Get it right this time or you'll be chasing the market. AGAIN.



We saw it throughout most of 2008 especially the last two quarters:  Home sellers with nice homes, in okay condition at what was considered (in their minds) to be a good price.  And they waited and waited and frustration grew and they waited some more.  Surely some potential buyer would see the same value in their home that they themselves saw.

Well, sorry to break it to you folks, if you haven't figured it out by now, here's the cold hard truth: Buyers will only pay what they perceive to be a fair amount for a great deal.  And they know if it's not your house, there'll be another one just like it or better at a lower price down the road.  All they have to do is wait.  But, as a seller you may not be able to wait.   So what is a seller to do? 

New Year, New Plan:


Its simple there are only two variables to the solution: have the BEST LOOKING, house for the BEST PRICE.  When I say this I mean: BEST LOOKING, BEST CONDITION, and LOWEST PRICE.  There is no half-way.  Wouldn't you want the best you could get for your money? 

I speak with so many sellers who just aren't willing to do what it takes:

Take care of all maintenance items: New paint, new carpet, (yes paint and carpet are maintenance items not upgrades!) clean, clean, clean, repair any broken anything including refinishing worn hardwood floors.

  1. Upgrade, if your home does not have above the neighborhood standard in appliances, kitchen counters, flooring and master bath facilities, also upgrade primary lighting in foyer, dining room and kitchen at the very least.
  2. Stage it: hire a professional: this is not the time to be guessing based on what you see on TV.
  3. Price it lower than all comparables, not in the middle.  NO, I'm not a Realtor and would never contradict what a seller's Realtor would tell their client, however, I will be honest and I do have financial sales and marketing background and enough common sense to know that this is not the time to mess around.

So many sellers are still saying, with a bit of swagger: "Well I'm not going to give it away!"  Just remember: what you perceive as a good value and what the market perceives as value may be two different things.  If you are in a position where you must sell in this market: check your ego at the door or you may be giving it away after all: to the BANK.

Be on the look out for my next post: THE BRIGHT SIDE: There always is one.

Your friend, the brutally honest Stager.



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Kathy Knight
Intracoastal Realty Corp - Wilmington, NC
BROKER, ABR, CRS, GRI, SFR, Wilmington NC Homes an

You are right Jodi - sellers are not truly honest with themselves about price - they always think their house is worth more than it is . The market will tell you what your house is worth when it sells.

Jan 11, 2009 11:28 AM #1
Lori Donegan
Ready 2 Stage - Cleveland, TN

Everyone thinks their "beloved home" is the best looking, greatest place on earth and everyone else should pay for all the times they scrubbed the sink or cleaned the floor or made a memory.  Not gonna happen. If they really NEED to sell---they must make it the nicest and lower the price!  Thank You for your brutal honesty! 

Jan 11, 2009 11:42 AM #2
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating

Jodi ~ Don't we all think our homes are so great that surely everyone else must think so too!  All the things you mention need to be taken into account.

Jan 11, 2009 11:47 AM #3
Kathleen Lordbock
Broker/Short Sale & Staging Specialist - Crosby, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

I market to those who are seious about selling their property, no testing the marekt (already tested -it is what it is).Want to sell- will you do what it takes?

Jan 11, 2009 12:17 PM #4
Tosha Tate-Dickson
Finair Management Group Inc. - South Holland, IL

Jodi, this is an awesome post!  I'm looking forward to reading the 'Bright Side'!

Jan 14, 2009 06:35 AM #5
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Never, ever be the unlucky home seller chasing the market down. It only leads to tears.

Jan 14, 2009 07:33 AM #6
Diana Young
Staging Seattle, King & Snohomish Counties - Edmonds, WA

You've really hit the nail on the head, Jodi!  In this market sellers must remember that their home for sale is a product that is competing with many other "products" (homes) on the market.  If theirs is not perceived to be the best value, sellers will move on.  The product is only worth the price that buyers in the marketplace are willing to pay.  It's the old "supply and demand" principle of economics.

Jan 14, 2009 07:37 AM #7
Allegra Dioguardi
Styled and Sold Home Staging and Staging Training - Westhampton Beach, NY
Home Staging & Training, Suffolk Co. Long Island

I absolutely agree with you up to a point. I still believe in the value of having buyers fall in love with a house. I equate it to seeing an outfit  or a pair of shoes you just have to have! That emotional response will sell a house (that is priced fairly) every time.

Jan 14, 2009 07:51 AM #8

Allegra, Absolutely, that's where Staging Comes in!  Isn't that our jobs?  To make people fall in love with a space?  If there isn't an emotional connection, forget it.

PS: I love your tag line.

Your friend in Staging, Jodi

Jan 14, 2009 11:15 AM #9
Allegra Dioguardi
Styled and Sold Home Staging and Staging Training - Westhampton Beach, NY
Home Staging & Training, Suffolk Co. Long Island

Thank you for the complement Jodi!

I sold my own house in Sept. I had total control of the staging because I was the client! I sold it myself for full price (with multiple offers) for more than any Realtor told me I should ask for it and way more than the comps. I netted far more than I spent on the staging. It was a labor of love but a great testament to unfettered staging.

Your friend in staging too!


Jan 14, 2009 11:49 AM #10
Paul McKee
Keller Williams Realty - The Hatcher Group - Portland, ME

Jodi, nice blog!  Today's sellers and buyers are on opposite ends more times than not when it comes to value.  In a sellers market it didn't matter much where the home was priced, it usually sold unless it was far fetched.  In this buyers market it not only needs to be on the low value end of the pricing spectrum, but it must also be in better condition than the competition.  People need to wake up and realize that they are now not only in a price war, but a beauty pageant as well!

Jan 14, 2009 12:00 PM #11
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