In a competitive housing market, if you want to sell your home faster and get your asking price, a degree of home staging is a must.
“In my opinion, staging is mandatory,” said Robyn Moser, a REALTOR® and team lead with Robyn Moser & Associates, members of RE/MAX Realty Professionals.
“We’ve actually studied the difference staging a home can make and the result was that staging, on average, was worth another $3,000 to $5,000 in the selling price.”
Staging can encompass a wide variety of actions, she says, from a few easy tricks to bringing in new furniture or even a professional home stager who will provide their own furnishings.
“You want to have just enough furniture so that people can see what it’s like furnished, but not cluttered or with too many personal items on display,” said Moser.
“Staged actually sells better than empty, so for some people, it might even be worth it to buy some inexpensive furniture on Kijiji and then resell it afterwards.”
She says the investment of a few hundred dollars up front could be well worth it when the home sells.
“YOU WANT TO HAVE JUST ENOUGH FURNITURE SO THAT PEOPLE CAN SEE WHAT IT’S LIKE FURNISHED, BUT NOT CLUTTERED OR WITH TOO MANY PERSONAL ITEMS ON DISPLAY.” – ROBYN MOSER, RE/MAX REALTY PROFESSIONALS
It’s OK to leave some family photos out, she adds, but not so many that it comes off as cluttered.
“People still want to buy from real people,” said Moser. “They want to know that real people with real lives lived there.”
She recommends “hiding” all pet items, religious items and things like ashtrays that might have a subconscious impact on potential buyers who don’t subscribe to those lifestyles.
In addition to the common-sense moves mentioned above, Moser offers the following five tips for successful staging:
- “Use all white sheets, towels, bedspreads and shower curtains. Nothing says ‘clean’ like white.”
- “Paint has an 80 to 100 per cent return, so freshen it up if you can. Get rid of bold colours and try to keep things neutral.”
- “Plug in an apple-cinnamon Glade air freshener and turn all your lights on before showings. Try to engage as many of the buyers’ senses as possible.”
- “Turn the heat up, so it’s a little warmer than usual. You want people to be comfortable, not cold – especially in winter.”
- “Have some soft music playing. Spotify even has an ‘Open House’ channel.”
After the first full month with social distancing measures in place, the housing market is adjusting to the effects of COVID-19.
April sales hit 573 units, a decline of 63 per cent over last year.
“The decline in home sales does not come as a surprise. The combined impact of COVID-19 and the situation in the energy sector is causing housing demand to fall,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“Demand is also falling faster than supply. This is keeping the market in buyers’ territory and weighing on prices.”
Sales activity eased across all price ranges, but the largest declines were for homes priced above $600,000.
“THE COMBINED IMPACT OF COVID-19 AND THE SITUATION IN THE ENERGY SECTOR IS CAUSING HOUSING DEMAND TO FALL.” – ANN-MARIE LURIE, CREB® CHIEF ECONOMIST
With a greater share of the sales occurring in the lower price ranges, the average price decline was more than eight per cent. Prices for the average home are also declining, reflected by the benchmark price, which fell by nearly two per cent compared to last year.
New listings this month totalled 1,425 units, a decline of 54 per cent compared to last year. Inventories also declined, but with 5,565 units available, they remained high enough to push the months of supply above nine months.
The economic impact of the situation is significant and early indications point toward more job losses and higher unemployment rates. Several government incentives will help cushion the blow, but challenges in the housing market are expected to persist throughout this year.
HOUSING MARKET FACTS
- Detached sales eased by 63 per cent this month compared to last year, with the largest decline in the West district.
- Slower demand was also met with easing supply, as new listings declined by 57 per cent. Overall, inventories eased by 25 per cent compared to last year. Despite the decline in inventory, the months of supply rose to more than eight months.
- The detached benchmark price eased by one per cent over last year, totalling $479,100. Prices managed to remain flat in both the South and South East districts. The highest price decline was in the City Centre, with a drop of more than three per cent.
- Apartment sales slowed to 95 units. This is a 62 per cent decline over last year. New listings also slowed, but it was not enough to support a larger decline in inventory levels, which only eased by 13 per cent compared to last year. With 1,349 units in inventory, the months of supply rose to 14 months.
- Condominium prices were falling before recent developments in the market and the pace of decline remained relatively unchanged at more than two per cent compared to last year. Since the first energy crisis in 2014, the citywide apartment benchmark price has declined by nearly 19 per cent.
- Year-over-year prices have eased across almost all districts, but the South East district saw the largest year-over-year decline this month at nearly six per cent.
- Semi-detached and row properties recorded a significant drop in sales and new listings, causing inventories to decline by nearly 20 per cent. However, with a combined inventory of 1,441 units compared to just 138 sales, the months of supply rose to over 10 months.
- Semi-detached prices eased across all districts for a citywide year-over-year decline of nearly three per cent. The City Centre recorded the largest year-over-year decline at four per cent.
- Row priced declined in all areas except the East district. Citywide row prices declined by more than two per cent for a total of $278,300.
REGIONAL MARKET FACTS
- Sales in Airdrie slowed to 60 units in April. This decline in sales was met with a similar decline in new listings, which totalled 107 units. This helped reduce inventory levels, but with 407 units still in inventory, the months of supply rose to nearly seven months.
- Overall, the benchmark price remains comparable to last year. Average prices have declined, but some of this is due to more homes being sold in lower price ranges, as there was a significant decline in sales for homes priced above $500,000.
- April sales in Cochrane dropped to 29 units. This is 55 per cent below levels recorded in the previous year. However, new listings also eased. With only 61 new listings in the market, inventories declined to 281 units.
- Prices were easing before social distancing measures were put in place and April’s benchmark price totalled $398,900. This is nearly two per cent lower than last year. However, both the median and average price rose compared to last year. This is likely due to more homes being sold in higher price ranges, as there were no sales recorded in the lowest price range.
- Both sales and new listings dropped, with totals of 17 and 44 units, respectively. Inventory remained well below last year’s levels, but weaker demand pushed up the months of supply to nearly 12 months.
- Prices were trending down from the start of the year, but levels have remained relatively stable compared to the previous year. In April, the benchmark price continued to trend down, totalling $402,300.