This is Going to be Easy! It’s a “Seller’s Market” Right?

Interest rates are inching back up and terms like “seller's market" are getting thrown around quite a bit; there is much discussion about how houses don't stay on the market long… and that buyers are “coming out of the woodwork" because the demand for homes is high while the supply is low. The rising home prices and low inventory do create a highly competitive market for buyers yet an ideal environment for sellers.

While that appears to be true in many areas of the U.S. right now, no matter what the market - buyers are always looking for the best product they can find at the best price they can negotiate. We've all encountered home sellers who aren't convinced they need to hire a Realtor because “This is going to be easy! It's a Seller's Market!!!" Now more than ever, all these factors emphasize the real significance of working with qualified real estate professionals in order to effectively get through the current marketplace.

Real estate agents representing sellers need to present potential buyers with QUICK opportunities to emotionally connect with a property. A seller and his/her Realtor need to set the property apart in presentation and value from all the other houses in the neighborhood that are up for sale. This isn't a new concept, of course, yet many sellers and even some real estate agents haven't felt the need to stage listings when the difference made in staging a home can be immense!!!

You already know this: the Internet has changed the way we sell a home.

Did you know that 42% of buyers used YouTube to look up houses for sale in 2012? Property Staging is becoming an essential marketing tool because people tend to take care of all their social, private and business needs on the internet. Most buyers want a home that is turnkey ready and home staging gives them what they're looking for. Look at the MLS photos and you can ALWAYS tell a home that has been professionally staged vs. not. The money spent on marketing the home will be twice as effective when you have photos of beautifully staged rooms versus photos done quickly and without professional planning. With over 80% (according to NAR) of home buyers searching the Internet FIRST, it's critical that home marketing photos be outstanding and have instant positive impact.

Incorporating a Staging Day or even a one-hour Staging Consultation in a listing package gives a Realtor a huge competitive advantage to the average real estate agent! Buyers recognize a home that has been beautifully prepared to sell and will want the same for their own home. Many times home sellers contact me before getting an agent, so in the staging business, the Realtor Partnership is reciprocal. A professional stager will always encourage sellers to work with an agent - it makes sense in every way. You know the old adage, “you think it's expensive to hire a professional? Well then, just hire an amateur!!!" Home staging is pure economics. When you improve upon a product, you increase the demand and thus raise the price. Several statistics consistently show that staging has an impact on price and demand. In a 2005/2006 poll by Maritz Research, over 1/3 of buyers were willing to pay more money for a home that was move-in ready. In another 2006 Royal LePage House Staging Poll (conducted by Maritz Research) revealed that 36% of potential buyers said that they would be willing to pay a premium for a home with updated décor.

A faster sale for the best price will have clients singing your praises! In a referral-based industry, happy clients mean more listings, of course!! The cost of staging is MUCH less than the first price reduction; so don't disappoint your clients with that sad alternative.

A Realtor has to have a strong client relationship that gets you through the entire escrow process. Home staging is a form of constructive criticism that sometimes addresses hard issues like unique “style," cleanliness, pet smells, and other “delicate" issues that a Realtor should not have to touch with a client. A professional home stager is trained in wording and handling these issues with delicacy yet persuasiveness. Sometimes - no matter how attached the seller is to their décor - it hurts the value. Some buyers that walk through the front door of a home have a difficult time visualizing how a home will look with their belongings in it. Sometimes a home has a quirky layout that is difficult to mentally move furniture around in. Either way, by staging a home at its “ideal" and demonstrating creative uses for space, buyers can get a better feel for how the home will look without the seller's belongings. Home staging, when done effectively, helps to show off a home at its best while downplaying a home's negative elements. After living in a home for more than two years, it is almost impossible to “objectively" view the space from a buyer's perspective and no matter how much “decluttering" a homeowner does, it doesn't address the real issue of ensuring that buyers see themselves in that particular home.

According the National Association of Realtors, Realtors are more likely to take their clients to homes that have been professionally staged rather than those which have not. When you have a reputation for listing move-in ready homes marketed specifically to buyers, agents will want to show them. In a cyclical industry, it helps to have a “quality listing" reputation. According to a Certified Staging Professionals' June 2006 survey of 218 real estate professionals, 98% believe it is necessary to hire a professional home stager but only 20% had actually done it.

Even in a “Seller's Market," there is a lot of competition!!! According to the Real Estate Staging Association, professionally staged homes:

✓ Look better than other homes on the market
✓ Spend 73% less time on the market
✓ Typically sell for more money
✓ Look better in print and Internet ads
✓ Receive more foot traffic
✓ End up on a buyer's "must see" list
✓ Are viewed by buyers as "well maintained"
✓ Are seen as "move-in" ready
✓ Have less reasons for buyers to ask for concessions
✓ "STAND-OUT" in prospective buyers' minds

Lisa Nelson is a HSR-Certified Home Stager & Redesigner and the owner of Show-Homes, LLC
1001-A E. Harmony Road, #138
Fort Collins, Colorado 80525
phone: 970.658.7811
email: Lisa@show-homes.biz

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