Charleston, SC Posts


What will sell a house that costs less than your 1st price reduction?

Mr. Seller called me and needs to tell his house in Dorchester County, SC ASAP because he really can't afford a mortgage payment and rent payment.  Besides who wants to throw money down the drain? He relocated his family out of state 2 years ago and rented the property out when it didn't sell.  I spoke to the tenants who were more than happy to help the seller sell the home by making the property available for showing because they had been in those shoes before.  I previewed the property and stopped in my tracks.  I'll just say...clutter, clutter and way too much furniture. 

I advised the seller that while this was going to seem painful for him, it would be more painful to start the marketing process before his home was in showing condition.  Why? Because, buyers would walk into the home and say it's nice, but found something else that suited our needs better.staging before example

Many agents might have opted to list this property once it became vacant because it looks better empty that it did cluttered.  What you can't see if that this home had been gently used and without furniture and dressings, a buyer wouldn't be able to get over all those gently used things (i.e. walls and carpet).  Don't get me wrong, they will notice it, but staging a property propertly helps to control where the buyer looks.  When done by a professional, it helps create an atmosphere so that the buyers can feel themselves living in a home and they can be more objective to look at the space. After some convincing, the seller agreed on my marketing plan to include the staging. It was painful again b/c of the cost upfront, but it has been my experience that proper staging and pricing equals SOLD! With the staging package, I recommend a price of $200,000. If he chose the option not to stage, I recommended the price of $189,000 because the average sold per sqft in the neighborhood is $86/sqft. Also, the average days on market for this neighborhood was 130 days.

staging after example-increase your equity!I had First Impressions, my staging partner, do quote to have this vacant property staged.  Upon staging this 2200 sqft, 5 BR 3 BA home, we listed it for $200,000 because this home now looked like a model. Here are some before and afters.  The pictures convey a completely different house!


Due to the seller's situation, we agreed that if we didn't get 7-10 showing within the first 45 days or an offer, we would reduce the price to $195,000. The cost of a 3 month contract to stage the living, dining, breakfast room, 2 bathrooms and the master bedroom was $1600.  The GREAT NEWS is that we didn't have to reduce the price because we got a contract for $196,000 on Day 42!! We closed on this property last week!

So this seller could have opted not to do the staging and would have most like received an offer close to $189,000 but it might have taken 94 days which would have meant he had 94 days of carrying costs to pay the mortgage, electric and water bill and lawn service but instead, he netted $8000 more for an investment of $1600!


-$4800 mortgage for 3 mo                                    

-800 utilities                                                       

$184,300 NET withOUT staging       



-$1600 cost of staging 

-$1800 mortage for 45 days 

-$300 cost of utilities

$192,300 NET with staging


$1600 is significantly less than what would have been our 1st price reduction and it netted the seller over $8000 more.  It is our fiduciary duty to help sellers get the most for their money.  Would you spend $1600 to get back $8000?


Contact Michele Reneau, Top Real Estate Agent, North Charleston, SC Relocation Expert, CRS, GRI, ABR. 843-814-6680. Michele Reneau is a Certified Staging Professional Instructor and teaches agents how to use staging to maximize their real estate business and Help Sellers Protect their Equity using Home Staging while earning the CSP Elite designation.  She is also available for speaking engagements on: How to use social networking to improve your real estate business, Why Home Staging is a Must in Today's Market, How to calculate market statistics and use them to understand and explain to sellers where the market is going using data, Discussing statistics with sellers to help them price their property to sell.  Michele is a Certified Residential Specialist with a top real estate team in Charleston, SC.  Since 2004, Michele Reneau has personally sold 174 homes while the average agent in the market sells 6 homes a year.   Featured on HGTV's House Hunters and Real Estate Executive MagazineRESA 2009 Staging Realtor of the Year Nominee. The Charleston Relocation Experts Team specializes in military relocation, first time homebuyers and creating marketing exposure to sell your home in the Charleston SC Real Estate market.  Michele can also be contacted by email at

Michele Reneau, ABR, GRI, CRS

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Comment balloon 10 commentsMichele Reneau • July 02 2009 03:49PM


Sometimes.. You have to do everything to get the exposure on listings..since there are so many of them


Posted by Ginger Harper, Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County! (Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage) almost 10 years ago

Ginger-That is exactly right! In this market, staging does make a property stand out.

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) almost 10 years ago

Seller's can not afford NOT to stage! Great post. 

Posted by Cathy Lee, ASP, IAHSP, RESA Danville, CA (CL Design Services Home Staging) almost 10 years ago

Michele -- you're lucky that staging is so inexpensive in your area - wow!  It's cost is considerably higher here so we have a harder time "selling" the concept to homeowners and their agents.  (The smart ones listen, however.)

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) almost 10 years ago

Cathy-I agree! If they don't, it's costing them much more that most would like to or can afford to lose.

Maureen-Staging varies considerably here. I have seen some for much less and some for considerably more.  I've chosen the best of the best that can offer the qualify for an affordable price to match the demographics of my average sales price.  My staging partner does do a lot of high end listings as well, but does adjust her packages based on what is necesary.  High end homes require high end furniture.  I can understand why a seller would not want to do it if they are not going to make their money back or have some return on investment. 

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) almost 10 years ago

We have been playing with taking over listings, having them staged inside and out; and then raising the prices.  I have tried this on 3 and all three sold the first month.  We did this to gain attention of the realtor community as merely putting on the market staged is tough to sell to the realtor community to go back and take a look.  So we raised the price and the call came in left and right.  Basically the tone of the calls were what the heck are you doing?  We then had the agents who were looking at the home and told them what we did.  The next question was about the same every time?  Are they expecting a higher price?  Our reply was always the same. Submit an offer and if the offer is reasonable a deal is feasible.  In reality the homes all sold about where the seller would have sold them anyhow, but they sold quick, and that was the key factor.


Posted by TIM MONCRIEF, Over 2,000 homes sold….. (Tim Monciref) almost 10 years ago

Tim-It use to be that location, price and condition were the 3 big ticket items that determined the sale, but condition is being replaced by staging.  Buyers can't perceive what is not there and that's why staging a home properly procures a quicker sale. Good for you in doing what it takes. 

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) almost 10 years ago

Preach it, sister! This story is a prime example what staging can do in a real estate transaction.  Not only do you have a great staging company, but you gave your client great advice. I like your gutsy honesty and it certainly is one reason why you are as successful as you are! So, keep on preachin'.

Posted by Anthea Click, Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly! (Fresh Perspectives - almost 10 years ago

Thanks Anthea!  I love it when they take the advice and it pays dividends, not just in dollars but a quick sale.  Sometimes I have sellers that will do half of a consultation and then say staging doesn't work. Ai ai ai!  It's really a total package and there are some objections a buyer can't get over. I'm in the process of one of these now where the seller is now agreeing to finish "the list" after being on the market for 3 months.  I'm anticipating the $1000 he will spend will bring a quick offer and he will be kicking himself for not doing it sooner to save the carrying costs of a mortgage.

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) almost 10 years ago

Sometimes a hard lesson learned is costly. Hope it goes well! 

Posted by Anthea Click, Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly! (Fresh Perspectives - almost 10 years ago

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