New Ideas From My USA Trip

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I’ve just returned from a 3- week trip to the USA brimming with fresh new ideas. Speaking to fellow CSP (Certified Staging Professional) members in America, it is apparent that home stagers are rushed off their feet as the property market has re-ignited.  The successful agents really know how to sell properties quickly and also do everything to get the best price for the seller.  They put a tremendous amount of effort into the “launch” of each property in order to attract as many buyers to their open houses.   The successful ones use HOME STAGERS for all their listings as they know that the best time to sell a house is within it’s first weeks on the market. And staging helps you do just that. When a house first appears on the market is when there is the most buyer interest. Potential buyers rush to see a new listing in the hope that they would be impressed and that it could prove to be better than those they’ve seen before. This proves that you only have one chance to make a first impression. It is no wonder “Home Staging is listed as the #1 Career Poised for Growth” according to CNN and Careerbuilders.

Did you know that if a buyer is not “feeling it” (as teenagers say) when he or she walks into a house, the next few minutes are spent finding negatives with the property. If on the other hand, they are “wowed” within the first few seconds, they spend the rest of the time viewing the property in a positive light.  Some home-owners or real-estate agents may not see the importance of presentation and may say that the house will eventually sell.  Yes. when it eventually sells the chances are that the price had to be reduced maybe more than once or twice. On a $500,000 property the price reductions could end up as high as $100,000. Added to that, the financial cost of not selling includes ongoing monthly mortgage payments, utility bills, rates and taxes. Then there is the emotional cost of not being able to move on to the next chapter of your life.

If you were to spend, as little as 1% of the value of your house on home staging (a guide for the maximum amount you should  spend on staging) – which in this case would be $5000, statistics show that your house would sell quicker and for a much better price i.e. before any price reductions. Now that is a huge difference – $100,000 in reductions compared to $5000 invested in home staging. Why would homeowners be reluctant to invest $5000 in the preparation and presentation of the most valuable asset they own when they risk dropping tens of thousands off their asking price?  In saying that, this does not mean that staging will sell an overpriced property. If the property is priced correctly your return on investment for staging can be as high as 350 % – 500%.

We always make it clear that home staging is not decorating, but of course there are the essential elements of decorating that is crucial to the success of staging.  Therefore as a home stager I have to keep up to date with trends, using a combination of science and art to appeal to today’s buyer. My visits to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Montreal  have given me a wealth of material to apply to my new projects, and I am happy to say that my inventory of furniture and accessories for hire to my clients here in Coffs Harbour, is of as high a standard as I have seen in these major cities top showrooms.

One aspect of my trip which did not work out as planned, was my much-anticipated CSP course I was to attend in Long Island, New York. What made this extra special was that the course instructor was the well-known, multi Emmy award-winning TV personality, Cathy Hobbs. Unfortunately they had to reschedule the class and I was unable to attend as it didn’t fit in with my travel plans. I was so looking forward to have my photo taken with her and of course post it on my website. Maybe next time!

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