Home Sales

Staging Your Home: How to Make Buyers Fall in Love

With these tips and tricks, your house will be swoon-worthy in no time.

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All the world’s a stage, said the Bard.

That includes your house. Which is for sale. And thus needs to look bee-yoo-tee-ful.

Staging entails hiring experts with a flair for interior design. They reimagine your living space and give your house a makeover (with temporary decor and furnishings) so that it gets “oohs” and “aahs” from the buying masses. 

Great staging isn’t an insurance policy — there’s no guarantee it will bring in more money when you sell your home — but it’s an important marketing tool. It presents your house in a flattering light and helps you compete at a favorable price. (In that sense, staging is like dressing your house for the price you want, and not the price you have.) 

Staging also leads to eye-catching listing photos, which are especially valuable given that most homebuyers begin their search by scrolling through listings online.

So, are you thinking about hiring stagers for your home? Here’s what to consider.

Staging Really Does Help. Like, a Lot.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. A recent survey from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® revealed that:

  • 77% of buyers’ agents said staging makes it easier for their buyer to visualize the property as their future home. It’s like helping the buyer dream it so they can achieve it — and so you and your agent can make the sale.
  • 39% of sellers’ agents said staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time a house is on the market. For you, time saved could mean moving into your new house even sooner.
  • 21% of sellers’ agents said staging a home increases its dollar value between 6% and 10%. Simply put, that may lead to more money in your pocket.

Before You Stage, Budget Accordingly

Many listings agents offer staging services to clients as part of their services. If you want to use someone you find yourself, you typically will have to pay out of pocket.

Staging costs vary depending on where you live and how many rooms you’re staging. On average, home sellers pay between $302 and $1,358 for staging, according to HomeAdvisor.com. If your house is empty because you’ve already moved, you might also have additional expenses for renting furniture and other homey decorations to make it look lived-in.

Many stagers offer consultations for as low as $150, Fixr.com reports. Using the advice you learn during the consultation to try DIY staging may be your best option if you’re on a tight budget. Listen for tips on how to use the furniture and decor you already have to show off your home’s best assets.

Related Topic: Sell a Home: Step-by-Step

For the Best Results, Declutter

Spoiler alert: No buyer wants to walk into a messy house. 

So, take time to clean and declutter your home. Organize everyday household items into crates and keep them out of sight. Stow away seasonal decorations (that means no Christmas in July). Make time for — or invest in — a whole-house cleaning, including carpet shampooing. Change lightbulbs, finally make those minor repairs, and add a fresh coat of paint to any room that needs it. {{ start_tip 99 }}Clean out closet spaces{{ end_tip }}— because buyers will want to check out the closets.

Also worth considering? Removing personal items from view, such as copious family photos, artwork, or religious keepsakes. The concern is not that home buyers will be offended by you or your lifestyle. The goal is to neutralize the space and help home buyers imagine themselves living there. (But don’t go overboard. You don’t want rooms to feel sterile, either.)

Yes, we did just tell you to clean out your closets. So where are you supposed to put all this stuff? If you don’t have a discrete place to tuck things away, consider renting a storage unit. 

To Find the Right Stager for Your Home, Ask Questions

If your agent doesn’t offer staging services, he or she can likely recommend local stagers for you to work with. Before you hire a stager, it’s best to interview at least three candidates in person. You’ll want to get a sense of how much they charge — and whether they have good taste.

To do your due diligence, here are 10 questions to ask prospective stagers: 

  1. On average, how many days were your staged homes on the market last year?Experience is important, but it’s not the only factor to consider when vetting stagers. You want someone who stages homes that sell — ideally within 30 days, because that’s when agents often recommend making a price reduction if your house is still on the market.
  2. What price range do you typically work in? Staging luxury homes is a totally different ball game than staging starter homes. Find someone who specializes in homes near your listing price.
  3. What styles of homes do you usually stage? Staging different types of homes also requires different skill sets (think of a penthouse versus a bungalow, for instance). Look for someone with experience working in homes similar to yours.
  4. What formal training have you received? A number of staging organizations, such as the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) and the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP), offer certification or accreditation. Training from these associations can distinguish professional stagers from beginners.
  5. Do you have insurance? Your home could get damaged when the stager moves furniture in and out. Find someone with business insurance so that you’re protected.
  6. Can I see your portfolio? One of the best ways to judge a stager’s skills is to look at their work. Ask to see photos from the person’s three most recently staged homes.
  7. Do you select the accessories, furniture, and paint for the homes you stage, or do you collaborate with other experts? Some stagers work independently, while others collaborate with other vendors. Make sure you know everyone who will be involved in staging your home, so you don’t have surprise guests rearranging your living room.
  8. What are your rates? Some stagers charge a fee for decorating services, plus a monthly fee for renting furniture, while others charge a flat fee per room for the duration of the listing. Ask about how a stager determines costs before you commit to working with him or her. 
  9. What’s your availability? If you’re on a tight timetable, make sure the stager can get your house ready by the date you want to put your house on the market.
  10. Can you provide contacts for past clients? Get in touch with two or three people who have worked with the stager before. Ask how the stager’s services helped with the sale of their homes, and what they might have done differently.

