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Staging a Home

As a seller, your home is the largest marketable commodity that you own. Our objective is to facilitate the preparation and packaging of your home to maximize the positive impact on buyers. In doing so, we aim to have the most mass-market appeal to enable an offer for purchase at maximum price and with the shortest listing time.

 

One of the main strategies that we employ in attempt to do this is staging. Its benefits are:

  • Attain a maximum selling price.
  • Quicker sales.
  • Advantage over local competition.
  • The impression of a well cared for home.
  • Better pictures for marketing and advertising.
  • Lessens stress, reduces uncertainty.

 

Staging services include:      

  • De-cluttering.
  • Best arrangement of furniture, accessories and artwork.
  • Rental of furniture and accessories if needed.
  • In-house contractor.
  • Report for the client.

 

What to expect:          

  • Staging can take between 1-3 hours all depending on the home.
  • Some packing boxes need to be handy in case there is any de-cluttering that need to be done during staging.
  • A walk through of the home with the seller’s recommendation can be made as to what should be pack away or removed entirely.
  • If necessary, furniture will be rearranged and pictures re-hung to best show a room.
  • If a seller has a lot of furniture & ‘stuff’ then off-site storage is often recommended.
  • Recommendations regarding repairs and renovations for the purpose of selling may also be made.

 

Vacant Homes:             

 

Often, vacant homes are able to benefit the most from staging services! Empty or minimally furnished homes can appear stark and uninviting. These homes are popularly furnished and accessorized to improve presentation and marketability with great success.

 

Things to-do before Staging and Photographs:

 

Yard

  • Mow the lawn.
  • Weed the gardens.
  • Rake up leaves.
  • Cut plants, make sure pathways are provided.
  • Cut back dead plants during the fall and winter.
  • Purchase planters, colorful bedding plants and baskets.
  • Put away recycling containers and remove all garbage.

 

Inside

  • Polish mirrors, fixtures and faucets.
  • Clean counters and sinks.
  • Dust furniture and ornaments and clean the floors.
  • Make up beds.
  • Anything you do not want to keep, get ride of it unless it leaves a room totally empty.
  • All boxes that you have already packed should be removed and junk should be given away/thrown-out.
  • Pack away family photographs—but not general artwork.

 

Staging allows the photographer to take better photos of your house, which will be used in our advertising and on the MLS system for potential buyers to see. Your photographs should be exactly how your home is going to look for viewings—no clutter and clean! We don’t want buyers to be disappointed.

A Place for Everything http://www.placeeverything.com/

 

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Photos & Virtual Tours

Photographs are the handshake, the first impression, and the thing that cuts through the visual clutter to capture the buyer’s attention. The photos that buyers see online are the first, and sometimes the only chance agents get to make a good first impression.   Research shows that homes photographer by a professional real estate photographer:

  • Are perceived to have a 12.9% higher market value
  • Are likely to sell 3x faster in a standard listing period than homes without quality photography
  • Are 7x more likely to be visited by prospective home buyers
  • Attract more serious buyers due to the accurate representation of the home
  • Will increase your market to the 90% of home buyers who search for homes online
  • Visually and emotionally connect buyers to the listing

The Harris-Johnson Team believed wholeheartedly in the value-added relationship that exists between real estate and photography. That is why for all our listings we offer a premium service by Total360 Photography http://total360.ca/ an experienced company that specializes in real estate photography and interior design.

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Common Pricing Objections

The Harris-Johnson Team’s agents have heard them all. As experienced Realtors, we do not expect to stop hearing them! We understand that your home is generally your biggest asset, and determining what price you are going to sell it at is the hardest and most intensive part of the process.

 Here are some of the most common:

 “Another Agent said our house was worth more…”

 -A very valid concern, and ultimately—completely possible. However, what an agent says and what they know have the potential to be two completely different things. It is not uncommon for agents to suggest a very handsome price in order to validate the homeowner’s beliefs to get the listing. Then, with the listing in toe and an unsold house, they’ll come back and pitch a more realistic price. This only serves to keep the house on the market longer and risks’ depreciating offers from potential buyers.

“Our home is nicer than those other houses you told us about…”

 -Often, ‘niceness’, has little to do with the real value of a home. While staging and the condition of a property do have an affect on buyers, it is more likely going to encourage them in bidding on the property, not the price they ultimately put forward.

“People always offer less than the asking price…”

-Not always the case. It really depends on where the house is priced in the marketplace. For example, underprice a house in a seller’s market and you will probably get even 10 or 20 offers. In this case, you may introduce bidding competition—but may not be able to make back the real value of a home.

“We can always come down on our price…”

-This is not news to buyers, and often—offers will reflect that. However, an initial price-point that buyers find fair in conjunction with a good appraisal will reflect itself in a fair offer. Overpricing a property will often just distract potential offers, limiting the ability of choice on your behalf.

“We have to get that much out of our home…”

-The price of an asset cannot be explicitly tied to need. Rather, pricing must be guided by objective reality. By introducing subjective value judgments in the transaction, you run the risk of losing our in the long run and forcing yourself to accept a lower price than what market value is worth.

“My neighbor was able to get his price…”              

-Every situation is different. The thing about gambles is that those who win them make poor examples for those who don’t. Every pricing strategy incurs a risk reward tradeoff. Harris-Johnson Team Agents will always act in accordance with maximizing the formers, and minimizing the latter.

