Part of my regular morning routine when I get my day started is to check the area where I live and work for any new listings on the market. This morning, I noticed a home that was just listed, so of course I checked it out. The pictures are very nice. The price seems fair based on the recent solds in our area. But the staging â€“ WOW - not so much! I am literally cringing on the inside for the lack of attention to that very important detail that the sellers are possibly not aware of. Photos featuring the catâ€™s litter box front and center (Iâ€™m even making that up!), plus the vacuum cleaners! Yes, this is a problem, folks. Kidsâ€™ toys and stuffed animals lining the rooms â€“ yeah, those are not a great selling features either.
When a home goes on the market, the photos are the possibly the most critical piece of marketing. I feel it is critical that agents hire professional photographers to take photos of their listings. As Realtors, we are NOT photographers â€“ so please, agents, spend the money to best present your listing on the market! A photographer will have the right equipment to make the photos of your listing shine. And that creates the first impression for any buyer who is scoping the real estate websites for a home. We owe that to our sellers. Put the camera on your phone away!
Correct pricing is possibly the 2nd most critical thing. Pricing is not an exact science. It is about studying data, and knowing how to interpret data. Sellers often have a different view of their homeâ€™s value than the marketplace will have. Without accurate pricing from the start, a home will stay on the market for an extended period â€“ probably longer than necessary. As agents, we cannot force a seller to agree to our pricing strategy, but it is our job to provide accurate data so they can make an informed decision.
Professional staging is possibly the 3rd most important marketing piece - at least on an occupied home. Why is professional staging so important? I have blogged about this in the past because I feel so strongly about it! For one, sellers do not see their home through a buyerâ€™s eyes. That is not the fault of a seller. It is true for anyone who lives on the inside, and loves the space where they live. The seller already sees all the positives (and the negatives) of a home. But they also see all their â€śthingsâ€ť that help make that house a home for them. A stager can help a seller prepare their home to highlight the positive features of the home, and take away the distractions.
I was stunned this week when I sat with a seller whose home had been on the market for the past 6 months listed by another agent at a competing brand. He was incredibly frustrated at the lack of showings (6 showings in 6 months). I did not know if he would be at all receptive to me, because as I presented him with the market data, we discovered that his home is about $75k overpriced. He looked at my reports in amazement and said he had never seen ANY market data on where the comparables in the neighborhood were selling. I asked how he and his previous agent had arrived at a price, and he said she just told me she thought it should be listed for that price, it sounded good, so we agreed. YIKES! To add to his misery, the photos of his home were atrocious. AND the agent had offered absolutely no recommendations for staging. I wish I could say this was just a brand-new agent, but that is not the case. It is no wonder he has spent the past 6 months feeling completely frustrated.
I realize that here in the suburbs of Northwest Houston, we are not in a market where there is a scarcity of homes for sale. These 3 services I have listed are not so important if the market where you live or work is different. BUT if you are in a market where sellers must compete, and you DO have to work to obtain an offer, please consider this. Agents, do your sellers a service and work to represent them well. Sellers, if the agents you are interviewing do not offer you these 3 services at a minimum, please keep on interviewing.