In Competitive Markets, Some Home Sellers Go to Extremes

Staging >

Buyers are drawn to homes they can easily envision themselves living in.

That’s why agents routinely advise removing photos, mementos and anything else so personal that it suggests to buyers they are viewing someone else’s home.

Now, agents say some homes sell faster and for a higher price if the seller himself doesn’t feel like he lives there.

One recent seller had “large gold-trimmed over-sized furniture, and very opulent items all over the place,” says Buddy Quaid with The Quaid Group of Austin, Texas. Quaid recommended going far beyond the usual “staging” practice of clearing away clutter and rearranging furniture. Instead, all of the furniture and décor were put into storage, replaced by rental furnishings.

It’s a considerable expense and hassle for sellers to undergo such extreme measures. But many decide to live elsewhere or carefully reside among rented pieces that must be returned in good condition, after their agent makes clear “the costs and potential rewards,” says Isil Yildiz of Compass, a New York City realty firm.

If the homes in the immediate market support “a price much higher than you can hope to achieve with your home’s current condition,” sellers should consider “extreme staging,” says Brenda Di Bari of Halstead Real Estate in New York City.

“I would say ‘extreme staging’ is for those sellers with larger pockets who are selling something worth the cost of staging,” adds Quaid.

One consideration is the cost of rental furniture, typically charged by the month, as well as storage fees for the owner’s pieces. With larger homes, it also requires painting and minor repairs.

Costs for such dramatic staging can reach $30,000, says Yildiz.

Sellers in competitive, higher-priced markets like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are more likely to take such measures, says Di Bari.

Besides netting a higher sales price, sellers who go to the max receive an extra benefit, adds Ilaria Barion, a professional stager. “Eventually, if you sell, you will need to pack and move,” she says. “You won’t regret packing in advance.”

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