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Welcome to your constantly updated resource for news and views on the Brookline Real Estate market. Here you will find commentary and statistics to explain the daily changes in the Brookline specific housing market.

Whether you're looking for an estate in Cottage Farm, a condo in Brookline Village or are just stopping by please feel free to read along and comment at will. If you are interested in speaking about renting an apartment, buyer representation or listing your home please feel free to contact me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Have you ever sold a car?

I attended a training program last week that I was reminded of yesterday. As many of you might not know, Wednesdays are "Broker Tours" for Brookline property. Since many agents are busy with clients and customers on the weekends, Wednesday is the day we get to preview listings in an open house style visit. I walked into a new listing near Brookline Village and was greeted by a dirty, empty room and wood floors in absolutely horrible condition. If this were a vacant condo I could overlook the emptiness, but the owners were still living here. They had all of their furniture crammed into the two bedrooms and the living room, and had a lovely dining room space that was bare and dusty.

My question: Have they ever sold a car?

When you sell or trade in a car you most likely spend the day before bringing it to the dealership getting the car detailed, cleaned inside and out and repair any nagging issues. You make sure that the second you drive into the dealership the car is looking better than it ever has. The papers and leaves are all removed, the floor mats are clean, and everything looks and smells shiny and new. You take a little extra time because you know that it will directly improve the price someone's willing to pay.

So why is it that homeowners don't do these things? I know in some cases I am preaching to the choir, but there is this mentality out there that lets people think they can just throw a sign on their lawn, open the door and leave it to the agent to work magic. Then, if it doesn't sell the agent must be a failure. In this case the homeowner has given the agent absolutely no shot. The first impression someone gets by walking into this condo is that it's been neglected. The owners don't care, they're not willing to do the things necessary to show the condo. How willing are these owners going to be to negotiate? Are they even serious about selling? All of a sudden these are the things going through our head, not "wow, does this space fit what I'm hoping to find?"

Instead of sitting there making jokes about the condition of the property I went around with another agent and took a look at what furniture was available for the empty room. While it was clearly a dining space at one point we were able to find a desk, a lovely chair, a bookshelf and some end tables which turned this barren, dirty space into a lovely sitting room and office. We did not spend a penny, we did not disrupt the homeowner at all, and we did it all in about 20 minutes. Now all of a sudden the horrible floors didn't stand out so much, the space looked livable and the condo felt like maybe it could become someone's home. We uncluttered an overcrowded bedroom by removing the desk and shelf, we added flow to the living room by moving the chair and we most likely brought the value of this space back in line with the asking price the sellers were hoping to get. This is staging. This is why you need an agent who understands property around you. This is why I spend my valuable time earning certifications like my Home Staging Specialist designation.

Next time you are about to display your house to the public, think about selling a car and compare your preparation. It will make you money.


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The views expressed on these pages are the opinion of the author and any public contributors. They do not substitute for the advice of a legal or financial professional. These opinions are not representative of any firm or business. Please always consult an attorney, financial professional or sign a contract with a Buyer Agent or Seller's Agent for specific advice.