Staging is to real estate what the first date is to a relationship.
The purpose of a first date is to familiarize ourselves with all that is wonderful, unique, and well-maintained about a person so we might begin to imagine our future unfolding with them. Heading out for a first date armed with all the trappings of our lives may not prove seductive. Better to show up with our best features accentuated to allow our counterpart to see qualities and traits that might fit with theirs.
Everyone appreciates when you put your best foot forward. Should that foot happen to look particularly sassy, sexy or enticing, even better. We want our date’s take-away to be that they like us and that they do not have to break the bank or spend too much time getting us into shape. If we are unsuccessful and ineffective in appealing to them, they simply move on.
It is much is the same with home staging. The idea is for the prospective buyer to begin to imagine their life unfolding in the home. If this buyer is wandering around rooms experiencing the current owner’s unusual decorative choices, collection of Super Balls, and hilarious photos of unfortunate family vacations, then chances are they are imagining the current owner’s life in that home—not their own.
Home staging is getting down to the attractive, minimalistic basics. Too many homebuyers walk away from properties they consider aesthetically unappealing, even if that home has met all of their “must have” criteria.
Appealing to the masses is key when staging a home. A well-staged room makes it difficult for many to imagine it being used any other way. Eliminating clutter, signs of wear and tear, and the personality of the current owner goes a long way in allowing the buyer’s vision to take over.
Cleaning, painting, landscaping and decorating to showcase the most attractive qualities in a property are elemental to achieving fewer days on the market and better offers. If a buyer has to walk around the property making a to-do list, you can bet the first item on that list is to lower the asking price or worse, to simply walk away.
There are costs involved in home staging. However, it is important to keep in mind the added expenses of not selling your home. The extra time a non-staged home stays on the market means additional utility, taxes, mortgage, and insurance payments—likely a much larger sum than what it would cost to stage the same home. In Staging to Sell: The Secret to Selling Homes in a Down Market, Barb Schwarz states that, in an average housing market, 95 percent of staged homes sell in 35 days or less. This is in stark contrast to un-staged homes, which take 172 days or more to sell, if they sell at all.
According to Kiplinger.com, nearly 90% of home buyers start their search on the Internet so staging is a good way to make sure photos pop online. Home sellers spend an average of $1,800 to stage a home, but costs can range from a couple of hundred dollars to $5,000, or more. Here are six ways to stage your home for less than $1,000:
You can expect to pay more or less than that amount based on how much work your home needs. The end goal is to create a home that grabs buyers by the heart and invites them to feel at home. The good news is that statistics show the return on investment is bountiful. The NAR reports that for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400. A recent home staging profile conducted by NAR shows that 71 percent of realtors representing sellers believe that staging a home yields between 1–20 percent increase in the dollar value of a home. With the current national home price reduction averaging between 10–20 percent for a house on the market, home staging could save you from a costly price reduction.
All in all, the effort put into home staging, like the effort put into that first date, will open to the door to the next step. For home sellers that next step is getting to the closing table with the fewest days on the market and the highest home dollar value.
Staging is different than decorating. Decorating is about adding personality to a home; staging is about depersonalizing your home, removing the current personality and creating a neutral tone so that others will be able to see their personality in the home.
It’s Sunday afternoon, you are driving by the stately red-brick Federal style home with the decorative balustrade, the Palladian style windows and the climbing roses in the side yard. You have loved it from the outside and always wondered what it looks like on the inside. On this drive you notice a For Sale sign in the front yard. Your heart skips a beat when you notice the Realtor’s balloons announcing that today there is an open house.
You park. You enter the property and, wonder upon wonders, the house and surrounding grounds are everything you had hoped they would be. Your partner takes one look at the glazed look in your eyes and the drool that is forming at the corners of your mouth. He/she now understands that life in your current home is over. Your partner hands you a tissue and asks, “Do you want make an offer?” You nearly pass out from joy, collect yourself and run to the listing agent to start the paperwork before you come to you senses. Pause . . . .
Before leaping into a relationship with the listing agent, every buyer needs to be aware of a few significant factors. In real estate, there are two distinct relationships in regard to representation: the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. The difference between the two is important to understand from the very beginning. When a buyer or seller is not adequately represented, the result can, and usually does, cost one, or even both sides, thousands of dollars.
