Sometimes, staging your home is NOT an option; it is a requirement.

“Agents should never try to sell their own homes,” I heard from more than one source when I was putting my personal co-op on the market.

“Agents aren’t objective,” the story went.

“Well,” I thought. “This simply is not true for me!!!”

Of course, we (as humans) always seem to think we’re the exception to the ones meant by any rule, statement, or law.

So I thoroughly prepared my three bedroom co-op for sale; the co-op that saw my children and I through a good decade of school, sports, activities, and just simple life. The home where my kids went out and earned money in the winter shoveling snow. The home where they swam and met friends. The home where they were finally able to walk to school when they were old enough. The home where they grew up and I grew older.

The home needed a lot of work, so we spent months getting it ready. I wasn’t living there any longer, so we got rid of the furniture and belongings, and slowly painted every ceiling and wall, getting rid of the traces of our lives. We replaced screens and internal doors, and scrubbed and cleaned, and had the floors refinished.

The co-op was finally ready to sell.  Compared to the way it looked when I started, it was a bazillion times better.  The floors gleamed; everything was clean; the doors worked; the screens were perfect; the walls glistened.  Yeah, sure, it could have used some staging.  Vacant homes seem harder to sell, but MY home didn’t need staging.  It looked GREAT.  Yeah, sure, it could use a new stove and sink, but anyone could see what a great place this was.  Yeah, sure, the bathrooms were a bit outdated and could use some ‘oomph’ but buyers would see past that.  Plus, it was priced to reflect the fact that it could use a new kitchen and baths.

So I decided not to spend the time or money to stage the home, and I put my home on the market at a price that was slightly under market value at that time; a price I was sure would get me a buyer quickly.

I did a few open houses, had a fair amount of traffic, and waited for things to rock and roll.  Well, to my surprise, my co-op did not sell quickly, and life soon got in the way of my doing as much as I could to sell it.  I broke my ankle, putting me out of commission for months.  I lost two members of my immediate and my in-law family, and needed to deal with that.  Other life issues came and went and before I knew it a year and a half… yes, (gasp) a year and a half had gone.  I had reduced the price multiple times but without a lot of time and energy to be able to go to my old home and effectively market it, the co-op just sat and sat and sat.  There were showings, but nothing was happening.

Finally, in early 2013, I was ready to get serious.  I decided to stage the home.  I called Sunflower Staging of Woodbury, NY and Christine Spitale, the owner, came for a consultation.  Christine suggested that since my co-op was vacant, we could do a “mini” staging.  I would buy a few items, replace a few items, and she would rent me some other items, and we’d only focus on a few rooms.  We didn’t need to stock the entire home with furniture.  After a thorough discussion, we had a deal, and I went shopping.

In a month or so, we met again.  I had replaced the stove and sink by then, both of which really needed upgrading.  We put new flooring in one of the bathrooms, and I bought an inexpensive futon, carpet, and small table.  I brought a few items from home to spruce up the place, and Christine brought the remainder of the items.

What a difference this small investment made!!!

bedroom before and afterIn March of 2013, my home was ready to “re-list” and I did an open house, and revised the marketing materials and MLS listing with the new pictures provided by Christine.

The following month, I had an accepted offer, which was followed shortly by a contract.  The home has since closed, and I learned a valuable lesson.

Sometimes staging is NOT an option. It is a requirement.

living room before and afterOften, buyers have a very hard time visualizing the size of a room when there is no furniture in it. Having some items which would help them visualize THEIR items in the room is a key of the staging process. Some towels, decorative items, and curtains help the house (or co-op in this case) look like a home, and it makes it easier for the buyers to see themselves living there.

Various changes may have helped my home sell when it did. Perhaps it was the improving market. Perhaps it was just the “right” person saw it at the right time. But I truly believe the staging process was a HUGE contributor to the successful sale of my home.

Sometimes staging is NOT an option. It is a requirement.

So from now on, I will tell my clients who are trying to sell a vacant home, “Staging is not an option; it’s a requirement!”  I know what I’m talking about!

 

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