Pleasanton Weekly

Real Estate - January 8, 2010

Home staging a necessity for sellers

Report shows 95% of 'staged' homes sell in 35 days or less

by Jeb Bing

A growing number of sellers in Pleasanton are giving their homes that "ooh" and "ah" model--home ambiance through what's known as staging, an increasingly popular tactic that often helps them sell their homes faster -- and for more money.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), "home staging seems to be a more important selling tool than ever." NAR points to a new book, Staging to Sell: The Secret to Selling Homes in a Down Market, which found that even in today's slower housing market, 95 percent of staged homes sell (on average) in 35 days or less. On the other hand, homes that are not staged take 172 days or more to sell, if they sell at all.

Local real estate professionals have seen the benefits of home staging time and again, and are convinced it can more than pay for itself, according to Hometown GMAC Real Estate.

"In a competitive marketplace, home staging can be a huge, yet subtle, way for sellers to score that all-important great first impression -- the kind of feel-good impression that helps get their home sold fast," Mike Peel of Hometown GMAC Real Estate said. "With so much competition today, and with so many choices for buyers out there, it is absolutely essential for sellers to take advantage of every opportunity available to them. And that's where home staging can be a big bonus."

According to Peel, it is often a good idea to bring in an objective, third-party home-staging expert who can provide effective, results--driven home staging advice and guidance. Home staging can offer a variety of benefits, including:

* Helping sellers view their homes from the perspective of potential buyers.

* Motivating sellers to get their homes ready for showing and selling by removing clutter and making each and every room look its best.

* Minimizing the home's days on market.

* Helping to justify -- and in some cases, even increasing -- the listing price.

According to Peel, staging should involve as many areas of the home as possible. Two of the most important areas to stage are the family and living rooms, because potential buyers so often focus on these spaces when considering a home.

Hometown GMAC Real Estate offers these home staging

suggestions, which local real estate professionals have used with good results:

* Take down any pictures or personal items -- the goal is to help buyers imagine what their belongings -- not yours -- would look like in your house.

* Freshen up rooms with a neutral yet warm wall paint. Your local paint store will have dozens of samples -- buy a small amount and come back and test it on your walls to see if works for your purposes.

* Look into renting a few key pieces of furniture to help freshen and stage your home for success. For instance, if your couch is old and shabby, rent one for 90 days or so; ditto for that rickety coffee or end

table.

* If renting isn't an option, you can often purchase a slip cover to dress up the appearance of your sofa or chairs.

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