20% Down Payment Takes 12 Years of Saving

20% Down Payment Takes 12 Years of Saving

 

 

First-time buyers have a whole lot of saving to do — possibly more than a decade of saving for a home purchase. It can take, on average, 12.5 years for first-time buyers to save a 20 percent down payment based on a current personal savings rate at 5.6 percent, according to new research by RealtyTrac. The figure is based on current median home prices and doesn’t take into account further home price rises.

 

In RealtyTrac’s analysis of 512 counties, it found that the median price of a home is around $259,000, which would require buyers to save $51,800 for a 20 percent down payment.

Millennials entering the workforce often have several years until they start earning the national median salary — usually that is not reached until the age of 30, according to a 2013 Georgetown University study by Anthony Carnevale, “Failure to Launch: Structural Shift and the New Lost Generation.”

If that’s the case, first-time buyers who need a 20 percent down payment would have to wait until they’re 42 years old to be able to afford to buy a house, Carnevale told The Wall Street Journal. Coupled with other debt, such as student loans, the wait could even be longer.

Melvin Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has suggested lowering the down payment for a conventional loan to 3 percent from the traditional 20 percent. In that case, it would take first-time buyers less than two years to save enough.

The Federal Housing Administration allows buyers to get a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent with a 30-year fixed rate. However, buyers still have to meet the debt-to-income ratio and cash reserve requirements and they would likely qualify for better terms for a loan if they could bring a higher down payment, says Whitney Fite, managing director of Angel Oak Home Loans in Atlanta.

Source: “Saving for a Down Payment? It Could Take You Until 2027,” MarketWatch (Nov. 5, 2014)

 

Have no fear – there are other loan options available – if you’d to learn more – please contact us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com

 

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/11/07/20-down-payment-takes-12-years-saving?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BUXQikB89faVK2&om_ntype=RMODaily

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Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

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Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

 

Going Solo: Home Buying Tips for One

Going Solo: Home Buying Tips for One

The stereotypical picture of the happy home buyer includes kids and/or a spouse. But plenty of singletons take the home buying plunge as well.

Homeownership can offer benefits at any stage of life. But there are things you might consider if you’re single and buying a home for yourself.

Do some research on home buying

This is good advice for anyone thinking of home ownership for the first time, or someone moving to a new market—perhaps even after relocating for a job.

Talk to friends or acquaintances about their home buying experiences. Get recommendations and advice, on everything from neighborhoods to REALTORS®.

Borrow books, search for information online, attend seminars and look at the various lenders and the programs they offer.

Know what you want when home buying

Condos and townhouses are popular for singles, who don’t need all the room of a house, and appreciate the lower mortgage and heightened security. Smaller properties may also mean less upkeep––a timesaver if otherwise it would be just you doing all the mowing, painting and other chores.

But don’t hesitate to ponder the future.

If you’re planning to stay in an area for years, would your new place have room to include additions to your life? A studio might be all you need now, but if you could afford a one-bedroom, perhaps that’s an investment in the future worth making.

Going into your search with definite ideas about exactly what you want will help keep you from buying more house than you have the time—or inclination—to handle solo.

Resale value

You might not have kids, but a home in a good school district might retain its value better than a home near a lesser school. The same goes for recreation areas.

On the flip side, if you live in a heated market and aren’t worried about school districts, you might find your money goes farther in an area where parents aren’t angling for the right schools: you might get more square footage, modern upgrades, or maybe a lower price point.

Condos and townhouses might feel right for your lifestyle, but they also may not hold their resale value, depending on the market.

Privacy and security

If you’re single, it’s likely your privacy and safety feature high on your list of needs for home buying.

The type of things to look for could include these priorities:

  • A neighborhood with a low crime rate
  • A home with an alarm system
  • A fenced-in yard
  • Secure windows and doors
  • An attached garage accessible from inside your home with an electronic door

For example, condos often offer a high level of security, such as gated entrances, a concierge and underground parking.

Financial strategy for home buying

Developing a detailed financial strategy will assist you in your home purchase decision.

