Redemption for the soul less. Staging SAVES the vacant house

By
Home Stager with Home Star Staging

Brothers and sisters this is a sermon; a sermon on the mountain of vacant properties that are a growing, guilty reality for many in the world of residential real estate.

 

No bones about it   skeleton   vacant house vacant houses are soul less properties.  

There is no life to or in them.  An absolute fact because no one lives there!  

A common expression, "home is where the heart is" is one we can all relate to. 

home   heart girl

How then can a house be called a home when there is nothing "homey" there to show for it?  

It is a vacant, empty vessel.  Once filled with life and the living, only to be left for deadrip

Vacant properties are a hard sell folks, and for those in the real estate world we know it.

 

Fear not brethren, there is hope for the weary vacant soul less.  Gather round the staging pulpit and take heed.   There is redemption for the soul less!

 

In all seriousness, vacant, pre-owned residential properties are a growing problem in the real estate market. With sluggish new home sales being felt in many parts of the country, why would a potential buyer want to choose a pre-owned vacant property over a vacant new model home or a home in the same area that shows better because it's occupied(and appropriately showcased a.ka. "staged or merchandised")? 

What does the pre-owned vacant property offer that a new model or nicely appointed occupied resale doesn't?  In the case of model homes often, even if the model home is smaller, there are those buyers who would opt to purchase a brand new home over a vacant pre-owned property that may have (if only in their own minds) pre-existing problems. or other people's cooties. cootie(I sometimes revert to childish terms, forgive me brethren but you get what I mean right?).

Whether or not that is the case, it is often assumed that an "older"  dr patient home may present problems that a new baby new yearhome won't.   A fresh, clean palette is awaiting the new occupants. 

If you are currently selling a vacant property and are having a difficult time maybe it's time to rethink your strategy.     huddle

 

Here are some things to consider if you have a vacant property currently on the market or are considering leaving your yet to be listed property vacant. There are also some helpful tips on what you can do to get that property seen and sold.  

 Problems associated with Vacant Home Sales

  1. It is estimated that less than 20% of buyers can see beyond emptiness & envision their possessions and furniture in a vacant space.  Potentially that translates to loosing 8 out of 10 buyers that walk through your door!
  2. Buyers generally make low ball offers because they may believe that the owner "must be desperate to sell" because "they could be paying two mortgages, utilities, landscape maintenance, etc". This often translates into a buyer thinking they'll get a better deal.
  3. Rooms appear smaller than they truly are. There is no point of reference and many buyers can't visually place their things and they become overwhelmed by a lack of vision.  
  4. Rooms actually feel hotter in summer and colder in winter.
  5. Buyers may think the home is not cared for when not lived in.  Is the pool/yard/home itself being maintained on a regular schedule?
  6. Paint colors (or even lack of any) stand out if too drastic; buyers look at it as work to do not move in ready.  Same goes for wall paper, an often personal choice and it dates a property.  Wall paper is "out" in many markets.
  7. Dirt, smells and small details stand out more distracting attention from what you want buyers to see. From holes in walls, stains in carpet, grout in kitchen and baths, scuff marks on walls, to doors and baseboards these issues can be addressed using nice, moderate accessories and limited furnishings, drawing attention what we want buyers to see.  Never hide obvious flaws but you can minimize small problems in aesthetic details.
  8. Room flow issues or unique, unusual rooms may be a concern but with furniture properly placed buyers see how it works.
  9. Buyers may feel there are too many windows, doors and bare walls to contend with.
  10. Critters often take up residence in an unoccupied property, from insects to small rodents and raccoons! (especially in colder climates)

