Selling Homes in a Changing Real Estate Market

Selling Homes in a Changing Real Estate Market
By Catherine Christensen

The real estate market is cooling which for many people will mean less money for their homes after more time to sell them. Staging professionals aim to change that trend for agents who know the advantage of this service for their listings. Homes that have been staged have been known to sell three times faster, on average, than homes that haven’t been staged and they bring up to 15% above the asking price on an average home. Unlike interior decorating and re-design, the staging process prepares a home for sale—it involves depersonalizing it and broadening the appeal to buyers by maximizing space and lifestyle selling.

Staging professionals have specialized training to assist the home seller and real estate agent. They provide a service that benefits this industry through their understanding of the Canadian marketplace. Home staging is a topic of great interest to the television fan of design shows such as “Designed to Sell.” Homeowners can see the results from the staging process—multiple offers that are above the asking price within days of an open house, for example. They can also see that major renovations needing lots of time and money are not required to get top dollar on a property.

The reality of real estate is that most homes are not ready for a competitive market. Every day the agents must tell the sellers the news that their home needs work in order to get the best price they have come to expect in places like Calgary. Reluctance to be frank with the seller can result in lower offers and longer times on the market which is not the best scenario for the listing agent or the seller. Stagers have the experience to diplomatically guide sellers in the preparation of their homes for today’s discerning buyer.

The media are helping to get the message across with design shows specifically geared toward selling the home. Recent surveys asked people how much they would spend to get their house ready for buyers. More than 50% would spend up to $2000; over 30% would go as high as $5000 to sell their home quickly and for more return on their investment. Even the highest producing agent will agree that this kind of investment is cheaper than a price reduction that can send a message of desperation to sell. But the money must be used wisely to get the biggest bang for the buck. Do agents always know which colours sell a house and which don’t? Or the best furniture layout that creates an impression of space in even the smallest living area or master bedroom? Or how to turn the worst house on the block into the best one offered to the buyer in the shortest amount of time? The answers may surprise many.

And those vacant houses? They sell 84% faster if they have been properly furnished and showcased to sell the lifestyle desired by the potential new owner. A stager who is professionally certified and trained to make the house more attractive to the buyers can do this transformation in less than three days for a minimal investment. Stagers do not renovate, decorate or design a house but help agents and sellers to create a strategy for selling the house. They have a proven colour palette to work from that has major appeal to buyers. They can provide economical furnishing and accessory rentals to show spaces in a new way. They can provide the homeowners with options that make the house look good, better and even best depending on the budget, timelines and the desire of the home seller.

Agents can take advantage of seminars that demonstrate the effect of a home prepared for the buyer. These sessions can provide tips and tricks for agents to use on their own as well as criteria for choosing a staging professional as part of an integrated real estate sales support team. The stager is hired directly by the homeowner and is presented to them as a resource for getting the best price in the shortest amount of time. This referral can add value to an agent’s services since the seller feels that their listing is receiving the full service treatment. In addition, the listing gets a great look as well as exposure on another national website for properties for sale. The home seller feels taken care of while not taking more of a busy agent’s time.

Staging, or preparing a home for the market, works—and works well. It is another part of the top selling agent’s marketing tool kit. Consider having your sellers speak with a professional stager for one for your listings. It is a marketing advantage you need because your competition is already doing it! Staging is the answer for getting the price sellers want from a home in Canada right now.

Catherine Christensen is a stager with Designs of the World, a staging firm based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She has a background in the design of historical sites and how those places were used by the real people within them. Catherine has a certification in staging that gives her specialized training to assist the home seller and the real estate agent with an understanding of the Canadian real estate marketplace. This is the solution you need to have your home designed to sell fast and for more money!

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