Katherine Brown: Sold in 1 Day
Not all staging is created equal. Katherine and her savvy seller tell the story of a two stagings– and how going with a gut feeling got them sold on the first day.
DOM: 1Sale/List: 98%Neighborhood: Fall CreekStyle of Home: TraditionalType of Stage: VacantListing Price: $489,900
“It was worth every dollar to pay a little more and NOT have to deal with a second mortgage and extra time on market.“
What challenges did you face prior to listing?
Seller: The homes in the neighborhood were sitting – it was a slow time of the year. I had sold a home before but this was the first time we’d used a staging company because of the size of the home.
KB: The home was quite dark but it had a beautiful pool. We needed a way to showcase the interior and then spring the pool on buyers. If they didn’t like the interior, they would’ve already made up their mind before arriving at the pool.
You had a unique experience in that you worked with two staging companies– what differences did you notice?
Seller: I met with both and they were very different.
Shelley was warm and got to know me as a person. She had good ideas and I liked her- but she was a bit more expensive.The other stager was in a hurry. She was all about business and did very little talking with me- she didn’t ask me about myself and did little to manage my expectations. She seemed desperate to get out of my house and to get to other appointments.
Even though my gut said no, we decided to go with the other stager because the monthly rental was a little cheaper and we anticipated the home sitting on the market in this slow period.
Seller: It was not what I was expecting. When we saw the staging, I could not believe how it looked. The style did not complement the elegance of my home; the furniture used looked like country home antiques. I thought, “Maybe this is just what all staging companies do?“
The prior staging vs Shelley’s staging
My gut told me I had to go with Shelley to make this right. I called the previous company to take out their furniture so Shelley could take over.
And the results were like night and day! Shelley had less clutter but still made the place feel warm. There were unique, elegant objects in the right places- everything looked one of a kind.
The dining room took my breath away with its elegance.
Seller: Oh, heck yes! The value of what I got from staging with Shelley – compared to the price the prior stager was offering – was not even close. The scale and quality in which Shelley staged the home was unrivaled. It was worth every dollar to pay a little more and NOT have to deal with a second mortgage and extra time on market.
Plus, the fact that we were able to get sold in less than 48 hours was crazy. I definitely feel happy with the return on my Shelley investment.
Seller: It looked beautiful from the work and the updates we put into it, and the gorgeous staging accentuated that.
KB: I truly believe that the home sold so quickly because of the staging. The buyers that visited could visualize themselves living in the home.
We spent over $18k getting the home show ready.
• painted the entire interior of the 4,800 sq ft house (Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray)
• had painting touched up on the exterior,
• replaced the entire decking on the front balcony and had the front railing repainted,
• professionally cleaned the home and cleaned all the grout in the travertine floors
• updated the landscaping, had the fireplaces cleaned and serviced,
• had the carpet cleaned,
• repaired all the expensive blinds,
• had the entire house and all concrete pressure-washed, including the fence facing the street
KB: No. I believe that virtual staging has two drawbacks.
1) It is usually very evident that graphics are being used as opposed to real furnishings and
2) the buyer tends to be let down when they enter a vacant home that they expected to be staged.
Seller: No, I wanted people to walk into the home and be wowed. I didn’t want them to arrive and be confused like: “OK, let’s pull up the HAR link again…”
What advice would you give sellers to best manage their expectations?
KB: After all my years of showing vacant homes, the homes my buyers prefer are are staged. Today’s buyer is very savvy: they research using value trends, amenity spreadsheets and data from the internet. But, when they walk into a beautifully staged home, it becomes a more tangible experience that can be combined with their research.
Seller: We worked really hard to get it in the best condition and it paid off. You will get out of it what you put into it.
Interview multiple stagers: if a stager doesn’t make you feel confident or comfortable- trust your gut and go with a certified stager who does.