Question: My 70 year old mother is moving from her home located in a great area with fabulous schools and amenities. The problem is that her home is dated and that includes furniture.
What are your thoughts on staging a home in a marketplace that is hot and may sell quickly? We have been told to at the very least to have a stager in and remove my mother’s personal items to help garner a larger profit. Do you feel that staging is necessary in this case and what criteria should I use to make a decision to invest in staging?
Answer: The short answer is yes: Bringing in a professional to help prepare the home for sale, (and photography) is critical to maximize your mother’s “Net Proceeds” from the sale. Sellers wish to receive the biggest check possible at closing and there are small things that can be done to make for a good return on the investment. Professional staging is an easy answer to clutter. Remodeling a “dated” home can be costly and stressful.
The scenario outlined above is very common and is as much about family and feeling as it is real estate. Elderly folks are going through a tremendous change in their lives. Care and compassion are as important as advertising and contracts for a successful transaction. A professional stager whom understands memories and cherished possessions as well as resale values and matching colors will make the whole experience less stressful.
99% of buyers now find their new home on the internet. They are looking at the pictures, (the Multiple Listing Services now allows 25 photos for each listing). Clutter and personal items spoil the pictures and if the buyers do visit the home, they will be looking at the family photos on the wall, not the home. Nor do we want a vacant home with no furnishings or context. We want a warm, livable home where buyers can envision the own furnishings and family enjoying life.
Even though we are entering a seller’s market, doing the small things right will pay a huge dividend. Other, more costly investments need to pass a cost/benefit analysis prior to commitment. There is no sense spending several thousand dollars upgrading something in the home and then not getting a much better price. Spending $500 and getting a $5,000 return is very good. Spending $5,000 and getting and additional $6,000 in sales price is not.
A quick easy rule; new carpet and paint usually are the best investments, after staging and photos. Don’t remodel your bathrooms or kitchens, or build a deck unless you have done a thorough financial analysis. Chances are you will not be happy with the results.