By Patti Stern, Principal PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Staging is no longer optional for sellers who want to get the most value from their home. Many sellers are still reluctant to stage, making it a tough sell for their real estate agent. Several key points can help overcome skepticism and convince sellers to stage first if they want to sell.
1. Explain the difference between decorating and staging.
The saying — “Your Home is Your Castle” — often rings true with today’s sellers. Most believe their home is decorated beautifully, usually with their favorite colors and personal décor. But there is a big difference between decorating and staging to appeal to a large pool of buyers.
Décor choices are personal and most buyers can’t envision how a home may look if the seller doesn’t remove their personality.
Sotheby’s Julia B Fee REALTOR®, Megan Stilwell-Posner, a recent PJ & Co. client, often walks buyers through a property and they’ll comment that they don’t like an area rug or paint color, which even influences their decision on whether to purchase the home. “Explaining how we market your property versus how you decorate your property is very important,” she says.
2. Talk staging versus a possible price reduction.
Staging sets a home apart from the competition. Updating decor, particularly in key rooms such as kitchens and baths, can mean the difference between selling quickly and for top dollar or facing a price reduction if a home sits on the market for too long.
Busy, cluttered decor or outdated styles will distract buyers who won’t be able to envision living in the home. For many sellers, staging and low-cost renovations preserve valuable equity and can even boost a home’s selling price. For example, after PJ & Co. staged a property for real estate agent Rich Walker with Century 21, he decided to list the property for $20,000 higher than he originally planned. The property sold in 15 days at the asking price.
3. NOT selling a home is stressful.
We’ve all heard it – sellers who want to “test the market before staging” but months later haven’t received an offer.
Selling a home is difficult both emotionally and physically. Each day without an offer is stressful. Ultimately, I believe staging brings offers in quicker and makes the entire process easier.
In controlled tests conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association that compared identical homes, the non-staged houses sold in 102 days, while the professionally staged properties sold in 45 days.
4. The stager is going to do the dirty work.
Many real estate professionals we talk to are hesitant to discuss staging with their clients, unsure of how to tactfully approach necessary updates without offending their client. Enlisting a professional stager as a third-party expert and part of the selling plan provides tremendous value to both the real estate agent and seller. A professional stager takes the burden off of you, and can make recommendations without treading on the real estate agent/client relationship.
5. Execution will be key.
Hiring a stager who has a full team on standby to manage the entire process and deliver the home ready for market is key.
Some staging companies can be hired to just offer recommendations. For example, one client received a seven- page recommendation from a stager, but shopping for updated décor and managing the updates were up to the seller. It became overwhelming for the couple. They weren’t comfortable choosing the paint colors, picking lighting fixtures, or incorporating the right style trends to make a space vibrant and engaging to today’s younger buyer.
Other staging companies can offer the client one-stop shopping, from selecting the paint colors to coordinating the painter, carpenter, and selecting all of the materials needed to stage the property.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com or www.facebook.com/pjandcompanystaginganddecorating
By Andrew Janos
As the real estate market continues to be fast-paced, the need to prepare your buyers is growing exponentially. Making sure buyers have a grasp on the market conditions and purchase process will allow you to manage expectations through the entire purchase. Here are three tips:
Get pre-approval: Preparing a buyer financially ensures that they do not fall in love with something they can’t have. In order to even put in an offer, the buyer needs a current and accurate pre-approval. Routinely, buyers push to see houses without a pre-approval, but you must resist the urge to show them without it. Your client’s buying power might be lower once a loan originator runs through all of the qualifying questions. In our fast-paced environment, one buyer could lose to another while obtaining approval to buy the house of their dreams if the other party is already prepared. It’s tough to turn down the opportunity to take clients out that call, but its important to screen them and make sure they are ready to purchase. After talking to them a bit, you might find out that they should wait until next year based on their situation. It’s not just about the type of house they are interested in, but also the right fit for their life goals and current situation.
