When selling a house in this market it is crucial that your property look it’s best….both inside and out. On the rehab end of this business, so much attention is focused on getting the project completed. But what about after the work is done and it’s time to sell?
In the past, when you could move properties quickly staging (to us) didn’t seem like such a big deal. It felt like just another costly expense. Turnaround was so quick that it just didn’t seem like it was worth all the effort. Now things have changed. With so many properties on the market sitting vacant, you really have to put that effort in to get people to want to see your home. We have one property right now in particular that is just beautiful. It has an all new kitchen, a good layout, plenty of space, and is in a very good neighborhood. For all of it’s star qualities, we were just not getting much action on this place. We decided to create a staging plan for the house.
Before, my staging was pretty limited. A few little plants here and there, some towels and rugs in the bathroom, etc. But now it was time to think bigger. There are some great resources out there for discounted furniture—I was shocked. Who knew that Big Lots carried some really nice pieces of furniture?! This actually turned into a big adventure for me and was a lot of fun (but seriously hard work, especially when you are pregnant and putting together furniture with an allen wrench!—plus I hate reading directions) Danny originally threw out a crazy budget of like $10,000. My sensibilities would not permit spending so much on furniture; I knew there had to be deals out there. Men: if you have a woman in your life who enjoys the thrill of the bargain hunt I would suggest enlisting their help—I know how most of you hate to shop!
First stop was the Salvation Army resale store where I found a super nice espresso colored bedroom set: queen bed (including head and foot board), dresser, bureau, and large mirror for $400! We happened to have our old queen size box spring out in the garage so we used that and a $25 air mattress that worked out perfectly. At Big Lots I was able to find a couch on sale ($325), a matching chair ($200), and a floor lamp ($80) for the living room. They also had a nice breakfast room set that I picked up for $325. At Garden Ridge Pottery I found a coffee table ($50) two side tables ($25 ea), a huge 8 x 10 rug ($95), matching runner ($30), a 7 piece queen size bed set ($50)and a lot of really nice artwork. Ross is another great store for finding small items like rugs for the bathroom and kitchen, PLUSH towels (don’t buy the cheap ones, they just LOOK cheap), jars and canisters for the kitchen, candles, artwork. Goodwill is another good source for decorative items. I don’t know about elsewhere, but ours has a “Julia’s Attic” area of the store where they sell higher end items that are donated from the Junior League. There are some nice things to be found in there. In summary, I stuck all of that cheap furniture in that house and it looks like a million bucks! This house is retailing for about $250K, and you wouldn’t believe how many people have expressed an interest in buying my “el cheapo” furniture!
When it was all said and done I ended up spending right at about $2000. This included all of the furniture, accessories, artwork, some cleaning supplies, and $100 for the furniture delivery. We held an open house the following weekend and were shocked at how much traffic we got. It took about a week for me to accomplish everything, but I think the end results were great and I learned a very important lesson. The time I spent working and bargain hunting to get this all put together at the lowest possible cost was definitely well worth it. Showings have doubled on the property and everyone loves the staging. I think that potential buyers have spent much more time in the house than when it was empty. We are currently negotiating a contract and hope to get it closed soon!
Currently, my plan is to continue doing this with all of our higher-end properties. We usually have enough properties going through the pipeline that it’s not a problem to move the stuff on to the next house without having to worry about storage. And if anyone who is buying the house wants the furniture I planned to mark it up 100%. I figured that I actually need the stuff, but if someone wants to pay me twice what I paid then they can have it! This way I can go out and get the same thing if I need it, but double. This would help us build some inventory.
Wow!! Truly an Amazing article – Great write up Melissa. Please keep up the great work I have been learning & growing with FlippingJunkie daily, Feeding my #REIFIX.
Thanks, Scott! Glad that you are enjoying the blog!
Very nice job, Melissa! Glad you both are getting the value of staging in selling homes these days . . . you did a much nicer job than I’ve seen some investors do. Most everyone seems to think they have good design sense and style and can do it themselves these days. Not true! Scale, color, style, trendiness, flow from room to room all play an important part . . . and avoiding the “cheesy” overdone techniques as well, IMO.
Thanks, Amy!! I think having some design experience definitely comes in handy. Glad you enjoyed my post.
Great job Melissa (and Danny). The house looks beautiful! I love your ideas about looking for bargains. The pieces don’t necessarily have to cost a lot to look like a million bucks.
Thanks, Sharon! I’m glad you enjoyed the article and the ideas.
So the truth behind the success of the Flipping Junkie is revealed! (Don’t tell Danny I said that please – wait, is this comment public?!?!?)
We’ve staged some of ours and have had huge success. We have paid in fees what your purchase prices were, so you’re already ahead of the curve – our curve at least.
My mother laughingly told me that Big Lots in our area was beginning to get “big for their britches.” She may be right, mothers always are…
LOVE the idea of Big Lots getting too big for their britches. As long as I’m saving $$ it works for me. I scored a great deal this week with their big 20% off sale–I’m cleaning them out!
PS-It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who uses the word “britches” anymore 🙂
No way, I live in the South as well — a little East of you — over in Alabama 🙂
I’m new to your blog and am loving it. I’m a real estate agent who works mostly with investors, so all my listings are vacant and I’m so glad you see the value in staging. In the last year I’ve spent about $3000. And have enough to stage 5 homes, and like you I mostly move furniture from house to house and seldom have to store much. Garage sales, Good Will and Craig’s list have proven valuable sources. It takes no skill to purchase from a showroom floor or furniture rental store, but to create a welcoming home from garage sale finds and second hand stores is a skill indeed. Congratulations!
Thanks, Becky! I am glad that you are enjoying the blog. I was unsure about the whole staging process in the past, but after doing it a few times you really can see the difference. Plus, I admit it…I’m a woman and I like to shop (especially bargain hunting!) 🙂
Great ideas on the staging and resources! I’m new to your blog and investing so appreciate all the FREE advice! Do you ever use the Cort Furniture rental returns? might be another resource for you! Thanks, Missy
Thanks, Melissa! I haven’t looked into the Cort Furniture rental returns, thanks for the tip!! I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog 🙂
Really helpful information. Thank you very much.
I love the look! As my wife and I build our business, we’ll definitely keep this in mind. May make the 5 hr drive down and ask you nicely to show us some of your stages in person 🙂
That could be arranged if I could find some time.