I recently worked with two clients who were interested in selling their father’s former residence. Unfurnished and in need of a bit of work, they asked me to look at the property and give them suggestions on how to prepare it for the fall market (a short window of time). I came by to assess the market value of the home and then, with assistance from a local architect I often work with, I provided suggestions on the most cost-effective improvements that could be done to the home to fetch the highest sale price for it.Before any work was done, I believed that we should list the home at $619,000, but that it may need to be reduced to $599,000 if there was little favorable response.
My clients chose to do the bulk of the work themselves. They lifted the old carpets, revealing beautiful and well-preserved hardwood flooring throughout the home. They replaced light switches and plates, lighting fixtures, and the hardware on the interior doors, saving them about $500 in labor costs instead of hiring a handyman. The biggest cost savings came from painting the entire interior themselves, saving somewhere around $8,000. Outside, they pressure-washed the roof and hired a landscaper to mulch and clean up the yard. Their sweat-equity greatly elevated the appeal of the home inside and out. Then, the home was ready to be furnished and staged.
People who are preparing their home for market often debate if staging is an effective strategy. Is it worth the investment of time and resources to stage a home to make it more appealing for potential buyers? Should a seller go beyond the necessary home improvements to prepare a home for sale? These are great questions and there are many approaches to this preparation. For example, do-it-yourself fixes are a wonderful way to cut costs, but take time and also must be done extremely well in order to create the necessary appeal to impress a potential buyer.
Staging must also be done carefully; with a good eye for design and style to be inviting to a buyer so they can imagine the function of a home and the potential it has to be the right fit for their lives. Without this deliberate planning and work, the buyer may have a hard time imagining themselves in the space, resulting in them passing on the property. The longer a property sits on the market, the more money is lost.
My job for staging the home for open house and private viewing was two-fold: to present the home beautifully, and also to define a few irregularly shaped rooms and a slightly odd floor plan. I enlisted my staging partner, Laurie Crockett, to help me with this.
We visited three separate furniture stores to purchase appropriate pieces, and I even brought in furniture from my own home to bring the potential of the house to life. The result of the sellers’ original hard work and my finishing touches was a perfectly marketable home, actually better than I expected it to be! I was so pleased with the result, I decided we could put it on the market for $649,000. After two open houses – two weeks on market, we received multiple offers on the home. The property recently closed for $632,000.
You may be thinking, “Well, they got lucky. They found pretty hardwood floors and the house was unfurnished to start.” It wasn’t luck at all. All homes have their assets and deficits. No matter what kind of house you are putting on the market, smart business decisions and careful planning yield great results.
When it comes to the decision to stage, keep the following in mind:
- Staging is a smart and essential part of the home-selling process.
- You get optimum appeal through style and design.
- You create inviting spaces for potential buyers to explore thanks to a professional eye for detail.
- The longer a home stays on the market, the more money that is lost.
- Staging helps you sell your home in less time, which ultimately saves you money by minimizing your loss.