Tips on How to Prepare a Vacant Home for Sale  

  1. Contact a Professional Home Stager to stage your property or give you a consultation to help provide you with the tools necessary should you decide to do it yourself!  Many Home Stagers provide this service very cost effectively and can assist you with a "punch list" of items to do and get to show your home beautifully.  This is number one for a reason, being a professional home stager myself I understand how to help you as do my staging partners around the country in the home staging industry.
  2. Clean, clean and clean some more.  Carpets (replace if they're beyond professional cleaning, you will get your return on the investment a buyer can live with a clean, lower grade neutral carpet over dingy dirty and smelly - even if you offer an "allowance"), windows, grout, baseboards, walls, sinks, tubs, windowsills, patios, driveways, decks, switch plates, counter-tops EVERYTHING should shine.
  3. Curb appeal is crucial.  Just because no one lives there doesn't mean it should look like it outside! Buyers drive through neighborhoods and feel a sense of excitement when the home they are being shown looks great from the front.  A well maintained landscaped yard says, "I've been cared for and loved".
  4. "Beg, borrow or steal some furniture." No not really that would really be a sin to steal...Purchase, rent or bring back from your current residence broadly appealing, neutral furnishings to be placed in key rooms. There are many stores, from Target, IKEA, TJ Maxx and Pier 1 to name a few where you can get nice looking pieces for not a lot of cash.  A furniture rental company is another option, they usually require a minimum rental budget and time frame but they deliver and set up for you and take it all away once the house sells.  Many staging companies utilize the services of national furniture rental companies and can pick the pieces needed for your property. Many furniture rental companies also have furniture clearance centers should you decide to purchase.  If you are local and have nice, modest furniture that isn't too "showy", large, outdated and the upholstery is in good shape, neutral tones and has broad appeal, consider bringing some pieces back to the vacant property to showcase certain areas. By placing furniture with the right scale in rooms, buyers will have a point of reference and the idea of furniture placement. Never obstruct traffic flow with furniture!
  5. Find a focal point in the room and highlight it. Maybe it's a beautiful view, an awesome fireplace or a unique architectural detail.  Showcase it for the buyer to see.  Don't hide it!
  6. Accessorize with tasteful items that are in proper proportion and scale to the room.  Linens for the beds should be plump, fresh and neutral. Use tasteful artwork and décor in larger scale (nothing too small).  Use the rule of 3 to arrange artfully.  Tall, medium and low are visually appealing.  Lamps, greenery, throws and decorator pillows are nice touches and should be used. Once again, many Professional Home Stagers keep items such as these as inventory and for a fraction of what you'd pay for it they bring their "tools of their trade" to your property and breathe life back into it.
  7. Update outdated and personal features and decorating choices. Paint is the easiest and most inexpensive of fixes and it takes nothing more than your time and a little sweat equity. Choose colors wisely.  Nothing too bold, bright, daring, dark or dramatic.  Think neutral tones, creamy beiges, taupe and antique whites for a "move in ready" appeal.  Buyers can live with fresh and clean neutral wall colors that they can eventually put their personal stamp on over the work involved in having to paint or remove wall paper themselves.  Remove outdated curtains, draperies and heavy "decorator" window treatments.  Replace with neutral panels and rods or install 2" blinds (cost permitting). Hang rods higher than the frame of the window to bring the room "up".
  8. Make sure all light fixtures and fans are working and curtains or blinds are open to reflect lightness and brightness to a room.
  9. You don't live here anymore so make it appeal to those who will.  Get over the fact that the mural on Chachi's bedroom wall was painted in her favorite fuchsia and cilantro with flowers of blue.  Chachi has a new room and loves it!  Your memories go with you!
  10. DID I MENTION TO CALL A HOME STAGER? I can't stress this enough if you're finding you're hitting a brick wall in creativity and ideas.  They will be the objective eyes you need with the skill and knowledge to help you achieve your goals.  Call one for a cost effective home staging consultation and they'll help you get on your way to a successful home sale.
  11. Say your prayers.  It's always a good thing.  Ask and you shall receive is what my Lord says. But you also need to know when to help yourself and your cause.  God provides the door, but you must open it! There is hope for your vacant property!new sunny house

Amen.

 Copyright © 2007  Karen Otto Home Star Staging

Proudly serving, Collin County and North Dallas, Realtors, Developers, Sellers & Investors, Home Star Staging is here for you Texas!Home Star Staging logo

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Home Staging Dallas - Karen Otto

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Rainmaker
305,778
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Hey Momma Loreena! I have been thinking about you & the new kid on your block. I hope you're getting rest when you can. We need to get together when you're up for it. I'd love to see the baby! 'nitey nite..

Oct 25, 2007 03:52 PM #10
Rainer
77,324
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Karen, I can answer Terry's question concerning coma esta frijole? Writing this post. My gosh gal you had to have spent hours simply looking for the correct photos. Excellent work. Way to go!
Oct 25, 2007 04:00 PM #11
Rainer
120,706
Fernando Rosado
West Palm Beach, FL
561-906-0050 or 561-840-8950

Cute posting I like the pictorial part. but the informative section in the bottom is priceless...

COOTIES ????? cute lol

Oct 25, 2007 04:56 PM #12
Rainmaker
305,778
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Yvonne - I didn't know you spoke spanglish! You are always full of surprises. 

The photos are courtesy of my "clip art" on my computer (MS program) so that wasn't too bad.  I'm eventually going to condense this into another ezine article. My blog is my "first draft" sometimes.