Educate them on the market: We all know that real estate is location, location, location, but the other important ingredient is education. Take the time to explain current market conditions and what your clients can expect. They should be informed about current sales frequency and volume in conjunction with prices of sold homes. If your buyer drags their feet, they may miss out while inventory and mortgage rates are low. If a home is priced competitively, there could potentially be multiple offers made. Making sure your buyers are comfortable with the purchase process will allow for a smoother transaction.
Set the stage for first-time buyers: You are the one repeatedly facilitating sales, and if you are working with a first time buyer, they have no idea what to expect. This could be as simple as explaining the importance of mortgage contingencies and home inspections. It could also be managing expectations for counter offers on a low bid. Either way, the more that your client knows, the less stress you feel and the buyer will have more trust in you.
In the end, make sure you are following our No. 1 rule as REALTORS®: to protect your client’s best interest and allow them to have an exciting purchase. They are, after all, buying a home, which is one of the biggest decisions they will make in their life.
Andrew Janon is a vice president and salesperson with U S Spaces in Philadelphia. Connect with Andrew at andrewjanos.com.
By Brandon Doyle
My Matterport Pro 3-D camera system arrived on Thursday, and agents who are early adopters of new technology will see the benefits of being able to offer your clients something that no one else can do.
Matterport is the equivalent of HD Google Street View for the interior of a house. It provides consumers the ability to virtually tour a property in 3-D from anywhere in the world. Scanning is done with the 3-D camera ($4,500), which rotates 360 degrees on a tripod, as well as an iPad app. Typically, this process takes anywhere from one to two hours for an average-size home. As you complete scans, the iPad mapping images fill in until the entire property has been mapped. At that point, the file gets uploaded to Matterport’s cloud system and is rendered into a 3-D model. Users can go online and interact with the doll house view, floor plan, and even walk through the property at their own leisure from any desktop computer. Agents are able to syndicate the link through the MLS similar to the way you would with slideshows and videos.
These 3-D virtual tours could be great for new construction, allowing the builder or agent to continue to show the home and provide examples of their work even after the house has been sold – without inconveniencing the current owners. It gives potential buyers a feel for the layout of property, which they can share with friends and family online. This technology could cut down on time that sellers need to be out of the home, and buyers’ time spent in the car.
After my team completed our first 3-D rendering, the home owners were blown away. It was something they had never seen done before and they told everyone they know.
Here is the example from listing in Maple Lake, Minn.:
Please note: Matterport tours are not yet mobile/tablet compatible; they must be viewed on a desktop computer. Matterport also has plans in the future to allow editing of finished renderings, such as changing paint colors, finishes, and possibly even doing full virtual renovations.
You step into a room and you know something is off but you can’t pinpoint it. Could it be the furniture arrangement?
Home design writer Fred Albert with the Houzz editorial staff offers up several tips on proper furniture arrangement. Here are four of his tips, along with some tips from HGTV.com, on finding the right balance when furnishing a space.
1. Pinpoint a focal point: What do you want to highlight in the room? A fireplace or the beautiful view it offers to the outside? Arrange the furniture to highlight the focal point. Have the largest piece of furniture, such as the sofa, pointed toward the room’s focal point.
2. Create balance: You can achieve balance by using symmetrical or even asymmetrical arrangements, depending on the feel you want to create in the room. In formal areas, symmetrical tends to work best, such as two alike sofas across from one another. If you want a room to feel more casual, you might do an asymmetrical arrangement, such as a sectional across from two small arm chairs.
3. Good flow: Consider how traffic will walk through the room. You’ll want to be sure to keep a path between doorways. Albert recommends allowing 30 to 48 inches of width for major traffic routes and a minimum of 24 inches of width for minor ones.
4. Mix in some contrast: Consider combining straight and curved lines in furnishings. For example, Albert notes that if the furniture is modern and linear, you might consider throwing in a round table for greater contrast. If the furniture is curvy, add in an angular piece.
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Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
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