Author Topic: Selling house w/o realtor: Stage it? Get Appraisal early?  (Read 1040 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Selling house w/o realtor: Stage it? Get Appraisal early?
« on: August 03, 2016, 11:35:29 AM »
Hi all, I'm just beginning the process of selling a house and would like to see if anybody has experience or opinions on staging a house for sale.  I read MMM's article on how to sell a home and am most curious about staging.  It seems like a worthwhile expense on a certain sized/priced home, but may have a diminished payback on a smaller, more basic home.  The only experience I have was with the house I just purchased.  It was furnished by the tenants when I viewed/inspected it, then empty when I moved in.  There is definitely a different feeling to an empty house that would not be attractive to most buyers.  Does anybody have any insights?  Is there a time when staging might not be worth the expense?

My specific situation:
Selling 3 bed/2bath (1300 sq ft.) 2 car garage (600 sq ft) ranch house that was a rental for 3 years while moved for school and eventually relocated.
House is currently empty
Local staging company advertises $0.75/sq ft to stage for 30 days.  Would be ~$1000 for this house. 
I'll be asking somewhere between $220-$230K.
Trim/finishing/cabinets and counters are all basic, builders grade, but the house has in floor heat and vinyl siding.
I need to sell by December to qualify for 2/5 capital gains exemption.

The local market for this type of home is not over saturated, but there are plenty of comps on the market.  My gut feeling is that I will need to stage it for it to sell at all.  $1000 to rent furniture for a month sounds ridiculous to me but I think it will pay off. 

Another topic covered by other articles on FSBO is getting the asking price right.  Should I just pay for an appraisal up front to help me price it right?  Will a buyer's bank accept a month old appraisal or will they require another?  It seems like $500 might be worth it if it speeds up the process by getting the price right and reducing closing costs for potential buyers.  What do you think?

Thanks in advance for your responses.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Selling house w/o realtor: Stage it? Get Appraisal early?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 10:54:56 AM »
You might call a local real estate agent and ask what it would cost for them to prepare a "Broker Price Opinion". They will visit the property, pull comps, and advise you on price. It will also likely be half the cost of an appraisal.

With a good agent, I'd be more inclined to believe them than an appraisal. (My experiences with appraisals have been all over the map, sometimes comically high, other times bang on the number that would allow the loan to be approved. Funny how that works. I'd hate to have to clean up after an appraiser's head explodes when you tell them there is no loan or P&S for them to base their appraisal on.)


  • Pencil Stache
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  • Location: Flyover country
Re: Selling house w/o realtor: Stage it? Get Appraisal early?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2016, 10:11:21 PM »
  Stick ads on Zillow and CL tomorrow and see what happens. Its free and you never know. We have sold a number of places on CL. Costs nothing to start trying in the morning.


  • Bristles
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  • Location: WA
Re: Selling house w/o realtor: Stage it? Get Appraisal early?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2016, 05:09:24 PM »
In my experience appraisals are not terribly helpful in setting your home's worth. Putting your home on the market is the only true way to determine the market value of your home. Let the market speak.
My favorite pricing strategy if you live in a seller's market is to set the price low to garner lots of buyer interest and let the buyers increase your home price via competition. If you are FSBOing you are under no obligation to sell to someone who has matched or gone above your asking price so you carry no risk by pricing low.
I'd say the price for the home staging is on the high end, but you may recoup that cost. Professional photography around the $200-300 mark will definitely give you the best ROI for selling. Many buyers decide they want a place because of the photos.

Good luck!