Fernando thanks for stopping by. I'm a native Floridian and see you're from that area. Always nice to see someone from my home state drop by.

Oct 26, 2007 01:06 AM #13
Rainer
114,127
Leslie Godbold
WZGM AM1350 Independent Asheville Radio - Asheville, NC
Motivation Speaker, Radio host "Positively Living"
Karen, This is definitely an eye catcher! Entertaining, informative and absolutely adoreable.
Oct 26, 2007 09:47 AM #14
Rainmaker
305,778
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes
Hi Leslie - thank you for reading and the adjectives you used to describe this post. It was what I was aiming for (adorable I think you just are!)
Oct 26, 2007 09:56 AM #15
Rainer
342,722
Anthea Click
Fresh Perspectives - www.InsideNashvilleHomes.com - Franklin, TN
Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly!
Preach on Sister! Amen!!! We've missed you here in the Rain. I figured you have been really busy. I'm so glad to see you back in the virtual world.
Oct 26, 2007 02:37 PM #16
Rainmaker
181,995
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging
Awesome, girlfriend -- way to go; way to spell it out.  fun to read facts!  Ya did good! My favorite part, BTW . . .

How then can a house be called a home when there is nothing "homey" there to show for it?  

It is a vacant, empty vessel.  Once filled with life and the living, only to be left for dead

Too clever, that's why it could only come from you!

Oct 26, 2007 03:13 PM #17
Rainmaker
305,778
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Anthea - I've missed it here too.  Seems like days are too short lately and the mind comes and goes for inspiration! Thanks for the encouragement.

Karen D - a house is a reflection of the occupants in most cases - great for living most times of course - but when there is that "vacancy" there truly is a void and it's palpable - at least to most people. 

Sometimes I feel vacant! and I get myself filled by the people and things I care about most including the wonderful support of all my staging buddies here on Active Rain!

Oct 27, 2007 01:56 AM #18
Rainmaker
122,979
Jo Potvin
Design To Market LLC - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati - Design To Market
You are so creative..this is a hoot!  Great tips to!
Oct 27, 2007 04:17 AM #19
Rainmaker
305,778
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes
Thanks for stopping by Jo!
Oct 27, 2007 06:08 AM #20
Rainmaker
492,156
Kathy Nielsen
http://atlantahomestaging.net - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Well said, my staging sister! 

And regarding your point:

  • It is estimated that less than 20% of buyers can see beyond emptiness & envision their possessions and furniture in a vacant space.  Potentially that translates to loosing 8 out of 10 buyers that walk through your door!
  • So very true!

    Kathy

    Oct 27, 2007 12:23 PM #21
    Rainmaker
    305,778
    Karen Otto
    Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
    Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes
    Hi Kathy, thank you for reading SS!
    Oct 27, 2007 01:30 PM #22
    Rainmaker
    290,579
    Kathleen Lordbock
    Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
    Keller Williams Realty Professionals
    Delightfully delicious. You really can preach it sista!
    Oct 27, 2007 04:09 PM #23
    Rainmaker
    305,778
    Karen Otto
    Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
    Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes
    Kathleen your comment reminded me of the "Count Chocula" cereal commercials when I was a kid. "Frightfully delicious". Thanks for the memories!
    Oct 28, 2007 02:36 AM #24
    Rainmaker
    305,778
    Karen Otto
    Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
    Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

    seems the vacant graveyard continues to grow - thought I'd resurrect this one again...

    Sep 19, 2008 07:58 AM #25
    Rainer
    80,358
    Shobha Vyavahare
    stagewithme, Greenville, South Carolina - Greenville, SC

    Karen Loved your blog, I am a big fan of yours, how nicely you put things, love your analogies, in today's economy I think it is more than essential to stage vacants.

    Shobha

    Sep 19, 2008 08:30 AM #26
    Rainmaker
    305,778
    Karen Otto
    Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
    Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

    What a kind thing to say Shobha! I appreciate that! We have family in Greer and friends in Anderson, SC.

    Sep 19, 2008 08:58 AM #27
    Rainmaker
    212,734
    Terrylynn Fisher
    Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
    HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

    Love seeing this old post.  Fun and truth...all wrapped into one, and here it's almost Halloween again.  so timely too.

    Sep 19, 2008 05:45 PM #28
    Rainmaker
    305,778
    Karen Otto
    Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
    Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

    When I looked at the original date of this blog it was Oct. 25th of last year - so yes it was appropriate for Halloween. Thanks for stopping by Terrylynn!

    Sep 20, 2008 02:22 AM #29
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    Karen Otto

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