Marie Dupres: Real Staging vs Virtual Staging
Marie is no stranger to selling well; she prides herself on being informative, managing expectations, and solving problems. As an expert in real estate, she understands how emotions can get in the way of selling well. She shares her advice on managing expectations and why real staging got her sold real fast – 15 days to be exact.
Neighborhood: Rice Military
Style of Home: Contemporary Townhome
Type of Stage: Vacant
Listing Price: $439,500
“Without furniture in the room, buyers’ eyes were only looking down.”
How can sellers manage their expectations when selling?
Compare. Look at the last 3-6 months in homes similar to yours (sq footage and updates).
Don’t overprice with room to negotiate- price it at what the house is worth. Fight the urge to price high. You get more interest with a fair price. I have had the most success pricing close to what the home is worth.
Stay objective. Buyers only look at numbers and facts- they don’t see what you feel your house is worth.
What challenges did you face prior to listing?
There were many similar townhomes in the area that weren’t selling. That, and there were newer townhomes competing with ours.
What updates did you perform?
We decided to do a complete renovation because we didn’t want it to sit on the market.
Specifically: fully painted inside and out, refinished wood flooring, replaced all the tile (bathrooms, kitchen), replaced granite counter tops with Quartz, painted kitchen cabinets white and master bathroom dark grey, all the plumbing fixtures were changed and most of the light fixtures, re-landscaped the lawn with new plants and black stone pavers.
Why did you choose to go with virtual staging initially?
I wanted to do virtual staging because it is less expensive, of course. But virtual staging fails because people walk in with an expectation of furniture, and they’re disappointed.
Disappointment isn’t an emotion you want to instill when showing.
What was the tipping point in deciding that virtual staging wasn’t enough?
It had been on the market for 30 days without an offer and I felt like people couldn’t fully appreciate the space to the extent that real staging allowed.
Without furniture in the room, buyers’ eyes were only looking down. The only thing people were seeing when they walked in was “wood flooring” and none of the other awesome features– like the beautiful windows with plantation shutters and new light fixtures and counter tops.
What changed after the home was staged with real furniture?
• When it was virtually staged, I’d get comments that the home was overpriced. This wasn’t the case with real furniture in the room.
• Interest in showings increased and traffic quality improved.
• Got a contract!
Price point of the house: higher priced homes should be professionally staged with real furniture because of the expectations of buyers.
Market conditions: In a buyer’s market, you are competing with many homes- staging is a great way to stand out. Even in a seller’s market, you’d still want to stage to decrease time on market and get a higher offer.
What updates do you recommend for sellers on a budget?
Best ROI: Kitchen and bathroom renovations are always a good idea, but can be expensive. If you only have a small budget, these can go a long way:
• House is super clean and de-cluttered
• Neutral paint indoors: People won’t look at the rest of a house if it’s multicolored
• Flooring should appear clean and new: Gross carpet has gotta go!
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