I recently read this article in the St Petersburg Times about Showhomes, a national home-staging company. Showhomes has a pretty cool sounding business model. They match high-end vacant, for sale homes with people who have great furnishings and need temporary housing. This temporary tenant (Showhomes calls them a Home Manager) gets a huge break on rent in exchange for keeping the home show ready.
The seller wins because the house shows well with the manager’s furniture and there are no worries about the common vacant home problems.
The Home Manager wins because they get to stay in a very nice place for cut-rate rent.
Just take a look at some of the before & after photos showing vacant vs. furnished and staged. If a potential buyer saw them on the internet, which do you think attract more showings?
In this difficult real estate market, you need to do everything you can to help your chances to sell.
Maybe the vacant property you have on the market isn’t high end – could you do something like this yourself or with the help of your realtor?
First, get the house ready for sale
This includes deep de cluttering and cleaning. Do any minor repairs and paint if necessary. Get others to walk through the house to point out the flaws; grimy switch plates, torn screens and stained carpets all must be fixed. Spotless is the description we want.
Next Stage it
You can hire a professional stager or you can study up what works and try it yourself. Sparse but tasteful furnishings and brightly lit spaces with just touch of decorative interest is the look we are after. Tour some high-end model homes to get an idea.
Get Perfect Photos
90% of Buyers look on the internet first. The photos your realtor uses need to be perfect. Can the room look better? If so, fix it and re-shoot. Take a lot of photos (or if you can afford it, hire a pro) and make them really good.
Pick the right realtor
Choosing the right realtor is hard. Let me help you determine who it is not. It is not someone you know from church that has been in the business for six months. It is not someone who has sold 25 condominiums this year if it is a single-family house you are trying to sell. And, it is not someone from out of town.
You need a local, experienced, realistic realtor with a track record of success both long term AND in this tough market.
Interview at least three and please do not automatically choose the one that suggests the highest sales price.
Pick the right price
It is critical that you do your homework here. Price it too high and nobody even looks. Languishing on the market for months and months while repeatedly dropping the price is not our goal.
Use comparables not just for current listings but also for recent sales. Ask each agent you interview to give you their estimate of the market price and how they arrived at it.
Selling a house today in many markets is very hard but some homes are selling. Like all other ventures hard work, perseverance, and preparation will pay off.