How Smart Staging Helped Sell a Larkspur Home for a High Price
Here is another case of how Smart Staging a home for sale brought the sellers more than they ever expected. The list price was $2,150,000. After one week on the market, we received four offers including a successful offer at $2,500,000.
Before and After Photos
Here are pictures taken before and after Smart Staging of the Larkspur home.
How Smart Staging Works
Smart Staging helps buyers become excited about a home. If they are excited, they are more likely to make generous offers. Period!
Here are some of the factors that are critical to Smart Staging:
- About 90% of buyers are first introduced to a home through photos on the internet. If they like what they see online, they visit and are more likely to buy the home.
- Smart Staging provides design features that people want. These features are always changing. That’s the important point! A seller may love their decor and design choices, but these choices are often 5, 10 or 40 years old. Buyers like what is now in fashion.
- Many young buyers, often with two jobs and children, want a house that they can live in immediately. They may want to make improvements to personalize their home, but these are not deciding factors for purchasing.
- Houses are increasingly expensive in Marin. Many buyers can afford these homes but they want them to fulfill their expectations. These include bright and well-lit interiors, modern kitchens and bathrooms, a primary bedroom suite, and easy access to outdoor living.
How We Determine the Smart Staging for Your Home
It is our job as your listing agent to optimize your home. First our team evaluates what it needs for Smart Staging. Everything we propose is based on the answer to these questions:
- What improvements will bring the highest return on investment (ROI) in terms of final sale price?
- What improvements will not pay for themselves nor bring a reasonable ROI (typically 2-4 fold)?
To make these decisions, we must evaluate the potential value of each home. This depends on the location and neighborhood, the initial condition of the home, the size of the home and lot, recent comparable sales, and other factors. The scope of work also depends on available funds.
What We Did for this House
This 2,000 square foot, single-level home on a level corner lot was owned by one couple for over 30 years. It had three bedrooms, two full baths, and large family room, which had been the garage 40+ years before. The interior was perfectly livable but dated. The interior and exterior colors were out of fashion. The lot was small and was not well utilized for outdoor living.
The sellers, like many others in their situation, were so accustomed to their home that they could not see the value of investing in changes. As a first step, we agreed to help then simplify their possessions and show the house off-market. Many of the best Marin agents came with their buyers, attracted by the location. Most left commenting that the house would be a “big project.” No one submitted an offer.
After this short trial period, the sellers agreed to some improvements:
- New interior paint in three shades of white to replace the tan and dark blue colors.
- New quartz countertops in the kitchen to replace the original tan tile.
- New vinyl flooring in the kitchen over the dated linoleum.
- All new LED lighting.
- New door handles.
- New vinyl flooring in the entry way to replace dated Pergo.
- Converting the large family room with full bath into a primary bedroom suite.
- Converting a large laundry-storage room into a bonus room.
- Simplifying the landscaping to reveal more areas for outdoor activities.
- Power washing the house.
- Furniture and decor installed by our favorite stager, Yve, at Set-to-Sell Home Staging.
The total cost was about $30,000.
The Result of Smart Staging
The result of Smart Staging was to turn a “big project” house into a profitable sale. We estimate that the sale price without staging would have been about $2,200,000 to $2,250,000. Instead, the excited buyers paid $2,500,000. For the investment in Smart Staging, the ROI was about 8-fold!
You may wonder what else we would have done to increase further the sale price. These are the major items that would have been attractive to buyers:
- New flooring, replacing worn carpeting in one bedroom, dated Pergo in another, and original thin plank, yellowed oak flooring though the rest of the house.
- New kitchen cabinets and appliances.
- New bathroom lighting and countertops.
- Replace the traditional fireplace surround.
- Raise the ceiling in the living-dining room and kitchen to the roof line and remove the three columns supporting the existing ceiling.
- Remove the bookcase between the living room and hall to increase the usable floor area.
- Install artificial turf on two sides of the house.
- Rebuild the cracked front steps.
With an additional investment of $125,000 to $150,000, the sale price could have been closer to $3M. However, the sellers were delighted with $2,500,000.