If a buyer uses a listing agent to represent them in the purchase of a property the listing agent is selling, they now have an agent who is dealing in conflicting responsibilities.
Just take a second and think about this: How can the listing agent get the most money possible for a seller and the lowest price possible for the buyer? They cannot.
For every home listed for sale by a real estate company/brokerage, there is a listing agent. In West Virginia, it is perfectly legal for a buyer’s agent not to be included in a purchase of real estate. Listing agents are allowed to handle both sides of a transaction. However, their fiduciary responsibility is always to the seller. No matter how nice or integral you feel the listing agent is, the listing agent’s sole ethical and legal responsibility is to represent the seller’s interests. Always. And that interest, in most cases, is to obtain the highest price possible from the buyer. Buyers who choose not to enlist a buyer’s agent put themselves at risk. A buyer’s agent ensures the buyer’s interests are addressed.
The number one reason buyers do not choose to get a buyer’s agent is the misconception that it will cost them money. On the contrary, there is no cost to the buyer to employ a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent’s commission is paid by the seller. When a real estate transaction is conducted between a listing agent and a buyer’s agent, the commission is split equally between the agents, and most importantly, paid entirely by the seller.
So, why would a purchaser choose or allow a listing agent to represent them? Many times the buyer incorrectly thinks they are getting a better deal by utilizing a single agent in the transaction because they hope the agent will reduce their commission or the price of the property. Even in the unlikelihood of the listing agent reducing their commission, the discount would go to the seller because the commission is always paid by the seller and not the buyer. To put this in perspective, it is much the same as asking an attorney to represent both parties in a civil case, asking for a discount on the legal costs and then expecting the attorney to be able to represent both sides fairly.
So, even though you want to scream, “I can’t wait any longer!” Pull yourself together before racing into the arms of the listing agent. Call me. Or, ask for a referral to a buyer’s agent. Or, simply call another real estate company and ask them to match you up with an agent to walk through the house with you and possibly write up an offer.
Remember, it is always in your best interest to have someone looking out for your best interest.
Question: Why a 4.5% commission rate?
Answer: Our real estate clients deserve to keep THEIR money.
As a company, Perry Wellington Realty charges a 4.5% commission rate to sellers when listing their home. This is a nice savings when compared to the 5-7% rate commonly seen by other brokerages. This is in response to a growing trend nation-wide where consumers are demanding lower costs to sell their properties.
While our rate is lower, Perry Wellington still provides a full-service package that rivals any “traditional” brokerage. We are NOT a discount brokerage by any means. We simply do business more economically and intelligently while still providing everything necessary to sell your home and sell it well. We also provide added items such as Matterport camera tours and drone imaging at a lower cost than most other brokerages and/or agents advertise.
Buyers and sellers are savvier than ever when it comes to selling and buying homes today. This is due to the massive amount of information at their fingertips, thanks to the internet. The internet has revolutionized our worlds and businesses in every way. Real estate is no exception. And consumers know it.
Agents are able to market, streamline information and share listings at the touch of a button to the entire world. Gone are the days of a paper *gasp* mimeographed (Look that up, young folks!) copy of area homes. Agents used to spend hours upon hours driving around to: Find and preview these properties; make a ton of phone calls for appointments; handwrite or type out listing agreements and offers; and snail mail documents.
Today, we sit in the luxury of our offices, homes, vehicles, parks, restaurants, dog groomers, wherever, and preview any listing we want, send them to clients next door or overseas, set up showings, supply feedback and write up contracts instantly and electronically. The time spent is a fraction of what it used to be.
What IS a significant drain on a Realtor these days is the money needed to pay for the technology to do all of the above so quickly and easily. The fees associated with all of the technology we have at our disposal are steep and numerous. So while we would love to provide all of this awesomeness for 1-2% that is simply not possible if us agents want to be able to put food on the table and fuel in our cars.
Want to keep more of YOUR money while selling or buying your property?
Call me: Susan Reichel 301.642.1338 or
Email me: Susan@SusanReichel.com
A huge shout out and thanks to Crawford Law Group for putting this info together! Wire Fraud is happening more and more often please make sure you are picking up the phone to call when making changes to your wire. Below are some additional tips on keeping your money safe and one of the most important transactions of your life worry free.