Selling a Kirkland Condo – Staging and Photos

condo windows

Whether I am helping a client sell a house or a condo, my thought process is generally the same.

Start at “buyer profiling”. Who is likely to buy this property? Then make a list of the top 3 to 5 reasons why THAT person, whom you have targeted as the likely buyer, will choose THIS property over others that are for sale.

The first part, “buyer profiling” is an old method I learned when I was a Certified Corporate Property Specialist for Coldwell Banker back in the 90s selling vacant properties where the owner was relocated for job reasons. There is less of an emotional pull from the owner, and the process is more of a business effort to sell, with little to no accommodations for the seller’s emotional “triggers”.

For this condo, which was sold about a month ago, I determined the individual would likely be a single professional person…or at least that would be the person who might pay the highest price for it. I also determined that the person (or possibly couple) would likely be younger vs older because there were a lot of steps up to the front door. Not likely an “empty nester”, as might be the case for a ground floor unit with no steps.

Next I listed the reasons why someone would choose THIS condo over the other 65 or so condos for sale in Kirkland at the time priced at $250,000 or less.

1) View of Lake Washington (only 6 of 65 have a view of Lake Washington)
2) 1,000+ square feet (only 11 of 65 are over 1,000 sf)
3) Super high ceilings on the inside interior walls of the main living space
4) Clerestory Windows at the top of the high ceilings
5) Travertine and “wood” floors vs carpet

It is very important that you match your staging and photos to the main selling features of the property. NICE is not good enough. This particular condo is a great example of that because the owner hired a professional stager and I had the photographer take photos…but…

I just wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel the property would sell at its highest possible price based on that in person and online presentation. It was nice, the photos were “good” and better than most if not ALL other properties for sale. But they just didn’t tell the STORY of THIS condo well.

condo before after 1

condo before after table

condo view from sink

Kirkland Condo

It was a hard decision to basically start from scratch and restage the condo and pay the photographer to come back and take another full set of photos. It is also hard to describe in detail what I changed and why...hopefully most of it is obvious from the Before and After photos. If not and you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

To see a full set of before photos and the full set of after photos click on those links from the photographers site at HD Estates.

I use Brooke at HD Estates for my listing photos, and it was funny that when she first came she knew immediately that I had not staged the condo. She had done several of my properties this year, all of which I had staged myself, and she just knew. The tired old floor lamp with the fern…the granny orange shaw vs the red throw…the weeds on the table vs the art deco glass bowl…even in the bedrooms and bathrooms she just knew something wasn’t quite right. :)

I’m glad I went to the extra time, trouble and cost. The owner paid $92,700 for this condo just two years ago and we were able to sell it in less than a week with five offers at $233,000 with no home inspection contingency and no must appraise clause.

Might that same result have happened if I did not re-stage it myself and have the photos redone? I don’t really know for sure. What do you think?

About ARDELL

ARDELL is the Managing Broker of Sound Realty in Seattle/Kirkland. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has over 22 years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. Follow Ardell on Google+

Comments

  1. Great Job, like the makeover and yes you should have done it! Always hard to commit to spend more money!!

  2. I spent a little more on the 2nd photo shoot but I spent a lot on some of the personalized pieces…about $2,000 more total.

  3. You made a huge difference. The reason I got 5 offers of full price or higher is because you worked extremely hard to sell my place for the highest price. Thank you very much for your efforts and helping me get the highest price.

  4. Thanks Erik! It was a lot of fun too! I asked you to go the extra mile as well, and thank you. I felt a little badly to send you up that tall ladder to open the blinds on the clerestory windows. :) But to me the before and after photos with the blinds closed and then open were worth it. It’s a little thing, but who knows …it may have made all the difference. haha

  5. These photos are outstanding!
    I’d like to point one detail – correctly exposed landscape scenery in all windows.
    This is one detail that most of the realtors don’t pay enough attention to.
    Beautiful! Congrats!

    • Thanks for the comment Don. It was hard to get that Lake View in Winter the way I wanted it, as we don’t get too many sunny days in December. I was happy with it. The photographer would have preferred earlier in the day vs the sun so high coming toward the condo glass causing glare. But every day it was cloudy in the morning and didn’t burn off until late afternoon…so this was the best we could do with what we had to work with.

      Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate. :)

      The photographer would have preferred the clarity you describe, but I insisted on not having the lake view obscured with fog in the morning, since the lake view vs the green landscape was one of our prime selling features.

      Again, thank you for your comment!

  6. I believe that a lot of realtors underestimate the effect of staging. If the agent does not see how professional staging plus a professional photographer can add thousands onto the home value, then how would we expect the homeowner to be interested in this service as well? Great article and the difference is noticable.

  7. Great job on the before and after pics. Hard to say if the time, effort, and expense to re-stage made a significant enough difference in the final sale price. Probably would have had to list the place first, with the before look, and then waited to see the response. But great job nonetheless.

    Now I might be the “exception to the rule” here because I have to say that I, personally, like and want a “warm and cozy” feeling when I walk into a home that I’m considering purchasing and living in. If a place looks too staged, pretentious, or just fake and everything is perfectly in place – like no one really lives there – then I’m passing. If it looks too clean and just too neat, I simply can’t picture myself living in it and therefore I would be apt to keep looking. But maybe that’s just me. Don’t get me wrong; I do NOT like to see clutter or anything that is outdated. And maybe it’s that I’m just not a fan of modern, chic, upscale places – I don’t know. When I see these pics though, as much as I like the streamlined neatness, there’s no place for my dogs or anything that speaks about me.

    That being said . . . when it’s MY turn to SELL my house, you better believe I’ll be calling in the experts to help me stage because I completely understand that first impression is EVERYTHING and I will likely want to resist making the place look too cold because of my own preferences. But just like the next guy, I want to get top $$ for my house at that time so I will probably be able to let go pretty easily.

    I know I probably shouldn’t do this with my house right now since it will likely be a while before I sell it but I do keep in mind and take into consideration certain things NOW during my remodeling that may affect the sale down the road. Not things like paint color, carpet, trim as all of that can be easily changed but things like double sink bathroom vanity vs. single sink that I have now when I go to do the bathroom remodel. Who is likely to buy my house (another single person or a family w/ kids who needs 2 sinks?) Single sink vs. double in kitchen too when I do kitchen remodel? Layout in kitchen for new remodel (i.e. more counter space, better placement of appliances, etc.) Of course it’s got to be functional for me now while I’m here but better to make some changes now while I have the money to do so than when I really need to sell.

    • A lot of my clients call me long after they buy the house to consult with me about any changes they make for the reasons you state. Consider passing things by the agent you bought the house with FWIW unless there is some reason you don’t want to do that. My clients do it all the time.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Read more here: Rain City Real Estate News […]

Leave a Reply