Attending a symposium in Broward last month, a successful realtor shared an anecdote about a client to whom she strongly suggested professional home staging prior to listing the property. The seller responded that she didn’t want to spend money on staging and was in “no hurry to sell her house.” The realtor told the seller to call back when she was indeed ready to sell. While this may sound harsh, realtors are not interested in marketing the property of a completely unmotivated seller.
In real estate lingo, “carrying cost” is how much you spend on your house from the time it is listed until the time it is sold. It typically includes your mortgage payment, taxes and insurance, utilities, and any general upkeep, maintenance and repair which must be done on the property while listed. Because the cost of living is high in Miami, we are faced with greater carrying costs than those in other parts of the country. If you factor in the monthly carrying cost before listing your property, a very compelling argument for home staging will likely present itself. Home staging is statistically the best way to reduce the amount of time it takes to sell a property and increase the selling price.
Home staging is not decorating. Staging a home to sell typically involves a thorough cleaning, removal of personal items such as family photographs and collections of souvenirs from years gone by and clearing out furnishings that are oversized and obtrusive. In Miami, our home buyers seek neutral palettes and white walls thus staging may also involve painting and updating older furniture to give potential buyers an idea of what living in their new home would look like. It is also important to create the best possible curb appeal as a potential buyer formulates their opinion on the condition of a home the moment they drive up to the property. Accordingly, improving curb appeal often involves power washing, updating the landscaping with a thorough pruning and new mulch as well as adding fresh new plantings. All of these practices will entice potential buyers and create a mood that invites the buyer to imagine themselves living in the home.
While slower to catch on in Miami, home staging is not a new concept. Professional home staging started in the 1970s on the west coast and rapidly moved across the country. Statistically, the value home staging adds to the sales process is largely responsively for it’s growing popularity. RESA, the Real Estate Staging Association, conducted a study of 1000 listed properties in 2019 and found that homes staged prior to listing sold 87% faster and closed at significantly higher prices.
So, are you really serious about selling your property? If so, investing in professional home staging is a must. It is the only statistically proven variable that will reduce the time it takes to sell your property and increase the sales price. Zillow reports that a home incurs a 1% price reduction for every month it languishes on the market. Stage to sell!
Elizabeth Stiff and Jacqueline Krueger are President and President Elect of the Miami Chapter of RESA, Real Estate Staging Association. They are also the founding partners of PeacefulNest Inc., a boutique home staging and design company servicing our local community. (www.peacefulnestinc.com) 305-800-NEST