Cleveland, Ohio (PRWEB) May 22, 2006 –-
You put your house up for sale for $250,000. It’s on the market nine months, during which time you reduce the price by thousands and thousands of dollars. You get no offers. Had you “staged” your home prior to putting it on the market, however, it could have shown at its very best from the start and you’d have received top-dollar offers in just a fraction of the time.
That’s the promise of “staging,” the latest real estate trend to arrive in Northeast Ohio. “As any realtor will tell you, it’s a beauty contest out there,” says Diana Hudson of Devine Designs in Mentor, Lake County’s first and only professionally trained and certified home staging and redesign expert.
Known in California as the “secret weapon of real estate,” staging is the art of preparing and packaging a home for sale and industry statistics seem to bear out its value. The National Association of Realtors found that staged homes are on the market 13.9 days as opposed to 31 for non-staged homes. NAR statistics also indicate that staged homes sell for an average of 6.9 to 10% over listing price.
While staging is still a relatively new phenomenon to Northeast Ohio, realtors and homeowners have likely seen HGTV’s “Designed to Sell” and A&E’s “Sell this House” that transform homes with staging techniques. “For years staging has been the trend in real estate on the coasts. I’m excited to bring my experience and expertise to home sellers and real estate agents,” said Hudson, a certified One Day Stager who has returned to her native Lake County after spending more than 15 years in San Diego, California and Atlanta, Georgia.
According to Hudson, now more than ever sellers need to stage their houses. “Last month’s housing trend report for the greater Cleveland metro area indicated there’s a glut of homes on the market.” The report verified what home sellers and real estate agents have known for months, “It’s a buyer’s market. Many homes have been up for sale for more than a year,” says Michelle Hauser, a realtor with Real Property Partners of Realty One in Mentor.
Hudson says that homeowners who want to receive top-dollar offers and sell quickly should stage their homes before MLS photos are taken and the home is placed on the market. “The best pool of buyers tour during the first four weeks a house is on the market.” Hauser of Realty One agrees and believes staging gives sellers the edge. “There are nearly 1,500 single-family homes for sale in Lake County alone. Staging helps a house stand out from the crowd and can only increase the opportunity to sell quickly and for top dollar. There’s no downside but huge potential upside.”
A HomeGain survey of realtors seems to bear out Hauser’s belief. It found that moderately-priced home improvements ranging from $80 - $2,800 made in preparation of the sale yielded the highest returns when a house is sold. “Staging your home is a minimum investment that has maximum impact,” Hudson says.
So how does the transition from a pumpkin into a coach begin? Hudson conducts a comprehensive Staging Assessment that includes a Home Evaluation Report. This “interior and exterior diagnostic report” includes specific enhancement instructions and homework on which sellers can immediately begin. Once that work has been done, sellers can bring Hudson in to rearrange furniture and place accessories. “This is where the magic really happens,” Hudson says.
For those who argue staging is an unnecessary expense for sellers, Hudson points to builders who develop residential homes and condos. “Those bottom-line business people wouldn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars creating model homes if they didn’t help sell,” she says. “They would just show them naked if it didn’t matter.”
“The bottom line is that staging makes buyers want to move in – not move on,” Hudson says. “It creates a strong first impression and that’s something you don’t get a second chance to make.”
Diana Hudson of Devine Designs is Lake County’s first and only professionally trained and certified stager and redesigner. Devine Designs specializes in redesign and real estate staging and also provides traditional interior decorating and design services. Devine Designs is based in Mentor, Ohio and can be contacted at 440-255-0111 or http://www.DevineDesignsHome.com
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