Real estate & real living in the Valley of the Sun
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Success With Staging Listings

Here are a few examples of homes that I’ve staged recently, prior to selling and how it benefited my clients, the sellers:

Full-blown Kitchen Remodel in 85254- Spring 2015

With a pre-reno value estimated at $440K & a $15K renovation budget (from the contractor’s estimate), my client pulled the trigger on a kitchen renovation that included some minor edits to 2 other areas of her home and invested in inexpensive staging items (pillows, rugs & artwork). Along the way, I documented the renovation with a Pinterest board and on Facebook.

The work included: granite counter tops, removing the drop ceiling & fluorescent lights, replacing a leaky kitchen window, swapping an old trash compactor for a beverage fridge, a new oven/microwave combo, a new smooth glass cooktop, a brick backsplash, painting the kitchen & bar cabinets, refinishing the butcher block island, a reclaimed brick backsplash, adding recessed lights with dimmers to the kitchen, living room & bar area, 2 larger island pendants, adding cabinet hardware to all the kitchen, bar & hallway cabinets and cleaning the usual “honey-do” list that most homes have. We did manage to stay on budget, though the 2-week completion time we were promised actually turned out to be 8 weeks.

On Memorial Day weekend, we listed her 2400SF home for $490K. Within about 3 days, we had with multiple cash offers and settled on a sale price of $480K.  Escrow closed in 26 days. My poor client, a business road warrior, did not anticipate the house would sell so quickly. She barely had time to find a temporary rental to move into prior to COE, but it all worked out and she got it done. She was a very happy camper! See the full listing page.

Sands Scottsdale Minor Staging (McCormick Ranch)- Spring 2015

After 2 years and a new baby, my clients decided that they wanted to be closer to family in the midwest. They wanted to minimize the potential loss for selling their home within such a short time after purchase, so our goal was to make the already well-maintained home look as good as we possibly could.

The rest of the home was decorated very well and had had some nice updates along the way, but the master bath wasn’t quite the same caliber. I don’t want to call the staging to the master bath “lipstick on a pig”, but that’s what it was. The only reason it was lightly staged the bathroom first and then fully staged it was to give my seller a sense of how the little bit of color added with pictures and towels conveyed in the photos. She could see the difference in just the thumbnails on my camera. It made sense to her and she was willing to invest in a few new accessories. I created a little video and planned an open house and some well-placed marketing.

After listing the home for $460K in mid-May, we received an offer in 3 days. It took about a week to settle at a purchase price of $450K. The escrow was relatively short and well-timed with the seller’s job transfer. Unfortunately, the home appraisal came in low and we closed at $440K after a 27-day escrow. See the full listing page.

Full Staging in Scottsdale Shadows- Summer 2015

In May 2015, my clients from Chicago came to me ready to sell their long-term vacation home in Scottsdale Shadows. They owned in the community nearly since it was constructed in the late 1970’s, but were downsizing all aspects of their lives and were not well-enough to travel to Scottsdale as they once could. They bought this home in 2005, and put a substantial amount of money into the renovations with Italian cabinetry & many high-end finishes. Though it was well furnished, my goal was to open a few of the spaces up to make it feel as large as it appeared in-person. I also wanted to make it feel a little more “alive” with faux plants so it wouldn’t have a stark feeling that some vacation homes do.

The asking price of $355K was higher than any recent sale in Scottsdale Shadows. I purposely listed it high knowing that many seasonal home buyers are gone by the end of June, to be able to reduce the price closer to fall when there would be a larger buyer pool. I got an all cash offer in early September for $290K! My clients were very disappointed. However, market activity & showings were on the upswing at that time. As we chipped away at the price, as we got to counter offer 6, another interested buyer walked in at the perfect time and was ready to write another all-cash offer with a 7-day close. Having been spooked that they could lose the home, the 1st buyers quickly agreed to our final sales price of $337,500. This is the highest sale price in the community since 2008! See the full listing page.

No Staging- Just Shot Listing Photos Before the Tenant Moved Out- Sienna Condos 85250- Summer 2015

This client toyed with the idea of selling her home in Feb. 2015. She decided against it because our market still appeared sluggish and she didn’t want to give up any of the value. By March, the market was in full swing. By June, buyers’ agents were reaching out and I showed it as a pocket listing, unsuccessfully, to an agent and her client.

In August, my client contacted me and said she was ready to sell. I gave her the comps and while there were many of them, they all were in the same condition and selling for essentially the same price. She wanted to list at $200K, $23K above the highest, recently sold comp and about $15K above my recommended list price and while her tenant was still occupying the home! My work was definitely cut out for me.

Fortunately her tenant was very flexible, cooperative and a great decorator! I shot the photography a few days before she moved out, carefully angling the photos around the moving boxes and trying to emphasize the very private, 2nd floor location. My seller listed the condo for $200K. The first buyer that walked in, named this condo “the tree house” for all of the mature trees just outside the windows and wrote a full-price offer!

I was dumbfounded! Thrilled, but confused as to how I would get this condo to appraise because the buyer was using financing?! I don’t know whether it was luck, good planning or the fact that the appraiser was from the Northeast like me… After 1 hour and 15 min showing him the property, pouring through comps, telling him why this community had a premium, was preferred over other nearby communities and even getting him the previous appraisal showing the previous measured square footage, he had what he needed.

The value came in at $190K ($10K less than the contract price), but set the bar for the community! To this point, no other 2BR/2BA condo has sold in that community over $190K since spring 2014! We even managed to close in about 3.5 weeks. See the full listing.

Front Porch Staging in Arcadia (Phoenix, 85018)- Fall 2014

In June 2014, I listed a beautiful home that less than 2 years before was a newly completed spec home in the heart of Arcadia Proper. This home was beautifully decorated, but my clients were moving out of state. They took their furniture with them, but we were fortunate enough to be able to shoot the listing photography before they moved out at the end of June.

We had an offer on about day 20. The sellers & buyers couldn’t come to terms and we kept pushing. I heard enough feedback that the home didn’t have views of Camelback. This actually wasn’t true, but they were easy to miss on the way in, but a bit more obvious on the way out. I wanted potential buyers to have the opportunity to catch the views on their way in and to linger on those same views on the way out.

Arcadia, in some ways, is a bit like Mayberry. You may spend time outside talking to your neighbors as the kids play out front. A front porch is kind of a way of life and many folks spend quite a bit of time on them. My clients were a young executive family with 2 small boys. Sitting outside on the front porch was a bit unlikely, so they never thought about it. For about $400, we took made the front patio a bit more memorable.

After nearly 70 showings, we did get 2 more offers (~day 50 & 100) for the same price as the first offer and my clients declined to take either, opting instead to lease their home. Their tenant’s ended in late January and we’re on the market trying to capitalize on the continued strength of Arcadia. Fortunately, this neighborhood is always in demand and buyers have been steadily coming in to see it. See the full listing page.

Related Page: Small Improvements= Big Impact on Your Bottom Line

Camille Swanson, REALTOR®
Call (602) 810-1750 Direct
(480) 998-0676 Office

6263 N. Scottsdale Rd. #140
Scottsdale, AZ 85250

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