And, speaking of "blinders", how many houses have you gone into that still have Levelor blinds on most every window?
I recently toured a vacant house that has been on the market for more than a year. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will show you what I found in this $800,000+ house that was built in the late 1970's and is located in an extremely 'tony' area here in Northport, LI, NY...
Here is the Living Room complete with raised platform which originally 'housed' a Baby Grand piano. A brass and glass etagere and the white sectional were left to 'stage' the room. Notice the vertical blinds on the window and the mirrored radiator. Under the wall to wall is sub-flooring (sorry about the Realtor and her daughter in the photo!). My suggestion was to remove mirrored wall, Levelors, carpeting & platform (replace with more neutral wall to wall),the Etagere and patch & paint the walls. Cost to seller for a professional to do the job: $695.00
I would prefer using more 'up to date' furniture, but would work with the sectional if need be. The cost to rent furniture that would make this room more appealing to potential buyers: $445 per month based on 3 month rental and $260 per month for a 6-month lease.
Remember that the asking price for this house that has been on the market for more than a year is in excess of $800,000.
Let's move on to the Dining Room, shall we?
I should mention that back in the 1980's this house was quite the showplace and built-in Mica was very big (but then again, so were shoulder pads and "Dynasty" and neither of those things are part of our lives in 2009)!
I had my contractor price out removing the built-in shelves, carpeting, blinds, 2 leaves from the table and the credenza from this room and patch & paint the walls. All totaled it came to $420 (including paint).
The estimate to rent 6 Parson chairs was $150 per month for 3 months rental and $114 per month for a 6-month rental.
There was the most wonderful Family Room complete with fireplace, skylights, and a wall of windows that looked out to a large, private yard that included an in-ground swimming pool. The major problem with this room was a large, custom build Mica cabinet that housed a large-screen TV.
Aside from the carpeting, the major problem in the room was the dated Entertainment Center and the fact that the Fireplace, which should have been the focal point, was dwarfed by the large sectional and secondary to the TV unit.
So, once again, I had my contractor price out dismantling the Entertainment Unit, resetting the electrical outlets in the wall behind the unit, removing the wall-to-wall, and painting the wall behind the TV unit.
I could work with the sectional, if need be, but adding appropriate furniture & furnishings would create a room that would be more appealing to today's buyers. The monthly rental fee would be $285 a month based on a 3-month rental and $193 per month for the 6-month lease.
So, let's do the math, shall we?
Total renovation fee was $1,560 for all 3 rooms.
Total furniture rental fee based on 3-month rental: $880 per month for all 3 rooms
Total furniture rental fee based on 6-month rental: $567 per month for all 3 rooms
If the seller opted to make the needed changes and rent the furniture for 3 months, the total cost (includes 3 months rental) = $4,200
If the seller made the needed changes and rented the furniture for 6 months, the total cost (including the 6 months rental) = $4,962
It's a "no-brainer" which option gave more 'bang for the buck'! Based on a selling price of $800,000, any of the options cost much less than 1% of the selling price. What do you think the next price reduction will be on this house - $4,000? No way! With that price point, it's going to be in the $20,000 to $50,000 range!
The seller opted not to accept any of the services and instead will do the work himself.
Val Allocco, a certified (HSE), professional Home Stager, is the founder & owner of Staged 2 Sell NY which was established in early 2006 and serves all of Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) as well as the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. She is also the Metro New York Chapter President of ASHSR (American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners).
Val has taught Adult Education courses on "Staging Your Home To Sell" and has also been a featured speaker at numerous Home Selling Seminars on, and around, Long Island. She is available for seminars and other real estate related presentations and can be reached at 516-982-2671.
Please visit www.staged2sellny.com for more information and examples of our work.