It should include an assessment of your existing and potential financial worth, information about your financial and associated lifestyle goals, and how your home purchase will meet your goals to fit within your financial capabilities.

Your budget will need to take account of expenses such as mortgage repayments, property taxes, insurance premiums, household bills, utility bills and maintenance costs.

Should something happen to your income—a job loss, an injury—you’ll want to consider how to keep paying the bills if you don’t have a partner’s income to help.

Just remember to take it slowly and consider all the relevant factors before proceeding with home buying.

 

The Caton Team loves working with first time buyers or those venturing off on their own.  We are patient and are happy to take each step with you on the journey to becoming a home owner.  Let The Caton Team know how we can help you!

 

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/advice/going-solo-home-buying-tips-for-one/?cid=eml-2014-09-bob-blog_6_buying_solo-blogs_buy&MID=2014_09_BoB_2013&RID=9851214

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

VISIT OUR NEW INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ Office BRE# 0149900

 

Testimonials for The Caton Team, Sabrina Caton and Susan Caton

Testimonials From Our Clients

To future clients of The Caton Team,

The Caton Team is made up of Susan Caton and Sabrina Caton, or as I like to refer to them as the Dynamic Duo of Real Estate. They are trustworthy, honest, straight-forward, and experts in the real estate business. I might be a little biased, because of my friendship with them, but nothing will test a friendship more than the process of buying and selling a home. As everyone knows when you sell your home you want the most money for the least amount of effort and you want the process to be quick and smooth. The Caton Team will make sure you have all of the necessary information and knowledge to understand how to stage your home and what the process will be along with a realistic timeline of what you can expect. If you follow their directions and listen to what they say, your home selling experience will be painless and quick. For us this ended up being less than a week with our home selling for more than what we expected. The entire process from filling out the required paperwork to negotiating went smoothly and was overall painless on our end. At the end of the day we got more than what we wanted and were in a great position to start hunting for a new home.

This brings me to how The Caton Team helped us buy a new home for what we wanted, while making sure that we got the home that we wanted. Since we had already bought and sold our first home with The Caton Team, using them again to buy another house did not require much thought, actually required no thought. We went into the process wanting the best of the best in the best location, because who does not want that for themselves? They were kind enough to listen to our wants and desires and showed us what we could afford in the areas we were looking. It took a few homes to realize that our expectations were not in sync with the market, because currently in early 2015 homes are going like hot cakes and for more than what they are listed at by a fair amount.

This is when we sat down again and started looking at other areas that were just as nice, but we had ignored initially. The important part here is while they mentioned this information early on, they allowed us to realize it on our own that we needed to look outside of our ideal areas if we wanted our dream house. Once we realized what they were saying we expanded our search and found the home that we wanted. After our initial open house we contacted The Caton Team and informed them that we found the home that we wanted. This is when The Caton Team sprang into action, they immediately started requesting all of the disclosures from the seller’s agent and contacted the seller’s agent to gain any additional knowledge that might not be in the supplied paperwork. They then shared this information openly with us, as one would expect, and started laying down the groundwork of what we would need to do if we truly wanted this house. They supplied us with the tools necessary to make an informed decision and provided us with comparable sales (COMPS) in that particular area, so that we would have an idea of what houses were selling for and where the market was heading (spoiler alert, market was only going upwards). Their attention to detail and understanding of the market allowed us to make the best offer we could, while not overbidding or underbidding and making sure that we would have our offer accepted. As you have already guessed, our offer was accepted almost immediately and we are now homeowners of a home that we wanted in an area that is ideal.

If you have made it this far, then you realize why The Caton Team is really The Dynamic Duo of Real Estate. They make sure you are provided with the proper tools and information to make the best decision for yourself. They will work tirelessly with you and will not be a 9-5 agent, they will be honest, trustworthy, and straight-forward. You will not feel like you are getting the short-end of the deal and at the end of the day you will feel great about your decision to work with The Caton Team.

