Priced NOT to Sell?

Home Stager

Earlier this week Brenda Mullen wrote a fabulous featured post Priced to Sell!!....Aren't They All? In a witty, lighthearted yet insightful way, Brenda asks a very good question .... aren't they all priced to sell - what's the alternative "priced NOT to sell"? 

I think Brenda's intent was to poke a little fun at the silly things Realtors sometimes say in their advertising.  And the phrase "priced to sell" IS pretty silly.   If a house is not priced to sell - house for salethere's a problem.

This post and the many great comments it received got me thinking about sellers who are not realistic about their asking price.  You may think a home stager like myself shouldn't be concerned with such matters. After all, I should only care about lamp shades, pillows and paint chips, right? Wrong!

This particular central Connecticut stager is VERY concerned about list price. You see I don't just make houses look pretty, I prepare houses to SELL. It doesn't matter how great it looks when I'm done with it - if a house isn't priced right it is not going to sell - and I won't feel like I've accomplished my objective.

This is why I urge my staging clients to LISTEN to their listing agent when it comes to determining a list price! 

If a seller is not willing to be realistic about price, there's a good chance that seller is simply not emotionally ready to sell....yet.  Sometimes all they need is a little time and patience getting there.

Perhaps you've noticed, sellers who are not emotionally ready to sell, have a funny way of getting in the way of their own home sale success.  They might overprice their home, refuse to properly prepare it for sale and maybe even make it difficult to show (among other things).  And if an offer does come, something inevitably goes wrong during the negotiations. 

There's an unexpected upside to working with a stager that you might not be aware of.  During the weeks (or sometimes months) it takes to get a home ready to sell, sellers start removing the items that keep them emotionally connected to their home.  They start packing and getting ready to move on to their next home.  They study their competition.  They start looking at their house differently - through the eyes of their potential buyers. The stress, the fear, the overwhelm starts to evaporate because they feel supported through the process. 

Sellers who take the time they need to go through this process (and it cannot be rushed) experience the most success. Why?  Because they've done what it takes to become emotionally ready to list their home and with that usually comes a willingness to listen to their agents about price.  If they're unwilling to go through this process, that could be a sign they're not that serious about selling. 

Of course they MUST realize they're NOT going to get more for their house than its worth because they went through all that trouble!  Staged homes sell faster because they have broad appeal.  Properly preparing a home for sale can help sellers avoid price reductions but it does NOT justify an unrealistic asking price. 

ready2sell in 30days


Recognizing that hiring a stager is not a practical option for many home sellers, my partner Ann Anderson and I created the Ready2Sellin30Days system.   It's designed to aleviate the stress and overwhelm associated with the entire home sale process. 

It's NOT your typical "staging" manual.  It's a comprehensive do-it-yourself guide to properly preparing a home for sale - it covers overcoming emotional attachment to preparing for an open house to EVERYTHING in between.  Check out to learn more! 


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Karen Bernetti is a Real Estate Stager, Former Realtor®, Author, Speaker, and Owner of Staging4Smooth Transitions - specializing in assisting seniors with their downsize moves and offering Home2Home Transitions seminars. Karen is also the Social Media Manager and Administrative Coordinator for Prudential CT Realty, in Madison, CT and Co-creator of the Ready2Sellin30Days System - an interactive multi-media program teaching do-it-yourself homeowners EVERYHTING they need to know about preparing a home for sale. Stay up to date on the latest staging and home decor trends by visiting Karen & Ann's Home Sale Success Blog.  



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lenn Harley 07/23/2011 08:24 AM
  2. Juli Vosmik 07/23/2011 10:42 AM
Home Staging
Real Estate Staging Association
Connecticut Professionals
Advice for Sellers
preparing homes for sale
advice for sellers
home staging central connecticut

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Juli Vosmik
Dominion Fine Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739

Karen, I like this post because you talk about the "emotionally" ready side.  And, doing all of the prep work certainly does get the mindset going in the right direction. 

Jul 23, 2011 10:40 AM #8
Jeanne M. Gavish
Jeanne Gavish, Keller Williams Realty Elite Partners - Spring Hill, FL
Keller Williams Realty Elite Partners - CIPS,GRI,S

Karen, you are so right about the emotional process for the seller.  Sounds like you are a Sensitive Stager, and observant too!

Jul 23, 2011 11:59 AM #9
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Karen I agree Brenda did an excellent job on that post, and you bring up an excellent point as well "It doesn't matter how great it looks when I'm done with it - if a house isn't priced right it is not going to sell"

Jul 23, 2011 02:44 PM #10
An Idabel OK Broker ~ Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
BA, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Listing agents have the information in front of them and know their areas so the right price can be put on the property.  If a seller won't listen, then the future of that listing is probably going to be stormy.

