Check out the newest episode of RERB with guests Caroline Caira from Re/Max and Linda Sheppard and Tiffany Arsenault from Buyer’s Desire Home Staging.
(Guest Caroline Caira)
Ali: You bring a really fresh perspective to the show. You’ve been in the business for over three decades. We’ve seen a ton of different cycles come and go and you heard in the first segment, we’re talking about Brexit. We’re seeing some volatility in the economy, rates all over the place and really quite frankly even the Fed Reserve doesn’t know where we’re at. First they wanna increase the rates then decide not to and it’s not gonna happen, I think. Do you think we’re dealing with a bubble today?
Caroline: That’s a good question. I do feel a change in the market just in the past couple weeks, and I don’t know if that’s due to July being a very popular holiday time and a vacation time. But I do feel a little bit of a change.
Ali: How so?
Caroline: Well, typically when I do an open house I had a couple weeks ago in Waltham, I had more than 50 people I put up my deadline of offers due on a certain day. Typically, I’ll get 10 or 12 offers. I didn’t get it so then I did another one and I had 7 offers on a different house. So it’s all kind of a crapshoot on what’s gonna happen.
Ali: You don’t think it’s a function of the house? Or the pricing of the house?
Caroline: It’s very hard to determine that because there were properties around the same area and when you look sat it on an appraisal perspective I was right in line with market value. So you either hit it in this market or you don’t. I have an offer now; I’m just talking about the stress of that doesn’t always happen. We’ve spent the last 2 or 3 years in a market where when you put it on the market you just sit back and cycle through all the offers. I had one in December with 27 offers on it.
Ali: Let me ask you this, if you go back in the past three four five years, do you see a trend? I see some hills and troughs concerned with our industry, do you think that what you’re facing – the data points you’re seeing in the last couple weeks is that indicative of the trends of the past or something new?
Caroline: It doesn’t feel the same, I don’t feel like a big burst is gonna happen I see a stability going on. If I knew that, I’d be talking from a beach in Florida. It’s just so hard to determine what’s gonna happen, so it just seems to keep going. I found in the last 3 years, I haven’t stopped which isn’t typical with what happened previously where I could’ve gotten another job. It happened so quickly. So I just see that cycle continuing.
(Guests Linda Shepherd & Tiffany Arsenault)
Ali: It organizes the home; it depersonalizes the home. You declutter and take away all the other stuff to give the space the best presentation possible.
Tiffany: And its simple things like even recommending taking away the soap by the sink because you don’t want buyers to think about washing dishes. You want to give them this ideal and that’s really what people look for.
Rick: I love that, literally just getting into their mindset. I mean just the things that will pop into people’s minds like the plunger because then maybe they have plunger issues because it just all pops right in. The fact that you guys go in there to take that even the simple things out is phenomenal.
Linda: And then it’s also what we bring in. So we researched buyer demographic to learn who is the most appropriate buyer for the house. So we staged to get into their heads to make them feel at home and think “I’m gonna sit here and have coffee. Look at this place it’s such a step up from where I am”. We aren’t trying to make it appeal to the broadest range of buyers because then it gets too generic. So we really try to get in the heads, we actually have a woman who works for us and researches the buyer demographic. She really loves it. Tiffany and I used to do it ourselves, but we’re so busy we hired someone else who really digs that.
Ali: So staging it is the same strength. Staging strategy is not the same for all homes. You saw the cater, the strategy of staging depending on the type of population that may appeal to that particular home.
Rick: So what do you guys do when you walk into a home and the whole thing is wallpapered with nice pretty flowers all over the place from the 60s?
Linda: We tell them they have to take it down.
Rick: You’re walking through that whole process with them and give them referrals to take care of that. Are you doing a lot of this with sellers? You’re almost like the listing agent, they don’t listen to the listing agent but they do listen to you guys.
Tiffany: We’re the bad guys. We’re happy with that.
Rick: How do you navigate that?
Linda: We know we’re helping the client in the act. We know they’re gonna-
Tiffany: They take it better from us because they think “Okay, they’re the home stagers, they should know what buyers are looking for. They don’t have any financial gain the way the real estate agent does”. So they take it better, I think.
Ali: You know; I don’t buy it. I’ll challenge that. We’re dealing with a seller’s market; why do I need to stage my home in order to showcase my property? We heard from Caroline in the previous segment and you’re getting 20 offers on this particular property. Why do I need it staged or take down the wallpaper?
Tiffany: Well, I would say the proof is in the pudding and we do our 66 every year. What we do is follow along with the homes we stage and the ones we consult on and the home owners who choose not to stage. And what we found last year was, Linda knows these stats better than I do so I’ll hand that over to her.
Linda: So last year the homes we consulted on and chose not to stage sold at 95% of asking price on average, which is phenomenal. The homes we staged sold at 102% on average.
Ali: Wow, 7% on average more?
Linda: The flip side of that is the homes that didn’t stage took 71 days to get that offer, to accept that offer. The homes we staged on average took 14 days so you’re also saving tons on carrying cost and stress.
Ali: You know I’m playing devil’s advocate here because there’s a ton of sellers out there that are saying it’s a seller’s market it’s very competitive and don’t think they need to stage their property. But I think you’re right and the stats are rather compelling.