Cheaper Austin Homes Staged Better than Higher Priced Homes

by Sylvia Crossland on September 7, 2008 · 4 comments

I’ve been previewing and showing homes in a variety of price ranges and areas of Austin lately. Would you believe currently that homes in the $150K price range in Cedar Park and Leander are staged better and show better than homes $300K-$400K Circle C and SW Austin? Well, that’s what I’m seeing the past couple of weeks.

For instance, I have looked at a lot of homes in the Cedar Park/Leander area in neighborhoods such as Block House Creek. My buyers are mostly looking at homes under $160k in that area. The homes we are seeing are, for the most part, well staged, clean and ready to sell. I see a lot of seller motivation in most of these homes, and as a buyer’s agent I appreciate that, as do our buyers.

On the other end of Austin, I have clients looking in the $300K to $400K range in Circle C, Villages of Western Oaks, Legend Oaks area, which is Southwest Austin. There is a lot of inventory in this price range currently, so I’ve been previewing homes to narrow down the ones to which I will take my buyers. I’ve seen an unusually high number of really messy homes in poor showing condition in this area and price range, which suprises me! These sellers and their agents are dropping the ball. With so many houses on the market, if your home is not clean, well staged, priced right and ready to show, you might as well not have it on the market…it will not sell!

One house I went into the other day had shoes strewn all around the entrance hall, the formal dining table was covered with junk and stuff, and the home stunk badly. I turned around and walked out without going any further. I’m not bringing my buyers into a home in that condition. Buyers rarely pick stinky homes that show poorly, and we have plenty of homes in better condition to see.

With this in mind, keep the following things in mind when selling your house:

You want the first impression of the home to be positive. Groom the front yard and make it look welcoming. Add some colorful flowers and a nice clean welcome mat on the front door.

When you walk in the front door, does it smell good? Is there plenty of light? Leave a basket of snacks and bottled water on the kitchen counter. This may seem a trivial jester, but last weekend a seller left a tasty basket of drinks and snacks at a listing with a sign saying “Help yourself!” My buyers picked that house and wrote an offer. Of course it had merits other than the snack basket, but don’t underestimate the good will and emotional pull that such hospitatity provides.

The home that was staged, clean AND had snacks and drinks. To add to the nice staging, a little snack and fresh water gave the buyers a reason to stop, linger and realize how much they liked the house.

As well as cleaning and staging make sure to de-clutter! Take down the family pictures and the crucifix from the walls. You may like having Jesus hanging from a cross above the fireplace, but it is a distraction for buyers.

Earlier today, Steve told me he showed a house with giant roosters dominating the kitchen and dining areas, and a huge 2′x3′ glamour portrait of the sellers immediately inside the entry, displayed on a tripod stand. The home was overdecorated and the buyers could not see through it all. Driving away, they were commenting on the roosters and the glamour portrait, and how funny that all seemed. But they were noting about the home as one that interested them.

You want your home to look like a model. Closets are important too. Pack up as much as you can and leave just a few items in the closet. This will make the closets look BIGGER!

Pets are another big issue. Eliminate pets as a showing issue. Just do it. There is nothing more annoying than a barking dog while you are trying to show a house. It causes the buyers to leave quickly instead of taking in the home at a slower pace.

A little extra effort by you, the seller, will make the difference between a house that sells and one that stays on the market and eventually expires!

Sylvia

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 William Bay September 9, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Sylvia,
I totally understand. A lot of what I need to do before I go out and photograph a listing is talk to the agent or the owner and discuss staging, cleaning and de-cluttering.
Some people just don’t understand that even though they may have a very nice house, that alone won’t sell itself.

I encourage a staging expert to come in and coach the sellers how they need to live their lives until the house is sold.
I understand that selling a house is a very stressful time for people, but that extra effort up front will make a huge difference by limiting the number of days on the market.

Nice thoughts Sylvia…

William

2 Michael @ The Stage Coach September 10, 2008 at 10:53 am

Hi, Sylvia:
Nice post. This is funny in a sad sort of way – call it denial, I guess. “List it, and they will come” no longer works. Twelve Thousand plus homes or so on the market…

I continue to run across homes that the REALTOR rushes to get listed, waits a month or two, then calls to discuss Staging. Meanwhile, they missed the best traffic during the first few weeks. It’s like thinking about a game plan after the game has already started.

I do not mean to generalize – but I wonder if you looked at the years of experience of the REALTOR selling the South side homes, versus the ones selling homes in Cedar Park/Leander what you would find?

Thanks for extolling the virtues of Staging! Your Blog is much more accurate regarding the importance of Staging than the last attempt the Statesman made. C’mon: keep garbage out of your trash can? Put the Howdy Doody puppet away? That’s the best advice they can provide?

Michael @ The Stage Coach

3 Austin REALTOR Sam Chapman September 14, 2008 at 6:37 am

A lot of what is flagged in the inspection report can also be items not up to today’s code that was up to code when the house was built. Unless it is a safety or structural concern, I usually tell buyers to look past these.

4 LW December 14, 2008 at 11:30 am

Give me a break. Most people who live in SW Austin keep their homes up. You must love the roomstore and rooms to go because that is where people buy that live in 160K homes. My neighbor’s homes and mine are clean and beautiful. How rude.

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