Terri Guerra: Experience Matters in Getting Sold Fast

Terri Guerra took the pain out of selling on Payne St.  That’s because she is no stranger to selling well.  Here she discusses getting a Heights historic home (which had previously been on market over 100 days) sold in only 2 weeks.

Terri Guerra | Bernstein Realty 

 “I held only one open house. We had over 35 guests attend. The open house was over at 4pm but we still had people coming to see the transformation.”

Price matters

Payne was a special home. It was not your typical floor plan. It had great bones, but did need a few updates. It was zoned to a great school and was located in the historic district. I took all these things into consideration when I priced the home.  

Pricing of course is the main key to a successful sale. You could have the greatest home on the block- but if you price it too high it will sit on the market.  

I know the Heights market like the back of my hand. I look at every home that has sold over the last six months and break them down to get my true comps. I never want to price a home where it would not appraise, but I also don’t want to leave money on the table for the sellers. I take everything into consideration: floor plan, schools, walkability, and specific features of the home.  


Presentation sells

We had the house on the market prior to it being staged. The house was great on its own, but buyers had a hard time picturing how they would live in it. For instance, the main living room was open to the dining room. 

Buyers had a hard time visualizing how to utilize the one open room into two separate spaces. The primary bedroom was so vast buyers did not know what to do with all the space either.

Paint is money in a can
We painted the interior a bright white. Once the interior was painted, the home looked like a big open space with no direction. I wanted buyers to visualize themselves living there instead of trying to figure out what to do with the space.  Staging helped show the potential of each room. The buyer could focus on the space and the function of the floor plan easier.

Open houses

Once the house was on the market, I held only one open house. We had over 35 guests attend. The open house was over at 4pm but we still had people coming to see the transformation.  Everyone loved the staging. Some even asked if the furnishings were for sale.

The power of staging
I know that we would not have had the success we had without the home being staged. Your company really made the home look like a showstopper. Each room had style and function. It looked gorgeous. Right out of a design magazine.


What to look for in a stager

Staging is now more important than ever. With all the HGTV shows out there, buyers are expecting to be WOW’d when the door is opened. Thanks Joanna Gaines!  Staging is the key to making that happen. 

A stager should have an eye for design and style. It is important to have decor that the general population can relate to. Having dated or way too modern furniture takes away from what you are trying to accomplish. The right stager knows how to make a room pop while not overpowering the space with more furniture than is needed, or decor that doesn’t fit.  


Managing expectations

I like to walk my sellers through every stage of the listing. Even before the home hits the market, there are a lot of preparations to do from photographing, measuring, and even staging the house.  

 I let my sellers know that if we price the home well, make it “show ready,” and if inventory is low like it is now- they could have multiple showings per day.

 Open houses will also be important. I let my sellers know that the first 30 days will really tell us if we are priced right and if any marketing adjustments need to be made. 

I stress that flexibility is the key to making the process work. We have to bend and switch gears quickly to maximize our exposure. Sometimes the right buyer comes along quickly. Sometimes they don’t.  You just have to know when to make changes in strategy to accomplish the goal getting the home sold.  

Stand out and get sold.   

Check out the home tour: