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Real Estate Staging - It's not chocolate chip cookies and candles anymore | Staging Career Center

Real Estate Staging – It’s not chocolate chip cookies and candles anymore

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Author: Shell Brodnax (6 Articles)

Shell Brodnax is a Home Staging Business Coach and has a passion for helping people achieve their dreams and exceed their goals by building their own businesses. Shell is also the Central Valley’s Women’s Council of Realtors Business Woman of the Year for 2007 and a finalist in the 2009 Stevie Awards for Business Women in the Best Executive Category for Non Profit or Government Companies.

The concept of real estate agents asking homeowners to tidy up when they sell their home is not new.  The days of agents asking sellers to clean up, bake some cookies and set out some candles are a thing of the past. What started out as common sense practices when selling a home has turned into what we now call real estate staging.

When staging first started, it consisted of simple de-cluttering, removing personal items and photos and moving around your furniture in occupied homes. A vacant property was staged by using just enough furniture to give the appearance the rooms were large and spacious. The concept of appealing to the masses rather than figuring out the buyer’s demographics were paired with vanilla walls and neutral everything. 

Real estate staging has evolved over the last ten years into a legitimate profession and is the number one marketing tool used to sell property.  

With the emergence of TV shows on HGTV, featuring staging, flipping and selling homes; agents have realized they can’t do it all anymore. Sellers are better educated and buyers are savvier and know they can hold out to find exactly what they want. 

Agents are realizing it’s in their best interest and their client’s best interest to work with a professional stager rather than simply giving some “tips” to get the property prepared for market. Professional stagers have an unbiased eye and are able to prepare a plan to properly “market” the property. Professional stagers focus on the demographic of the buyers and they create a marketing plan specific for the property and the buyers in mind. 

Staging has evolved from the vanilla basics to well crafted beautiful spaces that leave the buyer wanting to move in. Staging is more than just de-cluttering and removing personal items. Furniture and color are now used to show off space and architectural features. Stagers understand the importance of upgrading appliances, fixtures, floors, paint etc. While staging is not decorating, this doesn’t mean that a property shouldn’t have the look and feel of a beautifully designed room.  Staging design aspects have been taken to a new level. The old “less is more” theory doesn’t cut it with today’s buyers. Buyers want their dream home and it’s a stager’s job to design the home with that in mind.  Staging has gone from carrying a few accessories in the back of an SUV, to arriving with a moving truck full of furniture and art that transforms a plain property into a beautifully showcased move-in ready home. 

With the evolution of staging, agents have realized there is no way they can bring the same value or resources to the table as a professional stager. Agents do not have time to develop relationships with furniture rental companies and they are not going to buy a warehouse full of furniture and buy a box truck to transport the furniture to stage their client’s homes. Stagers do this as a profession and are fully equipped to stage the property. 

More and more agents are focusing on developing relationships with a stager. Finding that one stager that an agent can rely on and work with on a regular basis is priceless. They are relying on their stagers to hell them sell more properties. Agents sometimes bring their stagers to listing presentations so they can show their clients everything they bring to the table.  Stagers work with agents to develop the marketing plan for the property and agents can focus more on getting the property sold and get the best price and contract for their clients. 

Now, just because agents are getting staging, it doesn’t mean that homeowners are always willing to make the initial investment in staging their property. While HGTV has done an amazing job at peaking homeowner’s interest in staging, statistics and cold hard facts seal the deal and get homeowners on board.    

The Real Estate Staging Association® conducted a study of 410 staged properties across North America and the results are proof positive that staging works. 

The study includes the following: 

87 vacant homes (not staged) previously on the market an average of 277 days unsold. Those homeowners had their properties staged. Those same homes sold in 63 days on average after staging. This is 78% less time on the market. 

39 occupied homes (not staged) previously on the market an average of 233 days unsold. Those homeowners had their properties staged. Those same homes sold in 53 days on average after staging. This is 78% less time on the market. 

126 vacant and occupied homes (not staged) previously on the market an average of 263 days unsold. Those same homes were staged and sold in 60 days on average after staging. This is 78% less time on the market. 

 284 vacant and occupied homes that were staged before they went on the market and sold in 40.5 days on average after staging. 

167 occupied homes that were staged before they went on the market. These homes sold in 39 days on average after staging.   

117 vacant homes that were staged before they went on the market. These homes sold in 42 days on average after staging. 

With this data agents can explain the benefits of staging to their clients with cold hard facts. Agents and stagers can now give a formula to homeowners so they can figure out how much money they will save or lose by staging or not staging.

The RESA study shows 126 homeowners had their property on the market on average of 263 days before they decided to take it off the market and stage.  263 days = 9 months!!! 

The RESA ® study also shows 284 homes that were staged before they went on the market and they sold on average in 40.5 days.  This is approximately 223 days less time on the market. 223 days = 7 months 

 As an example, using this formula you can determine approximately how much money you will continue to spend while your home is on the market un-staged. 

 If your mortgage is:                                  $1800.00  

If your direct expenses are:                     $300.00 

Total carrying cost per month:               $2,100.00  

Our study shows home owners had their property on the market for an average of 9 months. $2,100.00 X 9 months = $18,900.00 in expenses

 Had those homeowners staged first, their time on market would have been cut by 223 days on average (7 months). $2,100.00 x 7 months= $14,700.00

Staging their homes first would have saved them $ 14,700.00. 

These numbers are all relative to individual mortgage and expenses. Use this simple formula to determine how much you will save by staging your home or listing before putting it on the market: 

Mortgage + expenses (utilities etc.) = Monthly expenses 

Monthly expenses X 9 months (avg. time un-staged) = Cost to list house un-staged 

Savings: Expenses x 7 months (average time on market reduced) – staging fee = Savings if you stage your house first!  

If you have a price reduction you can also add that into the loss you are taking by listing a property un-staged. 

Homeowners can now invest in staging and protect the equity in their property in addition to reducing the time on the market. Staging your property before you go on the market is a great business decision and ultimately saves you dollars and gets you from listed to SOLD faster.

© 2010 Shell Brodnax, Staging Career Center All rights reserved

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