-The Liere Family

“I worked with Sabrina and Sue a few years back and they were so professional. I was going thru a divorce and had to sell my condo. I was beyond upset. (Not because of the divorce but selling the condo) haha… Thru this difficult time they were so amazing and made me feel at ease. The housing market at that time was not the best but they did their best to make sure I got a good deal.  The condo wasn’t on the market for too long and I was able to sell it for a decent price. Thank you to both for making that transition in my life a little easier. Definitely will be using them again if and ever I can buy again.”

-Elena

“We had a great experience buying a house through the Caton team. Sabrina and Susan were patient in answering our many questions, and helped guide us in the offer process to help win a bid on our second offer even in this crazy market! They are easy to get in touch with over email, text, or phone, and detail oriented to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. We’d highly recommend them!”

-Katherine

Hi Susan and Sabrina,

I just thought I’d take a moment to write you both to say how much of a pleasure it has been to once again have had another successful property transaction come to fruition with you both at the helm (yay, three now)!

I can’t say enough how Victor and I have been so happy you’ve been our representatives in both our buying and selling transactions, and that your dedication and hard work, creativity and professionalism have always made a world of difference all throughout the process of buying and selling our homes. From the smallest details like your fantastic web page ads and captioning to your weekly and continuous updates and presence at the property for showings and repairs. You’ve left nothing to chance!

It’s clear that experience counts, and your research and broad-based knowledge of the local real estate and larger markets in general, have always provided us with a solid backdrop from which we could make our decisions. You’ve always provided us with good information, solid recommendations, and I’m grateful that we had you both as our representatives.

Additionally, I want to say on a personal note, that you are both so considerate and thoughtful, and I always feel that we are in good hands when you’re on the job.  Thank you again for this recent and very successful sale of our property, and we look forward to our continued relationship with you in future transactions.

I did not have your Broker’s contact information, but if you would please forward him/her this e-mail, I’d appreciate it, because I’d like them to know that you have permanent fans!

Thanks again,  Helen and Victor

“Susan and Sabrina, The Caton (Dream)Team –

Thirteen years ago, we met Susan Caton who so kindly helped us find our first home in the Bay Area.  She was mindful of our budget and attentive to our wish list.  We landed a great starter home fit to our needs and close to work.  In 2012, when it came time to relocate into a neighborhood with great schools, we once again called upon Susan, who now was partner with her daughter-in-law, Sabrina, to find the right house for our growing family.  First, Susan and Sabrina helped sell our house within 2 weeks time at a price within our expectations.  Then, they delivered BIG by helping us find our next dream home in a competitive market with little time to spare knowing Facebook millionaires would soon bring stiff competition to the housing market.  All along, even when our first two offers fell through, Susan and Sabrina helped us keep our focus and always had our best interest in mind.  Settling for less than our hearts desired was not the answer, and our patience combined with our trust in Susan and Sabrina paid off when we stumbled upon our dream home.  We can honestly say that working with The Caton Dream Team has been a true pleasure as it has enabled us to find a wonderful place to call home, not only once, but twice.  When the time comes, we will gladly call upon their services again, and we highly recommend them to anyone looking to find their first or next dream home.”

– Fredric and Heather R.

“I recently worked with The Caton team (Sabrina and Sue) to purchase my first home. I was referred to the team by a co-worker who had just purchased a condo with them. He had a great experience, and recommended them for their honesty, responsiveness and availability (even at night and weekends). I found this assessment to be 100% true.

I first met Sabrina and Sue when I was interviewing realtors. They recommended I come to their office for the interview. They were the only ones to recommend this, which already set them apart in my mind. During the interview they shared their process and approach and how our relationship would work. I decided to work with the Caton team for several reasons. 1) A great referral 2) Their open and honest personalities 3) Their sincere concern that I find exactly what I am looking for 3) Their combined years of experience and specialization in the peninsula.

After our first meeting, they set up their home search for the criteria we discussed. Part way through the search, my criteria changed, and they updated the search for the new criteria. Periodically, they would check in to see if I saw anything that I liked. We narrowed the search by going through what I liked and disliked about each listing that I reviewed online.

Sabrina and Sue answered all of my questions along the process. They came to the home inspection and to sign papers at title company. The title company representative that I signed papers with commented on how lucky I was to have my realtors there, looking out for my best interests, as a lot of first time buyers come alone, signing papers they don’t understand.

After receiving keys to my new home, the Caton team continued to support me. They referred me to painters their colleagues had worked with and found multiple contractors who would do the work I needed.

Sabrina and Sue are really easy to work with. It’s like talking with friends when I reach out to them. They are very approachable, trust worthy and hard working. They always answer questions I have or research to find the answers if they do not have them right away. I highly recommend them and will use them again for future real estate needs.”

– CJ T.

“The Caton team is awesome! Susan and Sabrina were an awesome fit for my husband and I as first-time homebuyers, but I highly recommend them for anyone at any stage of buying a home. They went above and beyond to help us locate a wonderful home and took us step by step through the often confusing short sale process. It felt less like we were working with realtors and more like we were working with good friends or family! Thank you, thank you, Sabrina and Susan!”

-Marie B.

“If anyone can get it done quickly it would be you two. By far the best Realtors west of the Mississippi.”

– Josh L.

“The Caton Team is A-Number-One in our book.  Susan and Sabrina are consummate Pros.  They do exhaustive research, they know how to price a home in today’s competitive market, and they know how to stage a home for maximum buyer appeal.  They’ve sold two homes for us, and we’re completely satisfied with everything they do.  You go, girls!”

-Russ & Elena H.

“I met Sabrina and Susan during our recent rental home search.  As we were not prepared for a move (current homeowners informed us that they were selling the house after 1 year of listing the home as a rental) we needed to act quickly and diligently to find our new home.  My initial communications were with Sabrina as she was hosting an open house.  Her emails were prompt and friendly and I got to know her a bit through email.  When I met up with her for the open house, she was just as friendly in person as was her partner, Susan.  They were welcoming throughout the process and provided wonderful thorough follow up on behalf of the homeowner.  Susan made herself available on a Saturday morning for the signing of the lease and has been in contact with us as we prepare for the move-in.  We have very much enjoyed working with the Caton Team and would recommend them for rental guidance and hopefully in the near future, home ownership!”

– Angela J.

“The Caton team has helped me find my perfect condo within a month of looking! And then later found me great tenants to rent it out. They work quickly and are very professional. Plus, these are just a pair of wonderful women to be around. They are very trustworthy and have their Clients’ best interest in mind. I will be using them again for all my real estate needs, and I recommend them to everyone else! Thank you so much!”

-Caitlin G.

“The Caton Team are the best. They are very easy to work with and know what they are doing. Made a very stressful time much easier! I would recommend them to all. First time buyers and people that have sold many times will enjoy working with these wonderful ladies!”

-Chris & Gary C.

“The Caton Team has helped us many times. Susan and Sabrina are wonderful and we will use them again when the time comes. They know everything about the bay area and never pressure you about making decisions. We couldn’t ask for a better team.”

-Elisa D.

“I’m pretty sure without The Caton Team we wouldn’t have been able to buy our house. We started looking right before the housing market crashed and was going back and forth on qualifying for a loan.   They made it happen-it’s a long story and I can make short and sweet. Please use The Caton Team for you house buying needs!  Really!”

– Nisi C.

“I can’t say enough about what an incredibly professional job Sabrina did; she went above and beyond the call of duty! We would not be in our house today were it not for her tireless efforts. She’s so knowledgeable and works tenaciously for her clients. 
Thank you Sabrina!

-
Rip R.

“Great working with you guys!”

-Aaron B.

“I have worked with many realtors during my 15 years as a mortgage broker and Sabrina Caton is by far one of the best real estate agents I have ever had the pleasure of working with on a number of purchase transactions over the years. She is upbeat and personable with a great sense of humor. She consistently works with her clients best interests in mind and is not afraid to tackle the tough deals. I have personally seen her negotiate to lower the purchase price by $25,000 after the contract was already signed when the buyers’ appraisal came in below the purchase price. You can count on Sabrina for high energy, professional real estate services!”

