March 4th, 2007
I like to look through the Wall Street Journals real estate site occasionally to see the upper-end homes that are marketed in their home of the week feature. Considering that these homes are moving slowly these days (Ben Casselman reports that only 14 of the 46 these homes of the week have sold in 2006; all at big discounts) and that Internet marketing is even more important with these upper-end homes you would think that they would all be beautifully staged and presented with the very best professional photography.
Not so; as an example look at Joan and Ted Waitt’s (Ted is co-founder of Gateway Computer) home in San Francisco listed at $25.9 million. Vacant homes are just not appealing. Large cavernous spaces tend to look like warehouses instead of warm inviting living spaces.
So far this year we’ve sold three vacant homes. We used a stager to decorate all three homes and it’s very clear that the staging/styling was a big factor in making the homes sell quickly. This is not rocket science! All you have to do is walk in to a vacant home before staging and then after staging to be conviced. I think it is the place of RE photographers to give agents advice and push back when asked to photograph a vacant home. In our case it cost in the neighborhood of $1,000 to have a home in the $500,000 price range staged. This is well worth it in the scheme of things. It cost agents and sellers when a home sits on the market for a long time.
Make contact with a stager/designer in your area so you can quickly refer them to agents when you are asked to photograph a vacant home.