THROW-UP listings. Do it “RIGHT,” Not “RIGHT NOW!”

Ever heard the phrase “Hurry up and wait”?

How about the bastard cousin: “If you hurry up, expect to wait.”? Not as catchy?

Anyhow, the fastest way to sell a house is to slooooooow doooooooown and do it right from the beginning. A rushed job will NET you less and take 3 times longer to sell.

A month ago I was contacted by a seller that wanted their house on the MLS tomorrow!

In one day! Could I have done it? Could I have thrown it up on the MLS? Sure, but it would look like throw up, and that doesn’t sell… slowly. And no you can’t just put it up quickly and make it better later (I’ll explain later). So, I had to send her elsewhere…

Time and time again, the seller wants to have it sold yesterday. I don’t blame you! The process is pretty stressful, and the faster you can unload the property, the better, right? Here is where the counterintuitive part kicks in… you sell it FASTER if you give your agent, stager, and sometimes painters and photographers the proper amount of time to get everything done perfectly straight out of the gate.

  • Put all of your efforts behind the first weekend LAUNCH!

The best way to sell a place is to have 2 offers. Yeah, maybe a bidding war will occur, but I’m talking about getting that extra nudge to make 1 of the 2 interested parties put in an offer.

The best way to do that is to:

a) have a delicious product.

b) compress most of your efforts into the first “launch” of your product.

Microsoft doesn’t release a new big software and THEN advertise slowly. They are like a fireworks display in reverse. They start with the grand finale. They have a HUGE media blitz up front. You need that for your home. (this is also one of the reasons why it hurts you to “try it” FSBO for a couple of weeks, you deflate the parade, read: Go FSBO! Save $20,000! Realtor Tells All!)

  • List EXACTLY on Wednesday night or Thursday.

If your Realtor says “so when you think you wanna have your listing thingy up?” Please fire them and go to the phonebook and pick the first alphabetically listed agent, chances are, they will be better.

Why Wed/Thur? Email alerts for new listings are automatically sent around midnight to home buyers that have signed up through various MLS searching services. If you list on Friday at noon, everyone getting alerts at work will see them on Monday. After your “weekend launch!” If you list on Monday, the lead time is too long before the exciting weekend. You might have some interested parties, but why not compress the interest to a few days and make your house seem more appealing? Also sometimes you can kill your chances for a bidding war as those fast buyers tend to give Thursday deadlines, before the weekend push. So yes, given the choice to rush a listing in on Sat, versus waiting until the following Wed, I think waiting will sell your house faster! (Ok, maybe I’m a little too into the psychological science of selling, but I have seen it work)

Here are some made up stats of mine:

  • 80% of your visitors will see your place in the first 10 days.

At any point in time there are a certain number of buyers waiting on the sidelines for a home to go on the MLS in a certain zip code. They have MLS email alerts set up. Once it hits, that backlog of buyers will see your house within the first 10 days. These are the best buyers since they probably have been looking for a while and are ready to act on the perfect house.

After those 10 days, traffic will tank. You might first blame the agent thinking that they have slowed down their marketing efforts, but that probably isn’t the case. Now you have to to wait for newcomers into the market. And the longer it sits, the higher the chances it will sit even longer!

  • You only get 1 chance to impress!

If you throw up the listing and it has no photos, only a couple of photos, ugly photos, unstaged photos, the potential buyers will see your place and hit the delete button. Maybe only to reconsider you again when the next alert hits, your price drop (alerts are sent out for new listings and price drops).

  • Sidetip: Never list “freshly painted” in your remarks.

Also people don’t like places that appear fixed up just for the sale. Why would you highlight “this place used to be a dump and a rental.” Instead, just let them come in and in their mind think “wow the former owner was meticulous.” Which scenario gives you a better warm and fuzzy? A good agent and stager will manipulate that feeling to the seller’s benefit. (all part of our master plan)

While I used to think staging was swinging past Target and picking up $100 worth of junk and plastic flowers, it is so much more (and now I’m learning that there is a huge difference between a 2-day certified “stager” and a design degreed professional. It makes a difference, that difference nets you more. Blog coming soon.). Actually we recommend taking staging a step further and oftentimes undergoing light construction and repainting. Each house is different, but it takes time to do it right. Expecting designers to work their magic in one day would overflow mental institutions across America!

It takes some time to get things down right. Maybe a week, maybe two weeks or more, if we need to coordinate a team of workers to work on your house. Maybe one day there will be a drive through MLS service that can get the stager out to the house within the first hour, and the construction crew out by hour 3 and photography etc etc. (Sounds like a reality show to me: “Ready to Sell in 4 hours!”)

