If you’re perplexed about what to do with a vacant listing, you’re not alone. Thousands go up on the market every year. But to ensure your vacant stands out from all the others, it’s important to get the house properly prepped, repaired, and updated at the very least. Even better, stage it to sell!
Keller Williams Realtor® and Home Staging Expert® in Houston, Texas, Annie Farmer along with her husband and business partner Kenney, have this vacant staging thing down pat! This example by Annie shows the importance of staging a vacant listing to sell.
It’s not always easy to bring in furnishings and start from scratch! Too many agents and stagers alike tend to confuse home staging with interior design and forget their objectives.
So what exactly is that objective when staging a vacant listing for market?
Not surprisingly, it should be exactly the same as staging an occupied home…to show off the features and attributes of the actual space, not all the furnishings, artwork, and accessories!
Just like in an occupied home, potential buyers really do want to admire the positive features of the house itself. Enhancing that with strategically placed furnishings and accessories should always be the goal.
Ensuring a buyer can visualize themselves living there without overwhelming them by too much over-done, over-the-top décor is key. Don’t forget the end-goal of staging a property for market…to show off the actual house, not all the stuff within!
Like what you see? Contact Annie and Kenney Farmer with liveworkplay.com and let them show you how they can assist!
Here’s a hint for sellers and Realtors®, alike: Potential buyers are not looking for ‘cozy’! Even when a buyer is looking to downsize, they’re still looking for space! Creating visual square footage…that is, how much square footage you are actually able to see vs. the actual square footage of the house…is a key factor in selling your home.
In this case, Realtor® and Home Staging Expert® Dawna ‘Dawn’ Hosier of www.BestFloridaCentralProperties.com proves what an impact creating more visual square footage has on a space.
While this family room boasted tall ceilings, a beautiful fireplace, and desirable built-ins, the visual square footage was blocked by clunky, though I’m sure comfortable, over-sized leather furnishings.
Through careful and thoughtful editing and rearranging, Dawn was able to double the visual square footage potential buyers would see, quite literally doubling the space!
From this point of view, you can really see how the features of the room, particularly the fireplace and built-ins, get totally lost in the midst of all that other stuff!
Boxing up as much as possible and allowing potential buyers to actually see the positive features a house has to offer makes all the difference between a listing that sits and a listing that sells!
And if you’re looking for an experienced Realtor® and Home Staging Expert® in the Central Florida area, please contact Dawna Hosier at 321-228-8338. She definitely knows her stuff!
As someone who trolls the MLS frequently, I am often surprised by the uninspiring descriptions some agents use to define the homes they’ve signed on to represent. It’s perplexing to me, as I would think the description…along with many beautiful photos, of course…would be a HUGE opportunity to get potential buyers in the door!
Case in point, I recently spotted a listing in a city I was not familiar with that popped up in the surrounding area of my search criteria. The agent boasted ‘just one block from the lake’ in the description. Sounded pretty great at first, yet no mention of the name of the lake, or whether or not it was a fishing lake, a swimming lake, or even had public access. And no pictures of said lake, either.
I tried to look for it on the map. A fairly well-sized water mass did show up there, but still no name. I looked up the town on Wikipedia scrounging for info. Nothing. I even searched the city’s website. And absolutely no mention. In fact, I spent at least 30-minutes trying to figure out ‘WHAT lake?’, until I finally just gave up. It was a major turn-off. And for the listing agent of that property, what a missed opportunity to expand their potential buyer pool beyond those who already live there!
Yes, if someone was REALLY interested, they would definitely call and find out. But if the Realtor was REALLY motivated, that information would already be listed in the description. That’s the kind of detail that might prompt a potential buyer into actually making that phone call! That’s the kind of detail that prompts more showings and more sales! That’s the kind of detail that could turn an MLS troll like me into a potential buyer!
So what makes one listing stand out from the next? That’s up for you to decide, but don’t overlook a single attribute and leave no stone unturned! Is the house blessed with mature fruit trees out back? A large kitchen pantry? Is it within walking distance of the local dog park? Does the house have wood floors? Well, what kind of wood floors? Oak, walnut, pine? Or are there original wood floors hiding beneath the carpeting? Don’t forget to mention, because not everything is obvious from photos alone.
Just like staging a home for market, the devil is in the detail, or so they say. And all those little and sometimes not so little details you might take for granted and/or don’t seem important enough for you to mention, could very well be on the dream home wish list for someone else!
People sell their homes for many reasons. They take a new job in another state. They decide to downsize. They want to head for warmer climates. The list goes on and on. But the saddest reason I’ve encountered…and it happens more often than you think…is when a homeowner has simply fallen out of love with their space. The house has become too small. Too dated. Too this or too that.
When that happens, the house itself really shouldn’t take all the blame. As with any relationship, the relationship with your space has to be nurtured to maintain that same passion you had for it when you first hooked up. And if you don’t rekindle that bond from time-to-time…if you don’t show it some love by freshening up the paint, repairing whatever’s broken, and unloading all that extra baggage you’ve likely brought on board…you’re bound to see that relationship dissolve as the passion starts to dwindle.
If I had a dime for every listing I staged that prompted the owner to change their mind and stay put instead of selling…I’d have a heck of a lot of dimes! I once staged three different listings in a row for the same Realtor, all of whom decided not to sell after falling back in love with their home. I took it as a compliment, though I did feel pretty bad for the agent who had already put in so much time and effort. Not really fair to him, though he was happy his clients had found true love once more with the space they already had.
This is just one of the many reasons to have your house professionally staged before you put it on the market. Before you hire a Realtor and waste their time. Before you do something drastic. Because a professional stager can bring out the best in your property, recommend inexpensive updates, and offer up solutions for all that’s ailing, they are always a good investment…even if you’re still undecided.
