The Boston Globe ran a special extended real estate section yesterday called "Spring House Hunt" with a few interesting articles about the Boston real estate market. One of those was "Shining a light on your home's best assets" by Ted Siefer about staging a home and whether or not it pays off to do it. Couple of things I love about the article - for one, my business partner, PT Vineburgh, got quoted plus the success story of a client of ours, Alma Dell Smith, got written. Not only that, but the staging expert we work with, Blair Hamaty at Setting the Space, also got quoted (note: if you need staging help, call him first). But, as always, there were also some things I didn't love, which I'll get into below. In the article, Ted writes:
Unless you plan to satisfy buyers' expectations for fire sale prices, your property better be carefully packaged and presented - both online and in reality. Buyers are apprehensive enough these days without having to worry about cracks in the paint and what they may portend.
I agree - completely. In fact I agree so much that it sounds an awful lot like what I wrote in this blog months ago in the two key components of a home sale. No shock, since I discussed it with Ted and pointed him to our client Alma Dell Smith (who I also wrote about in that post) for her direct take on the value of staging:
Alma Dell Smith is a true believer in staging. For more than three months last year, she and her husband had been trying to sell their townhouse in the Kenmore Square area. They lowered the price by $30,000. At the urging of a new broker, they took the house off the market and had it staged. The couple had been using the house as a home office, and once it was thoroughly cleared out, Setting the Space had it touched up and furnished in a contemporary European style.
"They made it look like the most upscale place you can imagine," said Smith.
Once back on the market, it sold in two weeks, for close to the original asking price, around $670,000.
Ok, so the details are slightly off in the article, but the story is mostly correct. We had the condo staged and brought it back on market at a higher price, then SOLD IT at a price $11,000 higher than the previous agent had it listed for. It's great to see a "real-life" example of the value of staging printed - at least 300% return on investment in this case. I do have to take issue with something here though. I wonder why Ted Siefer wrote "at the urging of a new broker" rather than say who that new broker was (P.T. and I, in this case), especially since he goes on to quote P.T. later in the article anyway:
"According to the latest surveys, close to 90 percent of buyers start their search online," said Philip Vineburgh [aka P.T.] of Charlesgate Realty Group. "Professional photography, floor plans, virtual tours" - which offer 360-degree panoramas of selected rooms - "all of these are key to getting people to go from online to actually viewing a place. They want to get a good sense of what's actually going on in a place before going to a showing."
So part of what we did for Alma Dell - and other clients obviously - is advise her in staging and prepping her condo for market. The other part is utilizing effective marketing techniques like professional photos, virtual tour, and floorplans (among other things), which is just as important, especially in the "wired" world we live in and market to now.
What are your thoughts? Comment below!
P.S. My "retrospective" report on the Boston condo market since 2000 is nearly complete. Full charts, graphs, and analysis to show you exactly where the Boston real estate market is today (broken down by neighborhood), what has happened over the past 8-9 years, and where we may be headed in the next 3-5 years. Make sure to subscribe or check back in so you don't miss it!