On the move: Staging relocation listing to sell
Updated 12:11 pm, Friday, December 1, 2017
Pricing a home so that it will sell for the highest price, within the shortest timeframe is one of the top priorities for relocation home sellers. However, pricing is only part of the equation.
Ideally, a home also should be properly staged in order to attract the highest number of potential home buyers to a property.
Properly staging a home should be a key component of a Realtor's overall marketing strategy when listing a home for sale. This can be important, whether the home is occupied by the owner, or whether the homeowner has already moved out of the home.
According to Amy McGee, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, if a home is staged correctly, it can create an environment that helps a potential buyer to immediately feel as though they are walking into their new home, as opposed to someone else's old home.
"Staging creates a story, and in creating a story we want to avoid a vacant home, because a vacant home feels sterile, abandoned, empty and sad," McGee said. "The home should feel welcoming and ready for new happy memories. So, we stage the home to show where furniture would be placed, and to show the home's potential, but we keep the style choices very simple, so that we don't overwhelm buyers with style choices that are too specific."
She said that the idea is for the look and feel to be as neutral as possible, without going overboard. This also applies to holiday decorations, which McGee urges her home sellers to keep simple, both inside and outside of the house.
"For example, a wreath on the door is fine, but one that mimics a homecoming mum in Texas is not OK. Simple white lights are also absolutely fine, and are more universally appealing, but I don't recommend having inflatable characters in the yard," McGee said.
Likewise, she said that the scent of the home should be neutralized through the use of air fresheners and odor-eliminating products like Febreze, and McGee discourages the use of overpowering fragrances.
Most importantly, she said that a home needs to smell clean and fresh, particularly when it comes to a relocation property if the homeowners have already moved out.
Once a property becomes vacant, that's when Realtors typically call on professional stagers to assist them with furniture placement and accessories that will keep the house looking more like a home.
Samantha Hoffer, vice president of Hoffer Furniture, said that staging can be an invaluable investment in helping vacant homes sell faster. She works closely with Realtors and homeowners to stage homes throughout the Houston area.
"Since so much of the home buying process is done online, it helps to have professional photos of the home that really stand out. When a home is staged to look really nice online, it encourages a lot more people to come and see that home," said Hoffer.
She added, "Staging is more cost effective than lowering the price of a home. It helps the home sell faster at a better price, while giving potential buyers a better sense of the home in the best way possible since it is unoccupied. So, we only fill the home with very neutral furniture, which really helps to maximize the spaces for the different tastes of people who might see it."
Hoffer also said that the location of the home can have a significant bearing on how the home should be staged, and what the cost will be.
For instance, she said that Hoffer Furniture works with many home builders that have properties with the same floor plan in different areas of Houston.
As such, she said that the decor will vary considerably based on where the home is located, and the type of buyer that it is likely to attract.
"A home located in River Oaks and a home located in Pearland will have dramatically different list prices, even though they might be the same size. It's about knowing the market and knowing the consumer.
"So, as a staging resource, we stock all kinds of different types of inventory, in order to fit the style of any kind of home and location," said Hoffer.
She also said that Hoffer's staging services go beyond the furniture, and incorporates everything from decorative accessories, art work and lamps, to placing pasta in the pasta jars on the kitchen counters.
"It's really important for homeowners to understand the value of staging. It's another avenue that people don't always think about, but when you only have eight seconds to catch someone's attention as they click through photos on the Internet, it can really make a difference," Hoffer said.
Michelle Sandlin is an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert. Her work is frequently featured in Worldwide ERC's Mobility magazine, and in various business and industry related publications and corporate blogs. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit "On the Move" at blog.chron.com/onthemove.