I wanted to describe my recent home selling experience and the value that Cindy Gasior of Transitions Home Staging (THS) brought to the process.
My wife and I decided to upgrade to a larger home in 2014 and bought our new home before selling our old home (a bad idea by the way). We had 2 undesirable realtors. After about 10 months, we decided to take our home off the market. I reluctantly point out that we had a couple of first showings, no seconds or thirds and no offers.
We thought our home was in great shape. I had heard about home staging, but freaked out over the potential cost of such an effort. After a couple of months of research, we decided to put the house back on the market. This time, I did some research and called Cindy.
I was very impressed with Cindy’s professionalism and approach. Cindy came by the house a few times and had a lot of great ideas. The house was empty and I gave her lots of leeway in her planning and execution. The THS contract was simple and Cindy had provided several options to choose from. There were a few things in the home that Cindy suggested that we do. One being the paint the front door. Great idea!
My wife and I decided on an approach that cost about $4,000. I must say that Cindy and her team did a great job on the staging. Their furniture, accessories and art work were wonderful. The pictures we had taken to get the house marketed and back on the market were outstanding and the video we shot was very good as well. We asked $324K for the house, which was the highest priced house in the neighborhood and there were no comps to support that price.
The interest was surprising. We had around 25 first showings, 12 second showings, 8 third showings and 6 offers. Initially, we thought to make a sale we might have to lower the price to about $316K.
Instead, we agreed to an offer that was $4,000 above our asking price! We sold the house for $328K and in less than 2 months. My wife and I feel we got our investment back and even an estimated return of 2X the $4,000 we spent on the staging. WOW!!
We had a great response and several offers. One of the core competencies that Cindy has is the ability to stage a home to attract a broad range of tastes in home buyers.
The staging and the destaging occurred flawlessly. No mess, no fuss and I didn’t even have to be there.
I will never NOT stage a house again when I go to sell it. I have gladly recommended Cindy to my parents and friends and am very pleased to do so in this testimonial.
David Sowards, Tulsa, OK
When you look on a regular basis at the MLS listings and social media postings of vacant houses, all you see are so many empty living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, studies and bedrooms. Usually, the photos will not interest you (or a buyer) enough to click on the photo or take a look at the property. The reason is – photos of vacant rooms are boring and all look the same! Houses are vacant for many reasons. In almost all of cases – selling the house fast is critical. The current down market is challenging, but especially for vacant properties so you don’t want to make mistakes.
I recently read an article written by a fellow home stager – Birgit Anich. She identified the following five mistakes to avoid when selling your vacant house.
Mistake #1: Selling the house as a VACANT property. Only 10% of home buyers can actually visualize the potential of a home. Especially with a vacant, buyers lack a point of reference – empty rooms look smaller and they cannot envision how to set up the house functionally. When a room is empty, a buyer’s focus is on the negative details and not wanted features. An empty house amplifies negative thoughts.
Mistake #2: Wait to see if it sells as a vacant house. This can be a costly mistake. Selling a house is all about first impressions. On a new listing most of the traffic is generated with the first 2-4 weeks. If Realtors aren’t excited about what they see during a Broker’s Open House or during these first few weeks, they are less likely to bring their buyers to your property. By not having the house staged on day one of listing, you have wasted all that traffic and time on the market without showing the house at its best potential.
Mistake #3: Not differentiating your listing from the competition. Your photos have to look great since 94% of home buyers start their search online. Being vacant does not make your house different from other vacant houses. Remember – a showing or a sale can be lost by one mouse click!
Mistake #4: Price has now become your only marketing strategy. If your house looks like every other vacant house, then your only differentiators are the price and location. You can’t change the location so your only marketing strategy becomes the price.
Mistake #5: Seeing home staging as a COST instead of an INVESTMENT. Staging a house for sale can help you make money. It is an investment into your home selling process – ranging between 1 and 3 percent of the listing price, which may yield a 5 to 10 percent higher sales price. How nice is that? Plus, selling your home faster will save ongoing mortgage payments and carrying costs.
Guess what, the cost of professional home staging is typically much less than the first price reduction after a house has been on the market.
For me, it is one of the oddities of the psychology of selling a home. Sellers will think nothing of reducing their list price by $5,000-$10,000 but will resist a $4,000 professional staging proposal.
Let’s look at the facts.
Realtors can provide their own calculations based on local conditions to this formula. My guess is that the result will be the same – the price of professional home staging is much less than the first price reduction.
Plus, professional home staging helps sell the house more quickly. We have a track record of having staged more than 750 houses and stories about houses in all price ranges that sold within a week or two after we staged them.
And who can put a price tag on the value of selling your house quickly and moving on to the adventure of settling into your new home.
When we are getting ready for a date or a job interview, we make sure that we look our best (that is if we want a second date or the job). Typically, we are properly groomed and wearing one of our better and appropriate outfits. We want to impress our date or the person doing the job interview.
Why should it be any different when we decide to sell our house?
The answer to these questions is very simple –it is very important that our house look its best when a buyer visits. And with nine out of every 10 buyers viewing photos of homes online FIRST, it becomes critical for those photos to be of beautifully staged rooms!
Remember – you are never given a second chance to make a good first impression. If the photos are uninspiring and less than professional, potential buyers will drop your house from their list and never see it. If the house is messy, cluttered, or confusing to the potential buyer, odds are they will not be back and you lost a sales opportunity.
In its simplest terms, home staging involves making sure your house is cleaned, groomed and properly outfitted. When I stage a house, I make sure that it is ready for its first date with every prospective buyer as well as looks exciting in the professional photos.
And the results speak for themselves with our track record of success having staged more than 750 homes in 10 years!!
(with thanks to Janet Jones for permission to reprint her article)