Ready for another price reduction? How about multiple offers instead?

Do these scenarios seem too far apart to be realistic? Here in Indianapolis and our surrounding areas, sellers are facing one extreme or the other. With low inventory levels, buyers are snapping up well priced and presented homes quickly. Homes that don’t meet one of those two wickets (price or presentation) are not seeing the shift in market. They are still sitting and still requiring price reductions.

Properly presenting homes from the beginning

showings for new listingsWhether a home is vacant or occupied, having the home staged prior to listing is an important part of receiving maximum returns. Statistics show that the first two weeks of a listing is the best time to receive an offer. Faster is better and to not have the home properly prepared from day 1 means leaving money on the table.

Waiting to stage until after the initial surge of showings is a common thought for many sellers who are trying to “save money” by seeing if they can sell without staging. While this thinking is understandable, it is also flawed. In order to maximize the possibility of multiple offers (something becoming more common in today’s market) professional home staging needs to happen from the beginning, not when the best buyers have already left the building.

Price reductions happen around 30 days

When a home has been on the market for more than 30 days it begins to feel stale to agents. Interest is waning and the likelihood of good offers is reduced. The average price reduction, according to Zillow is 1-3%. Often on a $200,000 home, price reductions may be $5,000 – $10,000 smashing that average with nearly 5% in reductions. Compare this to the cost of home staging. An average vacant staging job in this price range,  would be in the low $2000’s. For occupied homes a professional evaluation and changes based on recommendations may only be a few hundred.

Even in a shifting market, homes will sit while others sell. Poorly presented homes will justify the price tag of similar homes with higher prices. If you are interested in preserving the equity of your home, there is no investment than home staging before the home is listed. 

Professional home stagers are not just service providers.

I’ve heard the discussion with other Realtors. They often go something like this, “I’ll call the stager when I have a listing that needs help.” Realtors typically use this in the tone of, “I’ll use Paul Painter when I have a home that needs paint.”

Professional home stagers are not just service providers

indianapolis home stagerWhile we could make the argument that many homes when they hit the market could benefit from a fresh coat of paint, there are almost none that couldn’t benefit from at least a home staging evaluation. Unlike a painters, landscapers, house keepers, or other service providers, a professional home stager does not simply engage in a routine procedure that any random person off the street can do with the proper tools. A professional home stager has been trained and certified in market trends, buyer wants, and sometimes a little bit of real estate psychology. Our services usually start out with a home staging evaluation or quote (vacants) and move onto action plans.

What is a home staging evaluation?

This evaluation includes an interior/exterior assessment along with customized recommendations. It is detailed with your demographic and return on investment in mind. Our property stylist will go into great detail regarding how to properly prepare, package and present your property for sale. This is delivered to you so that you can maximize your sales potential and produce a quick, profitable sale.

 Creating a Measurable, Marketable difference

One of the biggest differences between  a professional home stager and a service provider is that professional home stagers aren’t just another bottom line expense. We are an investment in equity. Rather than repairs or general maintenance, we change the perception of home buyers. We create a measurable, marketable difference when selling a home.

The importance of a well organized closet when selling your home

Closet organization is one of those topics that a home stager can’t talk about enough. Very few thing tell as much about the habits of the home seller than the way their closets are taken care of. Closets tell a story about the home seller.

The importance of a well organized closet when selling

A poorly organized closet may give potential buyers the impression that the home has not been cared for. A really well organized closet may give the exact opposite impression. If everything in the home is white glove clean and OCD organized, most buyers believe that the general maintenance of the home has been taken care of.

Whether a closet is large or small, perception is reality for buyers. If you have a large closet, but don’t have it well organized, if things are on the floor, or in piles on shelves above, buyers may think that there is not enough closet space. On the contrary, small spaces that are really well organized can feel glamorous.

This video by Alejandro Costello on closet organization make even those of us with really large closets jealous. Determine how you can use some of these tips to make your home seem Pinterest worthy. If you do, buyers will fall in love and you’ll be more likely to get a quick sale.

Closet Organization tips to use

How did you enjoy the organizational video? I watch a lot of these because I’m always looking for tips that my sellers can use. Here are my favorite take aways.

Items rolled in drawers take up less space. If you feel that you are lacking closet space, ditch the hangers and roll your clothes in drawers. The shelving system that Alejandro used from Ikea is not expensive. If you suffer from too little closet space then this could be a great investment. One that will pay off with a tidy return.

