Author Topic: Staging a condo for sale  (Read 692 times)

SimpleCycle

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Staging a condo for sale
« on: June 06, 2019, 08:38:57 AM »
Hello everyone,

We are in the market for a new place to live, and so we are also preparing to potentially put our current condo on the market.

We bought for $257k in 2015.  Our realtor thinks we can expect a sales price of $320k-$340k.

However, he also wants us to do a bunch of stuff to get the condo staged and it adds up quickly.  He sent in someone for a professional staging consultation and here are her main recs:

-paint all walls, doors, ceilings, and trim
-replace the carpet downstairs
-paint cabinets and vanities white (they are currently natural maple)
-replace several light fixtures with more contemporary fixtures
-change out some of our furnishings for different furnishings to "elevate" the space

The condo was built in 1998 and still has a 90s feel, and a lot of the recs seem to be aimed at that.

Is it worth sinking several thousand collars worth of work to get a faster sale with possibly a higher sale price?  I'm worried the condo market is a bit finicky in our location and if we don't do these things it might not be attractive enough to sell at all.  But I know that we won't get a true return on the money put into the unit when we sell either.

It's worth mentioning that we have two small children and two full time jobs and so we just don't have the capacity to DIY some of this.  So we'd be paying someone else to do most of this stuff.

What does MMM think?

Omy

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 09:04:06 AM »
I'm a realtor. When I meet with sellers who have a "dated" property, I try to provide 2 sets of comps - one showing the likely sales price if they make the recommended improvements and one showing the likely sales price if they do nothing. I also recommend contractors who can give estimates for the recommended improvements.

Almost always (in my HCOL area), $10k in improvements results in $30-40k in higher sales price. Your area may differ, but do the math and decide which approach works better in your market area.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2019, 10:46:03 AM »
I'm a realtor. When I meet with sellers who have a "dated" property, I try to provide 2 sets of comps - one showing the likely sales price if they make the recommended improvements and one showing the likely sales price if they do nothing. I also recommend contractors who can give estimates for the recommended improvements.

Almost always (in my HCOL area), $10k in improvements results in $30-40k in higher sales price. Your area may differ, but do the math and decide which approach works better in your market area.

Thanks - this is really helpful.

I think you're right - we'd probably need to reduce the sale price to sell as is.  There's also the possibility it won't sell at all without updates.  Our neighbor in the rear unit was on the market last year without updates and with too high an asking price and his unit didn't sell at all, even with a price drop to $330k.

former player

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2019, 12:31:04 PM »
It's almost not about the money, even.  Moving is a big deal, financially and emotionally and it takes a toll.  Even worse is making the decision to move, putting a property on the market and then having to hang around for weeks or months waiting to see if it sells.  Doing the work to get a quick sale will pay back in non-financial ways.

Plus, most people have no imagination, so they can't see how a property will look when done up, they just see what's there at the moment.  And many buyers either won't want the hassle of getting work done, or won't know how to get the work done or what it might cost - that could particularly be the case for a condo, which will attract buyers who aren't knowledgeable or interested in maintenance work.

The other thing is: a condo doesn't have any individuality.  Someone wanting to move into a condo, even a condo in a particular building, is likely to have the option of thinking "this one's a bit dated, there may be another better one on the market soon and I'll wait to see".  They aren't going to think "it's this one or never, so let's go for it even if it's not really what we want".


Omy

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2019, 03:26:55 PM »
And please don't try to DIY on paint to save a few bucks unless you are a great painter! I just "stole" a condo for $15k under market value because of the seller's bad paint job. It languished on the market for months when others were selling in less than a week.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2019, 08:37:21 PM »
And please don't try to DIY on paint to save a few bucks unless you are a great painter! I just "stole" a condo for $15k under market value because of the seller's bad paint job. It languished on the market for months when others were selling in less than a week.

No worries there!   Pro painting is $$$$ here, but we need the trim and ceilings done, and that's outside what I can competently do.  Same with the cabinet painting.

The only parts I plan to DIY are switching out some light fixtures.

Dogastrophe

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2019, 05:36:44 AM »
TL;DR: take advantage of competent stager services

We used a stager when we sold our house last year.  We implemented several of her suggestions and ignored others - fresh paint, new carpet (this was being done regardless), new vinyl flooring in kitchen, changed one light fixture, decluttered every room (and we worked hard to get it extremely clean).  She suggested we change out our kitchen counters - we didn't do this.  Total cost was around $5K.  We sold for 99% of asking, one day on market.  Had we not made the changes, our realtor expected that we would have needed to list $10K lower and expect it to sell for around 90% of asking and who knows how long on market.

The condo we bought had not been staged, had horrible paint colours, was dirty (kitchen was disgusting); however, had a lot of potential and is in a well run building in great location.  It had been on market for 3 months.  We went in with a low ball offer - the counter offer was a couple thousand above this.  We bought for $35K below assessed value - spent $2K on cleaning, new paint, and a few other small fixes and another $4K on new kitchen appliances.  We still need to replace the somewhat grungy carpets in bedrooms but are waiting for our older dog to pass before committing to new flooring.  Based on current sales in our building, we could flip this for $50K+ above our purchase price if desired.



stashja

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2019, 04:17:31 PM »
Ugh. I just sold my condo, for less than list price but I made a profit that ensures me the quality of life that I want. (Goodbye luxury loving HOA! No more mortgages or rent, forever!)