Focus On the Rooms That Count the Most

You don’t have to stage your whole house to make buyers swoon. 

Staging the rooms where people tend to spend the most time usually makes the biggest impression on buyers. Start with the{{ start_tip 100 }}living room,{{ end_tip }}followed by the master bedroom and the kitchen. 

Keep in mind that you’re not going for an HGTV-worthy overhaul: Even small touches, like putting fluffy towels in the bathroom or replacing shabby throw pillows in the family room, can make your home that much more attractive.

Oh, and BTW: Stage Your Yard, Too

Your house has to look its best — inside and outside. After all, buyers form their first impression when they pull up in front of your home. It’s no surprise, then, that curb appeal — how your home looks from the exterior — can increase your home’s sales value up to 17%, a Texas Tech University study found.

If you’ve never had your yard professionally landscaped, now may be the time to do it. Landscaped homes have a sales price advantage ranging from 5.5% to 12.7%, according to research by Alex Niemiera, a horticulturist at Virginia Tech. That would mean an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home.

Professional landscaping, however, can cost a lot. You’re aiming for polish, not a new garden of Versailles. If budget is a concern, start with these DIY improvements:

  • Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery. Even if it's winter, you can add colorful winter blooms and seasonal touches such as garland or lights.
  • Mow the grass.
  • Reseed bare patches of lawn and add fresh sod, as needed.

Then move on to these easy upgrades to your home’s exterior:

  • Wash the front windows.
  • Power wash siding and walkways.
  • Repaint or stain porches and stairs, as needed.
  • Make sure house numbers are easy to see, visible, and pretty. 
  • Make sure important outdoor features such as the front door, porch, and sidewalks and paths are well lit. (If not, install new fixtures or lighting.)

Even basic upgrades — like laying fresh mulch, changing porch lights, or installing a new mailbox — can help a buyer fall in love at first sight. 

Just wait ’til they come inside and see what else you’ve done with the place.

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Staging Your Home: How to Make Buyers Fall in Love https://www.houselogic.com/sell/how-to-sell-step-by-step/how-to-stage-a-house/

By: HouseLogic  |  Published: April 12, 2018

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

BIG BUMP IN MASS. HOME SALES TO START 2016

 

BIG BUMP IN MASS. HOME SALES TO START 2016
With an assist from better weather than last year, homes sales in Massachusetts surged 25 percent in January as prices remained flat, according to data released Tuesday morning. The Warren Group reported the median sale price of a home in Massachusetts last month was $320,000. Condo sales were up 29 percent in January, with the median condo sale price down 3 percent to $290,875. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported Tuesday that January sales reached their highest level since 2004. Closed sales have been up in 12 of the last 19 months, according to the association, and median prices have been up in 17 of the last 19 months. At 14,291, the inventory of homes for sale in Massachusetts in January was down 20.4 percent compared to January 2015. "We remain in a unique time where, despite the lack of inventory of homes for sale, buyers have been successfully finding homes they want to live in and making offers that sellers are accepting," association president Annie Blatz, branch executive at Kinlin Grover Real Estate in Brewster, said in a statement. - Michael Norton/SHNS

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS!

2016 is going to be a dynamic year for our local real estate market! 

I recently attended a real estate economic forecast at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, where one of the top real estate economists in the nation predicted that 2016 will go down as one of the busiest years ever, especially in the Greater Boston region.

Locally, we share those expectations for the new year based on the latest economic data, strong consumer demand, and the solid momentum from 2015 that continues to propel our local real estate market forward. 

Existing home sales and prices have finally recovered from the "great recession" and in many cases hit new highs in 2015. Distressed activity like short sales and foreclosures are down substantially as values have increased to pre-downturn levels.

All through 2015 inventory was pretty consistent with demand exceeding supply.  We expect this condition, known as a "sellers' market" to continue to be the case throughout 2016.

Demand is being been fueled by low interest rates, easing of credit access, and a strong local economy that continues to create well-paying jobs.

