Should We Stage It?

Often times, homeowners ask a specific question when selling a home: “Should we stage it?” And more often than not, the answer to staging a home is “no” or “only if we think it’ll be hard to sell.” In fact, fewer than 2 out of 5 agents regularly stage the homes they list.

So does that mean that staging is just… window dressing? An unnecessary service that the homeowner might pay thousands of dollars for prior to selling a home? Well we here at Lifestyle Real Estate Services are excited to share a success story with you, and by the end of it, we’re sure you’ll agree that staging (and an attention to detail) can make the difference between a cancelled listing and multiple offers.

The story begins in September, when a home in Fresno was listed by an experienced local agent for $285,000—a fair price for the market, especially since the property was recently remodeled. Yet there were multiple problems with the listing:

  • The home was inconsistently staged: A pillow in the corner of one room, a rug in the center of another, etc. The sparseness attracted attention to the meager staging and it’s arguable that no staging might have been better than incomplete staging.
  • Deferred maintenance issues, including a broken heater that left the home at an unwelcome 55-58 degrees for prospective buyers and drew attention to other potential problems.
  • The property was mistakenly flagged as a “foreclosure” on high-traffic sites like Zillow, which automatically provided a “Foreclosure Zestimate” for approx. $50k below the list price. It also confused buyers, who assumed they were dealing with a neglected home (and not a remodeled one) in need of significant repairs.

The result? While the average Fresno property spent 40 days on the market, it took a $5k price reduction and 73 days for this home to find a buyer (and their offer was $15k below asking price!) Unfortunately, the aforementioned issues prompted the buyers to perform thorough inspections that resulted in a staggering $10k repair request. The sellers rejected the request and the deal rapidly fell apart; within a week the home was pulled off of the market.

The seller then came to us for help in getting the home sold, and we:

  • Quickly recommended $700 in repairs (no more chilly Open Houses!) that any buyer would expect, and helped give the home a more “finished” look
  • Fully staged the home
  • Put together a robust marketing package that included a professional photoshoot, the production of high-quality brochures, and a Social Media campaign viewed by over 20,000 people…

… all for the same commission that a typical agent receives. The home was listed for $285,000 and within 10 days we received 5 offers… even in the middle of January, when many real estate agents will tell you the market is too slow. The Seller accepted an offer for $288,000 — 13% higher than the previous agent’s buyer — and by February the home had an enthusiastic new owner.

The truth is that smart staging does matter, as does an attention to detail. Because as this story illustrates, even when the market favors the seller, things can go wrong, and it always pays to go the extra mile when selling your home. That’s a rule that Lifestyle Real Estate Services prides itself on following, and the results show.

But don’t just take our word for it! We hope you’ll see the amazing difference between the original agent’s staging and Lifestyle’s. And if you’re thinking about taking advantage of the market by selling your home, don’t wait! Call us today, and see how we can help turn your transaction into another success story.