Staging Your Home for Sale – The Magic Move to Sell it Quicker

I was hanging out with a few people at a wedding recently and the conversation turned to
today’s real estate market. omakotiuusimaa

One of my friends, John, from a town near San Jose, CA told a fascinating, yet familiar,
story. I thought I would share it with all of you.

John and his wife, Liz, decided to sell their home. They bought the house in 2004, saw it
increase in value, and this summer decided to sell it. They interviewed four different
agents to sell their home and finally decided on the one who agreed to sell their home for
what they wanted to sell it for.

They believed the home was worth $625,000. The first three agents who came in to
interview for the listing told them the house would never sell at that price and that they
should consider listing it below $600,000. They all felt $589,000-$599,000 was the
“magic” number.

John is a commercial real estate broker. He knew that his asking price was high but he
was in no hurry to sell. He also didn’t like the fact these three agents weren’t offering
any “solutions” they were only discussing the “problems” he would face at the higher

These agents told John and Liz about the current market conditions for their area. If
their home sold, it would likely take up to 120 days. There was a 55% chance that the
home wouldn’t sell at all during these four months. Based on what they wanted for their
home, they needed to be prepared for this. The agents told them they needed to consider
lowering the price. routadesign

John and Liz talked very seriously about lowering their price. Then they met a fourth
agent named Lynette.

Lynette came in and presented her case. It really wasn’t much different than the rest.
She also told them about days on the market and the chances of selling their home. She
also suggested they may be priced a bit high but then she offered an option.

“Let’s stage your home using a professional home staging company,” Lynette suggested.
“This is going to cost you about $4000. We will list the home at the $625,000 you want
but to offset some of this expense, when I sell your home, I will split this expense with

Whereas real estate professionals, like Lynette, are highly skilled in marketing, selling
and closing your home, home stagers are designers. They are artists who prepare your
home for resale.

Home stagers work with the “flow” of your home. They will remove and re-arrange
furniture. They will eliminate clutter. They may even add pictures, bedspreads, paint,
art, rugs and other items to make it more appealing. They may even assist in enhancing
curb-appeal. home24

Their goal is to make an incredible first impression on potential homebuyers the moment
they pull in front of your home.

Lynette explained that although the décor of the house was very nice and contemporary,
the home was cluttered because of their three young boys and busy lifestyle. The home
didn’t feel as large as it was because it was packed with too many items to display it
properly. The home was “too personal,” she told them. They had picture of the boys
all over the house from birth to last year’s soccer playoffs.

She told them that they needed to compete with new home builders who are offering
buyers the most incredible purchase incentives. She said that when you walk into the
model homes of the builder you are “blown away.”

“THAT is your competition,” Lynette said. “You need to blow away the people who
walk into your home too.” She also explained that the last few clients who hired her
home staging company sold their home in less than 60 days and didn’t discount their
asking price.

John and Liz were not crazy about spending $4000, and certainly not thrilled about taking
down pictures of their beloved family, but they were encouraged by Lynette’s creative
idea. At the end of the day, what they really cared about was selling this home, so they
did it.

John said the home staging company came in and made the house seem like a “hotel.”
“They took out way more things than they put in, but it did look better, like a nice bed
and breakfast hotel,” he said. “It almost made me want to stay there,” he joked.
It worked. Their house sold in three weeks….at the $625,000 list price. Lynette did an
amazing job from start to finish!! ginrummy

Just this month, I sold my very own investment house that was staged in 11 days. There
were three like models listed in the subdivision at the same time. Mine was the highest
priced. My incredibly talented real estate agent did an amazing job too but I truly
believe staging was a real key as well. I did take a small loss on this home. However a
sale in 11 days is no small accomplishment in today’s market.

Experts say that if you are hiring a professional staging company, plan on spending
between $2000-$5000 based on the size and condition of the home. If you just want
consultation, plan on $100 or so per hour.

Experts, like, say that a staged home sells in half the time as a similar
home that is not staged and that a staged home sells for 7-10% higher.

Coldwell Banker tracked nearly 3,000 properties, ranging in price from $229,000 to $4.8
million, in eight major U.S. cities.

During this time, they determined the average home was on the market for nearly 31
days, the typical staged home sold in less than 14 days. innsbruckguiden

The average home sold for 1.6% over the seller’s asking price. The staged homes, in the
Coldwell Banker study, over the same time, went for a 6.3% more.

This means, if the average home price is $300,000, you can expect the average staged
home to sell for $318,000-$330,000. Obviously, this makes the $2000-$5000 investment
a no-brainer.

Inventory is at an all-time high in many areas. The National Association of Realtors
recently reported the biggest drop in home prices since the trade group began compiling
price data in 1968. Many experts are now saying housing prices will continue to decline
though 2007.

So do you take your home off the market until 2008, and hope it gets better, with the
possibility it gets even worse, or do you separate yourself from the competition and do
what it takes to give your home the very best chance it has to sell today?

We are in a slower real estate market, however the people who are most committed to selling their
home will likely still be successful. When you are selling real estate it’s no different
than selling any other product. You have to market to find a capable buyer and then you
have to impress him.

Your real estate professional will market the property to bring the buyers but the product
and how it’s displayed will determine if it sells and at what price. This is where the
professional home stager comes in.

OK, so you want to give Home Staging a try? Here’s how.

There are many websites out there. Just type “professional home staging” into your
favorite search engine like Google, Yahoo!, or MSN and you can start looking for the one
that best fits you.

If you want to try doing it yourself, take these tips from professional home stagers like and others:


Look at your house like you will look at the homes you want to buy next.
Prospective buyers make up their minds about your house even before they get out
of the car.

This is your chance to WOW them. Clean up the yard; rake the leaves and sweep
driveways and porches.

Get out the rags and cleanser and spend 30 minutes scouring your front door,
porch, railings and steps.

Make sure all of all your trash cans, recycling cans, other bins, discarded wood
scraps, extra building materials, etc., are in the garage.

Check gutters for roof moss and dry rot. Make sure they are swept and cleaned.
Look at all plants. Prune your bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking

Weed and then mulch all planting areas. Keep lawn freshly cut and fertilized.

Remove dead plants or shrubs.

Clear patios or decks of all small items such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal,
barbecues, and toys. Box them away and store them.

Check the paint condition of the house, especially the front door and trim.

Empty your closets to a minimum, clear out the cupboards, and get rid of the small
appliances. Take books off the shelves, get rid of all of the magazines, the CDs,
video games, and DVDs, and lose the kid’s toys. Minimize it all.


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