Every real estate professional wants to have the reputation for being “the agent that makes the most money for their sellers.” But how exactly can you do that? First, I’m going to give you a real life example of a home that recently sold for $100,000 over asking price, and then I’m going to provide the three ways this stager and agent got a bidding war started while we view the before-and-after photos from Donna Dazzo of Designed to Appeal.
1. Assess the home’s market potential
Every real estate agent understands the various factors that come into play to determine the “comparables” for a property, but when a property is upwards of $200,000, there is a larger “staging potential” that comes into play. Recently, 2014 staging statistics show that professionally staged homes on average sell 10 percent higher than non-professionally staged homes. So what is that 10 percent worth to your seller?
For instance, in the above photo the agent would have an idea of the asking price of this home in it’s current “unstaged” condition. But what about in its staged condition…
As you can see, the marketing of the home in both staging and photos has a dramatic effect on the outcome of the sales price. I call this the “buyer desirability factor” because the stager pinpoints the type of buyer we want and raises the “desire” for the space.
How can you assess the home’s market potential? First you need to assess the reasonable sales price of the home in its unstaged condition compared to its competition. Next, you need to ask whether you may be able to raise the price of the home at least 10 percent in its staged condition. If that raised sales price is over $10,000 …
2. Coax seller “buy-in”
One of the biggest challenges for agents is getting the seller to understand the need for professional staging, as well as committing them to the sales process. Ask the seller, these few questions which will get them thinking about the quality of product they are putting forth and the dollar potential they are leaving on the table in the sale of the home:
Critical Question #1: What percentage of your home has not been remodeled in the last 5 years? Even though not all remodeling projects are equal, this question speaks to the relevance of this home and the design knowledge of the home seller, since interior design styles have changed drastically in the last few years.
Critical Question #2: What percentage of your furnishings (particularly artwork) has been purchased in the last 5 years? As you can see from the before photo above (which is typical for most homes), most homes have dated furnishings which lowers the “buyers desirability factor” drastically.
Critical Question #3: If you could make 10 percent more on the sale price of your home through professional staging, can I refer an expert home stager your way? Remember, statistically sellers who have their home professionally staged are making on average 10% more in this market than those who attempt to do it themselves. Sellers rely on their agents to educate them on the sale process and what they need to do to make the best price for their home. In this market, the seller who sells quickly but makes $30,000 less than their neighbor because they didn’t stage will not be happy sellers.
3. Don’t be afraid to tell the “ugly truths.”
The ugly truth is that anyone who has watched the real estate market over the last few years knows there’s no such thing as a “set price” for a home. The price is determined by what the buyer is willing to pay AND the buyer is willing to pay a lot more for a “model home” look.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president of the Home Staging Resource, a RESA Accredited home staging training and certification company. Slinkey has personally trained over 3,000 stagers worldwide and is a bestselling author and international speaker. She also serves as president of the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners. Connect with her on Facebook!