HOUGHTON -?Smart home sellers know that there should be much more to preparing a home to sell than simply hiring a real estate agent. Setting the right price for the right place in the right market is, of course, the major factor in selling a home. But preparing a home to show its most attractive features, and then capturing those features with skilled, professional photography are two additional strategies smart home sellers undertake.
The preparation of the home for showing and photography is called "staging." And just as a stage is set for a theatrical production, good staging helps a potential buyer visualize living in this new space. The work of a skilled, professional photographer can then capture the home at its finest, and share the images widely, far beyond the "official" real estate listings, reaching as many potential buyers as possible.
After many years of helping people redecorate their homes and businesses, Julie Waara Design of Houghton has branched out into the real estate staging market. She was certified in spring 2012, by the Home Staging Resource.
The certification process taught her several ways to make a home stand out amongst the competition.
"Often home-sellers will just leave an empty house, or a crowded house full of personal items and family heirlooms, and just toss it into the market and see what happens," Waara said. "They expect potential buyers to love it and see it as their new home, just the way the sellers did for many years. They do not make any changes yet have high expectations as far as the price it should bring."
What sellers do not realize is that according to the National Real Estate Professionals organization nine out of 10 people have no skills at visualizing what the home could be to the buyers. Often these buyers cannot get past badly needed updates, crowded, outdated furniture, or overly bold-colored walls or wallpaper to "see" how they would live there. What Julie Waara Design can do for your space is to give you an honest opinion of what you can do, within your budget, to increase your chances of a faster sale. Sometimes it is a simple consultation, a day of rearranging what you already have, or bringing in fresh furniture and accessories into a vacant home.
The supply of homes on the local market largely exceeds the demand. We are still in a buyer's market and many nice homes with so much potential sit unsold for years. Sellers then resort to dropping the price by thousands at a time, thinking price alone is keeping buyers away.
"Some sellers simply don't want to make any investment. As a home seller you need to put your home in the best position possible so that yours will be the home people want because it stands out over the competition," Waara said. "It is much smarter to get a plan up front, make even a small investment, and do the necessary improvements so that it will potentially sell quicker."
Professional photographer Bill Fink of Bill Fink Communications, LLC in Houghton, is teaming with Julie Waara Design to capture the key elements of a home as Waara has staged it. Working together, the two businesses will offer an attractive pricing package.
A well-staged home needs to be photographed well. The National Real Estate Professionals organization noted that about 9 out of 10 buyers first discover a home through an on line listing before they ever contact an agent to visit it. In our area particularly, relocating professionals often spend considerable time shopping on-line before they even get to the area.
"Most real estate agents have cameras; most have hammers and saws also do you hire them to do the brick and mortar repairs on your home in preparation for its sale?" Fink asked.
Good real estate photography takes specialized lighting and lenses to supplement professional-grade cameras. The results are well-lit, well-composed photos that capture the special magic of that home.
"By concentrating on the photography of a home, I can supplement the work of the real estate agent, supplying the agent or the seller with a set of high quality, professional images that can be used by the agent in traditional marketing approaches, and used by the seller to market the home through a wide range of the new social media," said Fink, who is a member of the Professional Photographers of America.
In addition to still photographs of the home, Fink offers HomeFlo video clips. These are simple walk-through video clips that show the relationship of the home's rooms to one another.
"They are a kind of visual floor plan and are a great supplement to the still photos," Fink added.
The two professionals began their collaboration through work on a rural property owned by Phil Musser. Waara did some simple rearranging and staging and Fink did the photographs. The photos replaced the agent's photos in the formal listing and were placed in their own gallery on Fink's website; the link was then widely shared.
After having been on the market for more than three years, there were two competing offers within six weeks. At closing, the agent reported three additional buyers wanted to place bids. Musser credits the collaboration of Julie Waara and Bill Fink as the key factor in selling his property.
Julie Waara Design, Bill Fink Communications, LLC and Josh Stein, Northern Michigan Land Brokers are teaming up to do an open house on Saturday, Sept. 22, from noon to 4:00 p.m. Waara has staged one of Stein's listings at the corner of Ninth and Agate streets in Houghton (MLS# 1067487). Fink has posted his photos and video clips in the Real Estate Gallery of his website www.GalleryOnDaLine.com. Josh Stein's website is www.joshsteinland.com. Waara's website, www.juliewaaradesign.com is in final production and will be up in the next week.
In addition to seeing the newly staged home, Waara and Fink will on site to discuss their services with potential home sellers. A door prize drawing for a package of staging consultation and a subsequent photo shoot will be offered.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Julie Waara Design, Bill Fink Communications, LLC and Northern Michigan Land Brokers. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.