Staging your Home
Is This Your Yard Sign?
When sellers put their homes on the market, they all want two things: for the home to sell fast, and for the most money possible; whereas, sellers should have two completely different thoughts in the forefront of their minds. In order to sell quickly and for the most money possible, the property needs to be updated and priced competitively.
So many times the selling process begins with such hope of the former while ignoring the latter. The result: when the property does not sell or develops a stigma, sellers become confused and unable to figure out what to do next.
What creates a stigma? Often, a stigmatized property arises not from a particular negative aspect of the property but from the property having sat and sat on the market. Prospective buyers then begin to ask, “What is wrong with the property? There MUST be something wrong with it for it not to have sold by now.” In the case of a beautiful home in a wonderful location, the cause for either many or few visits, and typically no offers… or “reasonable” offers, is simple – the property is overpriced.
Stigmatization also occurs if a property is in a bad location, has a funky floor plan, smells, or needs TLC. To avoid stigmatizing your property, something must be overcome; and it is called denial. Call it denial about price, or perhaps, denial about the appearance of the home, denial about the state of the economy and the real estate market, or about reality, in general! Unfortunately, denial can cost sellers a needed sale.
So how do you avoid having a listing gather dust on the market? Well, initially it comes down to being realistic about what needs to be done before the property goes on the market. It is not about what you, the seller like about your home – it is about what your prospective buyer will like – and since you want to appeal to the most buyers as possible, just posting a ‘for sale’ sign in the front yard and expecting to sell without any investment in updating or repairs on your part will not cut it. Investors and developers might well buy your “AS IS” property, but they will offer substantially less than a buyer willing to take on the work you are expecting them to take on.
Hire a Stager
So how do you avoid having a listing gather dust on the market? Well, initially it comes down to being realistic about what needs to be done before the property goes on the market. It is not about what you, the seller like about your home – it is about what your prospective buyer will like – and since you want to appeal to the most buyers as possible, just posting a ‘for sale’ sign in the front yard and expecting to sell without any investment in updating or repairs on your part will not cut it. Investors and developers might well buy your “AS IS” property, but it will be sufficiently less than a buyer willing to take on the work you are expecting them to take on.
Jim suggests hiring a professional home stager who will consult with you and give you a complete PLAN to get it ready for sale. It is vital to follow those recommendations as the professional stager will know exactly how to stage your home to sell. From finishing outstanding repairs, doing some smart upgrades, neutralizing decor schemes, and then staging to sell are all essential steps to a successful market debut.
Most Important Step
Next it is all about choosing HOW you are going to sell your home. If you do not know a successful REALTOR® already, call Jim!
All REALTORS® encounter sellers who refuse to do anything to get their property ready for sale; and these listings bring to mind labels such as “dated”, “cluttered”, and “not for me”. Sadly, instead of accepting recommendations for some wise, aesthetic changes, many sellers opt to take the default route… save time and money… and then reduce the property’s price every 30 days?? Before you choose to follow down this well-worn path, consider these statistics from Zillow.com:
- Average price reductions are 1% of a home’s list price per month up to a maximum of 9% for homes under $2 Million. For homes over $2 Million, that statistic jumps to 14%. For a $300,000 home this is a $27,000 in price reductions. For a $900,000 that is a staggering $266,000!
Now consider this:
- For an owner-occupied home, staging can cost between $500 – $1,000 with a 299% return on the money invested in staging.
- For a vacant property, staging can cost between $1,500 – $4,000 and which helps vacant homes sell 7 months faster than unstaged properties.
It would seem apparent that the investment in staging does not even come close to what sellers will lose in home equity with even ONE price reduction.
Savvy REALTORS® encourage investing in staging a home before resorting to pricing “as is”. They understand that there is a direct correlation between a home’s appearance and how quickly it is snapped up by a buyer who cannot help but appreciate the VALUE of the home.
Lastly, – but definitely not least – do NOT shrug off what the fair market value for the property is. Pricing it way too high is only going to result in zero interest, zero showings and zero offers… regardless of the amount of advertising or marketing done to sell it.
So, your home looks great, think you are priced right, and now you are ready to list your home … right? WRONG! Unless, of course, you chose Jim to be your REALTOR! Why?… Over 90% of buyers are shopping online FIRST; and so the photos posted online need to be top notch. So that means that the pictures of the home need to be taken by professionals or at least with professional equipment. Even better are virtual, video tours which really showcase all the great architectural elements of the property. Bottom line is, that in order for buyers to get in the front door, “they need to be seduced online FIRST so that your home can get a DATE with them!”
Last, but definitely not least, is the wording of the advertising for your property. Certain phrases have been used so many times that they have adopted a stigma all their own, so avoid these at all costs! Here are some of Jim’s favorites that he does not want to have to use when marketing your property:
- Fixer Upper – Ugh! This only attracts flippers and gawkers. If you make your REALTOR use this, it will scare away the majority of your buyer pool.
- One-Owner Home – Unless coupled with “updated, upgraded, and shining with TLC”, this phrase says, “dated wallpaper and paint colors, golden rod fixtures in bathrooms and a lot of WORK” to most buyers. One owner means the seller has not sold a home in decades and is still of the mindset that buyers can look past all the things that the seller never got around to updating.
- Nicely or Professionally Decorated – Did you know that decorating is the OPPOSITE of staging? Decorating is all about personalizing a home to reflect one’s own tastes; whereas, staging de-personalizes a home so to appeal to a multitude of would-be home owners. Please remember this when you sell, a personally decorated home works against you, alienating much of your buyer pool.
Priced to Sell –Now, Isn’t every home priced to sell?! This title just smacks of desperation. Better to put your efforts into your home’s appearance so you can say its Staged to Sell instead!
Handyman Special – So, you want low ball offers and property flippers to flock to your property, do you? Again, some TLC, a small investment, and you can make sure Jim will not have to use this catch phrase!
Unfortunately, many of these labels serve these days as creating more of a stigma for homes instead of attracting genuine attention. Whether you realize it or not, trying to create ‘catchy’ titles and wording in ads should be replaced with stunning pictures and video tours. 97% of your buyers are inherently visual so focusing on providing great photos and videos of staged listings is going to attract a lot more attention than calling a home a ‘Handyman Special.’
Still have questions? Has your home sat on the market and developed a stigma? Contact a professional home stager and hire one to help you develop a PLAN so you can change the way your house is viewed. Next, work with Jim to remove the elements which are scaring away buyers.
Sellers have so many great tools at their disposal when it comes to selling. Ensure, when you put your home on the market, that you put them to work for you!