Jul 23, 2011 02:48 PM #11
Peter Pfann @ Fair Realty Victoria, BC, Canada. Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
Fair Realty, Victoria BC - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

HI Karen,

We could not agree more with you, it is so often the case that we offer an evaluation based on the improvements to be made, then to arrive once the work is done, and all of a sudden wwe are asked to add the value of the improvments to the earlier evaluation, (which off course alreaady had them included).........

Jul 23, 2011 04:48 PM #12
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

Thanks Pat

David - a lot of the common phrases are merely cliches.  We get so used to hearing them and we get so used to saying them, they start to have little meaning.  

Daniel - sometimes it does, don't be afraid to ask your stager if s/he is willing to sell

Brenda - thank you for providing the inspiration

Deb - thanks for the heads up!  She went easy on me : - )  (wasn't expecting that.) 

Ellen - frustrating indeed - we must keep educating

Juli - I really believe that emotional attachment can be a huge barrier to success

Jeanne - I am - thanks for noticing

George - I've been singing that song for a long long time

Judi - definitely not a good sign

Mr & Mrs Pfanntastic - guess that explains why so many Realtors hesistate to recommend staging/making improvements in the first place. 

Jul 23, 2011 05:37 PM #13
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)
Karen this post makes it very clear, the role of the stager in conjunction with all parties invollved. Everyone has a role to play, and it starts with the role of the seller being realistic. After that, the agent and the stager can take it from there. I will say this though, anyone who denies that staging adds to the appeal of a home is not realistic (including agents). I mean really, doesn't staging fall into the category of preparing a home to sell. Great post.
Jul 24, 2011 02:20 AM #14
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

Thanks Charita - And yes, in my mind (based on where I got my training) staging and preparing homes for sale are on in the same - interesting how not everyone sees it that way. 

Jul 24, 2011 08:14 AM #15
Sherri Wellborn
Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro - Murfreesboro, TN
Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate

Hi Karen, I think your post is great!  Realtors and stagers working together can make a house sell quick but the seller has to play along!  There is no doubt in my mind that staging makes a huge difference.  

Jul 24, 2011 11:00 PM #16
Bob Ashauer
RE/MAX Alliance - Collinsville, IL

Hi Karen,

Nice post - great thoughts.

Even when a home is not staged, I encourage my sellers to pack a few boxes and store them in the garage to start the emotional process you mentioned.

Buyers also need the thought that the owners really are ready to sell.  I don't like to see a home so perfect that buyers uncounsciously hate the thought of disrupting the family.  I showed a home this weekend that was so perfectly staged it gave that message.  Thoughts? 

Jul 25, 2011 04:41 AM #17
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

I think agents with you on their "home selling team" are very fortunate.

Jul 25, 2011 05:57 AM #18
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Excellent post and thanks for your link to get more specific information.

Jul 25, 2011 06:38 AM #19
Lee Potts
Aloha Group Maui - Lahaina, HI
The smarter we work, the luckier you get.

Gosh, I missed that previous blog, "Priced to Sell".  Between the two, there is some great grist for on my personal pet peeves.  At caravan, agents, seasoned agents, will stand up and say, "this one is priced to sell."  I'm always stunned by just how dumb that remark sounds.  Thanks for the support.

Lahaina Lee 

Jul 25, 2011 07:41 AM #20
Valerie Sagheddu
Apostle Art Home Staging & Design - Stroudsburg, PA
~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA

Excellent...EXCELLENT post Karen!! We, as stagers, care very much about the "whole picture". I don't want my staged homes sitting for months and months because they are unrealistically priced...what's the point in that?? We all want the homeowner to sell at the best price possible and positively move forward with their lives.

Jul 25, 2011 08:30 AM #21
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Great post because it's true. Once the seller truly detaches from the home & is ready to move it's totally forward momentum.

Jul 25, 2011 10:34 AM #22
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

All I can say is excellent post.  I have seen people that have to move and yet find something wrong with every home you try to sell them and do not like any of your ideas for selling their home.

Jul 25, 2011 05:34 PM #23
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

I remember and actually commented on the other post! One thing to take into account is that the sellers do not have the tools accessible to them to help find out what the approximate market price is for their home. Many will do it based on loan amounts or calculations of appreciation rather than actual market statistics.

Jul 25, 2011 06:02 PM #24

Sellers are often in their own way. If they REALLY want to sell they listen to a professional.  If they MIGHT want to sell (if I get my price) that's when the trouble starts. Nice post.

Jul 25, 2011 07:37 PM #25
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

It is definitely a process for sellers and why we often see it sell after they relist their home with another agent at a lower price after it expires.

Jul 26, 2011 05:18 PM #26
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Karen--you are so right that sellers who don't price their homes appropriately are not really ready to sell.  "Hope" is not a useful thing to have in a declining market.  Good preparation is.  Nice post.

Jul 27, 2011 03:13 AM #27
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