What It Takes To Sell A House in 2008 (Part 1)

Home Stager with Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island
sold home

There is a saying in the Home Staging industry which states that ‘the way that you live in a house, and the way that you need to live in a house in order to sell it, are two different concepts'.  In my years of experience as a Home Stager, I have found that the majority of  today's sellers do not completely understand what this message implies nor how it would apply to their situation.  In a series of articles, I hope that I can get every seller, or potential seller out there, to see what it takes to sell a house in 2008.

Let's start with the easy part: ‘the way that you live in a house.....'

In the movie, Steel Magnolias, the character named Clairee points out that "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize".  Let's face it, we are ‘nesters' and we like to have our ‘comfort things' around us.  We also tend to surround ourselves with items that make us feel good.  It is for those reasons that our homes are an extension of who we are.  Some people enjoy a certain feeling of ‘sparseness' in their home and call it a ‘clean, crisp' look.  Like anything else, this can be taken to the extreme where the house is practically devoid of ‘personality' and conveys an almost clinical impression.  Think of a house with all white walls, white furniture, glass and chrome tables and no color whatsoever - not a plant or ‘tchotchke' in sight.  Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who have ‘too much' in their home; too much furniture, too many collectibles, and an abundance of accumulated ‘stuff'.  Thankfully, most of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

‘the way that you need to live in a house in order to sell it.......'

Okay, so here is where the confusion seems to begin; what does that statement really mean?  In order to explain this, I need to digress for a moment and point out some facts about today's Real Estate market.  I am not just talking about the difficult market that we are finding ourselves in these days, but rather the shift in how houses are marketed in this millennium - that's right, we are no longer living in the 50's, 60', 70's, 80's or 90's.  Those ‘good old days' are long gone as is the simplicity of those times. In the ‘old market', painting and cleaning up the house would suffice.  As long as it looked ‘presentable', it would sell.  Buyers would look past any ‘defects' and visualize what they could do to make the house fit their lifestyle.  It was almost a ‘given' that once you moved in, you would be painting and ‘fixing up' for quite some time.

Fast forward to 2008.  Most of us spend our lives ‘multi-tasking' because we have way too much to accomplish each and every day.  We are busier today than ever before and inflation has forced the majority of us into the work force. In the interest of saving time, most of today's buyers begin their search for a new home on the internet.  If you have ever gone online and visited your local MLS listings, you are aware of the abundance of houses that are available in a given area.  Many of those houses are newly constructed and others have been completely updated.  Both offer a substantial amount of amenities. These houses are the biggest competition for all of the others for they ‘set the standard' against which the comparison begins.  Which brings me to another important aspect of Real Estate today - sellers need to ‘market' their house in order for it to sell!  So, what does that mean?  Well, in order to ‘market' (sell) something, you need a ‘product'; in the case of Real Estate, that ‘product' is your house and it has to ‘meet or beat' the competition!

So far we have discussed the 'why' aspect of today's market; Part 2 of this article will address 'how to' prepare your 'product' so that it will sell more quickly and for the highest possible price.  Stay tuned.

For your Home Staging needs in Manhattan, Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, & Queens, Staged 2 Sell NY can 'set the stage' for your successful sale!  Call us today for a free estimate.


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Kevin Robinson
Twin Falls, ID
Fractional Developer
I can't wait for the next blog!
Mar 16, 2008 02:38 AM #1
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating
Val ~ Very good points!  I was a buyer in the 80's and 90's and know exactly what you are talking about.  It seemed that every house we looked at needed work of some kind or another, and it was expected.    
Mar 16, 2008 03:15 AM #2
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island

Kevin - It's up and ready for viewing!  I just have to finish Part 3 and I'm done!  I really hope that sellers and potential sellers will read this and gain some valuable information.  As a Home Stager I try to help the Realtor sell that listing by providing the best product possible (given the seller's motivation and funds available for upgrades).

Kathy - I bought and sold throughout the 70's, 80's, 90's and even just before the market 'turned' in 2005.  I will say that I 'staged' in the late 90's and again in 2005; in fact, that's what started me on this path!

Mar 16, 2008 03:33 AM #3
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging
Val -- very good points; and you clearly outline the changes that have occurred in marketing and product awareness.  I have some Realtors I work with that Id like to share this with, is that okay with you?
Mar 16, 2008 04:49 AM #4
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island

Karen - there are 3 parts to the article and I give you permission to use any or all.  I'm glad that you find it helpful...I hope to get all Stagers, Realtors and Sellers 'on the same page' and the more that this information circulates, the better it is for ALL involved!


Mar 16, 2008 05:05 AM #5
Kate Hart
Hart & Associates Staging and Design - Radnor, PA
Hi Val- great to see you posting again. I loved this blog. I look forward to reading the next part. kh
Mar 16, 2008 06:47 AM #6
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Val, you have a way of getting to the heart of the matter! I too, am glad to see you posting again. You have such a great way of cutting through the words and getting the message across. I'm running off to check on part 2 now. 
Mar 16, 2008 08:12 AM #7
Kathy Riggle
Houston Home Staging

Great post, Val.  With the tightening of mortgage credit now, there will be fewer qualified buyers than we have seen in  past real estate markets.  They will have more houses to shop, and sellers must be willing to go the extra mile to make their house stand out from the crowd in desirability.


Mar 16, 2008 11:09 AM #8
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"
Great idea for a blog, it seems we will never stop educating people about staging.
Mar 16, 2008 04:52 PM #9
Heather Chotard
In Style - Edmonton, AB

Val its nice to see you back blogging! Great Post!


Mar 17, 2008 03:20 AM #10
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager
Val,  Great post, well written.  I look forward to part 2.  So many sellers just don't understand that times have changed.  What worked the last time they sold a house, many years prior, just doesn't cut it today. 
Mar 17, 2008 03:21 AM #11
Jim Fischetti
The Fischetti Group/Keller Williams - Wake Forest, NC



Keep sharing, and I'd like to personally thank you. I think all agents would benefit if they created a relationship with a stager and utilized that service with all their propertie.


Jim in NC

Mar 19, 2008 02:34 AM #12
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Val Allocco

HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island
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