Melissa Marro is one of the best known stagers in the US. She is an annual featured speaker at the Real Estate Staging Industry’s Convention held in Las Vegas and currently holds the position of President for the Board of Directors in the trade organization.
Have you ever wanted to have your home look just like those in Rave Home Staging’s project portfolio? Well, now you can! Owner, Melissa Marro, explains to other stagers how to get the best pieces and pricing from her favorite retail stores, in her new video series.
Building your home staging inventory, using RETAIL sources: Part 1 - YouTube
The At Home Store is one of the best places to get a great deal on artwork, rugs, dining chairs, and many other home decor pieces. The next Shopping Retail video will feature local, #shopsmall places that Marro loves to shop! You are sure to recognize the overall style that you’ve grown to love in Rave’s staging styling.
If you love real estate and home decor, have you considered home staging as a career? Did you know that Rave offers certification courses right here in Jacksonville? There has never been a better time to start your own business in this fast growing field. Visit Stagingandredesign.com/3dayclass for more information!
Queens Harbor Yacht club sets trends in real estate.
It’s not uncommon for luxury home owners to take a look at what has value, and what’s simply a passing fad. One of the ways that homeowners, who can afford to live in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Jacksonville, FL, manage their money is by spending it in places where they are likely to get a high rate of return. This leads us to home staging.
While it’s possible that the slow down in the real estate market is only seasonal, most economic indicators show that the once seller’s market, is becoming more bearish, and less bullish. This is good news for home buyers, but less favorable to some sellers. Because of this, and the increasing inventory in certain communities, like Queens Harbor, home staging has become even more important. Interviewing and choosing the right staging company, rather than just the cheapest, is also an important part of the equation. While there are other staging companies in Jacksonville that can stage for much less money, it’s typically because they do less in the home. They cut corners by using ‘what’s available’ instead of strategically determining what the most likely home buyer wants to see. They stage only a few rooms of the property, leaving the rest to the imagination. The problem is that the imagination is usually with a much lower price tag.
Wealthy, luxury minded home owners understand that cost isn’t what’s important when choosing a home staging company, return on investment, and final net proceeds, at the closing table are.
What’s available in Queens Harbor Yacht Club right now?
At the time of writing this, there are currently 13 Active Properties in Queen’s Harbor, 4 properties in Pending Status, and there have been ZERO closings in the last 30 days.
Queens Harbor home ready for debut on Jacksonville Real Estate Market - YouTube
This property located at 13689 Longs Landing has not even hit the market yet, but will be any day now. With stunning water views, an enclosed pool and outdoor kitchen, it’s sure to be a popular attraction for potential home buyers. (And just wait until they see that master bedroom closet!)
Queens Harbor homeowners invest in home staging for ROI - YouTube
1632 Sheffield Park Ct, this home has a stunning screened in outdoor living area. This ranch style home, with master bedroom and other bedrooms on other ends of the house, is perfect for almost anyone with, or without kids.
An investment in staging creates better buyer perception.
In our various CE classes, blog posts, and conversations with Realtors and homeowners, Rave Home Staging educates on the value of staging your home in order to maximize the amount of money you’ll receive at the closing table. Thanks to an experiment provided by retailer giant, Payless Shoes, we get a clear indication just how this works.
The Payless Experiment - Part 2 - YouTube
Buyer Perception is what determines what someone is willing to pay for anything
Whether it is shoes or a house, buyer perception is what determines what someone is willing to pay. The Paylessi experiment outlines that when the stage is properly set, buyers can easily be swayed into increasing their perception of the quality and value of a given item.
One of the key reasons that new construction is the go-to shopping point for so many home buyers is because they know they aren’t buying someone else’s problems (leaky roofs, stained carpets, etc) and because they fall in love with the model home. While the buyers typically aren’t getting all the features of the model, the stage has been set to create an emotional appeal and provide the belief that there is a higher value in new construction, even when existing homes often have more upgrades and benefits for the same money.
Are you trying to sell your home? If you’re looking for ways to make it more appealing to
buyers, then you’ve probably realized by now that there are lots of ways to do this. For
example, certain color schemes, smells, or furniture layouts can improve your chances
of achieving a fast sale. But, according to most surveys, the most important factor when
it comes to selling your home is actually something much more simple: cleanliness.
Having a thoroughly cleaned home has been ranked as the most effective way of
making your home appealing to buyers. It’s considered by buyers to be more important
than decor, odors, furnishings, and architecture. And, it’s also one of the quickest and
cheapest methods to add value. You might be wondering: what exactly is it about
cleaning that makes it so important for selling homes?
To answer this question, you need to put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. If you were
buying a house, one of the most important aspects of the viewing would be to visualize
yourself living in that property. For someone to do this, you need to provide a blank
canvas. They need to be able to see their own possessions, furniture, and lifestyle fitting
into this blank canvas you’ve created. And in order to to this, your home needs to be
clutter-free, thoroughly cleaned, and ready to move into.
As well as this, a clean home gives the right first impression to a buyer. It shows that
your home is well cared for, loved, and has been maintained properly. This means that
first, you need to declutter all the rooms in your house, including surfaces, worktops,
and storage spaces. This will make it appear cleaner and will give the illusion of more
Then, you need to make sure the property itself is as clean as possible. For this, you
could hire professional cleaners. Or, you can use a cleaning checklist, like the one
below provided by Highlands Ranch Maid Service, to make sure that you clean every
room in your house properly and you don’t miss a thing. This covers all aspects of
cleaning to help make your home as appealing as possible to potential buyers.
The question of “How long does it take to stage our home in Jacksonville?” is pretty common. Regardless of whether the house is vacant (empty) or occupied (using your stuff), the answer is generally about the same. Rave Home Staging will have your Jacksonville home staged in one day. Here’s what you can typically expect from us.
The staging process. What it really takes to stage your home in Jacksonville.
Let’s start with the occupied home, since it often has more questions than the vacant home.
Step 1: The consultation.
Occupied homes are completely unique from each other. Even if two sellers lived on the same street, in the same exact floor plan, the needs inside their occupied homes would likely be very different, as each family usually owns different items, has different tastes, and a different level of “stuff” and lifestyle. The consultation is the only real way to start assessing the situation.
After you have contacted our team, we will schedule you for a consultation. This usually takes about an hour, though may be shorter or longer based on a variety of factors. Our Occupied Sales Representative will create a report, specific to your property, giving you room by room recommendations to make your home as “market ready” as possible.
You’ll be given enough information, in the report, to do all of the work by yourself, without any further assistance from our team. If, however, you would like to keep us engaged in the process with you, we’ll provide quotes for that as well. If you need additional items, to enhance the overall finished product, we’ll also quote you for those.
Staging Consultations start at $225 and go up based on sqft
Half day staging fees are $495, full day $995
Enhancement services vary depending on needs.
Step 2: Staging Day.
On staging day, if you have elected to hire us for the enhancement services, we’ll have one, or more, stagers arrive at your house, with any necessary additions, that were already agreed upon from the quote. The stager, and possibly an assistant, or movers, will begin diligently working on getting the home photo-ready, and market ready. Our team will do everything possible within the agreed upon timing.
The time between consultation and staging day varies based on many factors, including, but not limited to scope of work needing to be done, market timing, calendar availability, etc. What is always consistent is that the work will be completed on the day of staging.
And, NO, you get to keep your stuff. Rarely do we ask homeowners to remove all, or most of their belongings. If we do, rest assured, it’s because we understand the market will pay more for your house with different stuff, more updated stuff, in it.
What about Vacant homes? That seems like a lot more “stuff”.
Yes. Even fully vacant homes, usually regardless of square-footage, can be done in one day. We may need to increase how many stagers, movers, and assistants are working on the house that day, but our goal is always to complete each project in a single day.
Step 1: The Contract.
