Archive for the ‘Marketing Your Home’ Category

The Washington Post Got it Right…Home Staging is a Top 10 Must Do to Sell Your Home

December 31, 2011

We recently quoted in a Washington Post article on the top 10 things your need to know about buying and selling a home. The real estate market here in the Washington DC metro area has been fairly strong these past couple of months, with well priced and well presented homes selling faster than the national average. Speaking to our Realtor partners, we are no where near a seller’s market, so home owners still need to focus on the fundamentals to sell quickly and for the most money.

Specifically, the Post said that staging, especially for vacant proerties, was well worth the investment. They quoted Realtor Rachel Valentino of Keller Williams as saying, “Besides new paint, staging is the best return on investment you can make.”

Realtors, justifiably, have differing opinions on the benefits of staging. I think what is indisputable is that staging improves the presentation of a vacant property. Builders spend upwards of $100,000 to stage model homes. They know that a furnished home shows better than a vacant.

What is open for debate is: How much staging is worth? That question is tough to answer. Here’s one stat, that we can point to…Preferred Staging has staged and helped sell over $16 million in realestate so far this year. On average, Preferred Staging’s projects have sold for 97.5% of the asking price. According to Zillow, the average price reduction for the Washington DC area is over 6%. So, we can say that Preferred Staging homes help sellers save 3.5% of their home value. If staging typically costs about 1%, that is still 2.5% left over for the seller. An additional $10,000 to $15,000 in the seller’s pocket after staging costs…Not too shaby.

For the Realtor, Preferred Staging staged homes typically sell in less than 28 days. That is less time and money you spend marketing and showing. Staging helps your sales “velocity,” allowing you to manage more listings per year and helping you improve your statistics so you win more listings from prospects.

Bottom line, we agree with the Washington Post. Staging is a top 10 must do!

All the Best,

Monica, ASP

monica@preferredstaging.com

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

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Going GREEN – The Natural Way and the Faux Way

March 11, 2010

I just read an HGTV article about going green the natural way… so to speak.  No, its not about using chemical free cleaners or HEPA filters, but rather the natural air cleaning qualities of house plants.  Yes, house plants.

I grew up with lots of house plants, and have always had plants wherever I lived.  I guess I inherited my green thumb from my father, who grew up on a self-sustaining farm and even now, in his early 80’s, is still an avid gardener.  And one of the first things you learn in science class about plants is that they absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen – a very compatible relationship with humans and animals, to say the least.  So it just always seems natural to me (pardon the pun) to have plants around the house.

house plant

What intrigued me the most about the article, though, are the psychological and intangible benefits that house plants seem to offer.  People report feeling less stressed, can work and solve problems better, feel more attentive and think clearly when plants are around – even images of plants seem to have the same effect.

So how does this apply to home staging and presenting houses for sale?

Well, I’m already predisposed to bringing a bit of the outside into the house.  I naturally incorporate this fondness for greenery in the houses that I stage, and not just with a beautiful floral arrangement here and there, or a fichus tree in the corner.  Plants and flowers often end up in kitchens and baths, but also on end and cocktail tables, and often on nightstands.  I’ve never know anybody who doesn’t like a plant (just like I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like a donut), so there is no hesitation to place a plant in a variety of locations throughout a house.  (The images below are of a HUGE master bath where I created a “magic garden” – my most elaborate use of greenery yet.)

Sawbridge Master Bath

Of course, when staging both vacants and occupieds, I use faux greenery– preferably silk (by the way, FAUX is NOT a 4-letter word!).  For home staging, silk greenery has obvious multiple advantages.  They can be arranged and rearranged to fit the location and placement, and best of all, they don’t need to be watered and won’t die. 

I’d be pretty foolish if I though that potential buyers viewing one of my staged homes didn’t know that the plants are faux.  But I do believe that the benefits of the presence of house plants mentioned in the article – feeling more attentive and thinking more clearly – could very well be a part of the decision making process of buying a house.  One of the goals of staging a house is to create an inviting atmosphere for buyers and to help them envision themselves living in the house.  In my opinion, house plants go a long way to help achieve that goal.

