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When Its Hot, When Its Not Why Staging is Vital in Any Selling Environment

Nancy Albea

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The market is bustling! Realtors are flocking to new listings with buyers in tow. Houses are being snapped up literally before the ink is dry on the listing contract. Sellers can not pack fast enough.

When it's a sellers market, buyers must act quickly. Because buying a house is a very emotional process, staging can maximize your return in a hot market because it will provide instant appeal to a buyer whose options may already be limited. It is not uncommon in a sellers market for a property to get multiple offers well above the listed price.


A young, growing family was feeling the need for a home. They had been renting for a few years and, with 3 small children, wanted the dream of a place of their own. House prices were starting to rise and they were concerned they would soon be unable to afford the leap. They purchased a small starter home, barely more than a cube, for $49,000. They were so excited on closing day, their dream had become a reality!

After nine months of primping and polishing, they decided to try listing their house so they could move up to something more stylish. To their amazement, their house sold within a week of being listed - for $63,000! They immediately began their search for a new place and found a townhouse only a few miles away, which they purchased for $84,000. Once again they spiffed and shined, and in nine more months they were ready for a new challenge. After 2 days on the market they were presented with 3 offers simultaneously. They accepted the offer that was most appealing to them, which was for $119,000, a full $2000 over their listing price!

Exuberant, the young couple found a large bungalow in a lakeside community. Never did they think they could live in such a setting! They paid $135,000 for it and quickly got started fixing up their gem. Only nine months later, life circumstances caused them to have to relocate several hundred miles away. Imagine their delight when their home sold in 2 weeks for $163,000! In just 27 months they had parlayed their $49,000 investment into $163,000. The combination of a hot selling market and preparing their home for sale netted them $87,000!

This story may sound extreme, but it is true! It happened to me in 1984-1987 in the crazed Toronto sellers market. By staging my homes prior to listing, I was able to maximize my return in an already brisk market.

No doubt you will sell your home in this type of market, but the objective of staging in a sellers market is to obtain the greatest return as well as multiple offers in the shortest time.

For Sale signs are everywhere. Realtor frustration is reaching an all time high because their listings are aging and the buyers are few and far between. Potential purchasers have a huge inventory to choose from and are very demanding about finding exactly the right home, and they can afford to be. Sellers are paying two mortgages because they can not get a contract.

In a buyers market, every competitive edge is necessary to entice buyers. If a home they are planning to view does not captivate them on first sight, all they have to do is keep driving a few blocks to find more that will. It is imperative when selling a home in this type of market to make a strong first impression. The alternative is reducing your price until you finally capture a purchaser. While staging is important in any market to make your home stand out from the crowd, it is essential in a buyers market.


While taking an innocent Sunday afternoon drive, a woman happened upon a new subdivision not too far from where she and her family currently owned a home. Looming in front of her was a majestic builders model home. Entranced, she pulled over and proceeded into the enchanting structure. Inside she was captivated by the spacious floor plan and lovely décor. Before she knew it, she was signing a contract to purchase! How was she ever going to tell her husband?

Once he was speaking to her again, her husband forgave her and actually really liked the new home she chose. They realized that they needed to sell the home they already owned, and quickly! Unfortunately because their decision to buy was based on impulse, they did not consider that the selling market was extremely slow. Full of eager anticipation of their new dream home, they prepared their current home for sale and listed their home with only 8 weeks to sell.

Two weeks passed with no showings. The couple began to wonder if their agent was actually advertising their home. Four weeks, no showings. They had never before had a problem selling a home, and they had bought and sold several! Anxiety was beginning to set in. The stress was so overwhelming that they packed up their family and went on vacation for a week. Every night they prayed for a showing. Time was growing short, and they could not afford to carry 2 mortgages.

When they returned from vacation, they found a note from their realtor asking them to call. (This was before cell phones were widely used, back when dinosaurs roamed) They crossed fingers and toes and called their agent. She had an offer to present! To their surprise, it was a full price offer. Bewildered yet ecstatic, they asked their agent how their luck could be so good. She simply stated, They fell in love at first sight; luck had nothing to do with it.

Another amazing but true story, this happened to me in 1992 during a market slump in Calgary, Alberta. Thanks to staging, I was able to captivate the first buyer who came through the door. Who knows how long it would have been before another opportunity came along?

The Moral of our Story

When you view your home as an investment staging makes sense. Imagine selling your home as is, only to have the new owner make the improvements and cash in on what should have been YOUR equity.

Why would you give away untapped equity in your home? Think of it as flipping your own house. A small investment of time and money can yield a huge return at closing!

Nancy Albea is the founder of Entrances Home Staging LLC, serving West Houston and Katy, Texas.

Entrances Home Staging takes all market factors into consideration and provides you with a complete action plan that is prioritized and customized to fit your budget and needs. Your home is viewed with a buyers eye, identifying both the areas that need attention and the features that sell. We then develop a plan to maximize your home's appeal, giving you specific room-by-room instructions. We tell you how to place your furnishing to best suit your floor plan, what accessories to add and what may need to change. Entrances services are fully customizable, allowing you to choose what, if anything, you need assistance with when implementing your plan. Our goal is to work within your budget to create a home that will Captivate the Market!


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