Are You Trying to Sell the "Dreaded" Vanilla Box?

By
Home Stager with REAL ESTAGING, a nationally recognized leader in Staging.

There is no denying that real estate marketplace is in a major depression. Nothing seems to drive home that grim point more then a quick drive through any neighborhood, for placed in the front yards of so many homes is a vast array of For Sale signs. But while a sign in a front yard drives home the point for what is happening with single family home sales, what is taking place in the condominium market is sometimes harder to see. Why? Well, often there are no for sale signs "up" for condos, so it is easy to overlook the fact that there are many condos for sale today too.

In some ways selling a condo is even more difficult then selling a single family home. First, it is not uncommon that in larger developments, one condo in a building is competing with another condo configured with the exact same floor plan, features and finishes. Plus, except for slight cosmetic changes to the exterior façades, it is also not unusual to find one building full of condos to be pretty much the same as another building full of condos in the same neighborhood.

Your sellers need to realize that with so many condos to choose from, they all start looking very much alike.  In the buyer's eye, without much distinguishing one condo from another, they all become just another Vanilla Box.

While through the years there are many versions of the Vanilla Box, the typical Vanilla Box of today has the front door near a central corridor, sliding patio doors to a balcony in the front, and a kitchen in the middle with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and an island that separates the kitchen space from the open plan dining/living room area. Dreadfully, so many condos are pretty much the same...floor to floor, building to building, neighborhood to neighborhood.

Because so many condos are relatively the same, the chance for a sale can become quite competitive. Plus, if your seller is currently living in a Vanilla Box in a neighborhood that offers similarly priced NEWLY constructed Vanilla Boxes...  the  shiny new Box will most likely be more appealing to a buyer, than a scuffed, scratched, worn and torn used Box.

Good news is that the hope for a sale of a Vanilla Box is not a lost cause... for either your client who is trying to sell their unit, or for the builder trying to sell one or more units. Both types of sellers, for different reasons, can benefit from hiring an EXPERIENCED home stager.

Realtors will be glad to know that a Stager offers creative custom solutions that will help individual seller trying to sell their unit in a number of ways. First, they will point out the problem areas that make a used home look used, and then offer low cost suggestions that make the condo feel new again. Next, while it is a fact that a furnished property is easier to sell then vacant; your sellers need to understand that due to size constraints of the home (typically condos are more compact) furnishings in the condo needs to be re-set in a way that they actually helps the condo show and flow better when being toured by buyers... and a stager can help here too.

Staging is much more then decorating, and the more a realtor understands this the better it is for both the realtor and their sellers. In fact, good staging is a balance between adding the right amount of visual appeal, without having the interior décor distract the seller's eye from the property they are considering buying.

For the builder, a Stager can also be of great service. Who hasn't been a bit surprised to experience a builder's empty vanilla white unit after touring their lush and lovely model? For this reason large builders have for years had model properties for buyers to first tour. Today, the opportunity and benefit of having a model unit need not be a selling advantage reserved only for the larger builder. Smaller builders can hire a Stager who can provide low cost, yet beautifully designed staged-model solutions. PLUS, if the builder is selling multiple units in one building and the staged model unit does sell, the model can then be easily moved from one unit and re-set in the next. The added flexibility of a "rolling" model offers yet more flavor and appeal to the Vanilla Box.

So yes, without a doubt this is a tough market to sell in, especially when it comes to condo sales. But properties are selling. Fortunately, Realtors have a opportunity to truly help their clients, be they a builder or an owner, who are trying to sell a Vanilla Boxes. Realtors that work with stagers can change the flavor of their listings from FOR SALE to SOLD.

Flavor It Forward...
Me

PS: As I was writing this post the following comment came in from a seller whose house we staged just 32 days ago. "Good news we have an offer on our place and are currently working out all the details.  I really think the staging did the trick so I can't thank you enough!" -DG

Stagers hear this all the time... I encourage you to find an EXPERIENCED home stager in your area. Know how and when to use them and you and your sellers will win... I guarantee it.

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Comments 19 New Comment

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Rainer
262,564
Ginger Sala
Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~
Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC

Hi Craig, Just stopping by to say hi & we miss you round here. Hope you are enjoying life!

Ginger

February 27, 2009 09:42 PM
Rainmaker
173,778
Maya Thomas LLC, Broker
Key West FL Historic Old Town Estates, Bungalows
Key West, Key Haven, Geiger, Sugarloaf, Cudjoe, Summerland

Staging sells homes!  I ask every seller to have their home staged.

March 20, 2009 08:34 AM
Rainmaker
558,639
Chris Olsen
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate
Olsen Ziegler Realty

You are right on Craig.  Vanilla needs to be spiced up and a good stager is worth 10x the fee they get paid, imho.

March 25, 2009 04:09 PM
Rainmaker
159,963
SarahGray Lamm
Realtor - 100K Hours of NC Real Estate Experience
Allen Tate Realtors Chapel Hill, NC 919-819-8199

Here, here! Staging works in all price points! I tell my sellers that we will not be activating their listing until the pics are great and then send in my stager. The resulting visual is usually so good they want to know if I'll send them a stager for their "new" house so they can live that way from the beginning!

March 28, 2009 11:52 AM
Rainer
32,758
Von Richcreek
SNP
Crye-Leike, Realtors

I personally agree that staging it a great way to market a home. I am considering adding a staging consultation to my listing packet.

April 13, 2011 05:21 PM
Anonymous
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Rainmaker
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Craig Schiller

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Additional Information

These are the creative writings of Craig Schiller, a home staging professional, passionate real estate marketing professional and founder of the Real Estaging, one of the nation's leading home staging companies.