Smaller items should go in bins. The sweater bins that Alejandro used were perfect for storing purses, beach wear, travel accessories, and of course, sweaters. This is the perfect system to use on your upper shelves, a key area that tends to get messy.

Organize your clothes by category then color. This is a common home staging suggestion, but one that bears repeating…. frequently. It doesn’t matter if it seems OCD. Do it anyway.

Pretty bins, totes, and pops of color make the space feel luxurious. Don’t underestimate the power of pretty when it comes to making a space appealing to potential buyers.

My final take away on this is really that if possible, you should begin working on these things now. One of the biggest aha moments from home sellers is that they wish that they had done this before they were ready to sell so that they could have enjoyed more of it. Why not take a small bite out of your closet and get moving on some of this now. Maybe you’ll enjoy your home more while you still live there.



Home Staging Tips: Simple floral arrangements to bring outside in.

School is out and this makes it a popular time for home sales. While hiring a professional home stager is always in the best interest of sellers in today’s market, there are some DIY tips that you can employ to make preparing your home for sale (or often just for more enjoyment while you are living in it). Today’s tip is about simple floral arrangement to bring the outside in.

how to arrange grasses and orchids

Using grasses and orchids for inside floral arrangements

Grasses of all types grow year round. Because of their gentle flow and carefree wisps they are often the perfect base for a good floral arrangement. Orchids on the other hand are pure elegance with their structured pronounced draping flowers. Nico De Swert, floral arranger for Pottery Barn shows an effortless way to bring both of these materials together.

The ease of creating and versatility of this arrangement offers opportunities for all seasons. Consider what flowers and textured leaves that you have available to you in your yard.

Remember that less is typically more when preparing your home for sale. Simple additions like this can add a great impact and help to remind buyers of the beauty in the yard or neighborhood that you are selling.

Taking the car metaphor a step further. Home Staging is…

For years the home staging industry has been using a basic car metaphor to communicate the value of home staging. “Would you sell your car without detailing it and expect to get top dollar?” Of course the basics of this are true. Most people know that when you sell your home that you will need to wash and wax it, you’ll probably want to armor all the leather, vinyl, and even tires. The car should be vacuumed and windows washed. After all that is done, then you can consider trading it in or selling it FSBO (for sale by owner).

Extending the car metaphor and home staging

Today, talking with a potential home buyer I realized that the car metaphor extends past the basics of the list mentioned above. We were discussing the finer points of the new construction home that we had staged. He came across a question that I couldn’t answer about some of the mechanics of the home. He laughed and said, “That’s OK. I just thought I would ask. It’s kind of like going car shopping and looking at the engine knowing that you don’t know what you are looking at. You still look.”

home staging indianapolisA previous conversation earlier in the week with my husband and I had a similar conversation. We were talking about buying a new car. He was talking about the engine, horsepower, tires, and stuff like that. I told him that I really didn’t care about any of it. I want it to appeal to my sense of style. I want it to be luxurious. I want it to have the bells and whistles that I desire, and I want it to drive smoothly. I could care less how many horse are under the hood. I am clueless about the kind of oil my car takes. I neither know nor care about any of the technical things. I just want it to look good, feel good, and get me where I want to go.

Isn’t this exactly the way home buyers shop? Do you ever hear that a home buyer purchased one home over another based on the tankless or solar hot water heater? Did they buy it because it had a better R factor? Did they buy it because one amenity center’s pool was 10 feet longer than the other? NO. They bought it because it appeals to sense of style, has the right bells and whistles, and it functions the way they need. 

Style, bells & whistles, and function – all within home staging limitations

Each of the categories that I just listed are within the bounds of home staging. We cannot take a colonial home and turn it into a contemporary but we can bridge the gap so that it potentially appeals to both parties. We can’t add a 3rd garage stall, but we can create an organized closet, pantry, and laundry room – dreams of luxury for many potential home buyers. And finally, by paying attention to pattern flow, sight lines, features and benefits, we can maximize the function of nearly any home.

By working on each of these areas we’ll maximize the likelihood that potential buyers will connect with your home and make an offer. It’s not that what’s under the hood isn’t important, it’s just that it’s often actually pretty far down the list of concerns.