Response to Scott Friedman’s article dated April 23, 2010
So much of your article speaks the truth – especially the part about agents taking overpriced listings. What is also frustrating is that so many agents “buy” the listing. They tell the seller that they can get their ridiculous price, and during the first two months on the market, get feedback from showings and other agents that the home is “overpriced”, build a relationship with the seller (“us” vs. “them”) and then convince the seller to take price reductions. These dishonest agents end up getting a commission and doing their sellers a huge disservice, because statistics have shown that pricing a home right the first two weeks on the market yields a higher price than subsequent price reductions over time.
All that having been said, I would like to defend the merits of staging, if I may.
It is my belief and experience that staging helps homes sell faster, and for a higher price. Allow me to give two, empirical examples:
1)      I listed a home about 7 months ago. We were in escrow for $239,000. The home was tenant-occupied, so the pictures we were able to take made the home look disorganized and unappealing. The Buyers got cold feet at the last minute and backed out. We took the home off the market for only 2 weeks. The tenant had moved out since he thought the home had sold. We cleaned the home and staged it. Then we brought in a professional photographer and included a virtual tour. We re-listed the home for $250,000, and we received 17 offers in 7 days, and sold it for $275,000. I can back all of this with documentation.
2)      I met with a homeowner in November whose home had just appraised for $430,000. The comps supported a price of $450,000. He told me he was willing to spend as much as $10,000 on a light remodel to get $450,000. I gave him some advice on some light remodeling, and he ended up spending $5700. I went in and staged the property. After all was said and done we received 11 offers in 7 days and sold it for $475,000 cash. I can back all of this with documentation too.
The bottom line is that the staging made a difference. I agree with you 100% that if either of those homes had been overpriced they would not have sold. However, presenting a home at its absolute best (staging, light remodeling, photography, etc) without a doubt will help yield the seller a higher price. 

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