I encountered lots of assholery about the fact that it didnít have granite counters and some other ones for sale in my building did. This is the case because I donít want a counter that looks like a tombstone and will break anything that accidentally hits it. (In my kitchen, because of my poor vision and dyspraxia, a lot of things hit the counter.)

When buying my new place, I was overjoyed to find one without granite counters!

Iím starting to think that thereís a granite upgrade racket. Does anybody actually want a counter straight outta Plan 9 from Outer Space, or are all those counters pre-market upgrades?

Omy

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2019, 06:30:48 AM »
The majority want granite - and the goal is to attract the most buyers and not make choices that limit the buyer pool. That being said, if everything else looks good you can always offer a credit so the buyer can choose their own granite.

brycedoula

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2019, 11:48:34 AM »
I mean, if priced appropriately you could likely get away with doing NOTHING and it would still sell...

We just sold our modest bungalow (880 sq ft) and followed *most* of our realtorís staging recommendations - installed carpet in a basement room, put a bookcase into storage, took EVERYTHING off of our kitchen counters - but we also have two small kids (3+ years & 10 months) so a full house repainting & bathroom reno was never on the table.

What is your goal: sell for top dollar, or sell ASAP?

BlueHouse

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 07:28:12 AM »
I'm a realtor. When I meet with sellers who have a "dated" property, I try to provide 2 sets of comps - one showing the likely sales price if they make the recommended improvements and one showing the likely sales price if they do nothing. I also recommend contractors who can give estimates for the recommended improvements.

Almost always (in my HCOL area), $10k in improvements results in $30-40k in higher sales price. Your area may differ, but do the math and decide which approach works better in your market area.

Excellent advice. 
I think a lot also depends on the condo and the building.  I tend to think condo owners (especially first timers) want move-in ready and they don't have much imagination.  So make the changes that make the biggest difference and go.  But if you're in a building where there are a lot of the same unit for sale, sometimes it's okay to let potential buyers get their ideas from other units, then come and get "a deal" on yours. 

Car Jack

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2019, 08:15:28 AM »
Personally, I would never paint over good condition maple if it's light.  If it's really dark, then sure.  Dark makes a room look small.  Just as a recent example, at my work, we're moving from one floor to another to get a bigger office space.  My new office is twice as big as the old one.  The entire new office was painted a light brown.  I went to look at my office after it was painted and literally stepped outside to the hallway and counted doors because it looks so much smaller.

I saw my favorite word.....declutter.  Yes....absolutely.  In the last house we sold, we got big moving boxes and filled them with clothes and stuff, taped them up and put them in a corner of the garage.  We met the requirement of being able to put a hand between any 2 clothing items in the closets and a finger between any items in the kitchen cabinets.  All knick nacks were either thrown out or put in boxes.  Artsy pictures stayed on the walls, but none of people.  No pictures stayed on anything else.  We vacuumed multiple times a day using a powder that smelled nice.  Real estate people would give us a half hour warning and we'd do a last vacuum, put cookies in the oven at about 900 degrees, put the cats in cages and into the car, pull the cookies out, bring them with us and get the hell out.  Nothing says "I don't want to sell my house" like being in the house when possible buyers arrive.

Dicey

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Re: Staging a condo for sale
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2019, 04:07:53 PM »
DH and I are flipping a house. @calimom posted this thing of beauty in my journal. I'm passing it on, because I thought I had my bases covered until I read this.

Also, generally, listening to your realtor is a wise idea. However, if your cabinet doors are a rounded style, it might not be worth it. Over the weekend, I saw a listing where they'd done this and it still looked like crap. If I can find it, I'll post it for you. If you do paint the cabinets, OMG, have a professional spray them. Do Not Brush wooden cabinet doors!


Wow, it sounds as though you're reaching the finishing line with your flip. Not sure if you know, my side hustle business is home staging, I do about a dozen listings per year. It sounds like you have some wonderful, budget friendly staging things in place, well done.  A few tips, and feel free to use any or none of them.

* Kid's room sounds great. Gender non-specific to appeal to wide range of buyers. Put a colorful stuff animal on the bed.

* Master: Guessing there's a queen bed in there? Make it with your linens after ironing, so all is crisp and clean. Go for understated classy. If there's a dresser, something like 2 candles of different heights and maybe a small green plant. Nice piece of art.

* Master Bath: Luxe towels on rack. Nice soap in box or packaging. Dollar Store or World Market!

* Kitchen: Colorful pot on stove. Cheerful towels. Olive oil/vinegar with herbs showing. Possible small live plant. Beautiful cookbook on counter. If there's an additional counter or area, imported mineral water in pretty bottles (San Pellegrino, I know, I know) and small glasses look nice.

* Dining: Assuming an open plan, is there a table with 4 or 6 chairs? Generally tables are not set, but some kind of statement piece like a large piece of sandblasted driftwood, 3 vases of graduating height, or a succulent arrangement work here.

* Powder Room?: Nice towels, soap.

* Living/Great Room: Sofa, yes? Your nice pillows, and maybe some sort of throw. Art book on coffee table. If there's a mantle, candles/vases of different heights, but together, and some other colorful accessory. If you can do it, a 6' palm in a nice, not cheap, basket or pot.

Good luck with pushing through the final details! And I know you'll be glad to have this project successfully behind you.