Real estate: Home staging can sell your house fast

Selling a house isn't easy these days. While the market may be starting to recover, sellers still have lots of competition, and it remains a buyer's market.

So you may want to know about a hot new way to make your house sell quickly, and for a good price.     

Love Your Old Stuff?  Don't Invite This Woman

If you're sentimentally attached to everything inside your house, do not invite Jo Potvin into your home. That's because Potvin stages homes professionally.
The Cincinnati woman spins into homes like a tornado. She orders movers to haul out anything that reeks of the 1980s.

Overstuffed wing chairs, Queen Anne tables, old big box TV sets are out the door, to be replaced with contemporary furnishings.

Cherry bedroom sets, brass beds? Gone.

Recently, Potvin was in Deerfield Township Ohio breathing new life into a home for sale.

Potvin's business, Design to Market Home Staging , has a warehouse full of tables, lamps, wall treatments, even hundreds of pillows. She uses her design background to turn dated rooms into Ethan Allen/Pottery Barn catalog showplaces.

In today's super competitive real estate market, Potvin says you need to be a step ahead of your neighbors.

"You can have a really great home, but if the aesthetics aren't there,  you can be behind the 8 Ball," she said.

A Realtor's Best Friend

Realtor Jean Raga of Cincinnati's Sibcy Cline realtors agrees. If any home she offers looks dated, she suggests home staging. Raga says a professional staging is often the difference between a quick sale, and a listing that sits months.

"The biggest issue now is that there's so much on the market and there's so much to compete with," she said.

Raga says you have to grab the home buyer the second they walk in the door.

"What we're looking for is the 'wow factor.' We want them to say 'wow, this is my house,'" she said.

Not Cheap, But Better Than a Price Cut

So what will all this cost you? Potvin says an average staging runs $1,500, which includes three months of rental furnishings. For a large upscale home it can cost several thousand dollars.

Before you say it's crazy, she says staging is much cheaper than being forced to cut your asking price 10 grand after a month, because you have no buyers.

"For most," she said, "that first price drop would be more than most of our clients spend, even if they are looking at painting, carpet, and more involved projects than average."
Potvin says staging gets results.

"We just recently did a home that  had been on the market over two years. Within 10 days the house was under contract," she said.

It might be painful to watch old favorites replaced, so you might want to be gone when the decorators show up. But Potvin has just one goal: selling your home.

You can look up a home stage professional online, though it's often easiest to work through a realtor who will know some of the best ones near you.    

Remember, the price of staging is insignificant if it helps your home sell for thousands more than your neighbor's home, so you don't waste your money.

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