selling 4 months to 4 days, 14 months to 3 weeks, 6 months to 24 hours. During this time I was selling a house. I put it on the market, it’s set for several weeks.
I had a lot of showings, but no one was pulling the trigger. She finally said, “You’re my boyfriend now let me come do what I do.” She did. Long story short, within twelve hours of relisting it and bumping the price $5,000, I had a full offer. With the PS on the full offer when you get your next full offer, we’ll bump ours because we have to have this house. I saw it with my own eyes that what she had discovered was something that was very unique. The cool thing is as we drill down, we discovered that it was scientifically based.
It wasn’t the creative side of things. I have a couple of questions for you. If we go back, this happened in 2013. I’m gauging the timeframe. We’re in 2015 to 2017. The market is recovering. Rates are low. It’s not great, but it’s not a bad market. Was there a competition for this? As I’m thinking about the audience, whether realtor or lender, we think about all the competition. To me, it sounds like a blue ocean strategy. I don’t care what everybody else is doing. I’m doing something completely unique and different. It’s shining a light on her expertise over somebody else’s because I’m thinking of a stager is a stager. There’s got to be something that she’s doing. The scientific part of it is probably what it is, but tell me about the competition at that time. Was the competition heavy for stagers? Does she come into a market that was already saturated?
There were a lot of established stagers here in the Metro. The thing about Oklahoma City back then is, we’re one of the fastest-growing markets in the country because of the recovery from the crisis. With Oklahoma City, just being honest, our NBA team being such a good team put us on the map. People were coming from all over the world wanting to do business here. We had a lot of influx from California and some different places. People moving here and doing a lot of startups. Our market was hot. She was originally called in on trouble properties, properties that wouldn’t sell. What realtors discovered is because what she’s doing different, why would I only use this on trouble properties, I’m going to use it with every listing. Those realtors, once they started doing that and they saw listings moving even faster without having to do price reductions and all that stuff. They started lining up and then they create a waiting list. The waiting list started to get longer. First, it was a week and then 2, 3, and then 4. These realtors would say to her, “I will not list this property until you consult on it.”It's a powerful story of how your life can be turned around when you truly live your dream and your passion. Click To Tweet
Because if they listed it and they sat on there for 2 or 3 months, it might as well not listed at all.
What they would tell the homeowners is this, “We can list it now, but if it sets for three months, then you have all the maintenance costs and all that stuff to leave it on the market.” If you trust me, let’s wait a few weeks, let this woman do what she does because she is by far the market ready queen. You’ll be blown away at what happens. Because she’s such a sweetheart, she started to get stressed out because she can’t say no. She wants to help everybody on the planet. She’s the Mother Teresa of staging. I said to her, “Let me go along with you on these consultations and see what you’re doing because there’s something different that you stumbled onto.” I went on three consultations with her. I was blown away because she was saying the same things, but it was not the core driven. It was about balance.
Let’s explain that a little more.
Most stagers or most realtors, when they advise a homeowner how to prepare a house, they focus on the decor. They focus on what’s in the house. What Micah focused on, it wasn’t so much what was in the house, it was where it was placed in the house. The balance of a room was more important than the decor of the room. We didn’t understand why people were responding so strongly to this until we continue to do more research. What I said to her was, “You’re saying the same thing and it doesn’t matter the size of the house, the price point. You’re going in here and creating this balance in these houses and they’re moving very quickly.”
As we did research, what we discovered is God created us to respond to symmetry and balance at a higher level than decor. Our subconscious mind where way for this. This is a statistic that everybody needs to know. The 95% of the buying decisions are made in our subconscious, and our subconscious mind is drawn to balance and symmetry, not the decor. All of a sudden, I’m going to answer a question for your realtors that they’ve asked a zillion times before and that is this, why when a buyer comes into a home and they get all excited in the moment and they’re going, “Look at this house, honey, it’s perfect. I love the color that. Little Jimmy will go in that room. Little Susie can go in that room.” They’ve all experienced it. That buyer leaves that house and crickets.