Oh and that seller that wanted the “rush job,” her place is still for sale, and she has already dropped her price $10,000.

Bottom line is, we understand that you want to sell it as fast as possible, but lets take a moment, breathe and do it RIGHT, Not RIGHT NOW! And net you more, and faster!

– Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker/ Realtor

  • 21
  • July
  • 2007

42 Responses to “THROW-UP listings. Do it “RIGHT,” Not “RIGHT NOW!””

  1. ARDELL DellaLoggia says:

    I love this post!
    Would yo consider submitting it to The Carnival of Real Estate this week? I’m hosting it this week. Not sure I’m allowed to solicit good blog articles. You submit at This is much better than the ones who have submitted so far.

  2. Trish Pachak, ASP Master, Denver,Colorado says:


    Thanks for the enlightening post. I do have to say that all Stagers are not created equal. Staging is not Interior Design. My education in Interior Design is helpful especially in color theory and spacial relation but my experience as a Stager is what makes me an exceptional Staging Professional. Two days, ten days, 2 years of training? Either you have the eye and talent or you don’t. Time and experience hones the skills but one has to have the talent or no amount of training (degreed or otherwise) will matter. Some of the very best Stagers I know are those who have been certified in short term courses and do not have design backgrounds. Generalizations should be used carefully as the spectrum is so vast.

  3. FRANK LL0SA Broker says:

    Agreed Trish.

    2 days or 2 decades or classes, if you suck you suck. But with the ability to get certified in 2 days, it is easier for a sucky fly-by-night wanna be designer to mess things up for the good ones out there (via poorly designed houses). Agreed? And with consumers not knowing what is good and bad, it just brings everyone down.

    I was just warning people that staging is becoming more and more popular, so I’m starting to see more “I’m a stager, you’re a stager, we are all stagers” mentality.

    Recently one of my agents gave a listing presentation and mentioned how staging is so crucial that we require it. Supposedly the last 3 presenters also had stagers! I had never seen this!

    In the eyes of the client, all stagers were the same, so why not hire the cheapest for only $300.

    Suddenly low priced, and possibly low quality stagers are flooding the marketplace. Of course, if you can renovate a kitchen, help put down hardwood, paint 3 rooms, and all the other stuff you do etc etc for $300, more power to you, but when design is pitched as a commodity, problems will occur and it makes all stagers look bad.

    – Frank

  4. William Johnson GRI CRS e-PRO says:

    A superb post Frank. I have booked marked it. So well written and composed.

  5. Chris Elizabeth Griffith, Bonita Springs Real Estate says:

    This IS a great post with great information. Nominated for a feature and rated 5. You ARE very smert, too!

  6. Missy Caulk, Ann Arbor Real Estate says:

    Frank, I always tell my sellers I will not list on Friday for the reasons you do, plus most of the Realtors who would see it aren’t in the office to check hot sheets so by Monday they may not look back 3 days. Also I always have the pictures ready to immediately upload. I don’t want buyers getting flashed with NO pictures.

    Plus everyone who has insisted, “Come list my house right now”, have been the biggest pains in the you know where. If we still do our standards we may not get every listings but those we do will be much better experiences………you build trust and professionalism.

  7. Suzanne Sands-Somerset, MA Real Estate says:


    Great job putting this very practical advice together for home sellers! I also gave you a flag & a five! :)

  8. Carol Smith - REALTOR, Toledo, OH says:

    Frank – this is tremendous stuff! I wish I could make sure every one of my clients read it. I had a woman call me last week and wanted to put her house on the market. I asked her a list of questions in order to get a feel for the home and the neighborhood. After about 5 minutes she snapped, “Are you going to put my house on the market or sit around asking questions all day?”

    Needless to say….I sent her on her way. I am a REALTOR, not a miracle worker.

  9. Bill Burress Florida Mortgage Broker says:


    Excellent Points. Rated you a 5.

  10. Renee Burrows - NV Real Estate says:

    Great Post Frank and Congrats on the Gold Star, Well Deserved & Great 411. I am looking forward to your home staging post!

  11. Donna Lueder-Boise Idaho Realtor says:

    Really good and sound advice… I gave you a 5 as well. Gives hurry up and wait a whole new meaning

  12. Dane Caldwell Toronto Home Staging Specialis says:

    Frank, great post as you always!

