By Connie Yates
Having been a real estate broker for over 15 years, I have not only worked through the 2008 economic crash that took years to rebound from but have also seen how the COVID pandemic has affected our housing market this past year and as we begin 2021. Initially, it was a concern that the market would be ultimately affected in a negative way. However, it did not take long before we actually saw a rise in sales as more buyers were looking for larger homes.
With this, my team focused on getting more listings to sell as the prices were favorable to sellers and we were seeing more and more multiple offer situations. With or without the pandemic, preparing your home for the market has always been a top priority in order for a homeowner to get top dollar for their investment. Now, having the best online presence is even more important, as many buyers are making offers on homes sight unseen. This is due to travel plans being limited for out-of-town buyers, who make up a large percentage of buyers in our transit city.
To prepare a home properly, it obviously needs to be in good condition structurally and cosmetically, as many buyers are visual. I have found over the years that staging is a very good strategy, especially with homes that need that extra touch to bring in more buyers. Just like packaging is important in selling products, the “packaging” and marketing of a home is crucial. For quite some time it has been true that 94-96% of all homebuyers start their search online. Now, with the pandemic, it is even more crucial to make the online presentation stick out. Staging can be costly, so many homeowners do not have the money to invest in this aspect of selling a home.
My partner on my team, Lisha Maxwell, and I came up with a far better solution, costing the homeowner little to no extra money out of their pocket. We knew selling a home quickly and for top dollar was a win-win, so we started offering complimentary limited staging. Over time, we collected our own inventory of items we knew would be key to staging and giving the online marketing presence we needed. We shopped stores such as Home Goods, Kirkland’s, and other resources for sales and items such as rugs, dressy pillows, artwork, mirrors, lamps, fresh white towels for bathrooms, floral pieces, and even invested in a few larger items such as sofas, tables and chairs. We also bought front porch rocking chairs and bright colorful outdoor pillows to accent our porches with great success. We stored our collected inventory in a storage unit and stayed up to date on the most desirable color schemes: grays and whites. We offered this complimentary to our clients, and therefore, have never been asked to discount our commission fees. Sellers were astonished with our staging and what we were able to do with their home. We had so much success with our before and after results, that winning a listing was easy for us. Yes, it was a financial commitment initially, but we are able to reuse these items over and over with our listings. It is truly amazing how we were able to change the look of any home while still featuring much of the homeowners furnishings. We still had the homeowner do any needed painting and take care of prelisting maintenance work, but the staging was the key piece that helped us sell listings in the first day after having been on the market with other real estate firms for months!
Once a home was staged, the next key piece is getting a professional, high-quality photographer to take photos. We used only the top photographers that knew the right angles, and coloring to highlight the staging we did. Finally, we create a high-end, magazine-like brochure with the professional photos and important specs about the home. These brochures are costly, but enable buyers to take something with them, reminding them of our property after viewing 10+ homes.
We have found through our complimentary staging, high-quality photos, and magazine-styled brochures, our homes sell quicker and for more money. This is a win-win for both the homeowner and our team and has been a great referral service for us as our clients boast to their friends and family.
Connie is a NC/SC Licensed Real Estate Broker and currently manages a team, Yates & Maxwell Properties with Keller Williams Ballantyne. She specializes in luxury listings in Charlotte and surrounding areas, including lake properties and new construction. Connie has lived in the Waxhaw/Marvin area for over 20 years and in Charlotte for over 50 years, giving her extensive knowledge of the area and the real estate market. She has received numerous awards for top sales over the years and strives to provide her clients with strong customer service in every aspect. Her goal is to make each transaction stress free for her clients while being readily available for all their needs.
To contact Connie, email her at [email protected] or call 704-877-9668.