All the best,

Monica

Preferred Staging

703-851-2690

Don’t Pack Away the Personality or the Charm!

March 11, 2010

I was on a consultation a couple of weeks ago for a Realtor who hires me for every house she lists. I really like this Realtor, and she always seems to have the nicest clients – mostly young families that are moving up to a larger house.  Such was the case with this consultation.

I met with the wife, who is currently a stay at home mom.  If I didn’t know any better, I would never have known that there were 2 boys under the age of 3 in the house.  The house itself was spotless and completely decluttered. (And the boys were very well behaved!)  She was a dream client.

What made it so easy to work with her was that she already understood the value of staging, and she and her husband had already made great strides in preparing the house for sale.  They had already packed away personal photos and sentimental items, and put into storage those items they didn’t immediately need as well as about half of the boys’ toys.  They had cleared out closets to make room to store what needed to remain at the house.  All repairs were made, walls were freshly painted, and little maintenance touch ups were planned for this weekend, including washing all the windows.  

The only problem was that when it came to decluttering, they went a bit too far.  Not much – just a bit – which is something I often see. In the zeal to declutter, and the fear or concern that various furnishings or wall art may be too style specific, or that people won’t like the current owners’ furnishings and style and therefore not like the house, sellers put away too much and the house is left lacking that special touch of personality and charm – the very elements that can help sell the house.

Of course we wanted to use what the seller already owned or could borrow from friends and family.  So some art work will be put back into the living room, which will really add charm to the space.  White candles will be replaced with gold ones for warmth, and a large faux plant will be added to a shelf to add some life and color.  Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – “faux” is NOT a 4-letter word!  And in this case, it’s the perfect solution for this mom, as she doesn’t have to worry about dirt on the floor or broken pots or ripped up leaves if her boys get to the plant. 

If you find you have clients in a similar scenario, where they need to declutter but aren’t sure what to keep and what to pack, a walk through consultation may be the solution.  A trained and experienced professional stager can provide the guiding hand needed to help keep the personality and charm in a house.

All the Best,

Monica

Preferred Staging

703-851-2690

But WHY Won’t You Give Me a Quote Over the Phone?

March 11, 2010

Imagine this phone call:

(ring, ring) Caller: “Hi, I want to put my house on the market in about 2 weeks. It has 4 bedrooms and 2 and a half baths. How much would you list it for?”

I highly doubt any agent is going to give a quote over the phone to this hypothetical client. Obviously, not only do you need to see the property, but you also need quite a bit more information before you can make a fair evaluation of the property to price it correctly.

Would you ask a painter, contractor, or anyone else to whom you intend on paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to provide you a quote over the phone without having them first see the work that needs to be done?

Staging is no different, and is this is why Preferred Staging doesn’t give quotes to stage properties over the phone or through an email without first having seen the property and evaluate what is needed. Just like a Realtor determining the correct market value of a house, we need to take into account all the variables. Is the house vacant or occupied? How many rooms need to be staged? How big are the rooms? Do we need to take measurements? What is the layout of the house? Is it an open floor plan? Is the house traditional or contemporary? Where is the placement of the windows and doors, and how much natural light do the rooms receive? What colors are the rooms? Do they need paint, and would you like us to recommend colors? You get the idea.

Take for example a house in Arlington that we staged last year. It had a living & dining area, a den (of sorts), 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, kitchen and separate laundry area. The tricky part to this house was that it is only 750 square feet – total. (I’ve been told its one of the smallest houses in Arlington.) Had we not seen the house to understand the layout and traffic flow and taken measurements, we would not have been able to stage it properly and present it to its best advantage, which eventually led to it being sold in just 10 days.

We professionally stage all of our properties so that they will not only show to their best advantage, but will also stand head and shoulders above the competition. Preferred Staging prides itself on the quality of our work, quality of our accessories, and our attention to detail, and our success can be seen in how quickly our staged homes sell. Like you, we just can’t achieve this level of professionalism and success through a phone call or email.

