When homes are flying off the shelf in a seller’s market, does it really need to be staged? In a word, Yes. Whether it’s a sellers’ or buyers’ market, the best-looking homes sell first. Here’s why:
I staged a small lake home during a hot sellers’ market. The sellers thought “as is” meant that the living room shelves could be stacked with kitchen Tupperware and the waffle maker, along with the many other random items that belonged elsewhere. Too much furniture filled the living space, the small kitchen had items stacked on the counters, and you couldn’t park in the two-car garage.
After two-and-a-half hours of convincing, moving, shoving and boxing, the rooms went from “OMG” to “Look at the View!” It inspired three offers, and sold for $20K over asking price.
Later, the Agent said it would not have sold for that much had it not been staged.
In a balanced market—equal number of buyers and sellers—typically the best-looking homes sell first.
In a sellers’ market—more buyers than homes—sellers expect a bidding war, with buyers arm-wrestling for the house in the front yard.
In a buyers’ market—more homes than buyers—buyers expect bonuses, incentives, upgrades and perfection.
Regardless of the market, I always say, “Whoever gets the hassle, gets the money.” The back yard of this lake home was a mud pit, the gutters were rusted through, and the basement was filled with junk. The sellers didn’t want the hassle. The Agent said another similar home had sold for $100K more. A $30K investment and a couple of full dumpsters could have netted a tidy sum for the sellers’ retirement nest egg. Instead, they left the hassle for the buyers.
Buyers rarely look at a project and estimate a correct amount for the work. There’s a “hassle factor” built in. In this case, the “hassle factor” was $70K ($50K if you add back in the bidding war’s $20K).
Why spend money staging a house in a sellers’ market when it will sell quickly without staging? Because you want to inspire a bidding war in the first place. Had the sellers sold “as-is” and not staged, they might not have had a bidding war and not made the extra $20K.
Because the Agent paid my fee, the sellers were out nothing but a little sweat and a change of heart.
Not a bad return on investment.
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Copyright © 2022 by Cynthia Gentry Black, Home Staging by Cynthia, LLC in Kansas City.
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