    I recently had a client booked to do full staging for, including some rental furniture. The morning I was to go for the consultation they called and tried to cancel. Turns out a ‘Certified’ stager talked them out of using rental furniture and told them they could do a consultation for $100.00 less then my fee. This ‘Certified’ stager proceeded to slam me saying I was not ‘Certified’…uh, duh! Certification doesn’t mean squat. Oops, she forgot to mention I am a member of CDECA (Canadian Decorators Association) with a background in DESIGN!

    So I took the time to explain what ‘Certification’ really means for a stager: a deceptive marketing ploy to dupe unknowing consumers… blog to come on this!

    Needless to say, the client went ahead with me for the consult, but were convinced by this ‘Certified’ stager (a member of AR!) they didn’t need any rental furniture and that they could do the actual staging themselves. Guess what, they did not follow my suggestions, only a few, and are now fast becoming a stale listing.

    Each time you speak up and tell the truth about real estate and staging I cheer and raise my glass – usually a cubeltini or mojihto.

    I’m looking forward to your next blog post.



  13. Freddie Castaneda says:

    Frank, well informed blog. I am in my second year of real estate and no one has ever told me the importance of having it done right or “it will be a throw up”.


  14. Harold Watts, ABR Palm Springs, CA says:


    It’s a 5!! Excellent post!! I never heard the term “throw up” a listing, but everything you wrote made perfect sense. I am bookmarking this post, and will continue to read future posts.

  15. Paula Henry - Indianapolis Real Estate says:

    Frank – A really great post – where have I been hiding? Nothing beats a properly staged, properly marketed home! I was actually looking for FSBO ideas and ran across your post about FSBO’s, which was also GREAT and very long. It was well worth the time to read.

    Now you are on my subscribed list. Off to check out more of your posts.

  16. Maureen Henry - Rockland Home Staging says:

    What I really want is my very own Frank.

    I’m printing this one out and putting it with the FSBO blog that I make all my FSBO clients read.

  17. Lizette Fitzpatrick,Central Kentucky Realtor says:

    Hi Frank! Great advice here! It’s getting kind of late for me, but I did bookmark your post so I can read it later tomorrow. It’s been a long day. ZZZzzzzzzzzzzz…

  18. Tracey Thomas GRI, SRES Associate Broker, Keller Williams Realty says:

    Frank, Great post and love your sense of humor. I hope you don’t mind if I add this info to my listing presentation. I will certainly send my Virginia referrals your way. You totally get it! Thanks!

  19. Gary Bolen says:

    Nice work. We take our time as well. Some, but not a lot of staging in our market. Should be more, we thinks. Like the idea of listing on Wednesday. Certainly not the weekend. We become instantly livid when we see a listing that goes up with either no, or village-idiot quality photographs.

    Going to subscribe, like you asked, and mark you as an associate, which I think you missed.

    Thanks for doing this one!

  20. Ryan Hukill - Edmond Homes & Real Estate says:

    Frank, you’ve done a great job of summarizing what I preach on a regular basis. It’s all here, GREAT post!

  21. Bob & Carolin Benjamin - E Phoenix Valley Real Estate says:

    All very good points. Good post. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Marilynn Currie says:

    Hi Frank, really apprieciated this. Will with your permission send it on to a few of the Realtors I work with. Great encouragement for we STAGERS who get negative comments from Realtors who are stuck in the dinosaur age. When a client is plunking down half a million for a family home on a small lot — and the sturggle it is to pay that mortgage— that house should be a “10” of course it has to be priced right in the first place.

    I have heard this comment over and over again “I know it is overpriced— but that is what the client wanted”

    Where is the Realtor’s back bone do they not compare similar homes and give due diligence— or are they so afraid they would lose the listing??

    “It has to do with client confidence-” they say. — Oh sure!!

    marilynn currie from the west coast

  23. Ginger Foust- Stager and Redesigner says:

    rank this is the information that the realtors in my area need to hear. You’re going to be linked into my next realtor staging newsletter so that maybe they’ll start to get it. I am constantly telling them to “do it right” from the start and think twice about calling me when the sellers is desperate because the house has been on the market for 8 months and foreclosure is one month away. If they would just join AR AND do some reading, they would become more educated and more responsible agents.

    Thanks so much for such a great blog…you get a 5 from me too!

  24. Maria Lechner- ID Home Stager says:

    Great post,

    I am sending this along to all my Realtors who haven’t joined AR even after I sent them an evite. They need to read this

  25. Lori Hakeem says:

    I agree with some of the earlier comments about the clients that are really pushing to “list it immediately”. Doing it right may take a little longer, but we are looking for results, right??

