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Can Staging Sell Foreclosures?

May 18, 2011

From: Loan Officer Vonda Henry

Winter is over, but the chill on the housing market remains. Sale prices continue to head down in most major markets and listings for short sales and bank owned properties are hitting a new high. According to Clear Capital’s Home Data Index™ (HDI) Market Report, 34.5% of national home sales were REO properties. Last week, we learned from Zillow.com that 28% of all homeowners owe more on their home than it’s worth, which seems to indicate that short sales and bank-owned properties will continue to be a large chunk of home listings.

If you list foreclosed properties, how do you draw the eye of buyers when there are so many homes from which to choose?

One way is through home staging. Often, an REO property is vacant and in disrepair. A real estate agent has the job of helping buyers see what “could be” instead of “what is.” Simple repairs such as paint and new carpet, along with furniture, can make a home more appealing, and yet, banks are hesitant to make that investment because the house is empty and staging may encourage vandalism and theft.

And the question remains: Does staging even work?

A survey by The International Association of Home Staging Professionals® and StagedHomes.com® learned that 94.6 percent of homes staged by Accredited Staging Professionals (ASP) sold, on average, in 33 days or less, compared to 196 days for non-staged homes, through the first five months of 2010.

Clearly, staging does seem to move homes more quickly, by improving the look of the home and giving the buyer the opportunity to visualize themselves in each room. Even if you cannot do an elaborate and complete staging, don’t underestimate the role of fresh paint, newly-cleaned carpet, or room deodorizers!

Sources: Foreclosure.com, ClearCapital.com

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