As the housing market struggles to regain its footing, more buyers are slowly beginning to enter the marketplace. But sellers continue to face special challenges. There are still a number of unsold homes on the market, which means:
• Buyers can be pickier about what they choose to buy
• Buyers have more room to negotiate price
• Sellers are frustrated because their homes aren’t selling as fast as they’d like
• Sellers are pressured by agents to drop their prices dramatically, since agents don’t get paid until the house sells
How can a home stand out from the competition when there are several homes for sale at similar prices in the neighborhood, or worse, on the same street? Rather than just slashing the selling price, home sellers should consider the less costly option of decorating the property to romance buyers and motivate them to make an offer.
In this market, it is going to take more than a fresh coat of paint and a new welcome mat. A buyer’s market raises the stakes, and sellers will need to do more work on the home to get the highest price possible. Home staging--the art of decorating a house to sell more quickly and for a higher price--is the perfect solution for sellers who are desperate to catch the attention of buyers.
Often we are so familiar with our own homes that we cannot see them through the eyes of a critical buyer. A professional home stager brings the objectivity needed to showcase the best features of each room. This is often achieved with cosmetic changes and rearranging and editing the furnishings that are already there. In the case of a vacant home, a professional home stager will bring in the items needed to add that homey touch.
Expert home stager Debra Gould shares a real-life example of the difference staging can make and how much cheaper it is than a dramatic price cut: A real estate agent wanted her client to drop his asking price by $50,000 after the house had sat on the market for 6 months without a single offer. She was desperate to attract interest since it was costing her money to carry the listing and she wasn’t making anything for her time and effort. Instead of listening to his agent’s advice, the client called in Gould to stage his house. She spent a day helping the client rearrange all the furniture and accessories in every room. Some things were moved to off-site storage, and she purchased a few new accessories, which the client could also use in his new home. The total cost for Gould’s staging advice, storage and the purchases came in at $1,500. The client didn’t have to cut his asking price by $50,000, and instead sold the following week for 98% of the original list price.
A professional home stager can help you draw buyers’ attention so you can sell your home faster. This reduces or even eliminates the need for price reductions, helping you hold on to the precious equity you’ve built up over the years.
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program with over 4,000 students worldwide. Gould is the author of three home staging guides and offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar. To learn more, visit www.stagingdivadirectoryofhomestagers.com
Written by internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®, www.stagingdiva.com. © 2009, Six Elements Inc. Used with permission.
Debra Rosser, of Staging Matters, adds "The three things that effect how quickly a house will sell are location, condition and price. Sellers only have control over condition and price. Getting the price right is critical and an agent is the best person to advise you on that but overlooking how you can change the "condition" factor through staging is a mistake that is very costly. I see houses every week where the homeowners are leaving a lot of money on the table unnecessarily, or where they could have avoided a big price adjustment doing some easy/inexpensive updating or simple rearranging. Staging is an extremely affordable investment and the payoff can be huge."