No Stage, No Play
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Although, in Shakespeare's words, "All the world's a stage," in the world of theater, a play is rather hard to enact without a stage. It's been tried over the years, but traditional theatergoers prefer a conventional stage.
And so do homebuyers.
GREAT. Yet another blog on staging, you say. One more appeal to get sellers to pay money they don't have to sell their home in a market that's upside down like the Poseidon. Why bother? Haven't we heard it all?
In the immortal words of Bullwinkle the Moose, "BUT WAIT! There's more!"
The three pillars of a successful sale are: Preparation, Promotion and Price. Of the three legs, price is without question the most important of the three. Using the Pareto Principle, price actually accounts for 80% of a successful sale. Currently, discount pricing reigns supreme as REOs are flooding into the market like water through the cracked levees of New Orleans. How can a normal seller HOPE to float a normal sale against the incoming surge of lower priced homes?
Believe it or not, there are buyers out there who don't want an REO.
They aren't "handi" types. They don't have the will or desire to "make the house their own." They can't "see the potential" and quite frankly, aren't interested. And not everyone has the Martha Stewart gene for using a twisted fork as a curtain tieback. Many of these buyers are actually willing to pay more to buy a nice house that's ready to move into.
Scratch most REOs off your list.
This is where an understanding of buyer psychology is critical. Sellers need to realize that before buyers visit their listing they've already been shopping. And not for homes, either. They've been to Pottery Barn, Ashley Furniture, Crate & Barrel and more. They already have all the furnishings picked out for their new digs. They know what colors they like. You get the idea. Savvy sellers and their agents understand what buyers are looking for.
A place that ALREADY feels like home.
THEIR home. The one they want to live in. A home that resonates with them from the very first moment they walk through the front door. A home that has effectively been prepared to be a "stage" upon which they can live out the drama of their lives. Make no mistake about it: when you stage your home, you are trying to connect with the psyche of potential buyers. You are trying to manipulate their emotions and excite them into action. Just like a fine actor works the audience when you go to the theater.
If a seller wants to compete in today's market with REOs and come out ahead, staging is not an option. Sellers have to remove Price as the primary consideration -- in other words, they have to attack the 80% (Price) with the remaining 20% (Preparation and Promotion): and they have to win.
And they can - if done well. I‘ve actually seen buyers walk around and stroke the furniture in a well staged home. That caress is a touch of identification. New home builders know this all too well - if you've been to one of their showrooms lately you'll understand that even in these depressing times, their model homes sizzle.
Only good stagers need apply.
This is not for the faint of heart or the not-so-skillful. You need a stager who is at the top of their game and understands the psychological makeup of the buyers you are targeting. One with an eye for making rooms pop. If done right, the staging in a seller's home will resemble a Tony Award winning production, alongside of which the "reality shows" of REOs will pale in comparison. And get equally poor ratings.
No stage? No play. No sale, either.