-Melanie Flynn – Windsor Capital

“Susan & Sabrina did an excellent job, I am very happy.  I highly recommend them.”

– Heidi & Robert M.

“Susan & Sabrina were great, very helpful, and understanding.  They were never pushy and made sure we were making the right choices at all times.  We would use them again for our next property purchase.”

– Anthony D. & Elisa L.

“Susan & Sabrina did a wonderful job, they are easy to communicate with, they were willing to put in extra time and work in getting our house ready to sell.”

– Kathy & Rodney H.

“I knew I wanted to work with Susan   immediately because she actually         listened to our needs, and gave sound, practical advice and information without a sales pitch. I would recommend her to anyone. She was absolutely helpful and made the whole thing easy and painless. I didn’t worry about anything as long as she was working on it.”

– Alicia S. and John G.

“Sabrina did an excellent job, she went above and beyond from the beginning to the end of the transaction making sure we understood every detail. She made things very easy on us – we appreciate all her hard work. We used them for both our real estate deals.”

– Kathy & Rodney H.

“When we need to sale our home – we definitely will call them again!”

– Loyda C. & Carol J.

“We loved working with Susan. I feel I have gained a new friendship. She was totally honest and trustworthy. She made selling our home a pleasant                   experience.”

– Ken & Elain S.

“Susan went above and beyond what she had to do. She was the only help I had getting my parents home cleaned and emptied so I could sell. I live in           Sacramento and didn’t have the time to get down to San Carlos. She truly was a “God Send”. She is FABULOUS! I can’t say enough about her! Please know you have one hell of a woman working for Prudential. Please make sure she receives kudos for a job well done!”

– Andrew R.

“Susan was always available to us, providing information and assurance during the selling process of our home. Thank You!

– Leo & Carlotta O.

“We felt very relaxed and trusted their personality.”

– William & Helen G.

“They did an excellent job and we would recommend them!

– Steve & Stacy G.

“Thank you – Flawless Service!”

– Danielle C. & Thomas G.

“Very honest.”

– Fredric & Heather R.

“I will recommend them to all my friends and family.”

– Diane S.

“We wanted to work with Sabrina. She was wonderful. She put up with lots of emotions / family dynamic around the sale of this home, as it was our families house. I appreciated her sensitivity and solid knowledge. We would be happy to work with her again and pass along any new clients as well.

– Nancy R.

“I highly recommend them!”

– Derek H.

“Susan helped us so much. She       advised us and “rode” with us though the entire ordeal. She is a very “real” person and shares concerns. She        advises and makes one feel extremely comfortable. I would recommend her to another person unconditionally. She is an excellent agent who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

– Russ & Elena H.

“They were great. They made the     entire process as fun and easy as it could be. Thank you!”

– Matthew S.

“Susan was extremely helpful in   making our first move in 44 years painless. It was a major undertaking. Thank you!”

– Betty C.

“Very thorough. Informed me of the newest listings. Made intelligent     recommendations and opinions on listings without being pushy. The attention given to me made me feel as if I were the only client. I am extremely satisfied with the service.”

– Toshinari K.

“They were very professional and helpful. We could not complete the   transaction without them.”

– Takeshi & Nana M.

“We selected Susan over two other agents because we liked her better.”

– Daniel S.

“EXCELLENT JOB! Lots of support throughout the process! Great             personalities and professionalism! Very responsive to our concerns during the sale – thank you!”

– Mike & Lynn A.

“Sabrina is a highly effective real-estate agent. She has in-depth of knowledge of the market, strong negotiation skills and provides highly personalized service…she really listens to the needs of her client and delivers based on those needs.”

– Elif S.

“I was impressed with the attention to detail throughout the sale process. True Professionals!

– John K.

