Once Upon a Time, about 10 to 15 years ago, in a land called The Greater Sacramento Area, there were many new housing developments popping up all over the place. The "newness" of these homes along with the "lower than average California going rate" made our area very attractive to home buyers all over the California Kingdom. One of the disadvantages of buying a newer track home was that yours would likely be exactly the same as 100's of others in your village.
This is a tale of two track homes with the same exact floor plan, same buyer, same Realtor, very similar lots, "for sale" at the same time... OK, I think you get the point - just about the same everything. There was one difference and I'm sure you've guessed by now what that was, one was staged and the other was not.
We begin our story with the home buyer, they were taken to see the unstaged home first, as they entered, it was the awful smell that struck them first. Kitty litter mixed in with the scent of cheap cologne and a strong, but unpleasant, cover-up air freshener. Next, our buyers notice the walls painted an ogre green (Like Shrek) and brown (like baby poop) and an entry full of stuff, the kitty hair balls everywhere a huge fish tank and wires everwhere. Not a very good first impression. The old hand-me-down furniture, unmade beds, dirty bathrooms and an untidy kitchen through out the rest of the home didn't help improve that impression either. The buyers hated almost everything about it, their words, not mine. This is an actual picture of the home being shown while on the market.
Now onto our second home, the homeowner simply followed their agent's direction to meet with a stager. After they clearly understood the value of home staging, they did almost everything their stager asked; in the end it cost a few paint cans, a storage unit, a few tough weekends, a little inconvenience and a few hundred dollars investment for the staging consultation. Our second home was staged to perfection. Our buyers were welcomed into the home with clean floors, no unpleasant odors, beautifully painted walls and a neutral, but welcoming foyer. Did they want to see the rest of the house? You bet they did.
How do I know? Well, because the Real Estate Agent told me so. At the end of the tour, the buyers were ready to put in an offer on the staged home. Instead of being thrilled that he had finally found a house for his picky buyers, the agent stands there confused.
The Agent: "Don't get me wrong, this is really great news, but why did you tell me that you hated the house and now you want to put in an offer?"
Now it's the buyers turn to be confused. The Buyers: "What do you mean? We love this house! Why else would we want to make an offer?"
The Agent: "Well because you told me on the first house that you hated it and now you want to put in an offer on the same house."
The Buyers: "This isn't the same house as the smelly one."
The Agent: "Yes, it is the same house as the smelly one. It's the same floor plan, same everything! I thought I had mentioned that to you already. Didn't I?"
The Buyers: "Are you kidding me?"
The Agent: "No. I'm not kidding."
The Buyers: "Well, I'll be darned. Now that I think about it, it is the same house. Wow! That's incredible!"
The Agent: "So, do you want to look at the other one again?"
The Buyers: "No. Why would we want to do that for?"
The Agent: "Just in case you want to compare them again now that you know they're the same."
The Buyers: "The only reason we'd want to see that house again is to see how much lower our offer will be because it isn't as nice as this one. But on the other hand, we'll have to do so much work to get it to look as good as this one."
How did the story end you ask? Well, our buyer wanted a move-in ready house and so they offered full price for the staged one.
My agent loves to tell this story because when he does, sellers don't need anymore convincing.
Sure it could have ended with the buyer going for the "smelly" house and my story wouldn't have ended as happily. But don't think for a moment that the homeowner of the unstaged house wouldn't have questioned why his house sold $20,000 to $40,000 below his neighbor's staged house.
The moral of my story: Do your client and yourself a favor, recommend an experienced stager and you too can live happily every after with a client for life. The End
Although these are not pictures of the actual homes described here in the tale, they are actual before and afters of a recently staged home that shows what a difference a few small changes can make. Moving the dresser helped open up the room to make it look bigger from the buyer's perspective.
Simply Staging has been offering Home Staging Solutions for both the "Vacant" and the "Not So Vacant" homes in El Dorado County and The Greater Sacramento area for more than 4 years. For your proposal, give us a call at (530) 417-1337 and see what it takes to get your home "Sell Ready".