Nine months ago, home sellers in the Washington area were in control of the real estate market, able to field multiple offers from buyers without overly concerning themselves with the condition of their home or its appeal to buyers.
Times have changed. Now that the market has become more balanced between buyers and sellers, real estate agents are again pushing sellers to improve the appearance of their home to make it more attractive to a wider pool of potential buyers.
While television shows devoted to home makeovers and advice given to sellers often focuses on the basic tenet of decluttering the home to make it more appealing, professional home stagers take the process beyond putting away personal collections.
“Staging a home means physically editing the property, both the interior and the exterior, so it psychologically appeals to every buyer,” says Deb Gorham, an accredited staging professional in Northern Virginia and the District, and a Realtor with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. “Staging goes way beyond decluttering and way beyond cleaning.”
Mrs. Gorham says homeowners have biased eyes toward their own homes, so they need the assistance of a staging professional to view the home the way potential buyers will.
“Studies show that it takes 10 seconds to capture the emotion of a buyer,” Mrs. Gorham says. “A stager can look for every objection in the home that might have a negative emotional impact on the buyer.”
Nicci Parrish, a co-owner with Choni Wilcox of Impress Me Home Staging, which stages homes in Maryland and the District, says home sellers who want to sell their property more quickly and for more money should turn to a home stager.
“Home staging gives a property a competitive edge and helps it appeal to a broader audience,” says Ms. Parrish.
An internal study by StagedHomes. com in 2004-2005 shows that staged homes sold in an average of 6.8 days, compared with an average of 32 to 42 days on the market for comparable unstaged homes. The staged homes sold two to three times faster and also sold for an average of $26,000 more than a comparable home, the survey reports.
The study says that the staged homes sold for a minimum of 3 percent more than comparable unstaged homes.
Staging your home for sale requires an investment of time and money by the seller, although the amount of each varies widely according to the condition of the home.
Consumers can hire a home stager to work with them either by the project or by the hour. While fees vary considerably, local home stagers charge about $75 to $150 per hour. While some home staging projects can take just a few hours, others may take several days.
“There’s a huge difference in price between an occupied home that’s in great condition and just needs a little tweaking and a home which is completely cluttered, not very clean and needs a lot of work,” Mrs. Gorham says.
Consumers can also buy “Home Staging: The Winning Way to Sell Your House for More Money,” by Barb Schwarz, president and CEO of StagedHomes.com, and Mary Seehafer Sears.
Ms. Schwarz is recognized as the innovator of home staging in 1972, a concept she trademarked in 1989. Visit www.stagedhomes.com for more information or to order the book.View Entire Story
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