Showcasing is the final step of three; racing to showcase before the other steps is not only jeopardising the sale but also the final sale price!
Staging is a process to ready properties for sale. For sale in the shortest time for the most money possible. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product. Step one of the three-part staging process is where the expertise of the stager can have the biggest return! Step one is the consultation; the importance of this cannot be overstated. This is where the stager identifies condition items which will break a sale, then prioritizes the work necessary for the seller in order to eliminate any opportunity for buyers to offer less than a seller wants.
Location and size of a property are two of five factors which sell property; they are for the most part beyond a seller’s control. Condition is something within seller control! Infact, 72% of the impact of the first impression inside a property is advantaged just by making sure that the ‘work’ identified in the consultation is completed.
Leave it to the Stager!
Getting most properties ready to sell, usually involves an investment of time and money. This is where we see the most resistance from agents (not wanting to upset seller) and sellers (incredulous thought.. put money into a house you are leaving!) Research shows that at least 78% of sellers are willing to invest money to get their property ready and 55% are willing to move furniture, store furniture and or rent furniture…..if they knew the best way to maximize the impact of those dollars. Which is where a stager comes in!
In today’s market NOT to do this step, seriously jeopardizes the ROI and the competitive edge, the upside is it provides the biggest return on investment.
Like a Home Inspection, a thorough market preparedness consultation will range between $250-$700 depending on size of property; sure you can get them cheaper from people who want the showcasing business. This is not recommended; you get what you pay for! This isn’t a game, not a time to penny pinch and risk your equity. Once the work and showcasing is complete, you can expect to add upwards of 10% to your list price ( a professional real estate agent will do a current market assessment). A survey by HomeGain® showed real estate professional estimate as high as 569% ROI when everything is completed. Not a guarantee of course; completing all these processes give your property the best advantage possible.
Real estate agents know real estate, so this is nothing against agents at all. Stagers are 100% focussed on looking at property through buyers eyes they know the market, the competition, what buyers want and they know what can make or break a sale. They use this knowledge to create a prioritized recommendation MUST DO list for the seller including, referrals to trades, preferred rates, staging-safe paint colours and helpful checklists and tips, all things that can increase the equity in a property, and increased profit. Remember “where ever the eye rests, the sale begins!” Working with professional certified stager ensures the buyers eyes are being directed to what you are selling. Way too much emphasis is put on the décor; buyers are smart they do not want to inherit a “to-do” list.
Seller To Do recommendations most often include:
- Upgrades which count; some maybe expensive- like kitchen or bathroom, some inexpensive like handles and faucets
- Paint… think money in a can!
- Pack and depersonalize
- thorough cleaning everywhere, including windows
- curb appeal
- edit furniture and re-purpose rooms
A Stager’s goal is to eliminate any reason for a buyer to chip away at the asking price.
How do these recommendations make such a difference to a buyer? Think about it…
- If sellers do not pack belongings away, buyers see an over-stuffed closet and wonder if there’s enough storage in the house.
- If sellers do not deep clean, buyers might wonder how well they take care of the maintenance of property.
- If sellers do not re-purpose a space, buyers may never realize the true worth or property. They remember it as a two bedroom, when in fact, there were three.
- If the curb appeal is blahh… buyers cross your house off the list because they now expect blahh on the inside, too. 87% of agents say they have had sellers refuse to see inside a property because of how the outside looked!
- If sellers do not do the necessary updates and repairs, buyers think of how much money and work ahead of them – the most expensive reason not to buy! They will leverage every little bit of work NOT DONE, as a reason to offer less to a seller.
- Buyers are savvy. They know what they want, they know what they’ll pay for and they definitely know what they WON’T pay for! Research shows 8/10 buyers are willing to pay MORE MONEY for move in ready property.
Being equipped with the prioritized plan from a qualified stager, means the seller can address the issues, before they affect the selling price.
Best return on the (seller’s) investment
When it comes to updates and repairs, stagers know best. They know where the best return on investment will be, and it’s not always where sellers and agents think it is, and nor does it have to break the bank to have the work done. Stagers have resources and vast networks of experienced trades who have access to many less expensive and neutral options. Selling is not about personal taste, but what will get buyers the best bang for the buck and the broadest appeal.
Some of the best returns on investment include:
- Cleaning and de-cluttering, 586% return
- Lighten and brighten, 313% return
- Landscaping, 258% return (think wrapping paper on a gift)
- Kitchen and bathrooms, 172% return! THIS sells houses! If Kitchen and baths exceed expectations, then buyers are willing to compromise on other wants!
- Replace or shampoo carpets, 169% return also an important frequent request of buyers
- Paint interior, 109%; this is the number one interior feature most buyers want today.
A stager’s goal is to get the sellers property ready so that it appeals to the largest number of buyers so that it sells quickly and for the most money!
The Icing on the Cake!
Like real estate agents, Stagers always strive to do the highest and best good for their clients. They hope the seller will do everything recommended, sometimes compromises are made because time and budget is in the way of doing a stellar job. In the end, whatever a seller decides is fine, because the equity jeopardy is theirs. The tip for sellers is to start early; to have the most lead-time for property prep more than 40% of sellersactually contact stagers before agents! What that means to agents who aren’t working with a stager is…..you are missing out on an untapped market! Stagers refer sellers to agents!
Regardless, the stager’s best efforts go hand-in-hand with the seller’s, and as the property is showcased, they know that between them, they’ve made the property as competitive as can be with the budget and time frames!
By Christine Rae, CSP
Christine Rae is an expert in the Real Estate Home Staging field. She is a Speaker, Educator, Trainer & Creator of Certified Staging Professionals Staging Business Program & CSP Elite Agent program & more.
photo Credit: Julie O. Certified Staging Professional.