Selling Your Home: Part One

Nationwide, a home selling slump seems to be in the news. For months we’ve heard it was a “buyer’s market” but that doesn’t mean a seller is out of luck. Experts say you just have to be a little more creative to get your house off of the market.

The Hart family is surprised at how difficult it was to sell their home. They say when they moved five years ago, they had to move quick because their house sold in a day.

This time around, it has taken much longer, seven months longer and counting to be exact. It’s a frustration that is shared by homeowners around the nation.

Rita Hart says, “it’s a desirable house in a desirable neighborhood. I think its just those circumstances of the market and we just got caught up in that.”

In St. Joseph County last year, the home sales fell 8 percent from 2006.

While 8 percent is a noticeable drop in home sales in our's certainly not as bad as the national average...which was a 22 percent drop.

When the Hart family home didn't sell last summer, they couldn't wait. With a new job waiting in Virginia, the family of four moved, leaving behind an empty house.

That’s where Joyce Williams comes into the picture. She is a home stager brought in to help the house sell.

Joyce says, “I'm here to stage it, bringing in furniture, accessories, and arranging them so that the house shows as well as possible. I think it’s important to keep the furniture neutral. You don’t want people walking in the front door saying ‘wow, that’s a really unusual sofa!’ You want people to walk in and say ‘this is a really nice house.’”

Williams says a "lived-in" look is important. Realtors agree saying a home with furniture sells better than one without. Williams rents attractive, but basic furniture and supplements the look with things from her inventory.

She even recalls, “there have been times that we take things right off the wall at my house. Take this rocker that was in my living room, so I really didn’t need it so when I did need it in a staged house I bring it.”

Around Michiana, a furnished, lived-in home usually costs a few hundred dollars to stage.

Staging a vacant home will cost you between a thousand to 12-hundred dollars, including the rented furniture. It may sound like a lot, but Williams says "staging" costs less than your first price reduction.

She says “if you are going to knock the price down because it hasn’t sold, it’s going to be more than a thousand dollars.”

Rita is hoping her house staging investment will pay off. She recently saw the pictures online and she’s pleased with the changes.

She says, “it looks just beautiful. It's very nice without being intimidating.”

If you have questions about staging your home, you can contact Joyce Williams at 574-273-5214 or by visiting the Home Staging Michiana website.

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