Most importantly though, are the demographic changes that are effecting our region. 

According to Realtor.com the Boston area will be number 1 region in the nation in 2016 when it comes to baby boomers shaking up the real estate market.  Whether it is downsizing from an empty nest to a condo, buying a larger home or investing in a vacation property, boomers are driving the market's resurgence.

Just as importantly are today's millennial generation, a huge group born starting in the early 1980's.  This well educated and consumer savvy generation are already making an enormous impact as they begin to make their move into homeownership.  This next wave of buyers are drawn to our area in particular because of our strong local school systems.

According to all the national data, 6 month purchase plans are up-pointing to a strong spring.  In fact, according to realtor.com, over the past 90 days, a record number of buyers and sellers have begun the preliminary step of preparing for a move by accessing the popular real estate web site.

If you are serious about making a move in 2016, now is the time to start preparing for what will be an intense spring market.  

If you're a seller that means taking the time over the next few months to prepare your property for the marketplace.  That could mean simple decluttering or making more extensive improvements to maximize value.  Our agents can provide you with important advice and guidance as well as an accurate market evaluation to properly price your home.

If you're a buyer, it makes sense to establish a relationship with a Realtor now before the spring rush.  As a buyer, when you are shopping in a marketplace with a shortage of homes it makes all the difference when you work with an experienced and knowledgeable agent especially when you are competing against others for a chance to buy your dream home.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients in 2015 for once again making Northrup Associates the leading real estate company in the region. 

We are a unique company, that has stood the test of time.  We are proud to have worked with generations of families helping them buy and sell their homes. The secret to our success is the time we take to  work personally with each and every one of our clients.

Call Northrup Associates so that we can help make your move in 2016 a success!

Housing market improves slightly last year

By Jeff Shmase LYNNFIELD-While the housing market is not nearly as strong as it was five years ago, it is improving and no exception, siad the owner of local real estate company. Richard Tisei, the owner of Northrup Associates in town, said if home prices are priced correctly, it should be a good year for the market. "If (interest) rates remain low, I think you'll continue to see the market moving in the right direction," he said. Both single-family and condominium sales were up in Lynnfield in 2010, relative to 2009. Last year, 108 single family homes were sold, compared to 98 in '09. Twenty-five condominiums exchanged hands last year, versus 16 in 2009. The median single-family home price was also up, about 10 percent. The median price in 2010 was $529,000; it was $479,500. Condominium prices, however fell in a year-over-year comparison. The median price of a condo sale in 2010 was $350,000 versus $389,900. Properties were not on the market as long either. The average days on the market for the 108 homes sold was 111, compared to 147 in 2009. The same held true for condominiums, where on average it took 165 days to sell those properties, compared to 181 in 2009. Lynnfield bucked the statewide trend in several areas. First, home sales fell slightly (1. percent) across the state. While the median price of a single-family home across the state rose, it did not match Lynnfield's gain. Article courtesty of: Peabody & Lynnfield Weekly News February 3, 2011

December Existing-Home Sales Jump

Washington, DC, January 20, 2011 Existing-home sales rose sharply in December, when sales increased for the fifth time in the past six months, according to the National Association of REALTORS. Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 12.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million in December from an upwardly revised 4.70 million in November, but remain 2.9 percent below the 5.44 million pace in December 2009. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said sales are on an uptrend. December was a good finish to 2010, when sales fluctuate more than normal. The pattern over the past six months is clearly showing a recovery, he said. The December pace is near the volume were expecting for 2011, so the market is getting much closer to an adequate, sustainable level. The recovery will likely continue as job growth gains momentum and rising rents encourage more renters into ownership while exceptional affordability conditions remain. The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $168,800 in December, which is 1.0 percent below December 2009. Distressed homes3 rose to a 36 percent market share in December from 33 percent in November, and 32 percent in December 2009. The modest rise in distressed sales, which typically are discounted 10 to 15 percent relative to traditional homes, dampened the median price in December, but the flat price trend continues, Yun explained. Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 4.2 percent to 3.56 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.1-month supply4 at the current sales pace, down from a 9.5-month supply in November. NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said buyers are responding to very good affordability conditions despite tight mortgage credit. Historically low mortgage interest rates, stable home prices, and pent-up demand are drawing home buyers into the market, Phipps said. Recent home buyers have been successful with very low default rates, given the outstanding performance for loans originated in 2009 and 2010. According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.71 percent in December from 4.30 percent in November; the rate was 4.93 percent in December 2009. A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 33 percent of homes in December, up from 32 percent in November, but are below a 43 percent share in December 2009. Investors accounted for 20 percent of transactions in December, up from 19 percent in November and 15 percent in December 2009; the balance of sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 29 percent in December, compared with 31 percent in November, but up from 22 percent a year ago. All-cash sales have been consistently high at about 30 percent of the market over the past six months, Yun said. Single-family home sales jumped 11.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.64 million in December from 4.15 million in November, but are 2.5 percent below the 4.76 million level in December 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $169,300 in December, down 0.2 percent from a year ago. Existing condominium and co-op sales surged 16.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 in December from 550,000 in November, but remain 5.2 percent below the 675,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price5 was $165,000 in December, which is 7.4 percent below December 2009. Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 13.0 percent to an annual pace of 870,000 in December but are 5.4 percent below December 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $237,300, which is 1.4 percent below a year ago. Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 11.0 percent in December to a level of 1.11 million but are 4.3 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $139,700, up 3.3 percent from December 2009. In the South, existing-home sales increased 10.1 percent to an annual pace of 1.97 million in December but are 2.5 percent below December 2009. The median price in the South was $148,400, unchanged from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West surged 16.7 percent to an annual level of 1.33 million in December but remain 1.5 percent below December 2009. The median price in the West was $204,000, down 5.6 percent from a year ago. The National Association of REALTORS, The Voice for Real Estate, is Americas largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Article Courtesy of: National Association of REALTORS

