Don't Waste Your Money: Staging can sell homes faster

(Toledo News Now) - While the housing market may be starting to recover, sellers still have tough competition and it remains a buyer's market. But there is one great way to get an edge on all the competition.

Love Your Old Stuff? Don't Invite This Woman

If you are sentimentally attached to everything inside your house, do not invite Jo Potvin into your home. Potvin is a professional home stager. 
She spins into homes like a tornado. She orders movers to haul out anything that reeks of the 1980s. Overstuffed wing chairs, Queen Anne tables, old big box TV sets are out the door, to be replaced with contemporary furnishings. 

Potvin's business, Design to Market Home Staging, has a warehouse full of tables, lamps, wall treatments, even hundreds of pillows. She uses her design background to turn dated rooms into Ethan Allen and Pottery Barn catalog showpieces.

In today's super competitive real estate market, Potvin said you need to be a step ahead of your neighbors.

"You can have a really great home, but if the aesthetics aren't there, you can be behind the 8 Ball," Potvin said.

A Realtor's Best Friend

Realtor Jean Raga of Sibcy Cline agreed. If any home she offers looks dated she calls a stager. Raga said a professional staging is often the difference between a quick sale and a listing that sits for months.

"The biggest issue now is that there's so much on the market and there's so much to compete with," explained Raga.

Raga said you have to grab the home buyer the second they walk in the door.

"What we're looking for is the 'wow factor.' We want them to say, 'Wow, this is my house,'" said Raga.

Not Cheap, But Better Than a Price Cut

So what will all this cost you? Potvin said an average staging runs $1,500, which includes three months of rental furnishings. For a large upscale home, it can cost several thousand dollars.

Before you assume the whole idea is crazy, Potvin said staging is much cheaper than being forced to cut your asking price $10,000 after a month because you have no buyers.

"For most, that first price drop would be more than most of our clients spend, even if they are looking at painting, carpet, and more involved projects than average, " said Potvin. 
Potvin assured staging gets results.

"We just recently did a home that had been on the market over two years. Within 10 days, the house was under contract," said Potvin.

It might be painful to watch old favorites replaced, so you might want to be out of the house when the stagers show. Still, Potvin has just one goal: Selling your home.

You can look up home stagers online, though it is often easiest to work through a realtor who will know some of the best near you.

Remember, the price of staging is insignificant if it helps your home sell for thousands more than your neighbor's home.

That way you don't waste your money.

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