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Lisa Coxworth,  in 30041

When a home is professionally enhanced does it sell faster and for more money?

Asked by Lisa Coxworth, 30041 Mon Jul 30, 2007

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I have sold five single family homes in less than ten days on market since the first of May that were professionally staged. The cost of doing so has been from $150 to $800 per property. Everyone of those has sold at the very top of the market, both presently and historically in what is very much a buyer's market. In combination with previewing competing listings, understanding sell-through rates, understanding the level of severe competition a seller has on the market, and storing unnecessary furnishings as a part of that staging process, staging a home works really well. Alone, staging is an expensive silver bullet. It can't make an overpriced home sell faster, it can't create more buyers in a market saturated with supply. It can help a willing buyer make a decision, especially today as it seems that many buyers who don't want to make repairs, likely don't't have a lot of cash, and likely have tons of options to buy. When that's the case, they will recognize a property that they are viewing as superior to it's competition, and therefore, a better value. But they only do that if they view it and it is priced well. Staging is vital, but it isn't "the thing". Staging enhances "value". Correspondingly, it has to work hand in hand with other key marketing functions, most specifically price.

Something I think that's strong for an agent to consider is the rate of homes that DON'T sell in their MLS. In our MLS (Colorado Springs) only 45% of listings taken this year have sold. If 55% have not sold, do you really want to spend your dollars on marketing a property that is under-conditioned and over-priced, or on something that will help the seller actually sell the property, so that you actually get paid? If the average newspaper ad is $100 and you run that for 6 weeks and the home doesn't sell, versus spend $600 on staging it and putting more money in the seller's pocket and you get paid, it seems that it's a good idea. As a business development tool, a seller isn't likely to refer you to future business for the quality of your newspaper ad, but is very likely to refer you for delivering measurable results (like selling it when the majority don't sell, doing so well below market time, and for maximum dollar).

I've done staging myself of properties, but when it is coordinated by employing a third party, you can more accurately track your expense and the seller seems to buy into the concept with greater enthusiasm, both in practical terms like keeping it looking that way and financial terms by pricing their home more for the buyer's that are looking and less on their improvements and the comments of others that have viewed the home at dinner parties, etc.... but aren't actual buyers.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
In my market, if there were 2 homes almost identical on the market and one is staged and one is not, the staged one will certainly draw more of an attraction than a home that is not staged, thus resulting in a faster sale. The one that is not staged will sit on the market longer and will most likely have to reduce their price in order to keep up with the market decline. Staging is especially important now that buyers are choosing homes they want to preview based on the photos or virtual tours.

Melissa Mancini, Realtor, CBR, GRI
Web Reference: http://MelissaBMancini.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
I believe wholeheartedly! It is more evident in today's market than at any other time. With the onslaught of new build homes - a resale has more than just price as a competitor. The "model" home is staged to the umpteenth power. Resale must compete in this realm; even if we are discussing a 3/2 split level.

The builders 3/2 ranch has a model home with all the upgrades and the wow factor comes through loud and clear. Resale must keep up or be shut out. If you have the means - get a decorator; if you are of limited means - get a magazine and go from there.

I encourage potential clients to go into the model homes and see the "techniques" used. They usually aren't permanent; and most of the time you can do it yourself over a weekend for next to nothing.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
Hey Lisa
I am amazed. Buyers love a home that is staged with IKEA furniture. I have seen this a few times this year.
Each time the furniture was offered with the home. All of the homes sold, I know one received full price with the furniture. It`s crazy.
You can buy the whole house for about the same cost as staging. No I don`t work for IKEA, and I would not buy it for my home.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2007
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
MVP'08
If you mean staging, then YES. It helps a bunch. In tight markets, the homes that are staged stand out more and are sold faster. The fact that the there are more buyers and the buyers usually asks for less items during negotiations means it sells for slightly more, too.
Web Reference: http://www.jrjarvis.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
Joshua Jarvis, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA
MVP'08
Contact
Staging is one component in better preparing the property for presentation. When all the other components are in fine form, staging provides additional advantages for your property over your competition. Before bringing in a stager, tend to the basics.

We took a buyer to a property that had been professionally staged. The buyer was reconsidering the property after it had been on the market for a while. At an earlier visit, the buyer commented about a few maintenance issues things that needed attention. 60 days later on a subsequent visit, the seller had not fixed these items. The nonchalance of the seller toward maintenance had a negative impact on the buyer for which the staging could never compensate. It sent a message to the buyer that the seller was interested in showing pretty on the surface, but don't look any further.

Yes, staging can help a property sell faster and perhaps for more money, but only when part of a package that works together. The property still needs to be priced right, marketed well, well maintained, easy to show and clean.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
I have found that the homes I represent for sale do sell faster and for a better price. A dated home or empty home will turn off buyers who can't see what the home could be. A home that presents itself well to home buyers will keep them interested in the home. I have found the buyers I have worked with buyers who have felt they needed to place a lower offer on homes that did not show well compared to homes they liked the presentation of the home. This is how sellers are selling for more money.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
Price is the name of the game with this market. However, you do need a neat, clean home and the yard needs to be taken care of with all trash thrown away.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
Aloha Lisa,

Every market and has it's unique set of challenges when it comes to selling a home but there are certain merchandising principles that will help sell a home regardless of the market and especially in high inventory neighborhoods and those merchandising principles are incorperated in staging.

My experience shows that professionally staged homes sell faster and usually for more money because the buyers have the ability to picture themselves living in the space and there is a powerful emotional connect with the home. This means staged homes spend considerably less time on the market reducing carrying and marketing costs. Potential buyers are more apt to make an offer closer to the asking price if they percieve the property is well cared for and needs little work.

