Don’t “Test the Market” – Stage it Before Listing! by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP – Owner, Sensational Home StagingBack when I first got started Staging as an ASP Stager, the “belief” that Staging would work was just not really there. Realtors knew inherently that a house needed to look good, but understanding the principles of Staging (depersonalizing, declutter, clean, color-pizzazz) was missing. Also, conveying the facts to a Seller about how Staged houses sell at a better price and faster than the marketed competition was a challenge. Sellers were skeptical and did not want to make “unnecessary changes.” When I finally did get opportunities to Stage and the house sold quickly the “belief” was still not 100% that what I did really made an impact. Some thought, “Well it is the market, the house would have sold anyway.” So I kept plugging away and keeping track of statistics that supported Staging. Eventually my track record of success spoke for itself and doubters could not explain away why a house I Staged sold in 10 days while the other listings sat and sat for months. Flash forward 10 years and in most places in America we are in a market now that demands Staging. A seller that wants their house to sell NOW versus sitting and waiting needs to use every tool available to attract a buyer. Stage the house BEFORE it is listed. Don’t wait to “try” or “test” the market thinking that “Well we don’t want to ‘spend’ the money on Staging if we can sell without doing that.” What sellers may not fully understand is with Staging, you either invest up FRONT in the process of preparing a house for sale to maximize the rate of return, or you LOSE it on the back-end with a price reduction, low-price offer, and extended days on the market. I went to Stage a house recently and the office was dark burgundy and had been that color when the current owners bought the house. They never liked it but just had not yet gotten around to painting it. After showing them pictures of how dark and un-welcoming that room would look in photos and for buyers, they agreed to paint. They invested less than $200 to have a painter paint the room a nice warm tone neutral color (Sherwin Williams: Blond) and said, “We wish we had done this when we first moved in.” Now the room is bright and inviting – and since they are competing with lots of other properties, they have not given the buyer a reason not to choose their house. Best foot forward. Don’t test the market – Stage it now. Even if you happen to be one of the lucky ones in a market where it’s a Seller’s market, think about how much money you might be leaving on the table if you choose not to Stage? Yes, the house might sell but could it have sold at an even BETTER price if it had been Staged? The answer is – yes. . . Statistics prove this. And the best part is Staging helps everyone WIN. The Seller wins with a faster sale and a good sales price, The Realtor wins with a faster sale and more commission, and the Buyer wins because they can picture living in the house and make that connection that helps them make an offer.