Even in a Hot Market, Staging Can Help Any Home Sell Faster

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Photos: Shoot2Sell

It’s a hot market in Dallas, that’s for sure. CoreLogic’s most recent report, detailing the Dallas-Plano-Irving MSA’s housing price index, showed tremendous growth in prices. The housing price index increased 9.1 percent year-over-year in January including distressed sales, which is a new high for our area. Dallas-Plano-Irving is only second for growth to Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland at 10.9 percent. That has everything to do with limited inventory, CoreLogic President and CEO Anand Nallathambi says.

“A dearth of supply in many parts of the country is a big factor in driving up prices,” Nallathambi said. “Many homeowners have taken advantage of low rates to refinance their homes, and until we see sustained increases in income levels and employment they could be hunkered down, so supplies may remain tight.”

Still, does that mean you can list any home in any condition and have it sell? Not so much. Staging has been shown to help homes sell quicker and at a higher price. And staging doesn’t have to break the bank, either. Jump to hear some secrets from staging expert and real estate columnist Karen Eubank.

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“Every home deserves a consultation and every seller can afford it,” said Eubank. “Generally they run between $250 and $300 locally for an hour and a half to two hours of expert advice called ‘The Walk and Talk.'”

Eubank says this type of consultation provides invaluable advice for sellers. Some stagers will provide a report and a checklist for sellers, but Realtors will need to be clear on what they expect from the stager they hire. “I find that the report is the blueprint for what I call a ‘DIY staging.'”

To save money, some sellers take the report that Eubank gives them and then completes most or all of the work themselves. That’s what they did with this listing at 6003 McCommas, she said. This David Bush listing has four bedrooms, two full baths, and a fantastic updated kitchen. The walls are bright white, showing off the gorgeous exposed beam ceilings in the front living room. There are also cute touches like wainscoting in the dining area below a corner cabinet original to the home, which was built in 1935. And then there are updates that you can’t live without, like the organizers just off the breakfast area that make a great landing spot for muddy boots and backpacks.

“This home was one of those that makes your heart skip a beat when you walk in the door. It’s like an East Coast cottage with wonderful architectural details, and the sellers have superb taste,” Eubank said. “They also have a couple of boys, so they had the usual challenges sellers with children face, loads of toys and kid stuff.”

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Eubank gave the sellers a few ideas to keep the clutter at bay without depriving the kids of their toys. “They also had the usual wear and tear so had a few big items on the list,” she added. “New carpet on the second floor, a new coat of porcelain on the tub.”

It also helps to have a stager come out before or during photography for a separate styling consultation. “This is when the stager arrives just prior to photos to put final touches on the home,” Eubank said. “Sometimes the stager is there working just ahead of the photographer, and sometimes a couple of hours in advance. We know the camera angles so we know what to look for — items under the bed will show up for instance — so we tweak to create a camera-ready product. And yes the home is now a product.”

Between the initial consultation and photography, several months passed, allowing the sellers plenty of time to afford the updates necessary to sell their home at a premium price. The results? Well, the photos speak for themselves.

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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