“Lets try it at our price for a month or so…”            

-As discussed in our previous blog post, revising pricing at a later date is a second rate strategy. The Harris-Johnson Team’s goal is to price correctly once, and in doing so, minimize the time in the market place, get multiple competitive offers—and receive a fair price for your property. The longer the asset is in the marketplace, the less likely it is going to sell and the lower price you will receive for it.

“We paid more than that for our house…”

-If the market is down, and you are not being forced to sell it might be better to wait this one out. No one wants to sell an asset into market conditions that devalue the investment that they have made into it. If it all possible, it would be wise to coordinate your move with the emergence of a sellers market—which we will be defining in later blog discussions.

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Underpricing and Overpricing

By now, you have seen how the Harris-Johnson Team comes up with our pricing orientation for your property, and a couple intangible lessons that we have seen throughout our 28 years of experience in the real estate industry. Now we will compare three ways to price a home, of which all can be effective, depending on the market conditions.

 

Overpricing:

 

Deliberate overpricing by sellers and their agents is rare. Although most sellers often do believe that their home is worth more than an objective assessment does, this can have the detrimental effect of limiting competition in offers. Sellers sometimes overestimate the value of their improvements in the property, or consider what they paid for the home—but these largely do not affect the real value of your property.

 

Ultimately, the market—and buyers—decide whether the home sells and at what price. Price is king—not fancy advertising.

 

The greatest risk in overpricing your property is getting stagnant in the market place, and having to reduce your price—sometimes multiple times. Losing momentum is the worst thing that you can do—as along with it comes thousand in losses, and a stain on the property.

 

The bottom line:

  • Price it right, you end up thousands ahead
  • Overprice it, you end up thousands behind
  • Price it right, sell quickly
  • Overprice it, it can take months—or never sell at all.

 

Underpricing:

 

How do you price your property to get multiple offers? Often, underpricing is the reason. Underpricing may generate upwards of 10 offers, and substantially over the asking price—but it does not guarantee a sale at full market value (nothing does for that matter).

 

It is generally employed in the hope of attracting multiple offers and introducing competition to the bidding process. In our team’s opinion, it is fairly difficult to underprice a property, for the buyer will ultimately set the price ceiling. We like the top price for our homes, so we price them sharp. This helps us to get good activity on our properties and have as many options as possible when it comes to selecting an offer. We believe that this strategy helps us work more directly with a buyers representative by stimulating more than one offer—putting the seller in the drivers seat.

 

However, some underpricing strategies can be unintentional—they occur in situations when an agent fails to understand value or the intangible details of what produces demand for a property.

 

As we have seen, you cannot force the market to buy your house—and the only way you can encourage offers is being honest, fair and realistic. Through the Harris-Johnson Team’s 28+ years of experience, the only way to do this is find the most objective measure of market pricing through intensive research and a locally contextualized approach.

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Proactive Pricing Tips for Sellers

In our last blog post, we discussed in depth the types of strategies that the Harris-Johnson Team employs as Realtors in order to determine a fair and competitive price for a property. This blog post will focus on some general intangible lessons that as Realtors, we have learned to improve the probability for a quick sale.

 

Appealing to the ‘herd mentality’:

 

Real Estate is a high-stakes game. Buyers are generally averse to situations when they are the only one interested in a property (“there must be something wrong with it”). By pricing the property on the lower end of the comparable range of prices that we determined through our analysis, we maybe induce the stimulation of interest among more than one buyer. This serves to produce a herd mentality, increase competition, and improve the sale time of any property.

 

Price the property to be found:

 

In general, buyers will ask their agents to search for listings that are within an upward limit. So, when pricing your property we advocate that you stay under larger upward limits that may price you out of search results. For example, agents might search their local databases only for properties under $500k, thus listing your property at $505-$510K will have a smaller net benefit than if you took a small hit on pricing, and had more search results on the property.

 

Prices should not be creative:

 

Don’t price your house at $787,778. An oddly specific figure will produce unwarranted special attention. Similar to an orange house, buyers will often begin to wonder about such an odd decision.

 

Keeping the seller in the background is a good idea. The goal remains to showcase the property, and not the seller—by doing this, we hope to appeal to as wide an audience as we can manage. Quirks don’t sell.

 

Have a contingency plan:

 

Like most people, sellers have high expectations surrounding the value of their most prized asset. Often, this becomes a source of friction for people—as Realtors; our job is to attempt to limit disagreements by providing a rational assessment for a successful sale.

 

By building a contingency plan with sellers for a situation where the price of the home must be adjusted is a must. However, our strategy is to have a good enough plan A so that a plan B is not ever needed. This helps save everyone time, and reduce possibilities of any unpleasant surprises for the sellers.

 

Pricing, an ongoing discussion:

 

Ultimately, as realtors, we are prepared to be committed in an ongoing discussion over pricing with our clients. Often, pricing becomes a set-and-forget procedure, something that we aim to debunk. Flexibility is key in any transaction; and the ability to respond to market conditions allows for an increasing likelihood to get the best price with the least aggravation.

 

In our next blog post (embed), The Harris-Johnson Team will discuss the implications of the two extreme options of pricing; overpricing and underpricing.

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