Don't Buy A Staged Home!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc

Hey guys!

Glad that headline caught your attention.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a huge fan of staging. You can see my blog: It's The Staging Stupid!!

But I, unlike NAR which can figure out a way to say "Now is the time to buy" in the same ad as "Now is the time to sell."

You can't have it both ways!! 

I tell my buyers to NOT BUY STAGED HOMES!

 Sorry, the seller was wicked smart for hiring a stager to make it look great, well my client will be advised to be wicked smart and AVOID that home and instead go after a more dumpy home and THEN hire the stager to fix it up to his liking.   You can see the pilot for a tv show around this idea at http://youtube.franklyrealty.com/

Right now I got a call from a buyer that loved a $540k condo that was super upgraded. It was the EXACT same unit as  $500k place.  My advice is to bid aggresively on the $500k place and take that $50k (after getting $10k to $20k off) and make your own custom changes!

So do you agree or disagree? Smart buyers should AVOID staged homes!

Frank- Realtor/Broker FranklyRealty.com Virginia 

Update: See Buyers! Photoless Listings= $15,000 "Sale"

 

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Rainer
4,165
Lanita, Interior Concept Designs, Home Staging
Interior Concept Designs - Silver Spring, MD

You're entitled to give your clients whatever advice you deem helpful.  However, I'm sure that (unless your client has already expressed a preference for dumpy, fixer uppers) you prefer to show clients houses that are clean, attractive and appealing.  Somehow there is this notion that staged homes are misrepresenting themselves--that some sort of "let's fool the buyers" is going on.  This simply isn't what staging is about.

It just makes sense for sellers to make their homes as appealing as possible before putting them on the market.  It's human nature to be attracted to things that look good.  It's your job as the real estate agent to make sure that buyers find what they want, protect themselves by getting the necessary inspections, and pay a fair market price.  In my mind, it doesn't seem like such great advice to tell your buying clients to stay away from properties that look great! 

 

Apr 18, 2007 02:22 AM #12
Rainmaker
138,042
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:. FranklyRealty.com
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

Hey Lanita,

If you only knew the number of times that an client told me what they "wanted," and I took that information and showed them something else. I would say over 75% of the time they will start of saying "no townhouses" but then they describe the price range that they want, the amenities etc for their new detached house. 

I then ask them to do me a favor of going into ONE townhouse. They reluctantly agree and then there is no looking back... they ONLY want to see townhouses. They suddenly see "wow, this is what it means to buy something under 10 years old versus a 50 year old house in this area... thanks for opening my eyes."

A good Realtor's job is to go outside of what the client thinks that they want.

With staged homes, they THINK that they want something pretty. They are drawn to it like a mosquito is drawn to light.  I instead show them that the walls, floorplan and location is what matters and I show them how much they can save buying a perfect home that needs a little work. And as for the hassle of the work, hire the designer to manage the entire process. Then tell them to use the $20,000 they save for a new car. That gets their attention, when you talk real numbers.  

 

And yes of course, if after I try to show them the light, if they STILL want the staged place, I of course won't stop them and will help them to the best of my ability. But I won't let them get zapped without my input first. 

 

Apr 18, 2007 02:44 AM #13
Rainmaker
128,062
Tchaka Owen
Galleria International Realty - Hollywood, FL

Frank, the flaw in your argument is that you have used an example where you see a significant savings by buying the less expensive one and doing the staging.  It's a flaw because you're using that same example to fit into every other one.  That won't work.  It's very possible to have a $25k difference with $20k cost.  Will that person save $5k by getting a stager?  Yes.  Is it a better deal to do it that way?  Depends.  To some it is, to others it isn't.  You say that it's simply a matter of gettinga designer, etc, etc. - that's too much work for some and they're more comfortable leaving things as is.  To others (me included), it's worth it to save $5k.  Everyone has a different price on time and that's not anything you or I can necesarily change. 

- Tchaka 

 

Apr 18, 2007 03:22 AM #14
Rainmaker
138,042
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:. FranklyRealty.com
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

Yes at $5k it isn't worth it for major fixes.

 In my experience, the difference is  MUCH larger.

Apr 18, 2007 03:34 AM #15
Rainmaker
289,219
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

When I buy a home to flip I look for the ones with good bones and ugly skin - given my experience in the remodeling & design business I can visualize the end product and do most of the work myself. Then I stage it, then I sell it. It doesn't just look nice it is nice all the way thru.

 You are wrong ,I can have it both ways! 

 Smart boy ,Frank make them mad * they will comment. 

Apr 18, 2007 04:00 AM #16
Rainmaker
138,042
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:. FranklyRealty.com
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

Hey Kathleen,

Exactly! Buy stuff with ugly skin and hire a designer if you dont have the vision!

You know what? Maybe I'll get into the fix and flip business!!

Apr 18, 2007 09:54 AM #17
Rainmaker
136,299
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!
Frank, I am so confused...Are you not the agent who has a video with your stager? If you are, then who do you sell your listings to? Are you saying when you list a house, you have it staged, and when you have a buyer don't show them your staged listings unless they beg you??? This is so interesting to hear your point of view. I also want to ask you if you up the price of a listing because it is staged?
Apr 18, 2007 10:57 AM #18
Rainmaker
138,042
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:. FranklyRealty.com
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

Hey Sheron,

In Virginia there are 2 agents in each deal. So the the agent that does the selling, doesn't SELL directly to buyers.

There is the listing agent that puts the house up for sale and makes it all pretty. Then there is the Buyer agent that brings the buyer to the house (oftentimes releaved that it isn't yet another crappy listing).

 So when I list, I hire Patricia to make the place look like a million bucks.

