OK so... I’d like to tell you a little story about how staging saved my life. How’s that for dramatic?
Ok, not exactly lifesaving, but it is because of staging that I was able to sell all 3 of my homes, ‘For Sale by Owner’, even though I hired Realtors. Let me explain what I mean…
You see, there are two types of ‘For Sale by Owner’. One is where you decide to put a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard yourself, and then offer to show your home to prospective buyers without the representation of a realtor. You choose this method in an attempt to save yourself the commission hoping to entertain a buyer without a realtor as well.
The other ‘For Sale by Owner’ is when you (or a hired someone) pro-actively “markets” your home and you use a Realtor. This isn’t to say you create the website and colorful brochure and host Open Houses yourself. It means that you purposely and with dogged determination, find all of the necessary things needed to be done to create an attractive and tidy home for sale. You don’t sit back and count on the magic Realtor to sell your house no-matter-what; it’s the pride in what you are offering to sell, that gives the house value.
This is how you sell at full-price, quickly. Trust me, this much I know.
A savvy seller knows that their home isn’t ready to sell until they have made it sooo nice, they have second thoughts on selling. The best way I know of to get to the meat of how your home will show the best is to hire a professional stager. This takes the bias a seller has, out of the equation and allows the seller to see the home through buyer’s eyes.
Anyway, this is exactly what I did. I hired Inspired Staging (12 years before they went public)! Actually that meant I hired myself, and boy I didn’t pay very well back then… or maybe I didn’t charge enough… Whatever, it was a long time ago.
Selling Mc Farlan
Chapter One: The Beginning
It was almost 19 years ago when I, along with my former husband, bought my first house. We were only 25, so we were pretty gun-ho and high on our youthful pride of homeownership. To say that I [immediately] dove in and bit off way more than I [we] could chew, at once, altogether, over and over… would be putting it mildly. Anyway…
We bought the house as a starter, one to ‘fix-up’. He thought, slowly over time while I thought, yesterday would be nice. And you see, I was a stay-at-home-mom – alone – in the house for hours on end. So yeah, pretty much I: dug up the entire back yard to put in flowers, painted and then repainted most walls, and re-arranged the furniture every other week (oh he loved that… not).
Eventually, with growing “boredom”, I began ripping out the hideous vinyl flooring in the kitchen, convinced there was amazing wood flooring under it.
About the wood flooring underneath? It had to go. Oops, my bad.
Foreshadowing side note...
Over the course of 5 years, I acquired any piece of furniture I felt was too amazing to pass up. An avid thrift store junkie and Border Collie by nature, I couldn’t stop. I bought cheap and fixed up. Then, when my mom no longer wanted the antique furniture I grew up with of course I said, I’m coming down in a U-Haul, be there in 6 hours.
And that gun-ho, I talked about earlier? Well my problem was, and largely still is, that when it comes to my own projects [oddly, not for others], it’s the starting of them that gets me really excited! But when it comes to the finishing? I get a little bored… um, just about right before it’s done. That magic little spot when say, there’s only one sleeve left on that sweater you’re knitting… yeah, that’s me. [Confession: I recently found 3 darling little one-armed sweaters.]
Chapter Two: No More Room, Time to Sell
To sell the house then, we needed to finish a few things, like the master bathroom we ripped out just after finishing the guest-bathroom addition (read: brand new bathroom for buyers).
And then, the horrendous floral wallpaper covering the whole house. We only had one room left, our daughter’s. Due to the lack of desire in removing any more wallpaper…ever… we encapsulated it with bead-board paneling and painted it white… including, over the angel mural I had painted. She’s still mad about that. Um, we were moving? She likes grudges; It’s cute.
Then there was the kitchen walls… eek! This was back when ‘faux painting’ had just hit the scene and wow, was ‘sponge painting’ a fun… experiment?! In a free associated barf abstract type way, maybe.
Needless to say, the kitchen got a full repaint.
Then came new carpeting (read: brand new carpeting for buyers). The oak floors we exposed when we first moved in were in horrendous shape. They looked and felt dirty. Cheaper, quicker, less mess: new carpets throughout.
Chapter Three: And Now For the Staging
Away went 75% of the amazing furniture I had, into a storage unit. All the collections that I just loved dusting (not,) had to go. I trimmed back everything I had been creatively decorating with, along with things I didn't need on my counter tops or in my closets. I wanted to show the next buyer that space wasn't an issue and my crap everywhere was NOT saying that.
By the time my Realtor put a sign in the front yard, my house felt like a dream vacation. All of the furniture I needed - that I had everywhere - was no longer missed at all! And the plush new carpeting was clean and warm… Oh, and finally, for 7 whole days, I had a master bath en suite!!!
The Realtor had an Open House the next day after posting his sign. And guess what?! The first couple through the door, wrote an offer that evening! And get this, for 10K over asking! (Which was pretty much unheard of in Humboldt County.)
Time was and still is of the essence
Fast Sale means zero inconvenience for all: It meant no showings. We didn’t have to keep it hotel-clean, mowed, trimmed, didn’t have to pay two mortgages at once. We didn’t face a price reduction, in fact, we got a bonus simply because it looked so good the buyer knew it would receive multiple offers.
Let’s not forget my Realtor; he couldn’t have been happier with the quick sale. It put a feather in his cap and he didn’t have to spend months juggling the listing.
Chapter Four: Becoming a True Believer
It wasn’t hard to feel good about the success in selling my home. We made good money on it and had the chance to see just how important the end product was in getting us what we needed: sweat equity.
Not everyone likes that much sweating, and that’s why Inspired Staging came to be. Our mission is to help everyone achieve, at least in some part, the pride and success in selling their home for the most money possible. We want to share our passion and turn it into your success. It’s never too late to make more money off your house!
Looking forward to more conversations with you… Please feel free to leave comments and come back for more. I will be sharing tips and tricks, case studies, inspirations I find, and anything else I feel excited about sharing!
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