Once we have a signed contract, we will add your project to our staging schedule. Typically, we can stage each property within one week.
Step 2: The Preview.
A day, or so, before the property is staged, one of our stagers will come to the house to preview the property, take measurements, and begin the plan for the stage. They will work within our proprietary system to ensure that each house meets the needs and desires for the most likely buyer to purchase the house.
Step 3: The Stage.
Rave Home Staging typically manages four projects per day, per moving truck. This means that we have morning houses and afternoon houses. Regardless of whether the project is a morning or afternoon project, it should be completed by the end of the working day, of the stager. Occasionally, something doesn’t work out exactly perfect, or we need to purchase something specific for the house, in which case we may need to come back the next day. This should not happen often, and will always be completed prior to the photography session.
Step 4: Professional Photos.
The next working day after the staging is scheduled, Rave’s professional photographer will arrive at the property and take a wide array of photos. We use an HDR Merge technology, that allows for stunning photography, in virtually all lighting. You can learn more about our photography here.
Because we outsource the post processing part overseas, photos arrive the following business day. These will be provided in both high resolution and web size images.
The cost of vacant staging is simple. We charge 1% of the list price of the house, with a $2250 minimum*. Our service agreement covers 90 days. It includes all interior spaces and professional photography. Last year (2017) our average days on market from list to close was only 59 days, so 90 days, is generally 30 days more than we anticipate is necessary.
If you have any questions about any of our processes, what we use, or how we help you market your property, please contact us at 904.379.5523.
This is the tale of how we got a Realtor (and the homeowner) to change their mind about pricing, stage, and reap the rewards. The results? 3.5 months on the market: NOTHING 18 days staged: MULTIPLE OFFERS
When I got the call from a friend who I knew from Coldwell Banker, that he ex-husband’s house was sitting, unsold, on the market for over three months, I couldn’t help but wonder:
Why hadn’t she called me sooner?
Why hadn’t he called me sooner? (He also knew me from another source.)
What was wrong with this house, in today’s market, that it has sat so long?
How overpriced could this house possibly be, to be sitting so long?
Within a few days, I met my friend, and her current husband (also the Realtor for the listing) at the house. I took a look around the house, which gave me a clear indication on why it hadn’t sold yet, then started discussing their pricing strategy.
After 90+ days on market, with only one low ball offer, and almost no showings anymore, it was time to get real with this listing to get it sold.
Taking a look at the MLS photos. Is this what buyers are really looking for?
When I initially saw the house, I noticed that it was very mustard yellow – everywhere. It felt dated. This was the old Tuscany look that was popular when the house was built, back in 1999. Believe it or not, that’s almost 20 years ago! I recommended painting, but unfortunately, the seller had already spent money repainting, the same color! Still, I know that staging can be effective, even in less than ideal conditions.
“I had a property that had been on the market for just over 90 days that was priced correctly but not showing well. The owner was giving consideration to making large price reduction to renew buyer interest in the property. After a consultation with Rave, the seller realized that staging was a better solution to change buyer perception rather than taking a price reduction. The marketing advice given by Rave allowed the Seller to position the home, with a small price increase, to be seen by the target buyers at the appropriate price point creating new interest in the property. Two weeks after the staging and change in pricing strategy, the property was in a multiple offer situation. Thank you to Rave for both the excellent staging, but more importantly, the marketing insight that helped this seller realize an optimal return.” Scott Bresnahan, Coldwell Banker Vanguard
Rethinking pricing, to get a better return.
When I say return, I’m not actually referring to better offers. In this case, I’m talking about a better return on the investment. Since this house was originally listed at $420K, and when viewing comps, seemed to be in the right price range, a price reduction wasn’t necessarily in order. This was, however, the recommendation of the broker. Instead, I pitched a strategy that I first learned in Charleston, SC, by a very good client of mine. Instead of dropping the price, our goal was to get as many NEW people into this home as possible. We wanted people who hadn’t seen it before to pay attention. Since we know most buyers, and their agents, search in ranges between $25K increments, a $5K or $10K price reduction, from $420K wouldn’t necessarily give us more buyers. Buyers who were shopping from $400K – $425K had already viewed the house.
