Home Staging...

What is Home Staging?

    A keen understanding of "Home Staging" is critical if you intend to sell your home for a halfway decent price in a bitterly competitive and difficult market.

   Part marketing, part decorating, part psychology - home staging will make your property more desirable to prospective purchasers. Simply calling a realtor will not do.



Always the hardest hit

   Condominiums are always the hardest hit during the bad times, and the last to recover when the good times start rolling again.

  The market for condos has always been narrower than for single-family or detached homes of any type. It is simple to see why. Singles can just as easily live in a single-family detached home as in a condominium - families cannot. So there is a natural restriction of the demand for condominiums.

   The sages continue to tell us that as the US population ages, many folks will be looking to move out of their large empty homes and into a lower cost, lower maintenance condominium. This has not exactly occurred to a large measure and single family homes still represent the largest market share of homes sold.

   Will this change as the population continues to age? Probably, although it is anyone's guess when it will happen in large numbers.


How I sold my Home in a Week

Under the gun in a bad market - a week to remodel and the next week...

Sold!   This is not the first real estate crash, and it is certainly not the last; but it is turning out to be a messy one. With regard to the property market, we are by no means out of the woods and all indications are that this real estate crash is about to get worse before it gets any better. I survived a real estate crash once before - during a time when I owned a number of houses and condominiums. I managed to sell them off one by one during a horribly bloody crash - the one that began in 1987 on the East Coast of the United States; Connecticut to be exact. I HAD TO sell these houses since I had given up my job in the US and was moving overseas. I was under the gun.


People Sold Houses Even During the Great Depression

   I remember the feeling during those dark days - hoping that someone would come along and buy my properties. Those were bad times for home-sellers. I saw my paper profits vanish into thin air. I had to keep reminding myself that even during the depression, homes were actually bought and sold, and nothing in modern times can compare to what our grandparents went through.

   If I had the luxury of time, I could probably have ridden out the storm, but holding onto homes that were some 5000 miles away from me was not an option.

The house I paid $50,000 for and was later assessed at $130,000.00 I was able to dump the easy way - I almost gave it away. After years of profitably renting it to Section 8 tenants and putting countless hours of work into it, I was able to get $57,000.00 for a legal two-family colonial in New Haven. This house was sold by simply slashing the price again and again. I hated to let it go, and for so cheap - but I was leaving the country and simply had no choice. I had other properties to sell too!

Condominiums Are Always Hit the Hardest

   My favorite home at that time - and I owned a number of them - was a condominium on the beach. I bought it for a good price many years earlier and always thought that it would be very easy to sell - it had water views from every room and was about 100 yards from a boardwalk and a sandy beach.
I could not sell it. We got a lot of lookers, but no buyers. It was a small place with really only one and one-half bedroom, so while many loved it; the unit was more of a bachelor's apartment.
   Fortunately, my younger brother loved the place and offered to rent it for the cost of the mortgage, taxes and common fees and live there with his young wife. It was a great location for a young couple - living at this particular beach in West Haven Connecticut was like living in a resort! With that problem solved, I moved overseas.


We're Moving Out

   Things were fine for a couple of years, but the inevitable happened. My brother decided to move out. We had some time, and so immediately listed the condo with a real estate broker who had an office right in the building with our condo. He always sold the majority of the units in the building, so we listed with him and gave him a key.

   Months went by and no offers came in. The place did not show well, as my brother and his wife were very busy - and not the neatest folks on the block. They had junk stored in the extra bedroom that made it look like a gigantic messy closet. My Sister-in-law had a brown thumb, and all of the gorgeous houseplants we left them were dead sticks shoved out on the balcony. Worst of all, they had two cats which had marked their territory and left a distinct scent and stains about the place - they had also managed to shred the upholstery on the kitchen set which we had left.

The Homeselling 'S.W.A.T.' Team

   My wife and I spoke with the broker and he told me I needed to get there and do some cosmetic work or it would not sell. This home was costing me over $800 per month - and I did not want an empty condo burning a hole in my pocket! We took two weeks off from work and flew immediately to the States - a kind of home-fixing SWAT Team - just my wife and I.


Open House

We held a number of open houses, and later found out that there was actually a city ordinance against open house signs!

They had a potential $50.00 fine for putting an open house sign out on the sidewalk by our house.


So what to do? I put the sign out anyway. $50.00 simply represented an additional marketing cost. Besides, I got lucky and never got fined. One nasty neighbor kicked the sign over and groused about it, but my job is to sell my house, not please crotchety neighbors.


You love your pets and they are a part of your life. Unfortunately, the do not increase the value of your home. Especially if they use a litter box - one that is conveniently placed indoors anywhere.

You don't smell the odor that your pets have given your home, but if you have two cats, there is a smell to those who do not have cats. A smell they do not like.


This is one of the "invisibles" that you do not see, or in this case, smell. Others are not so fortunate, they can smell your pets.


If the weather is warm, think about having your pets spend more time outside. Clean up their mess immediately.


Other things pets do to a home are not so easily fixed, such as the damage they do to your yard. Dog urine is absolute poison for most plants, and you probably will have noticed that if you have a female dog, you have a lot of brown patches in your grass. Yes, you need to fix these, and until you sell your house, add ketchup to your dog's food so that it will stop killing off all of your grass and shrubbery.