Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets For a Quick and Easy Sell

Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets For a Quick and Easy Sell

by Tori Toth
Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets For a Quick and Easy Sell

Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets For a Quick and Easy Sell

by Tori Toth


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In a perfect world you wouldn’t need to be living in your home while on the market. However, the list of reasons why someone sells is endless and in many cases forces a homeowner to stay put when selling.

The experience can be grueling for sellers when your personal lives become public displays to strangers and their criticisms. If you’re going to be living in your home when selling you have to willingly be inconvenienced—not only emotionally, but physically. So what’s the best way to get out from under the microscope? Sell fast.

In this game-changing book by Tori Toth, founder of the Stage 2 Sell Strategy and Stylish Stagers, Inc. you’ll discover: how home staging can change habits and emotions that will benefit your bottom line—and ultimately put a “sold” sign on your property.

Preparing your home for sale is more than just cleaning and decluttering, learn insider home staging secrets on how to make your space feel like home to potential buyers. When buyers feel at home, they’re more comfortable and can relate to the space, which ultimately gets them to make an offer. How fast can you sell your home? See for yourself.

In"Feel at Home", home staging expert Tori Toth pulls back the curtains on the home staging industry and shows you a simple 10-step plan for making an impact on your housing market. The place that you’ve called home is about to become your greatest asset, I’m here to help you get the best return on your investment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781630474713
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Tori Toth has been blessed to feel at home again in her Howard Beach bungalow after surviving Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Since then, she has dedicated her life to helping homeowners, builders, investors, and realtors create a lifestyle home buyers will aspire to. As a professional home staging expert, trained through Home Staging Resource and by HGTV star Matthew Finlason of The Stagers, she has prepared hundreds of clients’ homes focusing on target staging and lifestyle merchandising.

It has always been Tori’s initiative to educate home sellers on ways to prepare and showcase their homes for sale. That’s why she is not only an active member of the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), but she’s created a series of “how-to” home staging videos that have been watched over 100,000 times on YouTube and have helped her reach home sellers near and far. Tori’s goal is “to make home staging a real estate standard.” She has been interviewed by CNN Money and Long Island Weekly and is a contributor for Mann Report Residential.

Read an Excerpt



* * *

Starting off in the home staging industry back in 2009 while training for my certification, I found myself skeptical that a home could sell in days rather than months with the proper design plans and renovations. Upon receiving my certification, I opened Stylish Stagers Inc., a home staging company in the New York City area, and sat back waiting for the phone to ring. A few days went by, then weeks and months, and still I hadn't had a client who experienced a quick sale, despite hearing about my competitors' constant success stories: "This Long Island home sold in less than a week" or "My homeowner's Manhattan penthouse was off the market in three days."

As I contemplated what I was doing wrong, I received a phone call from a real estate agent to go look at her listing of a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn that overlooked the historic Brooklyn Bridge. When I went to see the space, despite being fairly clean, I knew immediately it was a bachelor's pad complete with dated college decor, black smoky mirrors, and an uninspiring bedroom. The homeowner, a top MTV producer, had already been on the market for six months without one potential buyer. He gave me a tight budget to work with, so it was important to use what he already had while providing key accessories to enhance the space.

When I followed up with the client to schedule the staging, he said, "I fired my realtor, so staging isn't a top priority right now."

"Do you need another agent?" I asked.

The doubtful homeowner replied, "Yes, do you know someone?"

Well, of course home stagers know qualified real estate agents, and I put him in contact with a reputable Brooklyn realtor. The staging was scheduled the next day.

Stylish Stagers used his current belongings to update the space by accessorizing each room. We took a cue from his current artwork hanging above the dining room table — a Godfather poster signed by the movie's cast — and created a theme around that unique piece using other movie posters and pops of color to create a cohesive feel throughout the living and dining room space.

In two days we completed the staging projects proposed and the agent relisted the home on the market, this time with new photographs and a higher list price. Within seventy-two hours the agent called and said, "The house on Adams Street is under contract."

My jaw hit the floor. I couldn't believe my staging plan actually sparked buyer interest.

"By the way," the agent added, "he got above asking price."

I was so happy to have created a win-win situation for all parties involved. I was able to send some business to an agent, the seller was able to move on after trying to sell for half a year, and I got to stage the home and tell this amazing story that justifies staging does work!

After my success with the Brooklyn apartment, we staged more homes that had a quick turnover rate. Some homes sold in 24 hours, some sold within 7 days after staging. In 2011, Stylish Stagers staged 56 homes. Prior to staging, those 56 homes sat on the market an average of 231 days unsold. Those same homes, when staged, sold in an average of 77 days. That's 67 percent less time on the market! Oh, and as an added bonus, the sales prices on those 56 homes increased an average of 1-3 percent after staging.

Sell quickly and make more money — those are two very important benefits that outweigh the initial investment of home staging, but those are not the only benefits when preparing your home for sale. Let's take a deeper look into why so many sellers are turning to home staging before putting a "for sale" sign on their property.