All the Best,

Monica

Preferred Staging

703-851-2690

Investing in Home Staging

May 8, 2009

So, how many times in your life has someone told you there is “no free lunch” or “you get what you pay for”? Well, we all know the most important things in life are invaluable, but everything else has a price tag.  

Staging is no different, the most important thing that we provide our clients is peace of mind that they are doing everything possible to sell their property. You cannot place a value on that.  

What you can place a value upon is success. Our average days on the market fell to 20 this week with the sale of one of our most recent stagings in just 10 days. Now, we do not take anything away from the real estate pros we work with, they deserve all the credit for moving these properties – they are the best!  

Preferred Staging’s job is to provide the backdrop for an aggressive marketing effort. It is very difficult to market a vacant home, or an occupied that just does not show well. All the eloquent wording of fliers, the online listings, the broker’s opens, and open houses cannot overcome a home that does not show well. That’s where we come in.  

80% of the homes we have staged this year are under contract, and those homes sold in an average of just 20 days, that’s a full 60 days less than the average in Arlington so far this year. That is 2 fewer mortgage payments home owners have to make, on average. It is also less marketing time and expense for you.  

Home staging may be a new concept for many home owners, but the numbers tell a very effective story that it is the way to go to sell quickly.  

All the Best!  

Monica, ASP

703.851.2690 

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

Washington DC Realtor Home Preparation Guide

January 20, 2009

Preferred Staging is offering its agent partners and friends in the Washington DC area an opportunity to co-brand a unique home preparation guide. This easy to read guide will become a centerpiece of your farming activities and listing presentations. Differentiate yourself from other agents by including a custom home preparation guide, specifically developed for today’s market.

 

Take a look at the guide and let us know if you would like to your own version to distribute to your clients and prospects. There is no charge or obligation – the guide is Preferred Staging’s way of helping you set yourself apart, just as our staging projects set homes apart from the competition.

 

All the Best,

 

Monica

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

Washington DC Sellers Getting Ready for the Inauguration

November 13, 2008

I received a call from the owner of a town home in Bethesda, MD yesterday. They are moving out next month and will be listing the home in the new year. Staging was something they were planning to do anyway, but this homeowner is getting creative and leveraging the staging to earn some extra money while the home is vacant.

The homeowner plans to rent his town home out during inauguration week! They are going to leverage the upscale staging and the attractive location of his home. Hey what ever works!

Any one else interested in covering the cost of staging through a short-term rental for the inaguration? Obviously, homeowners in Washington, DC should consider it, but what about Arlington, Alexandria, Silver Spring, College Park, etc.

Give us a call to discuss!

All the Best,

Monica

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

Fairfax Condo Sold in Under 2 Months

November 12, 2008
Staged and Sold in Under 2 Months
 
We love getting letters like this!
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November 10, 2008
 
To: Monica Murphy
Preferred Staging, LLC
 
My husband and I had a condo to sell and it had been on the market for about two months. We spent a great deal of time and money renovating the condo and we appreciated the space and convenience that it provided.
 
When the real estate market fell dramatically, we were worried that there would not be a buyer with the ability to see what our condo offered.  We put so much thought into the interior, especially the kitchen.  
 
We made the decision to stage the condo to show the size of the rooms and to enhance the fact that the room size was larger than what most homes offered.  After moving our personal furnishings, we thought it would be best to help the prospective buyers visualize the space that we were offering.
 
It was at that time that I searched the internet and found Preferred Staging, LLC.  I called Monica Murphy and was delighted to find someone that was very interested in working with me to provide the best solution for staging our condo so that potential buyers would have the ability to visualize the room sizes and get a better feel for what our space provided.
 
Monica was personable; had the ability to listen to what my requests were; was pleasant and extremely capable and professional.  In no time, Monica had the schedule laid out and within a very short time, our condo was transformed from vacant to impressive and very well defined.
 