“We were very happy with Susan as she helped us through a difficult situation. Thanks is just not enough to say for what she did!”

– Donald & Roseanna M.

“Definitely an asset to your company!”

– Rosemary P.

“They are such real / genuine people. I felt I could lean and trust them               particularly with some very important but difficult to understand questions. They are WONDERFUL!”

– Patricia P.

“Susan has impeccable integrity, what a great individual. Thank you for a         wonderful transaction.”

– Pamela G.

“What a great experience. I live 4 hours away and shopping for rentals is not easy. The Caton Team made my shopping experience less stressful. Always ready to answer any questions I had, anytime I had them. I highly recommend this Team.”

– Julienne E.

5 Staging Mistakes – Great Article from Trulia

5 Staging Mistakes Sellers Think Are Awesome —and How to Change Their Minds

 

Nowhere in life is the old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder truer than in real estate. One woman’s dream home might be a mid-century modern, Mad Men styled contemporary, while another’s includes all the gingerbread charm of a classic Victorian. But when it comes to prepping a home to be viewed and (fingers crossed!) sold, there is both art and science to staging a home before its listed to maximize its appeal to the broadest number of target buyers.

The challenge is this: staging is an investment, one every seller can’t afford to make (although studies have shown professionally staged homes sell faster and for more than non-staged counterparts). So many sellers take it on as a do-it-yourself project which, like all DIY home improvement projects, can be fantastic or, mmm, not—depending on the approach, skill, and resources of the ‘self’ who does it.

Here are a few common scenarios in which sellers think their staging is awesome and buyers, well, beg to differ. Plus, check out the tactful things agents can say to help get sellers back on track:

Love these tips? Share this helpful handout with clients.

  1. The sellers used beat up or ugly furnishings and decor.

Great staging—DIY or professional—includes choosing furniture that shows the home off in its best light, and positioning the furnishings optimally, too. Sometimes this can be done using certain pieces of the seller’s furniture. Other times, furniture must be rented or otherwise obtained. One area in which budget-minded sellers like to save money on staging is by finding cheaper alternatives than renting new furniture from a staging company or store.

In this era of Craigslist, eBay, Freecycle, estate sales and other peer-to-peer online stores and trading sites, there is an abundance of access to used furniture at great prices. I have no bone to pick with the smart sellers who use these tools to replace their own furniture with something that is in better condition, more attractive or a smaller scale than their own, so as to highlight how much space their home truly offers. That said, using old, floral sofas from Craigslist’s Free Section, unattractive thrift store ‘artwork’ or even their own truly worn out, old furniture is a recurring reason buyers cite for focusing on how bad the staging is vs. the house itself.

What’s worse, the furnishings a seller might think was THE BEST BARGAIN EVER might actually give the nice home a worn-down, unkempt feel to the buyers who come to see it.

How to help your sellers: Have a consistent message throughout the process of staging. Clean and simple typically highlight a space. Before letting sellers go to town on the staging, show them examples of a beautifully staged home and one that’s not so great. The visual examples can help get your message across better than simply talking it through.

  1. They created distracting themes and scenes.

My friend Barb Schwarz is the head of the International Home Staging Professionals Association; she defines staging as ‘preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in.’ The goal is for buyers to visualize the new-and-improved versions of their lives that the home will help them realize, so some pro stagers will set up objects to communicate the lifestyle activities that a home facilitates. It’s not bizarre to see a breakfast table and chairs on the patio of a home with lovely views, a crib and baby gear-vignette in a small room suitable for a nursery, or a popcorn maker and recliners to show off a media room’s theater-readiness.

Occasionally, though, these scenes and vignettes can go rogue, creating borderline bizarre scenarios that distract and detract more than they help.

A beach scene (ball, umbrella and all) in a midwestern bedroom, a lively Parisian mural and Eiffel tower replica in a California condo and bizarre collections (taxidermy, anyone?) are all real-life examples of staging scenes that have done more harm than good.