Empty and messy homes do not have the attention grabbing ability to keep the buyer interested in the property. Buyers spend their time wondering if their sofa will fit in the living room or how much time it will cost them to remove the dated wall paper in the dinning room or paint the bright pink bathroom. When buyers complain how dated and dirty the kitchen is, they will probably be more apt to buy a home that does not need cleaning and remodeling.

On a listing interview you wouldn't expect anyone to be very impressed with you if you arrived in ripped jeans and a dirty T-shirt the same goes for any property for sale. Best of luck

Peace,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
I think a staged home has a better chance at selling faster and for a higher price. Of course how much more a house staged house will sell for than an unstaged house is somewhat speculative. I know that there are statistics on staged vs. non-staged, but they are based on national averages. While the national average is a good starting point, I think local conditions must be considered. If staging is common in your market, then not staging is more of a detriment and the benefits of staging are probably less pronounced because everybody does it. A good Internet resource for staging is http://www.stagedhomes.com As I said before on other threads, staging and correct pricing have to go hand in hand and ideally the seller will also have pre-listing property inspections done. Sometimes it's difficult to convince sellers that they should invest some money in preparing their homes for sale, but I tell sellers that they will soon be buyers and I ask them if they'd rather make an offer on a house with inspections already done or a house that does not have any inspections reports. Typically, the preparation costs less than the first price reduction.
Web Reference: http://www.go2kw.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2007
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
MVP'08
Contact
Well, Lisa, you've got some mixed reviews here.

I think the consensus is that Staging is beneficial, but there seems to be some confusion as to what Staging is. I'm sorry to see that so many perceive Staging as expensive. Compared to a Realtor's commission or a price reduction, the cost of Staging should just be a small drop in the bucket.

For anyone considering whether or not to have their home Staged, I have these recommendations:

DO NOT spend thousands of dollars on decorator furniture or accessories. Staging is NOT decorating or design.

DO get an outside opinion. They way you live in your home and the way to market your property are two seperate things and sellers cannot truly be objective about a house they've been living in.

DO NOT rely on anyone's opinion unless they have been professionally trained in Staging. ASP's (Accredited Staging Professional's) are the only Stagers to have earned true accreditation from an educational institution. And if your Realtor has time to Stage your house for you, they might not be that good a Realtor (or they wouldn't have the time).

DO see how you can get great results for hardly any investment, by watching the 20/20 clip on Home Staging. You can view this by going to the link from the home page of http://www.staged homes.com or cut and paste: http://www1.stagedhomes.com/html/main.isx?sitesec=4.1.0.0&am…

DO NOT think you can't do the Staging on your own. Barb Schwarz has a great how-to book called "Home Staging"

DO invest in a Consultation Report by an ASP - this is a detailed room by room listing of everything that needs to be done. Many savvy Realtors are offering to pay for their client's Consultations.

Hope this helps!
Web Reference: http://www.stagedhomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2007
Lisa,
Staging definately helps. I will look into the figures for you as I am looking to stage the model at Strickland Manor, Winston Ga and a few of my investors homes. Prices vary and so I want to get the best for the return
Web Reference: http://teamrenton.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Staging is essential in Southern Marin County. Sellers are still recieving top dollar for homes that are priced right, staged well and in decent neighborhoods. Conversely, most homeowners would prefer not to stage as staging is percieved as "expensive", and would be more inclined to over-price their homes as their emotional attachment is often confused with actual value.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
One thing leads to another, if staging leads to selling faster then it also leads to top dollar or closer to your list price. Statistics show that the longer a house sits on the market the less likely you will be to receive a full price offer.

Most realtors that have a good bit of experience will stage your home for free if you are really willing to listen to their advice. I have a fantastic agent on that side of town if you need one. Visit their site at http://www.atlantapros.com and if you go with them, please tell them I sent you. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
I agree with the preceeding answers. Good staging will always help.

Professional staging can be expensive, but is usually a very good enhancement. As Bridgette points out, we as realtors, can be helpful with basic staging strategies ( usually inexpensive ).

Will staging help to sell faster and for more money ? A lot depends upon the present market......here in Arizona with our slow market.......sometimes we feel nothing will help.......in this market good staging may not help obtain more money BUT good staging may help make the sale happen.

Good Luck !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
The answer will depend on a few things. But the short answer is YES. But, beware, It's always possible to over "enhance" a property. Meaning that if you invest a substantial amount of money in the enhancement will it pay for itself? I suspect that you will get your money back through a quicker sale, but no guarantee of a higher price in our buyer's market. You can probably count on It attacting more buyers, but not necessarily bringing more money than one that's not been staged. However, all you really want to do is attract buyers, and the details of the price will boil down to the negotiating process. And this is where YOU want to be "enhanced".

So, go ahead an make an investment in staging. It certainly won't "hurt" the property, and like I said will likely bring in more buyers to choose from, provided it's priced right for the area. Good luck - Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
Staging definitely benefits the Seller in terms of a reduced marketing period and higher sales price. While staging can be pricey there are options, such as having the staging company place a Home Manager in a vacant home. They provide the furnishings and take over your utilities and home maintenance. In my experience the upfront fee is very small and they are paid a percentage of the list price at the time of closing. Check out the web site below for more information.
Web Reference: http://www.showhomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
Lisa,
A well staged house will always show better, sell faster, a garner a good price. Unfortunately, many times professional staging isn't financially practical. Also, some clients do not realize the how much this affects the sale of their home. It's our job as REALTORs to know some basic staging strategies and advise our clients' on their importance. But, if you've got a high-end listing, go for it!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
I sold a home in 48 hours after it had been professionally staged after 2 years on the market with another Realtor who didn't advise staging
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
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