 But when I help a BUYER, usually there is not an overlap (ie they want my listing). Too many homes, too many price ranges, too many counties for that to happen often.

 So my houses get sold through other agents (via other firms).

 If I had a buyer, and he liked my listing, I would have to pick one client. I don't do DUAL AGENCY where you try to represent BOTH sides. And yes, if that buyer was my client, I would probably help them find a dumpier place and then help them fix it up and save $20,000 and NOT buy my pretty place (unless he wanted it of course).

 

Apr 18, 2007 11:17 AM #19
Rainmaker
230,742
Craig Schiller
Trempealeau, WI

FRANK FRANK FRANK...  I LOVE YOU MAN!

A GREAT STAGER stages a house in a way that it looks AMAZING... but does not look contrived.

This separates the amatures for the kiddies!

STEALTH STAGING.

THIS ONE POST helps me articuate who we are and what we do in a way I never say, but knew we were doing.

THANKS,

Me

 

Apr 18, 2007 11:23 AM #20
Rainmaker
128,062
Tchaka Owen
Galleria International Realty - Hollywood, FL

Sheron,

You're mixing up Frank with Bizarro Frank....two totally opposite guys.  ;-)

- Tchaka 

 

Apr 18, 2007 01:32 PM #21
Rainer
4,017
Patricia Barta
Staging by Patricia - Great Falls, VA
Staging by Patricia, N. Virginia

I just love Frank....always thinking, always making you think.

Stealth Staging? That is SPECTACULAR thanks Craig!

Apr 18, 2007 02:04 PM #22
Rainer
31,280
Jessica Hughes
Ambiance Staging - Boulder, CO

Stealth Staging..... I see another blog coming Craig.

Frank, I getcha and I agree to a point.  As a buyers agent your job is to serve your client.

Only thing I would say is that buying a 490,000 property over a 540,000 one doesn't usually actually mean a buyer has 50,000 more cash in hand to fix the cheaper one up. 

Apr 18, 2007 03:09 PM #23
Rainmaker
136,299
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

Frank - I all cleared up and I really do get it. It is not like that here in California...the stories I hear are nightmares because we don't have the separation. Now I can move on...how many comments did I have, 3?

Tchaka - cool name! Kind of like gotcha! Anyway...F vs BF? Who do you like better?

Apr 18, 2007 05:27 PM #24
Rainer
73,992
Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN

Frank -

I totally get where you are coming from.  As a buyer, I would never look for a staged home, even though I am a stager myself. But I can look past all of the negative and see the positives underneath.  Only about 10% of the population can do that.  That's why they need stagers.

I am also a huge believer in sweat equity.  It is smarter to underbuy and make the investment work for you.  Is everyone smart enough to do that?  Obviously not, or I wouldn't have a job. That's why they need stagers.

When our house sold 2 years ago, we made a killing and partially because the house was staged.  Would I ever sell a house without staging it first? Never. Can everyone effectively stage a home? No.  That is why they need stagers.

Like Kathleen said - I can have it both ways!

Apr 19, 2007 02:16 AM #25
Rainmaker
138,042
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:. FranklyRealty.com
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

Hey Kimberly,

I'd like to touch on one point, you wrote:

"Can everyone effectively stage a home? No.  That is why they need stagers."

 

I'd like to add:

"Can everyone effectively stage a home? No.  That is why they need GOOD stagers."

 

Not all stagers are created equal. Just because you went to a 3 day seminar, doesn't mean you have the interior design skill sets. You can only be taught so much. The rest is experience AND more importantly just have the "it" factor. 

 

Apr 19, 2007 02:24 AM #26
Rainer
73,992
Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN
Excellent point.  I totally agree.  You either have it, or you don't!
Apr 19, 2007 12:17 PM #27
Rainmaker
138,042
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:. FranklyRealty.com
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

An update to the general idea of not overlooking poorly marketed homes:

Buyers! Photoless Listings= $15,000 "Sale"

Nov 20, 2007 04:41 PM #28
Rainer
46,177
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Frank - I'm not even going to read the comments and I know I'll take a ton of flack for this, but I agree with you.  Some buyers will only want to view the home that is staged because they don't want to be bothered, they just want to unpack and settle in.  Other buyers however do have the luxury of a little and sometimes more time to have someone come in that has vision and is a creative problem solver.  Whether the property is purchased for a flip or for a personal residence this is a great idea and I just on Saturday had a conversation with a general contractor about this very topic about a nearby predicted to be high end residential area.

There are tremendous opportunities to be had in thinking outside the proverbial box of real estate sales and staging.  Thank you, thank you!

Jackie

Nov 20, 2007 05:16 PM #29
Rainmaker
47,793
Kim Dillon
Creative Eye Home Staging - West Chester, PA

Very thought provoking post.  Reminds me that I was going to do a post on being AWARE (not beware) of staging!  A savvy buyer should be aware, but that doesn't mean they should steer clear of a staged home.  Make the comparisons and choose the best deal for you! 

Kim Dillon, Creative Eye Home Staging

Nov 20, 2007 10:14 PM #30
Rainer
124,270
Michael Myers
King-Rhodes & Associates - Cherokee Village, AR

I would be a hypocrit. I believe in staging on the selling side, but of course as a buyer I am always leary of such staging. I am not looking for savvy sellers when I am buying, whether it is a car or a real estate property, and a well staged home shows some savvyness (is that word?!) and gives me the hint that the seller may be harder to negotiate with. For that, I fully admit I'm a hypocrit. Just depends on which side of the transaction I'm on.

Nov 17, 2009 02:04 AM #31
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Rainmaker
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FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:. FranklyRealty.com

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