We were very impressed with Monica’s ability to look at our property, take photos, determine what furniture was needed and put everything together very quickly.  Monica was never insistent or overly aggressive.  She was very personable and she went out of her way to make sure that everything was done well and on time.
 
We made the right decision to stage; we made the right decision to have Preferred Staging do the job.
 
It is with great pleasure that I recommend Monica Murphy and Preferred Staging, LLC, to assist home sellers to stage their homes for successful sales.
 
Sincerely,
 
D E Piper
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Here are some before and afters of the condo…
 
Alexandria condo living room before home staging  Alexandria condo living room after home staging 
 
Alexandria condo living room before home staging  Alexandria condo living room after home staging
 
Alexandria condo dining room before home staging  Alexandria condo dining room after home staging
 
Alexandria condo dining room before home staging  Alexandria condo dining room after home staging
 
Alexandria condo bed room before home staging  Alexandria condo bed room after home staging
 

All the best,

Monica
703-851-2690 
Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Showcase

October 30, 2008
Thank you, thank you!  Many thanks to the hundreds of you who stopped by the Preferred Staging booth at the NVAR Convention in Vienna, VA last Tuesday, October 21st.  We were the only staging company with a booth, and we were able to answer a lot of questions about staging, cost. We spent a lot of time talking with you about timing, how Preferred Staging works, and also how we market your staged properties after the staging is finished.  Lynn, Preferred Staging Project Manager, and I both truly enjoyed meeting so many wonderful REALTORS, the time just flew by!
Everyone is a winner
I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating – when house is staged, everyone is a winner. 
 
The home owner wins on many levels, because their staged house sells faster than houses that aren’t staged, and a faster sale means a reduction in carrying costs for them in continued mortgage and utility payments, and upkeep.  They also win because a staged home lessens the need for a price reduction, so they often sell closer to their asking price. 
 
The real estate agent wins because a staged home is its own best marketing tool, making your marketing efforts just that much easier.  Also, a faster sale means fewer marketing dollars you have to spend.  Of course a faster sale means you get your commission sooner, too. 
 
The buyer wins because they’re getting a house that is in top condition.  A staged home never hides anything; a staged home enhances the positives and works with the challenging parts of the house, thereby offering buyers solutions that they may not have considered. 
 
Preferred Staging wins, too.  As we told everyone at the NVAR convention, we’re in business to help sell houses, and when a house sells quickly, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve done our job well.
 
All the best,
Monica
703-851-2690 
Preferred Staging
the art of home preparation

Make Sure Your Real Estate Photos Pop

October 14, 2008
At Preferred Staging, we believe that home presentation extends beyond curb appeal and interior staging. We want Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland listing photos to “pop” off the page. It is well known that having more listing photos is one of the best ways to attract buyers. With almost 90% of home searches starting on the internet, the quantity and quality of photos will increase the probability of a fast sale.
 
According to realtor.com, “A property with a single photo spent 70 days on the market (DOM) on average, while DOM fell to 40 with six photos, 36 with 16 to 19 photos, and 32 with 20 photos. Additionally, listings with one photo sold for 91.2 percent of the original price, while homes with six or more sold for 95 percent of the original price.” 
 
How much more appealing will your listing be with magazine quality photos? Here are some examples… We went to the internet and grabbed some random photos. There is really nothing wrong with the samples, but I think you will recognize how much nicer the enhanced photos are.  
 
Put yourself in the position of a buyer…how much more likely will you be to ask for a tour of a home with the enhanced photos? 5%, 10%, more? Is that worth it? We think so!
 
As posted:
 
Enhanced:
 
As posted:
 
Enhanced:
 
As posted:
 
Enhanced:
 
Not sure your photos can benefit from enhancement?  Send us a photo (or point us to a web site). We will show you what is possible. No charge or obligation for the test, but we think you will be impressed.
All the best,
Monica
703-851-2690 
Preferred Staging
the art of home preparation