Four Benefits of Home Staging

Move-In Ready Homes. Today's buyers are looking for specific homes that won't require a ton of work before moving in. Hence, buyers want move-in ready spaces they can enjoy instantaneously. Home staging concepts show sellers how to prepare and showcase their homes with this statistic in mind: 63 percent of buyers are willing to pay more for move-in ready homes, according to a Maritz consumer marketing survey on homebuyers. So why not get your home ready for its new owner?

Stand Out Among Your Competition. While the market isn't as competitive as in years past, homeowners still find themselves up against neighboring homes on the market. How will you differentiate your home from those other homes for sale? One way is to stage your home, playing on emotional connection points that will appeal to buyers and stand out in their minds when it's time to make an offer. If two identical homes were for sale on the same block at the same price, but one homeowner staged their space to showcase the potential lifestyle you could have if you moved here, and the other home looked dirty, cluttered, and not well-maintained, which home would you buy?

Easier to Market. Once a home is staged, the space will look like a cover spread in a home magazine, so why not take advantage of the light, spacious, well-designed space created and photograph each room with a wide-angle lens to market the home. Over 90 percent of homebuyers start their search online, and photos of newly staged homes will attract buyers not only to your photos but to your front door. Here's proof: How are you currently searching for your new home? Do photos determine your perception of the home? Would you go visit a home that had no pictures listed or had clutter center stage? Photos are just one way to easily market your home. With a staging plan in place, you will also have systems to keep your home looking like those online snapshots.

Increase Offers and Price. Home staging often requires that some minor repairs be made to the space, which can prevent buyers from low-balling offers because of the work involved to improve the home. Whenever a seller makes strategic repairs or updates to a home, they're adding value that could be tacked onto the sales price. A staged home creates more buyer interest, and with more interest comes more offers, so as a seller you could even find yourself in a bidding war.

Can you imagine making your goal to sell your home a reality that reaps these benefits? By reading this e-book you're now one step closer to the closing table, but maybe you're still not convinced staging will work for you. I'm here to make you a believer, like I became after staging and selling the Brooklyn apartment quickly above asking price.



* * *

I could hear the sound of crickets. At times in my career, I'd send off a home staging proposal, follow up with the client a few days later by phone, then again by email, and then after a month, when I never got a response, I'd mark the project DEAD in large black letters on front of the file. The ratio between potential clients and paying clients began to shift when I discovered Zig Ziglar's book 5 Steps to Successful Selling. In this groundbreaking book, Ziglar outlines the five classic "objections" that may keep a potential client from purchasing whatever you're selling. These objections apply no matter what product or service you're selling — including home staging. Ziglar breaks down all objections into these five categories that coincidentally many home sellers face:

• No Need

• No Money

• No Hurry

• No Desire

• No Trust

Now you're probably saying to yourself, Tori, I know the importance of home staging; that's why I bought this e-book. Well, I applaud you for taking control of selling your number one asset, your home. But you may still fall victim to these common objections as a seller when it comes time to set your home staging game plan in motion. So let's go through each one of these objections to overcome any setbacks you may face along the way when preparing your home for sale.

No Need. As a home stager, I've gotten resistance from sellers about what needs to be staged in their home. Sometimes their beliefs are much different from reality. Despite my expert opinion, homeowners have told me they didn't feel the need to remove gym equipment from their living room or wallpaper from a bathroom. Many have thought their home already "showed" great, so they rejected the home staging game plan from the get-go. Others couldn't embrace the need to change their home, or they didn't grasp the overall impact of what a staged home could do for them.

Whatever the case may be, staging is a necessity in the real estate market. In fact, many buyers expect homes to be staged to showcase a lifestyle. It's imperative that you detach yourself from your home and its belongings. It is no longer your beloved home; it's a product that must be marketed and merchandized properly. So as you read through this book and learn the 10 Steps to FEEL AT HOME, have an open mind about what projects need to be completed around your home to maximize homebuyer appeal.

No Money. This is a huge objection among sellers, and my answer to them is always "you have to spend money to make money." Home staging is an added cost, but it's also an added value — not only to your bottom line but to your marketing budget. So if redoing the kitchen, carpeting, painting, or bathroom fixtures seems like too high of an expense to sell your home, imagine what a buyer thinks when they walk into your home and see that all the updates they would need to complete before moving in have already been done. You can avoid lowball offers or concessions from buyers by completing these updates prior to the sale and making repairs that will provide the biggest return on your investment and can actually increase the sales price.

Home staging is less expensive than a price reduction. According to a National Association of Realtors survey, homes that sold after four weeks on the market sold for 6 percent less than ones that sold within the first four weeks. So on a $500,000 home, that is a price reduction of $30,000. Home staging costs anywhere between 1 percent and 3 percent of the sales price depending on how much work is needed. That means on a $500,000 home, staging can cost anywhere from $5,000$15,000. Which would you prefer to spend?

