Thursday, October 21, 2010

Q. When Does Staging End? A. It Ain't Over till It's Over.

We loaded our van five times to reclaim the staging furniture 
and props we used  to stage the condo we just sold.
Even though we've had a signed offer and binding contract on the condo we staged five months ago, we didn't remove any of our precious fluffing until we were almost ready to close. Why wait so long?  Two reasons.

First Reason

Until you leave the closing table, the deal isn't done.  Sometimes snags and glitches appear at the last minute. Someone gets sick. Or dies. The bank's papers don't arrive. There's a last minute question about an easement, a will, a lien, a signature.

 Whenever real estate changes hands, there are plenty of t's to cross and i's to dot.

If the deal does fall through for some crazy reason, and you have to relist the property, the staging is in place, ready to show. This event is rare, but why take a chance?

Mr. Lucky and I spent a few hours the day before our closing on Tuesday, carrying couches, tables, chairs, lamps and everything else out of the condo.  Everything. You don't want to do that in reverse the next day.


Secondly...

The other reason staging should stay is you want your staging working its magic when inspections are done.  The buyer of our condo hired a home inspector, and the bank hired an appraiser.

Both these people, on different days, went over the unit looking for problems. It's nice to think that they are objective professionals, filling in blanks, checking off boxes on forms, and multiplying numbers to determine things like square footage, cost per square foot, and bottom line worth.

But, you know what?

These people can't help but be influenced by how clean a property looks, feels, and smells. Ms. Speedy told us this was true, and other realtors have told us the same thing.  Leave the staging up until all inspectors have come, poked around, and gone.

Staging Works!

Knowing that nuts and bolts people like appraisers and home inspectors are influenced by staging affirms my belief in the value of staging a home on the market.

Even the numbers people can't ignore the value of freshly painted walls, shampooed carpeting, handsome furniture, uncluttered surroundings, and beautiful props.

That's why it surprises me that more homes aren't staged.

Even the big boys miss the point some times.  A realtor friend arranged a tour for me of some luxury condos in our town. These units have been for sale for over a year, and they are all very nice. Yet, the builder has had to reduce the prices gradually until now they are about 40% less than they initially were.

Sure the economy is the problem, but isn't that one more reason to stage?  I expected to see at least one model unit furnished, but no. Hello?

They couldn't have found a vase of silk flowers, some faux lemons,
or a colorful teapot to liven up this high end kitchen? 
I'm convinced that our simple staging helped sell our condo.  Comparable units in the same complex are still waiting for a buyer.

In fact, for the past month, Ms. Speedy has marched clients past our Sale Pending sign and through our unit after they have walked away from the other units, so they could see "what can be done."

Most people want to move right in to their new home. They don't want no stinkin' repairs!

A Modest Celeebration

To celebrate the closing of our property, Mr. Lucky and I went out to dinner.  We both ordered the same thing -- Low Country Steamed Seafood.  Clams, crab, shrimp, corn, potatoes, and sausage.  What's not to love?  For dessert, we stopped at the dollar store for a treat -- Good Humor Oreo Ice Cream Bars.  Now, that's a celebration.

Can you tell that the wrapper on mine was torn off in a hurry?  
Was I afraid it would melt, or could I just not be patient? 
If you are on the fence about staging the home you are selling, I hope I've helped you see the value staging has. My eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar, tells you how to do it yourself so you don't have to hire a home stager.     

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