In Today’s Market, Updates And Staging Are In, Concessions Are Out

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The living room after updates to the fireplace and a fresh coat of paint.

Almost daily, there is an article on how updates and staging are necessities when marketing your home. So why aren’t sellers doing just that?

Maybe they don’t know the right updates to make, or what provides the best returns on investment. They may not have the right resources or contacts. There’s always the belief it’s going to be a lengthy process. The result is what I call seller paralysis, the inability to take the right steps to make more money.

Ebby Halliday listing agent Melinda Miles knows what the market demands. As a Realtor with a background in interior design, she understands what updates a home needs to resonate with today’s buyers.

Before the facelift!

Miles recently updated her 1967 home, not to sell, but to enjoy. “When I started looking at my own house, I realized I needed to practice what I preach,” Miles said. “I tell clients to keep their house maintained and in market ready condition, so I had to do the same. We’ve been here since 1993, and are not planning to move. However, if circumstances changed someday, and we had to sell, I knew we would leave money on the table. No one should have to deal with a crisis, and a remodel at the same time. We decided to get the house into market-ready condition while we could enjoy it!”

Current light fixtures and a new area rug are a few of the simple decor updates Miles made.

Windows were first on the list of updates. Miles began interviewing companies and realized this was information her clients could use. She made a mental note. As popcorn ceilings were removed, the fireplace refaced, new flooring laid, walls and ceilings painted, and wood trim installed, she kept making those notes. Along with the sources from her design career, she began to realize this was valuable information that would help clients. “I can’t just tell a homeowner to get their house fixed,” she said. “They need resources.”

What a difference a light fixture and a rug can make!

“Most people love their homes and think they look great,” Miles said. “They don’t see what competing homes on the market look like or what a buyer sees. Sellers don’t understand that buyers cannot deal with anything that’s not market-ready.”

Blame HGTV and Pinterest. The bar has been raised. Buyers are not going to do any work. They are not going to do updates.

“Concessions are completely off the table in 2019,” Miles said. “There is no middle ground. There is full price or investor price.”

Staging is another critical component for sellers. At the end of May ran a story with the headline “Inside Lena Dunham’s Mortifying Home-Sale Fail: Why She Sold Her Brooklyn Pad for Less Than She Paid.”

She purchased for $2.9 million. She listed at $3 million a few months later. Then she lowered the price to $2.65 million. She sold, but we’re sure it was for less than that. The loft was in flawless condition. What went wrong? Why did it sell for so little?

It had updates but it was not staged, so it looked like a rental unit. The unit is pending as of today and after it was staged.

As Miles was working on her home, the neighbors naturally wanted to know what was going on.

“I decided to invite everyone that participated in the project and throw a party for my neighbors this weekend. They can see and understand the improvements. When it comes time to sell, they will have the resources to make necessary updates and improvements.”

If you want to be a part of the invitation-only celebration, email us here at with a compelling reason, and we’ll let you in on the address.

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Karen Eubank

Karen is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years and a professional writer for over 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying for his masters at The New England Conservatory of Music. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap.

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