When a stager can help you fall in love with your house all over again, they are worth their weight in gold. If not, you’re not out anything because now your house is ready to sell to someone who truly will love it as you once did!
If you and your house are going through a rough patch and you’re considering ending your relationship for good, check out our list of Home Staging Experts® here and find out. They say that breaking-up is hard to do. But hiring a qualified Home Staging Expert® is not!
Certified Home Staging Expert® Trainer, Kristi Pols, knows a thing or two about staging! And when it comes to creating buyer-friendly rooms, working around a clunky sectional can often prove a daunting task. “They’re usually just too big for the space!”, says Kristi. “The last thing you want to do is block the buyer’s path into the room. Splitting it up into separate seating makes the space look much more open.” Breaking up the sectional sofa is a trick we use often, as Kristi demonstrates in this example. Many sectionals come apart, and even if the connecting sides are not as attractive, there are ways to work around that.
Yes, sectionals can be wonderfully comfy and provide a great big cushy place to plop down and relax, but potential buyers aren’t there to plop down and relax! They’re typically walking through the entire house in 15-20 minutes tops, and the last thing you want to do is prohibit them from really seeing what a room has to offer. Worse yet, greeting them with the back of a large sectional breaking up the visual square-footage of the space! While splitting apart the sectional is not always necessary, more often than not, it is an option that will definitely make an impact on a buyer’s first impression.
Interested in learning more? Kristi has a number of 1-Day Home Staging Workshops coming to Michigan offering 8 Continuing Education Credits for Realtors! For upcoming workshop dates with Kristi, CLICK HERE for more info!
1-Day Home Staging Workshop
GRAND RAPIDS AREA, MICHIGAN (8 CE Credits)
February 11, 2020
1-Day Home Staging Workshop
GRAND RAPIDS AREA, MICHIGAN (8 CE Credits)
February 29, 2020
1-Day Home Staging Workshop
KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN (8 CE Credits)
March 25, 2020
1-Day Home Staging Workshop
MARYSVILLE, MICHIGAN (8 CE Credits)
April 25, 2020
Dear Lori –
My aunt is planning to sell the home she’s lived in going on 50 years. She is unable to care for such a big place on her own since my uncle passed away a few months ago. I don’t think she likes being there alone and other than my sisters and I, she really has no one else. The house is solid, just very dated. The original plan was to give her home a mini-facelift with fresh paint, new appliances, and tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. It’s already going to be a time-consuming project and we’ll have to do a lot of thinning out before we even start, but I think she’s using this as her chance to finally remodel the house the way she’s always wanted! We recently found out she’s been getting estimates to put in a whole new kitchen, knock down some walls, and enclose the entryway. I talked to a Realtor and no way will she re-coup that kind of investment. It’d be one thing if she were planning to stay, but she’s thinking of moving to a retirement community. The proceeds from her current home would pay for that, but she will probably come up short if she dumps a lot of money on this remodeling job. How can we talk our beloved aunt out of making a big mistake?
Concerned Nieces in Ohio
Dear Concerned Nieces,
First of all, I want to offer my sincere condolences on the loss of your uncle and commend you and your sister’s for looking after your aunt. I’m sure she appreciates you all so very, very much.
I would be concerned too, but probably not for all the same reasons that you’re concerned. If your uncle just recently passed, this is likely way too soon for your aunt to be making such a big decision. I’m no psychiatrist, but I’ve read many times that it’s not wise for people who just lost a loved one to be making any life-altering decisions when it comes to marriage, money, or moving.
It sounds to me like concentrating on a major renovation right now might just be a distraction your aunt is using as a way to cope. Shortly after my dad died, my mom and I flew off to France for a three weeks! It was much easier to throw ourselves into planning a trip and getting away from it all than it was to sit at home alone with our thoughts and think about how much we missed him.
Personally, I think you need to slow this pony down! Your aunt is still grieving and I assume she’s in a very fragile state and that includes an emotional attachment to her home. I’ve seen people getting ready to sell who’ve only lived there a year and have already developed that bond! Imagine how difficult it would be to leave after 50 years on top of losing her husband. She’s got five decades of memories wrapped up within those walls!
Part of staging a home to sell is not only helping the buyer envision themselves living there, but often includes helping the seller envision themselves NOT living there! In most cases, I typically try to get the seller excited about life in their new place. I encourage them to go furniture shopping! Pick out new paint colors for their new space! Explore their new neighborhood! Whatever it takes to get them thinking about moving on. Once they’ve made that emotional connection with their new house, they’re going to be much less invested in the old one.
In your aunt’s case however, there is obviously more to it than that. Perhaps she really doesn’t want to leave…for now, anyway. And since it doesn’t seem like she absolutely needs to sell, I think I would give her some time. You mentioned her home needed some ‘thinning out’, and maybe this would be a good opportunity for you and your sister’s to help her do just that. Ask her to hold off on the remodeling until you can tackle cleaning out the excess and go from there.
You also mentioned that you talked to a Realtor. Did the agent get the chance to talk to your aunt, too? Sellers with good intentions frequently make changes that are simply more than the house is worth or what potential buyers would pay for. Bringing a Realtor on board and allowing them to present her with a market comparison directly would give her something to think about before jumping in.
You could also ask your aunt to give you and your sisters a room to transform…preferably the kitchen or one of the bathrooms…so you can show her what a difference a few less intrusive updates would make vs. a major renovation. If she could actually see the changes for herself before spending a lot of money on a remodeling project, it might influence her to change her mind.
And lastly, if you are worried that the house is simply too much for her to handle, hiring a lawn service and/or cleaning service to come by once a week to help would take the burden off while relieving her of making any life-changing decisions so quickly.
Hope this helps and thank you again for looking out for your aunt.
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