  26. FRANK LL0SA Broker says:

    Hey Marilynn,

    Did you edit down your initial long reply? I loved it.

    Yes, my agents sometimes get push back from the sellers and they say “but they don’t want it” and that for me means we haven’t done our job helping them understand and talk to references that have used it. Also our company policy is for EACH home for sale to be staged, so sellers see that and they see “wow, they must be serious.”

    Another thing a stager should NOT ask is “what is your budget.” As that assumes the seller knows what staging is and they will say the lowest number possible. Instead, the stager should come in and give a few options, and showing the value of the higher options. Maybe I’ll do another post to combat the “let the buyer get a credit to upgrade” or the “why not let them pick the granite”

    As for the example of the Realtor that would rather drop prices $20k to sell fast, that is the basis for my blog. Sucky Realtors. Make sure to add to my site

    Only stagers can vote people on!

    – Written by Frank Borges LL0SA

  27. FRANK LL0SA Broker says:

    Dear Anonymous, I was in Italy for a couple of weeks and I had some backlog. I’ll try blogging more frequently. Especially with all the encouragement. Here is one of my photos of the trip. 9d8d418f.jpg

    Maureen Henry, glad you liked this one. The FSBO blog that she was referring to is: Go FSBO! Save $20,000! Realtor Tells All! Which she was kind of enough to show to a FSBO and the FSBO sent me a Thank you a month later when it sold.

    – Written by Frank Borges LL0SA

  28. Kathleen Garvey says:

    Nicely said Frank! -Kathleen

  29. Denise_ Home Staging says:

    Interesting Post Frank. I think that you are way ahead of the curve on this topic than the majority of Realtors in this area. While I think most folks will agree there are benefits to a home that shows well, the problem comes up when the bill or proposal comes in. Once they realize it will cost $1,000 or even $1,500. they balk.

    As with any new industry, staging is facing some challenges. We must be flexible and willing to change to get through these challenges. As you mentioned above, you thought it was running to Target and grabbing a few things. In reality, it is hours and hours of work and planning IF allowed to do the job right. While your company may choose to implement staging in one way, you are likely in the minority. I work with numerous realtors and they each work differently. For my company, we choose to service our customers by meeting the needs of our Realtors as best we can by customizing our processes to suit their needs. Implementing a rigid business process wouldn’t make sense at this point for most stagers. We have some Realtors who firmly tell us what their budget is, and others who ask us to bid on a project. We work in a variety of ways and continue to evolve.

    As for choosing a degreed professional over a stager who took a 2-day class….there is no degree for a stager. It sounds like you are looking for a interior decorator/designer….and the two are not the same. There are several posts here on A/R explaining the difference between staging and decorating. While I am all for formal education, I would tell folks to choose a stager based on the number of SOLD homes in their portfolio, not on how pretty the pictures look. We are not interior designers therefore should not be judged on if the color scheme was perfect. Ultimately, the question is….did the house sell, yes or no. Is the company reputable? Are they licensed and insured? Do they have repeat business?

    Ok…long winded, thats my .02.

    Great post.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Excellent as everything you do. I thought you just staged, very beautifully.

  31. Michelle Minch, Moving Mountains Design & Staging says:

    Frank: Thank you for this wonderful blog. Staging a home has always been a necessity, but it is only recently that staging is getting the attention it deserves. I am both a Professional Stager and an Interior Designer. I “get it” when staging a home, that I am not doing interior design, but am designing for desirability and marketability.

    What I don’t get is homeowners and Realtors that slap up (or throw up) a listing that is sub-par and does not place the home in the top tier of homes listed on the MLS for that area and price range. This is a no brainer for me. I always supply a CD of post-staging photos to the Listing Agent to use in marketing the home. It is part of our staging service. I actually have a selfish reason for doing this – I want the home to sell as quickly as possible for the highest possible price, which gives me another great statistic to use when advertising my company.

    Yes, there are a lot of poorly trained or just plain bad stagers, just as there are bad real estate agents and bad hairdressers. Who hasn’t had a bad haircut once in their life? But the good ones are out there and you find them the same way you find other service providers – referrals, research and references.

    I recently (escrow closed last week) had a $2.98 million home sell for $80,000 over the original asking price with multiple offers in 5 days. The winning bidder bought the house furnished as staged and said he would not have been interested in the house if it had not been staged. Chalk another victory up for staging!

  32. McHugh Realtors says:


    A 5 ranking from me. Great post! Yours is a post that solidifies my reason why I hate new MLS listings without photos. When I look at new listings, I want to see the house. But that’s my next blog.