It doesn’t make an offer.
They never hear from them. They don’t make an offer. They move on. Why is that? They’ve all asked the question, “Why does that happen?” It’s because 5% of the conscious mind was drawn to the decor, got excited in their emotions. Because the house was not balanced, the subconscious got triggered. There’s something that doesn’t feel right, so let’s keep looking.
They can’t put their finger on it either. “I like it, but there’s something about that house.” That same line is said over and over.
What we realized is that it was scientific. No one had discovered this. No one was doing this. The beauty of it is its very teachable. To make a long story short for everybody, I’ve had over twenty years of working with people and being in marketing, creating things. I said, “Let’s put this into a program because you’re stressing out. The reality is you want to help all these people. Not only will we be able to help all the people that are on a waiting list currently for you, but we’ll be able to launch this nationwide and help people all over the place we’ve never even met before.” That’s what we did. It’s based upon the world that we live in and the era of HDTV and all that stuff, we invested thousands of dollars. A part of the story that about 1.5 years in, she launched her design business, which exploded.
She does that full-time. The staging system is what we have on the side to help realtors. She was very fortunate and got a design of $1 million home here in Oklahoma City. We use that home to film in. We filmed videos where she is going through and doing a home consultation. We would set every major room, we would do a before and after and she would walk through and set everything up, and then we’d do a big recap of every room. We filmed eight videos. All the major areas of the house. We did an eleven-minute interview with her where she hits on all the other stuff like pets, kids’ toys and all those secrets that she’s come up with to make this work.
We say, “This is great.” We have these HDTV quality videos. They’re awesome, but people need more. We need to make it very simple for these sellers to be turned into market-ready stagers. She created fifteen graphics that they print out and then six master lists with little checkboxes that they print out. Once they go through and get things done, they check off these lists. We even created a master showings list so that every time the realtor calls and says, “We’ve got a showing in two hours or one hour,” they can go to that list and make sure that everything is perfect and show ready for the realtor.
I have a question about that too. I bet you’re being asked about that because I’m thinking balance. I’m thinking that I know some stagers that go into, “Your house isn’t feng shui. There’s not a flow of water that can go through. You have this sofa sitting there and it’s blocking.” How does this compare to feng shui in a scientific manner?
Feng shui is great. I think I tried that once at a Panda Express. With a little soy sauce, it wasn’t bad. For me, what I’ve seen take place over the course of the last few years and watching all of this in real-time work is that there’s a balance and symmetry that can be brought to every room. We simplified it in the process. A lot of the graphics will say, don’t do this, do this. She spelled it out in a way that a seller would not be stressed out at all. Because what we discovered is that we would ask realtors, what is your listing process? They would say, “I don’t have one. I take every home as it is and I can’t afford stager, if I go in and give some advice.”
To summarize how powerful this is because realtors are busy and there’s, they’re so overwhelmed that we wanted to make it as simple as possible. We have a friend that’s been a realtor for 28 years. She bought the system and we said, “All you have to do is we even created an email that realtors copy and paste and send to their seller. There’s a link in that email where the seller logs into the system.” She says, “I love this. I’ve done these 28 years. I used to spend on average about ten hours getting a house ready for pictures.”There’s a balance and symmetry that can be brought to every room. Click To Tweet
That’s what my client does all the time.
Your clients are going to love this because this is how simple we made it for realtors. It is a very affordable monthly subscription that gives them unlimited uses. They can have one listing or 100 listings a month. We don’t care. Since Micah was a single mom and struggled and had to use her furniture, even though consultants told us this needs to be priced very high because of the value, we said we want to make it affordable for every single realtor that exists because of this. When we heard from someone that’s been in the industry like yourself a long time that there’s an 87% turnover every two years in the real estate industry, it broke our hearts. We’ve got to create something to help people that won’t cost them very much. It’s very affordable. It’s about helping people. She said, “All I do is send an email and schedule pictures.” She goes, “This is awesome.”
