Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What Are You Waiting For?

What Are You Waiting For?

        The band Nickelback wrote a song titled What Are You Waiting For.  It asks an unidentified person what they are waiting for. Then gives a series of answers that implies hesitation unless everything is perfectly in line, thus avoiding making a mistake.  The lyrics continue suggesting that by waiting an opportunity is missed.
      In the past few months I have been hired to stage properties that have languished on the market.  Despite a very hot sellers market over the spring and summer no offers were made on these houses.  Following my suggestions to improve the houses with paint and sometimes updates, as well as,  staging major rooms, each house sold in a week or less once completed.  One property in particular,  I was hired in June by the real estate agent  to do a consultation.  At the time of the consult, I and the agent urged painting the first floor of the house.  I also strongly advised staging the major rooms to include the front living area used as an office, the dining room, kitchen, family room, master and baths.  The kitchen opened into the family room. This combined space, was long and narrow similar to a bowling ally.
      The sellers bought another house, in another state and moved.  This property was now vacant.  A vacant house shows every flaw, damaged walls, uninviting paint colors, dated fixtures etc. The owners believed since it was such a great market, it would sell, so why spend money on painting and staging?  After 3 price drops, I contacted the agent and asked if she would mind if I contacted the sellers to see if they would reconsider painting and staging.  Here are some of the facts I presented to these sellers.

  1. Buyers start their shopping online by looking at the MLS.  ( This house had photos taken while they still lived there.  Their furniture looked old and worn.  As stated before the paint was not a neutral color that would appeal to buyers.)  Leaving the house in a dated condition eliminated many potential buyers.  Photos on the MLS is your first chance to attract a buyer.  
  2. Once in the house, a buyer will spend only 15 seconds deciding whether or not they like it.  If their first impression is good, objections become minimal.  If the buyer dislikes the house, they will usually find many things to complain about.
  3. Only one in ten individuals can visualize what a house may look like with different paint color, updates, and different furniture.  If left vacant, again only 1 in 10, sees how furniture will work in the property.  By sitting back and not updating and staging a seller eliminates nine out of ten buyers.  That is 90% of buyers.  Are you willing to take the chance that buyer number 10 is going to walk through your door and buy?  
  4. Sellers often look at staging and painting as a cost instead of an investment. I asked these sellers to adjust their thinking and realize they were investing.  Do you know painting a property in the right neutral color has a return on investment of 200%?  Staging statistics vary anywhere from 200 to 400 % return and in some areas of the country as high as 700%.  I don't know about you but I don't have any investment yielding me returns like these.
     RESA Stats
  5. According to statistics gathered by RESA, the Real Estate Staging Association, a house that is staged first, sells 90% faster than its unstaged competition.  If it is staged after being on the market, it will also seller faster.
  6. As long as you still own the house you are selling there are cost associated with it.  The seller will still pay taxes, utilities, monthly maintenance cost such as lawn care or snow removal, and a mortgage payments if it has a bank loan.
      So what are you waiting for?  If you are selling your house, do the smart thing STAGE.  Please make the necessary improvements and stage your home.  This not only will reduce the time the property is on the market, but also maximize your profit.
Family room after
Family room before

          Need help with the sale of your house?  Contact us Staging Designs by Deborah LLC         

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

You Need a Stager Too!

I am a real estate stager.  I trained under Christine Rea at CSP.  Christine is a best selling author.  She has trained many of the top stagers in the United States and Canada.  I spend hours continually learning, ie what are the latest trends, design styles, color for selling a home.  I am a member of our trade organization RESA, as well as, the local chapter president.  Listening to an agent tell a prospective client of us both say "I am going to tell you what is wrong with your house."  I am confident that the agent will.  However, I know the agent will not spend two hours going over the house in fine detail.  I know the agent will not recommend paint colors, offer to shop for accessories,  or come back later to rearrange furniture and accessories to merchandise the property.
Think about going to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned.  Most likely you see a dental hygienist.  Why?  It is the specialty of the hygienist.  Hygienist train for years to clean teeth properly.  A dentist is able to clean teeth but trains only for a few hours to do this.  Furthermore, the dentist does not clean teeth everyday for 8 hours.  Now you do you want cleaning your teeth?
Then why when selling your home, probably the biggest asset you have, would you only contact an agent about what to do to improve your house and stage it or not?  Staging is merchandise your property to draw sellers in so that they are able to envision living there.  Some agents stage.  A handful are really very good.  Most are not.  I once saw an agent place a soccer ball as an accessory in a formal dining room.  Another agent placed an undersized sofa in the middle of a very large great room with nothing else.  The sofa looked to be floating.  Another agent called me to stage one of her listings.  However, she did not wish to spend the money or ask her client to invest in a proper staging.  Therefore, she attempted to stage herself.  The results were underwhelming, furniture not to scale and no accessories.  There is another agent at a very large firm the offers "free staging with her listings."  Curious I looked at what the agent did.  Results- vacant house were left vacant.  If you lived at the house, two wine glasses were placed on a counter top. 
Agents are busy people.  Any good agent is constantly working to prefect their skills.  They are licensed and are required by law to take continuing education classes.  In the state of Michigan this does not include learning how to effectively stage a property.
Staging is an investment that can earn you big returns.  Make sure it is done correctly.  Hire someone with training, knowledge, loves what they do and focus their time effort and energy on staging.

Before and after of little girl's room.  Before by agent.  After by staging Designs by Deborah LLC
 Before and after of the living room. Before done by agent after done by Staging Designs by Deborah LLC