Pending Home Sales Continue Recovery, Gradual Improvement Seen in 2011

Washington, DC, December 30, 2010 Pending home sales rose again in November, with the broad trend over the past five months indicating a gradual recovery into 2011, according to the National Association of REALTORS. The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, rose 3.5 percent to 92.2 based on contracts signed in November from a downwardly revised 89.1 in October. The index is 5.0 percent below a reading of 97.0 in November 2009. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said historically high housing affordability is boosting sales activity. In addition to exceptional affordability conditions, steady improvements in the economy are helping bring buyers into the market, he said. But further gains are needed to reach normal levels of sales activity. The PHSI in the Northeast increased 1.8 percent to 72.6 in November but is 6.2 percent below November 2009. In the Midwest the index declined 4.2 percent in November to 78.3 and is 7.7 percent below a year ago. Pending home sales in the South slipped 1.8 percent to an index of 91.4 and are 7.2 percent below November 2009. In the West the index jumped 18.2 percent to 123.3 and is 0.4 percent above a year ago. If we add 2 million jobs as expected in 2011, and mortgage rates rise only moderately, we should see existing-home sales rise to a higher, sustainable volume, Yun said. Credit remains tight, but if lenders return to more normal, safe underwriting standards for creditworthy buyers, there would be a bigger boost to the housing market and spillover benefits for the broader economy. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is forecast to rise gradually to 5.3 percent around the end of 2011; at the same time, unemployment should drop to 9.2 percent. For perspective, Yun said that the U.S. has added 27 million people over the past 10 years. However, the number of jobs is roughly the same as it was in 2000 when existing-home sales totaled 5.2 million, which appears to be a sustainable figure given the current level of employment, he explained. All the indicator trends are pointing to a gradual housing recovery, Yun said. Home price prospects will vary depending largely upon local job market conditions. The national median home price, however, is expected to remain stable even with a continuing flow of distressed properties coming onto the market, as long as there is a steady demand of financially healthy home buyers. Existing-home sales are projected to rise about 8 percent to 5.2 million in 2011 from 4.8 million in 2010, with an additional gain of 4 percent in 2012. The median existing-home price could rise 0.6 percent to $173,700 in 2011 from $172,700 in 2010, which was essentially unchanged from 2009. As we gradually work off the excess housing inventory, supply levels will eventually come more in-line with historic averages, and could allow home prices to rise modestly in the range of 2 to 3 percent in 2012, Yun said. New-home sales are estimated to rise 24 percent to 392,000 in 2011, but would remain well below historic averages, while housing starts are forecast to rise 21 percent to 716,000. Yun sees Gross Domestic Product growing 2.5 percent in 2011, and the Consumer Price Index rising 2.3 percent. The National Association of REALTORS, The Voice for Real Estate, is Americas largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. *The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing. The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months. There is a closer relationship between annual index changes (from the same month a year earlier) and year-ago changes in sales performance than with month-to-month comparisons. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined as well as the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales. NOTE: The next Pending Home Sales Index will be released January 27, and existing-home sales for December will be reported January 20; release times are 10:00 a.m. EST. Article Courtesy of National Association of REALTORS