Steve Clemons/ Leggett & Clemons
To sign or not to sign, that is the question. Should stagers use contracts? Will homeowners sign them? Are they worth the paper they’re written on? Dallas stagers got the answers to these questions and more at the July Real Estate Staging Association meeting. Steve Clemons, an attorney and partner with Leggett & Clemons gave Dallas stagers the legal lowdown on contracts, the law and protecting yourself and your business.
Is a staging contract necessary in Texas? “No, as long as you see eye to eye with your clients,” Clemons said. “But, if something goes wrong, people remember conversations differently so you need to have something to fall back on. If you don’t have a contract, something in writing, you will just argue back and forth. You could lose the client or not get paid. It will all be a case of “He said, She said’.
Then there’s the not so small aspect of legal proceedings. Scrape a wall, damage a floor, break a collectible and “You can be sued”, Clemons said. “Your house is safe, your 401K is safe, your IRA is safe, but your savings are not.”
A lot of stagers are worried about the aspect of getting a contract signed. Stagers work fast, they don’t want to waste time and everyone knows real estate is all about how quickly that house can be put on the market. Is a contract going to slow down the process? Is it going to intimidate the seller?
Think about it. Sellers are constantly dealing with contracts. They sign a contract to sell their home. They sign a contract with home inspectors, with rental and storage companies. It’s not like they aren’t used to the process. Overcome your own angst, the seller is not going to balk. If they do, you don’t need to be staging that home.
So what constitutes a good contract anyway? “A contract needs to be between you and the homeowners or whoever is on the title,” Clemons said. “If the realtor is paying for your services then the realtor should sign the contract. You have to get a signature from the responsible party. When in doubt have everyone sign it.” Make sure the contract has the basics of who is doing what and for how much and always keep the original!
Remember that 99 times out of 100 you won’t have a problem. It’s that 100th time that you’ll be glad you’ve got a signed contract!
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