No Hurry. You need to commit yourself to the process of selling your home from the beginning or you will just be wasting everyone's time, including your own. If you're not serious about selling and just want to test the market, then home staging most likely won't work for you. The opportunity to sell your home is key during the first few weeks on the market. Serious sellers need to take advantage of this opportunity prior to listing and motivate themselves to maintain a staged home. I've had sellers inquire about staging, then sit on the market a few weeks and have an open house to get buyer feedback to see if staging is required before calling me back to say "I want to move forward with the staging plan." By then buyers have already seen your house and moved on to your competition.

No Desire. Maybe you have no desire to pack up items, rearrange furniture, organize, or update a particular space. Maybe you question the process because of misinformation or lack of education. Or perhaps you simply don't want to be bothered.

Let me ask you a question: If I could give you the secrets to creating a fool-proof selling process, would you follow those steps? Would it be worth the trouble to you? I'm hoping you answered both questions with a yes.

In the following pages we'll explore why staging is such an important step to selling your home. That understanding will give you the willpower to stage your own home and maintain it while it's on the market. That newfound motivation, which comes from desire, will kick in when you want to give up because your kids have ransacked their rooms for the third time today, or you've busted out the vacuum for the fifth time this week. It's not easy staging and maintaining a home you're living in while on the market. It takes the right type of mindset, and that's what we will teach you.

No Trust. Throughout this book you may ask yourself, Why should I trust Tori? How does she know changing the paint color will work? What makes her the expert? In the literary world, poet-philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the phrase "the willing suspension of disbelief," which means that a reader gives the storyteller the benefit of the doubt — allowing them to carry the reader's imagination to outcomes they might not have expected. In the same manner, I will share my success stories with you and ask that you trust the process that has helped so many home sellers get the results they were looking for: to get their home sold quickly and for more money.

Trust the facts and statistics presented to you, but more importantly experience this process for yourself by putting yourself in the buyer's shoes. As a buyer, would you buy a home that needed an updated kitchen or bath? Would you be willing to paint over red walls? Can you imagine how much space is in your cluttered living room? By reversing the roles from seller to buyer, you may avoid seller's objections to home staging and receive a solid offer.

In the next chapter we'll explore what makes a home seller successful by zeroing in on six key mindsets that will set you up for success, or rather, a closed sale.



* * *

What makes a home seller successful? What does it take to succeed in the real estate market? These are not easy questions to answer, and I encourage you to think about them before putting your home on the market. What do you think it will take to start out and win?

To answer these questions, I've studied my clients and found that most success when selling a home comes from within the sellers themselves. It's about the psychology and practices of the seller, what is driving this person to sell their home, and what they are willing to live with — or in some cases live without — to get to the closing table. Within this seller's mindset you must also be realistic about the three key factors of home staging — product preparation, marketing, and price — that help close the deal. Without this framework, sellers lose focus, lose money, get frustrated and give up, or, worse, they never even begin.

Mindset #1: Begin with the end in mind

So where is the next place you will move to? For some this question may be scary to think about, for others the question brings excitement. Imagining what you want as if it already exists opens the door to letting it happen.

When you begin with the end in mind, you have a clear vision and direction of where you want to be. The steps to get to the end and accomplish your goal, in this case selling your home, become easier to navigate when you're able to envision your home sold. What do I mean by this?

Let's say you found out your neighbor just got an amazing price for his home, and you figure why not put your home on the market to see if a buyer is willing to pay for your house. You list with an agent and wait for potential offers, but weeks go by and no one is interested. As a seller you've neglected to prepare your home for sale, and the agent now wants to reduce your ridiculously high price to try to recoup their time spent and sell your home, but you refuse, explaining, "I want this price or I'm not selling." Sellers like this are most likely "testing the market." They have no real interest in selling their home; they're just trying to see if a fool would pay their price. They don't have an end in sight, only a wishy-washy attitude that will keep their home on the market longer than expected. In most cases like these, homeowners never end up selling.

Maybe you're a seller who has to sell because of a divorce, death, or financial troubles. When situations like this occur usually the homeowner doesn't want to leave their home, but they're forced out. Their goals don't align with the end results, so they may try to sabotage or stall the real estate transaction, unwilling to face the fact that they have to move.

Of course, you know you're at the end when a seller is sitting at the closing table handing over the keys, but a lot of factors go into getting to this point. If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize what you want, you can empower other people and their circumstances to shape this valuable transaction. To begin with the end in mind means to begin each day or task with a clear vision of your goal so you ultimately get to your destination: the closing table.


Excerpted from "Feel at Home"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Tori Toth.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Backstage Benefits

Chapter 2 Overcoming a Seller’s Objections

Chapter 3 Inside the Seller Mindset

Chapter 4 Standing Ovations

Chapter 5 Lessons from a Superstorm

Chapter 6 10 Steps to FEEL AT HOME

Chapter 7 The Prosperous Preps: Three Broad Skills for Home Selling Success

Chapter 8 Trusting Your Act

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