Staging And Marketing Your Home | An Immediate Return On Your Investment

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By Cassie Daughtrey

My most recent listing sold very quickly, and set a new high record for the price per square foot in the Ravenna neighborhood.

Several agents have called me asking “why” I believe it sold for as much as it did. The answer I continue to give is: a lot of people wanted to live out the story that this home told. People buy a lifestyle. They want a home, not a house. A home with a good story can elicit a lot more interest than a house with no story.

Every listing I bring on the market tells a story. The story is a collaborative brought to life with my team. Solomon, Keri Petersen (KP Spaces), Cory Holland (my photographer) and usually the owners are involved in the collaborative but not always.

The process usually goes like this:

First I meet with the client. We discuss goals, objectives, and timelines. We talk about the home and discuss preliminary ideas of who the future buyers will be of the property. This helps set the tone for going forward.

Then Sol meets with the client to discuss any fixes and structural or cosmetic issues that should be addressed. Sometimes this is as simple as pressure washing the walkway, and sometimes as complicated as custom building closet doors for an odd-shaped opening. Each home requires varying degrees of Sol’s expertise and help.

The third step is to bring in Keri Petersen, interior designer and stylist. Keri works with the client to determine any paint color changes that would benefit the home and then styles and stages the home with the purpose of engaging the buyers. Keri’s talents are in her ability to tell a story through style and color, and unique objects that give buyers lifestyle “snapshots” of what life can be like in a home. And this also varies of course on the home, location, and target audience.

Cory Holland, architectural photographer, comes in last. Keri and I help art direct the photo shoot. This includes picking the best time of day for photos, and selecting specific vignettes to create moments of pause for a potential buyer. Cory is talented and an excellent team player and asset to this process.

Lastly I pull it all together and implement a marketing strategy specific for the home.

Selling a home is much more personal than selling a building or a house. To sell a home, the approach has to be in selling the lifestyle. Who do we believe will be the buyers of this home? How do we best convey that message? The house is like a canvas, but how we present it is an art form.

Back to my recent listing in Ravenna:

A 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1390 Square Foot, Offered at $489,000

This is not a very large home. So the details were key. Our thoughts were that the buyers of this house would a person or people who appreciate a neighborhood feel, walking to the market or the park, perhaps needs an easy commute to downtown or UW, someone who wants a low maintenance yard, sees themselves entertaining in a formal dining room, and walking to the corner market for coffee and a paper. We needed the house to exude a “cool” lifestyle, embracing a sort of hipster culture that Seattle people are drawn toward.

In the end, our vision came together. Keri worked magic, painting a beautiful picture with her staging. And in the end, I was able to present my clients with EIGHT offers for their home. All over asking price. But in the end, the home sold for $551k, with no contingencies, cash, and closed in 12 days.

The average home in Ravenna has sold for $253 a square foot. This home closed for $320 per total square foot, and $396 per finished square foot. That’s at a minimum $97,000 more than the house, in theory, should have sold for.

The kicker for me was that with the 8 offers came 6 letters from hopeful homebuyers. In the letters, hopeful buyers explained what they loved about the home. And in almost every letter the buyer mentioned “the shelves.” These built-in shelves (pictured below) in the living room were easily overlooked before when they were empty. But with staging, and a story, these shelves brought the entire room to life, and people saw themselves in those shelves. People saw their things on those shelves.

Cassie2Here are a couple more pictures of the “story” we told in this Ravenna home.


So the moral of the story is this process is an investment that can yield a very high return. A few thousand dollars in marketing, staging, and photography can achieve exponential returns–and quick!

Let us help you bring your home’s story to life! Call or email me today! | 206.403.8548