What has been the reaction on the seller side? Like, “I’m paying you a ton of money to list my house, and then you send me a list. I’m going to play devil’s advocate for just a second. You send me a list and you want me to do all this.” That’s part of it anyway. You can’t go and clean their house. Tell me what the sellers think.
They’re absolutely loving it. This is why, because no one loves to sell their house. No one loves to move. Everyone stresses out on what they’re going to have to do. Everyone wants to get the most money, sell it in the fastest amount of time. We both spoke at a realtor conference, our good friends, Jessica and Randi of the Mega Moms. We spoke at their conference. The first day Micah spoke, there was a realtor that said, “I have to have this. I just got a listing.” She got the system that gets your house market-ready system. She sent it to her seller that evening. That evening, the seller got it. She logged in. She watched all the videos, she printed everything out. She sends a message to her real or that evening and says, “Thank you so much. I was so stressed out. This is easy to follow. It’s simple. This is perfect. It took all the stress out.” She hunts us down the next morning and says, “It worked just like you said.”
The beauty of this is it simplified the listing process for the realtor and the seller. It’s taken the stress out for both and it’s created and you’re going to love this as a coach. It’s created consistency in the process. That always increases success. That’s what we’ve created a very simple but powerful way to take the listing process to the next level. The other cool part for realtors that use this system is they have a way to set themselves apart from other realtors and their market. Because if you’re realtor A and you go up against realtor B, you say to that listing, “I have a free gift I’m going to give you, it’s called The Get Your House Market Ready System. It’s by the Market Ready Queen. The best market-ready expert in the United States. It’s going to walk you step by step, room by room on how to get your house market-ready.”
The other person doesn’t have that. You’re going to get the listing we’ve heard again and again. People are signing up based upon the fact that there is a powerful tool that’s simple to follow that will get their house market-ready and take the stress out. The beauty of it is that normal staged houses sell 79% faster and for 6% to 25% more money. That’s a normally staged house or the stager focused on decor, not what Micah has discovered with the science of staging. It’s been a powerful thing that’s helping so many people and we’re just so excited to see the success that people are having with it.
If you’re reading and you’re a realtor, this is a no brainer. If you’re a loan officer, and I’ve said this a thousand times, when they go to the realtor school, they are told a couple of things. When a loan officer comes up to you, there are two things. Tell them you already work with a lender and they’ll go away and tell them you’re a listing and they’ll go away. I have a system for listings that I work with for how a loan officer can work with the listing agent. This is another tool in that toolbox. This is another tool to give to your realtors that don’t know about it and spread the word, but also to have statistics on how much faster they’re going to be able to sell and how many more listings they’ll be able to get as a result of that.
That’s the beauty of it because you get it. We have mortgage lenders who get so excited about this. Title companies, real estate photographers, they’re all coming on board. They’re all sharing it with their realtor clients because photographers want that house to look as best as it can be. May times they show up and it’s not truly market-ready and they have to take the pictures anyway. The house sets because everyone shops online and everyone goes on and has that first impression. If I’m looking on my laptop at a house and the house is unbalanced, so that the subconscious is not getting triggered, you got to move on to the next one. For all your mortgage lenders and everyone that follows you, this is a no brainer to share with all their realtor clients.
I’m speaking at a mortgage company here and I can’t wait. I’m going to share this with them. I’m going to give it as a little bonus, like, “I got a bonus thing. If you’re interested in it, let me tell you what it is.” I want to say thank you so much, Sean, for joining us. It’s about giving more value to my audience so that they can succeed as well.
Thank you so much for having me. We’re excited to be new friends and to help all your audience and clients. We’re excited to partner up. It’s a wonderful thing.
For those of you that are reading, take some action on this. I look forward to catching you next time on Mortgage Lending Mastery.
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About Sean Abbananto
Sean speaks for organizations igniting leaders to discover a new level of believability.
Believability will always lead you to one place. Solid, strategic, solution-based leadership.
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