In a HOT seller’s market, many sellers and realtors don’t think they need staging. I ran into a realtor the other day that said: “Houses are selling so quickly; we really don’t even need to stage.” Seriously? Not staging means you're leaving money on the table! Plus, you’re missing the opportunity to make MORE money for yourself and your seller!
WHY? Because, staging will help you get more offers, sell the property faster and MAKE MORE MONEY! According to data collected from realtors, The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), reported that staged homes sell on average for 10% more than unstaged homes.
Here’s another success story from this week:
"Our seller tried to sell their house themselves, but got no offers. They partnered with a great realtor, Shannon Foster, Century 21 Realtors, and an awesome stager (me). We did an "Occupied" Stage, which means we kept most of the seller's furniture but added accessories to update the home. The property sold in 2 days, with 4 offers and for $thousands$ over asking! The realtor and the seller were happy because they BOTH made more money! And, happy clients mean more listings!"
Here's what we did for stage this property:
1. Added Updated Accessories to Appeal to Today's Buyers
2. Hung New (Appropriately sized) Artwork
3. Used Slipcovers, new Bedding and Pillows to Modernize Outdated Furniture
4. Swapped-out Table Chairs and Barstools to Create an Inviting Kitchen
5. Created Home-School & Office Spaces for Today's Busy Families
BOTTOM LINE: Don’t underestimate the true value of staging. EVEN in a seller’s market, your house will sell faster, and you’ll make more money!!
Lately, I've been called in to "fix" vacant properties where virtual staging failed to yield a sale. It occurred to me that since I run into this situation more often, I must blog about why virtual staging just doesn’t work. Sure, you’ll get nice photos for the internet, but when a buyer walks thru the door to an empty house, it doesn’t help to sell the property.
And here’s why virtual staging doesn’t work:
1. You’ve immediately lost the TRUST of the prospective buyer who expects to see a gorgeously decorated property (like the one they saw on the internet). Let’s face it, buying a home is emotional. And trust is the foundation of any great relationship. Realtors want to make the sale, but more importantly, they want to develop a relationship to get future listings. You start off on the wrong foot when the buyer is disappointed as soon as they walk through the door. If anything, you want to set a lower expectation about a property and then over-deliver when the buyer walks through the door. (Not the other way around which is what happens with virtual staging.) Even if it’s not your listing, a buyer could be thinking: “What else isn’t my realtor telling me?”
2.When there’s nothing for the buyer to connect with (via furniture and accessories) they have nothing to “fall-in-love with” about the property. Buyers need to emotionally connect to a space. Staging is about selling a lifestyle, so buyers see themselves living in the home. When a house is vacant, buyers will notice its “defects” (like, painting and repairs). Conversely, when there are furniture and accessories, and a buyer loves the home, they may not notice a its defects.
3. Furniture helps buyers to visualize size and scale of how their furnishings will fit. 9 of out 10 buyers can’t visualize how their furnishings will fit in a space? Staging is a must to overcome this!
4. Empty rooms can feel small, cold and uninviting which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve when marketing a house. A buyer will decide if they like a house within the first 7-12 seconds of entering, so you must make a great 1st impression. Don’t make the mistake of spending money (and time) on virtual staging. If a seller can’t afford to fully stage a vacant property then It’s better to invest money on repairs, cleaning and doing light staging, so the home is presented fairly & in the best possible light.
One last thought, if a seller isn’t initially open to staging a vacant property, re-visit the subject before asking for a price reduction. Vacant staging typically costs approximately 1% of the purchase price, (which is usually less than a price reduction.) This way, the seller isn’t leaving money on the table; the home will sell faster and for the most money possible. Besides, Staging is Tax-Deductible, so your seller will re-coup staging costs anyway. Vacant staging is well-worth the investment to help homes sell quickly, and for the highest price possible.
When it’s time to sell your home, not everyone can afford to: “Spend Money to Make Money” or can they? Did you know that buyers will formulate an opinion of your home within 7 seconds of seeing it? So, you must grab their attention FAST! And, did you know that a professionally staged home will sell in an average of 1-23 days, which is 90% faster than homes that weren’t staged? But, in the Harrisburg, PA and surrounding markets, homeowners are finding unique, inexpensive and strategic ways to stage without breaking the bank. Here are the rules:
1. Invest in a little help – Find a certified professional stager & have them do a consultation visit. ($175-$250) Trust me, this is worth it! The stager will spend 2-3 hours and will give you a detailed plan of action for exactly what you need to do to prepare your home to sell fast. They know what it takes to grab buyer’s attention and help create spaces that buyers will envision themselves living in, so they’ll make an offer. Leave this advice to the professionals!
2. Channel your inner “neat freak”, roll-up your sleeves, and start packing now – Anything that you can live without for a few months, start packing in boxes and placing in storage or in a shed. You must pack for move anyway, so why not start now? Also remember, less is more. Get rid of anything you don’t need by donating it to charity, or giving to family or friends. You’ll feel good to give to those in need and your house will look spacious, tidy and well-organized.
3. Clean, organize, clean, repeat! You will want to do a spring cleaning on steroids. Remember, buyers want move-in ready, clean, updated spaces. And, if you have pet, make sure to do a thorough deep cleaning on carpets & floors. Be sensitive to odors that may be invisible to your nose; & ask a stager for their opinion. They won’t be shy and will give great advice in how to handle eliminating orders. Hide all pet items during showings and take “Fido” with you! Buyers may not love your pet like you do.
4. Remember to organize and par-down closet clutter to give the appearance of tons of storage.
5. You NEVER get a second chance to make a 1st Impression – Invest in fresh mulch, fresh flowers, and possibly a fresh coat of paint for your home’s exterior and foyer/entrance. Stick to neutral paint colors and pops of color with flowers. Not only will your property look great when buyers walk in, it will instantly give the impression of a neat, updated and inviting property.
6. Focus on staging the rooms that will give the highest impact: The Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room and Master Bedroom & Bathroom. You want buyers to emotionally connect to these spaces, so they envision themselves entertaining and living there. Try these suggestions: Set the table; create a cozy place to read; add new large coordinating sofa pillows and matching blanket. Blues and Whites are hot trends this year. Set-out a bowl of lemons, an orchid or coffee station on the kitchen counter. Consult with a stager on updated decor items that will have a huge impact on buyers. These items can cost less than $100 but have huge bang for the buck and will help you sell fast!
7. REMEMBER – Staging is tax deductible, so invest in a professional who can advise you on the latest tips, trends and updates that will sell your house fast and for more money! The rest, you can do yourself with a little elbow grease and some imagination. You’ll have lots of extra cash in your pockets, because your home will out-sell those who didn’t follow these hot rules of staging on a budget!
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