  1. The house is neither clean nor clutter-free.

For various reasons, some homes just take time to sell. And if a client is living in a home that is on the market for long, it can be challenging to ensure it is perfectly pristine at all times, meaning every single time a buyer enters it. And it doesn’t take a truly filthy house to turn a buyer’s impression of a home from awesome to awful. The little messes that a family accumulates through daily living can be perceived by buyers as distracting at best—disgusting, at worst.

If the home is well staged, do not underestimate the power of piles of clothes, mail, paperwork, dishes or kids’ toys to deactivate the home-selling power of all the hard work and money that went into preparing the property in the first place.

How to help your sellers: Make sure your clients understand that you know how challenging this situation can be. Empathize with them, but also consider working out a referral coupon or discount with a local cleaning service. A weekly cleaning during the 30-60 day showing period, especially with a generous discount, can be well worth the cost, and show sellers that you get it, and you’re on their side.

  1. There are glaring gaps.

Sometimes a home’s staging leaves a glaring gap, an elephant in the room house, so to speak. This often happens when sellers run out of time and money to prepare a place, but it can be avoided through smart advance planning and budgeting for the pre-listing property preparation.

How to help your sellers:

  • Rooms—Listen, I personally live in a house that is beautiful everywhere until you poke your head into my young adult son’s room. So I can relate to these sellers. This situation might be okay to live with, but it’s a real home staging fail for a property that’s on the market. Remind sellers not to let there be one or two rooms that it looks like the stager—or house cleaner—missed. And this goes for the garage, closets, cupboards and drawers, too. Buyers like to look inside these areas to see how much space they have—if they are crammed full of junk, it creates the impression that the house lacks storage and order.
  • Exterior vs. interior—Some homes have amazing curb appeal, but look like they’ve been run over roughshod on the inside. And the opposite is true: some look like Martha Stewart handled the inside and junk man extraordinaire Fred Sanford was in charge of the yard. Neither of these is ideal. Again, here a visual tour can help. Make note of the most budget-friendly or simple-to-do projects that may be able to help remedy any eyesores.
  • Multi-sensory gaps—If a home is beautiful to the eye but smells bad, is strangely hot or cold, or has a noise issue (think: neighbors’ music, freeway noise or strange in-house creaks or whirrs), buyers might appreciate the visuals but fixate on the multi-sensory challenges. Especially if there are pets, sellers may need a gut check on whether your home is smelly—sellers might be so used to it, that they can’t sense it anymore. Here, honesty is the best policy. If you have a super smelly property and don’t want to offend the seller, you may want to consider bringing in a stager for a consultation (use someone who you have a good relationship with and often send referrals to). After they look around, have them write notes for the seller. The third party perspective can help get the point across without causing tension within your client/agent relationship.
  1. The seller lacked a neutral, expert eye.

Home decorating and home staging are two different things. When an owner decorates a home, they customize it with your specific tastes, preferences and aesthetics in mind. When staging it, the goal is to neutralize the home’s look and feel so it appeals to more buyers and doesn’t have turn-off potential.
Schwarz puts it this way: ‘Decorating a home is personalizing it. Staging a home is depersonalizing it.’

I cannot count the number of beautifully decorated homes I’ve seen where the seller must have thought they needed to do zero staging, and where the seller was simply wrong. Their very personal tastes in Elvis quilt art, red lacquer furnishings or sewing machine collections had been beautifully executed for them, but also were so highly personal, so very specific that it was near-impossible for a buyer to envision their own lives or families or homes or activities taking place in that space.

This is one reason I—and every agent should—encourage even sellers who are on a tight budget and can’t afford pro staging and sellers whose homes that have been beautifully decorated to at least have a home staging consultation with their agent and a professional stager. These pros can call out little ‘edits’ (furniture or decor items you should remove) and give advice about what buyers love and hate to see in a home that clients might be able to execute yourself at a surprisingly low cost.

Tell us! What is one the biggest staging missteps you have seen (or made!)?

 

I read this article at: http://www.trulia.com/pro/sellers/5-staging-mistakes-sellers-think-awesome-change-mind/

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