Prepared by Liz Connolly, MIRM, MCSP / President, INhance IT! Home Staging
WHO WE ARE?
INhance IT! is a full-service staging company with services available to builders as well as those selling an existing home. The company specializes in merchandising VACANT high-end re-sale properties, builder displays and spec homes. The company’s motto is “The cost of our service is less than the cost of your first price reduction.”
WHY USE A STAGER?
The benefit of using INhance IT!’s services is that the home will usually sell faster and at a higher profit to the seller. This is particularly important in today’s marketplace, for both builder inventory homes and re-sale properties. INhance IT!’s definition of home staging is that it is the art of using limited funds, practical creativity and extraordinary expertise to professionally prepare a home to sell so that it becomes infinitely more attractive to potential buyers, sells quickly and for more money. INhance IT!’s objective is to present the home in the best possible light to make it stand out from other homes currently on the market.
STAGING BY THE NUMBERS
Although we can’t predict how and when a property will sell or at what price, we do know that professional staging has the following quantifiable benefits:
- GOOD COST-BENEFIT FOR PROFESSIONAL STAGING: The average staging investment is between 1% and 3% of the home’s asking price. The average increase in the sales price achieved generates an average return of 8% to 10% (2008 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers).
- RETURN ON STAGING INVESTMENT: The average return on an investment in staging is 343% (2007 Home Gain Survey). More recently, the average cost of home staging consulting services was $300-400 with an average increase in sales price achieved in the range of $1500 to $2000 for a return of over 586% (2009 Home Gain Survey). Similarly, a survey of agents showed that home staging typically costs between $212 and $1,089, but with an increase in sales price of $2,275 to $2,841 for an average return of 169% (Home Staging Resource).
- REDUCED CUMULATIVE DAYS ON MARKET: 95.6% of ASP staged homes selling in 37 days or less compared to 212 days on market for non-staged homes (Accredited Staging Professionals). Less days on market typically results in a higher sales price. Homes sold 4-12 weeks after listing averaged 5% less than list price; homes sold 13-24 weeks after listing averaged 6.4% less than list price; homes sold 24 or weeks after listing averaged 10%-25% less than list price.
- INCREASED PRICES: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reports that a staged home sells on average 17% higher than a non-staged home (HUD Clips News).
- BUYER TRENDS: Staging plays a role in two market trends. First, staging improves the quality of photographs used in marketing collateral. Over 90% of buyers first searched for homes online. 84% reported that photographs were the most important information provided online (2009 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers). The use of quality photographs of a staged home means the difference between in-person traffic and no showings. Second, although inventory levels are slowly declining, competition among new and existing homes is strong. Buyers have high expectations and many choices. Staging creates a competitive advantage and allows a home to be shown in optimal showing condition. For this reason, 85% of real estate agents recommend the use of a professional stager (2009 Home Gain Survey).
WHAT WE DO?
Staging isn’t to be confused with interior design. Whereas home decorating and interior design focuses on creating a better living environment matching the individual needs of the owners, INhance IT!’s function as a home stager is to prepare the home for sale by creating an appealing appearance that creates the optimal showing condition and appearance for the home. This is achieved by a professional team specializing in this form of merchandising. INhance IT! will objectively view the home as a product and highlight or focus on its assets, while downplaying or minimizing its flaws. Home staging is an integral part of the selling process. Top agents realize that the INhance IT! team quickly and efficiently prepares the home for sale which, in turn, helps to get the home sold faster and for a higher price. INhance IT! insures that the home is shown at its finest and best condition. Each room is edited and arranged to show off and enhance the best features. INhance IT!’s furnishings and accessories reflect the latest in color and design while appealing to the widest possible home buying audience.
HOW WE CAN HELP?
INhance IT! is a member of the Homebuilder’s Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri, St. Louis Association of REALTORS® and the Metropolitan St. Louis Chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. The firm works closely with a wide array of developers, builders and owners. In many cases, INhance IT! works closely with the builder team to give advice on floor plans, room sizes, finishes, colors, fixtures and more both interior and exterior. This is especially important with inventory homes that are designed to sell quickly. Many builders are no longer purchasing display furnishings, but are opting to INhance IT!’s furniture leasing program.
In addition, INhance IT! is regularly invited to speak at local real estate offices. INhance IT! offers a free power point presentation which trains agents on how to talk to their clients about preparing their homes for sale and how to “sell” staging to their clients. This program can be tailored to each office’s specific educational needs. On February 17, 2010, INhance IT! participated on a panel at the Home Builders Association presenting Hot Merchandising Tips for 2010. On March 16, INhance IT! will be presenting a class through St. Charles Continuing Education entitled “Staging Your Home To Sell.”
SIMPLE HOME STAGING TIPS:
By utilizing home staging, you WILL usually sell your home faster and for more money:
- WHAT DO BUYERS WANT?
- Light, bright rooms
- Clean rooms
- Fresh, uncluttered rooms
- WHAT IS STAGING?
- Staging is visual. It is all about presentation. It aims to make things pleasing to the eye.
- Staging is universal – NOT PERSONAL.
- Staging is merchandising – it is for show – designed to help you sell.
- STAGING IS NOT INTERIOR DECORATING.
- Decorating is PERSONAL. Decorating reflects YOUR INDIVIDUAL STYLE - Staging is about using items, accessories and pieces of furniture in new ways.
- Staging is DE-CLUTTERING. Read the book It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff by Peter Walsh. It outlines an easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff.
- Staging is using what you have to create a new “set” in your home.
- Staging is packing up your collections.
- Staging is cleaning up your property.
- Staging is about the colors you use inside and outside.
- Staging is about being committed to getting your house ready for sale. NOTICE I HAVE NOT CALLED IT A HOME.
- STAGING IS DE-PERSONALIZING.