  33. Juliet Johnson - Appreciating Your Home says:

    Hi Frank, this is an excellent post for sure. One of my closest Realtor associates always claims the buyer for the house is usually one of the first people in it!

  34. FRANK LL0SA Broker says:

    Hey Juliet,
    Great comment. This is VERY true, and I say happens maybe 50% of the time, the buyer was one of the first to visit!

  35. Kathleen Lordbock - Re$ale Design & Home Staging says:

    Frankly, Frank not having any mis- spellings will not make you look smart – but you did write a smart blog.

    As a professional stager with training, mind you, but not with a degree in interior design I am thinking that you may want to read up a bit on the differences. I also “design” homes for people to live in and I even draw up plans for additions and the like (general contractor , too) However, you either have it in you to know how to eye up a room and fix it or you don’t. I have an eye for color – am a Benjamin Moore Color consultant, do landscaping, (no degree in that either). Luckily, I’m not claiming to be able to do brain surgery or design a suspension bridge.

    Training for staging is helpful , I learned about the business aspects in my classes, not furniture placement. But even when you are all trained in whatever school of choice , you need to study, study, study – keep up with the current trends and the latest color combinations. AR is that continuing education for me along with the 20 plus magazines I subscribe to and the books I buy. I memorize store inventories and also make notes to myself on ideas, reuses, etc.

    You might not hire me because I am not an design degreed professional, but you should because I am really good at what I do. Oh , I take great photos with my Kodak v570 ,too & you trained me on that.

  36. Diane Aurit says:

    Well, darn. I wrote a blog about this exact same thing but you clearly did as better job as YOU got featured. I feel so strongly about everything you mentioned…I’m going to copy it to give to my sellers so they know it isn’t just me who feels this way. Thanks!

  37. Joni Van Deventer-RoomByRoomRedesign says:

    I am finding out that more and more people that are calling themselves, Interior Designers, have far less education than I do and less experience. I am what I am, talent and professionalism have nothing to do with credentials. Should I require every Realtor that I use to have a degree in marketing or business, I think not; I trust reputation and intregrity. So what if I am an ASP, CFD and have a little degree in Science, the WHAT is the results. No one should undermind anyone in either the Real Estate nor Staging industries because you just might be working for them one day, that’s my theory and I stand behind it. By the way, I carry all my “credentials” and degree with me in a career book as well as a portfolio of projects I have done or am doing. To some people it means nothing to others it shows that you a many faceted individual that keeps on the cutting edge. I don’t care what business you are in, continuing education is important in any field. JMO

  38. Anonymous says:

    Frank – remember the listing I told you about??? Same deal…the seller ended up going with someone who overpromised and SO underdelivered. Someone with a gazillion listings. The property listed the day AFTER the sellers interviewed each of us. AND, when the listing posted to the MLS there were NO pictures. Further, there was NO sign in the yard. It took about 6 days for the pictures to finally show up on the MLS and even then the house had not been staged. When I contacted the seller to see how traffic had been the first weekend she said NO ONE visited. I think the old “prior planning prevents piss poor performance” is appropriate here…

  39. […] you have a home for sale that is “ready” (a fully staged Arlington Virginia Home), are you better off waiting until January 1st (or Spring) to list your […]

  40. Ann Wise says:

    Great post! I have found that most realtors seem to think that they can do the staging of a property along with trying to get the property sold. I am not a realtor and don’t want to be. I am a certified stager and interior redesign specialist and I love what I do. It is my passion. Realtors need to do what they do best – get traffic through the home. Let the Stagers do what they do best and prepare the property to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. If anyone has any ideas on how to get this concept applied, let me know. Right now they (realtors) think they can do it all. Let me help! It is a sin-win-win situation for everyone. The realtor can concentrate on selling the home for their commission, the stager has a job and the homeowner makes more money on the sale of their house because it appeals to a larger market. A homeowner does not have the ability to be objective when it comes to staging their home. They need that third eye that has been trained on how they can get the biggest bang for their buck. The National Board of Realtors gave a stastic that staged homes sell 73% faster and for more money than a non-staged home. These are their stastics, not ours. Thanks for your time and have a fabulous day!

  41. […] your agent agree to your “hurry up” and get the listing up and thus result in a “Throw Up Listing” that takes longer to sell?  (we recently refused/lost a listing because we refused to put […]

  42. […] market (meaning sellers have more power now). Heck, why not just throw it up on the MLS (see Throw Up Listings, from 2007, but still applies) since it “sells […]

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