How to Sell an Ugly Home Fast Without Remodeling It

Updated September 02, 2019 04:15 PM

As a realtor, you give your imagination a workout every stinkin' day. Not only can you see what a property looks like today - you can also imagine what it could become. This is an amazing gift. It's a superpower. Unfortunately, few buyers have this same gift. They only see what's in front of them. And when this happens, you'll know it when they utter the infamously awful phrase, "I'll know it when I see it." 

Face, meet palm.

When selling a less-than-gorgeous property, you have four choices:

1. Do nothing

Risky. By opting for this path, you're playing real estate roulette, hoping that a buyer with a strong imagination and an open mind shows up before your client's patience withers and dies. For God's (not to mention your bank account and clients') sake, please don't do this.

2. Renovate it

Bold. This could work wonders but it could also be time-consuming, costly and therefore risky. You'll have to convince your sellers that it's the right path - possibly a very tall task depending on their patience, timetables and the depth of their wallets. There's also the risk that the renovations that are made won't end up reaping the ROI you initially predict, putting everyone in an even worse position.

3. Traditionally stage it

This can work wonders. In a 2019 article, reported that staged homes sell for 20 percent more than non-staged homes. This suggests that a $500,000 home could sell for $100,000 more than a vacant or ugly home just by furnishing it properly. Remarkable. If this statistic doesn't clearly demonstrate the value of showing rather than telling a prospective buyer how a property can look, I don't know what will.

Because staging is so effective and valuable, it can command a high price. Many staging companies sell their services for $2,000 PER MONTH and lock sellers into minimum 3 month contracts. In addition to being downright expensive, traditional home staging is time-consuming, difficult (especially when used in multi-story or cavernous properties) and puts properties at risk of damage (think scratches on floors and holes in walls when moving items in and out).

Traditional staging can be a wonderful fit if money is no object. If you're selling a home that's $5MM+, your potential commission is so substantial that it just makes more sense to go with this premium service. But if your property has a lower listing price, it may be smarter to...

4. Virtually stage it

Virtually staging a property leverages the power of staging while sidestepping the drawbacks of traditional in-person staging. Why? Because it instantly shows a prospective buyer the property's true potential (imagination not required) without costing an arm and a leg (average costs range from $29 - $250), causing any property damage (our renderings weigh exactly zero pounds) or wasting your valuable time (all projects are completed within 48 hours or less).

My wish for you is that every buyer who sees your listings has the imagination of Walt Disney. But just in case they don't, we can help you with virtual staging.

To see:
  • Examples of virtually staged properties
  • How virtual staging works
  • How much virtual staging costs
  • How to start your first project as soon as two minutes from now
Click here to learn more about virtual staging

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