Friday, April 17, 2009

The Art of Selling Houses in Today's Market

A fairly brisk spring market has arrived on the heels of attractive mortgage interest rates hovering between 4.6-4.99 percent in recent weeks. Along with the usual signs of Spring, open house signs abound with colorful balloons .

I recently covered an open house for a Realtor-friend who was selling her own home and I was successful in bringing the buyers to the table with a good offer. What made this home more appealing than the house on the street parallel to hers? Both homes were in the same neighborhood with all the amenities; both were priced competitively; both had similiar lot size, number of rooms and were the same style what gave?

The staging. Hands down. The staged home had a flow and continuity that reached out and grabbed the guest saying, "come sit down and read a book in my living room." "Entertain in my open-space concept kitchen and family great room." "Come relax, take your shoes off and lay on my luxuriously designed masterbed...." Believe it or not some people did just that!

It made me step back and think a bit about how many other homes have sold with professional staging? So, I contacted Jeanne Monaco, A.S.P., IASHP, president and owner of Staged to Perfection, LLC ( to find out her advice on hiring the right person or company to get the job done.

Jeanne has been in the home design business for many years. As an accredited staging professional, she recommends the sellers and their real estate agent ask the following questions when selecting a professional staging consultant:

  • Is the consultant designated as an ASP (Accredited Staging Professional) and is he/she a member or the IAHSP (International Association of Home Staging Professionals)?

This guarantees the potential client that the stager has invested both time and financial backing to their business

  • Has the stager been trained by the founder and creator of

  • Does the staging professional meet the highest of standards and code of ethics for the industry?

Anyone can call themselves a stager but there is ONLY one recognized designation in the industry. An ASP has earned the federal trade mark for the industry.

  • Does the stager have references? Ask for both realtors and homeowners.

  • Does the stager have a full inventory available for props, small furniture etc. to stage your property at resonable rates? Are they readily available?

  • Ask to see his/her portfolio and or website.

  • Ask the stager for statistics that show you how quickly his/her staged properties went under agreement (The ROI is what is going to count the most).

Jeanne believes hiring an ASP allows you to access several discounts through Staged Homes partners i.e. paint, furniture, artwork, storage, etc. In addition, an ASP gets you extra exposure by listing your property on website coupled with your realtor's stash of marketing tools including the MLS,, SEOs and other interenet methods of marketing coupled with traditional outbound marketing.

Below is a sampling of statistics from Staged to Perfection's cache. For more information about Jeanne Monaco and her offerings, log on to For more information about selling your home in the current market, contact me at

Boxford- 10 days to offers 6 weeks to closing
Ipswich-1 day for multiple offers 10 days for purchase and sale
Danvers- 17 days to purchase and sale
Swampscott- 4 days to first offer (fell through at inspection) closed with a new offer 3 months later
Somerville- 8 days first offer (fell through buyer got cold feet) back up buyer two days later, closing after 4 weeks
Hamilton- 11 days to purchase and sale
Wenham- 60 days to purchase and sale
Middleton- 14 days to first offer...56 days until second offer and purchase and sale
Somerville #2- Closed after 90 days
Peabody- 2 offers after 2 days...under agreement after 3
Haverhill-Offer after 1 day

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