Our strategy was to RAISE the price to $425K. This would keep the house in the $400K – $425K price range, but also include any buyers that were looking from $425K – $450K, where the house would be at the very low end of their search, potentially creating more value.
The result from new staging, new photos, and this new pricing strategy was swift. Within 18 days, the seller had multiple offers, and believe it or not, the end buyer was the couple who initially made the low ball offer! The pricing strategy brought several new showings, and a new offer from a new set of buyers. The Realtor, being savvy, contacted the initial offering party, and let them know about the new offer. They submitted a new offer, with an escalatory clause, driving up their initial offer within an acceptable range.
This story ends, as almost all of our staging stories end. When sellers listen to our advice, no matter how contrary it may seem to the mainstream process, our customers win! The most successful Realtor in Jacksonville rarely works with more than 200 properties a year. Rave Home Staging typically works with more than double that amount. We have a clear understanding of the market, and ways to overcome nearly any obstacle.
In a normal home staging consultation, we would advise that sellers remove anything too taste specific. This includes common selections like painting over bold or bright colored walls, removing wall paper borders, and removing murals from bedrooms (or really anywhere in the house). Unfortunately, what we also find is that seller’s don’t always listen to us. Dealing with situations like these are all in a day’s work for Rave Home Staging.
When you can’t ignore it, just go with it.
Not everyone finds eggplant an appealing color for the dining room. Bright pink and pastel pink stripped walls, don’t hit every demographic, and let’s not even discuss wall paper borders. The 1990’s called and want them back. Now what if I said that ALL OF THESE CHOICES were in the same house?
All of that said, when we are hired to stage, we show up to overcome the odds. By leaning in and working with what’s there, we can still achieve remarkable results. This home, located on Jacksonville’s north side, received multiple offers within 24 hours of listing, and ended up selling at full price. The total time on the market, from list to close, this home spent only 32 days on market.
Another stunning example of overcoming personal design choices.
As professionals who work in the real estate industry, we know that wallpaper can often be the kiss of death for a listing. Buyers today want move in ready, not someone else’s design choices. Knowing that the average home buyer is typically about 10 years younger than the seller for that home, imagine whether you would want to live with the design choices of someone 10 years older than you are today.
Still, when push comes to shove and seller’s won’t do the work of removing wallpaper and custom wall color choices, it’s our job to step in and make the home livable enough for home buyers to imagine themselves in the space.
While working with bold choices may not be our favorite stages, at the end of the day, our job is to make the house sell, no matter the circumstances. This home, sold in only 26 days on market. The seller and the agent were so pleased with the results that they actually sent us a beautiful basket of deliciousness to thank us.
Breaking back in to the world of Facebook Live, I spent a few minutes today with Real Estate Investor, Obi Dorsey. Obi is the owner of JAX Freedom Home Buyers. Obi has been a loyal customer of Rave Home Staging for the past four years, staging his first ever flip with us. In this conversation we’ll discuss how Obi decided to pull the trigger on making the investment in home staging, how home staging has helped him earn more money in each deal, and what the ROI really is.
How staging helps real estate investors in today’s seller’s market.
At Rave Home Staging we typically tell our customers that they should expect a return of 3-5 times what they spend. Find out how Obi feels about that number, what he expects to get as a return on staging, and how that compares to other renovation factors.
Today, behind the scenes, and off camera, Obi shared with me that their latest project, that closed today, earned over $65K. Jax Freedom Home Buyers owned this property for less than 1 day! This video will wet your whistle on some of his business practices, the importance of having a mentor, and some of his local events where you can learn from him (at no cost). Stay tuned for a future episode when we launch our new podcast, Rave About Real Estate, next month. Subscribe to our blog, and follow our Facebook page for more information.