Sometimes a home sits on the market for things that simply cannot be changed like “the backyard is too small”, “I don’t like the location of the master bedroom”, “the home backs to a busy street”, etc. And sometimes a home sits on the market because of the agent’s lack of marketing.
Meet 3494 Waycross Lane, Frisco, TX. This home was first listed for sale at the end of May 2019, primetime selling season for real estate…when all agents love picking up listings because there are more buyers looking for homes during the summer; there is a higher likelihood the home will sell. 3494 Waycross Lane sat on the market from the end of May until the first of September with very few showings and activity. The husband of the home moved across the globe in December 2018, leaving his wife to finish up her teaching contract in June 2019 and the plan was for her to join him once the home sold. Ninety-seven days on the market in the prime of summer, and the sellers had had enough.
The wife seller called me a few days after cancelling the listing with the other agent; a mutual friend had just used me to sell her house and referred me to the owners of Waycross. We sat down, and I discussed with her my process, services and approach. We covered some minor items to take care of before relisting the home. We also discussed the possibility of it sitting on the market again due to the timing it would go back on the market.
Once the short punch list of items was taken care of by the seller, I began staging the home. The key to staging is understanding how it will look when it’s photographed. After all, if the home looks appealing in the photographs, people will want to come take a look at the home; therefore driving up the number of showings. Another key to staging is what a buyer feels once they are in the home. I tell my sellers all the time “buyers buy feelings”. Often times when I am staging, I will say, “Now, let me feel the room”. How does a room feel? Where furniture is placed affects the feel of a room. It might make the room feel too heavy, or it might cut into the walking path.
When staging, I talked with the seller about the photos the agent before me did and how I felt the home was not captured well. I honestly thought the agent took the pictures with their phone and then I learned from the seller, the agent used an actual camera. In fact, the seller said the pictures I saw were the second set of pictures as she was not pleased with either set. I don’t understand agents that won’t spend a few hundred dollars for professional pictures, no matter what the sales price of the home.
I relisted the home on 10/4/2019, and we ended up receiving an offer within a couple of weeks of being on the market. The offer was not accepted, and a couple of weeks later we ended up with multiple offers and closed just before Christmas.
When it comes time for you to sell, make for certain you are choosing a full time professional agent that will go above and beyond simply putting a sign in your yard and listing it on the MLS. For most people, their home is one of their largest investments, so don’t leave it up to chance.
From my seller, “Thank you for everything, Sarah. I have never met such a dedicated realtor like you. You really are a professional! I truly appreciate you!“
Here’s a look at the other agent’s pictures and mine. Let me also add, this is a 4,623 square foot home, and in MLS and agent may load up to 36 pictures, but this agent only had 27 pictures and did not even photograph the whole house.
Old front picture-agent sign should not be in the front yard and fire hydrant prominent in the picture. Also, a regular camera does not truly capture the wide angles, and the yard appears small in this picture.
In my photographer’s photo, you are able to tell the home is on a corner lot.
The red dining room is extremely distracting and too bold. When viewing online it cuts the open flow.
One of the minor things I had my seller do was paint the dining room to match the neutral paint of the adjoining rooms. When staging, I removed the rug to feature the handscraped wood floors. I removed a leaf from the table and four chairs since the furniture is very heavy feeling. I also rotated the table for the room to appear larger and set the table.
Dining room looks dark and crowded.
This is a much better angle of the dining room. Again changing the color to match the rest of the adjoining rooms makes the dining room not stand out like a sore thumb. This was the photo I actually used in MLS over the above dining room picture.
This was the other agent’s photo of the office.
For the office, I moved the bookshelves to the far wall, staged the items on the shelves, rotated the desk and used one of the extra dining chairs for the desk chair to give it more of an executive office feel.
A common practice of those that take their own photos is having varying picture orientation throughout. Most home shoppers are viewing homes on their phones, and the varying orientations cause them to keep rotating their phone or not view the full size photo of the image.
This picture is one of my favorites, because the old agent stood in the same spot as my photographer (picture below) and you can really see the difference in how much was captured from the professional.
For the living room, I removed one of the side chairs that was blocking the full living room view from this angle. I removed the rug as well as the ottoman. I added two blue throw pillows to break up all of the brown as well as added an ivory throw (better seen in other pictures) to give a cozy feeling.
In this picture, the agent seems to be trying to capture the architecture details of the home, but doesn’t have a main focus in the photo.
This is a better angle to show off the openness of the first floor.
Another living room view from the other agent.
I am personally not a fan of the bird’s eye view and did not use this photo on MLS, but am using it here to show the changes I made to the room.
I feel the kitchen looks too dark and you cannot even tell there is a butler’s pantry past the tan curtain. Also, having the flowers on the island, with their height, brings too much focus to them.
I removed the curtain that was between the butler’s pantry and kitchen, which shows off the amount of cabinet space. Another minor change I had my seller do was to change out the light bulbs to daylight bulbs which helps bring out the true colors in photos.
One of the worst things is seeing a person (or pet) in the photos.
I raised the mirror, removed one of the art pieces from the right wall, and added flowers to the table.
One of my biggest pet peeves is a bed not being properly made in photos.
I made the bed (including steaming the wrinkles out of the comforter), bedskirt was removed, added white pillows to break up the color scheme as well as accent pillows to match the lampshades and added a side chair near the bay window. I pulled back the curtains a little differently to help with the brightness in the room. The curtains were blackout shades, causing it to appear very dark.
I brought in white towels and added flowers to the far sink to give the room a little color.
Again with changing the picture orientation.
More white towels. This is not the actual angle I used for the MLS photo, but was the closest to the other agent’s picture I had.
Not a lot of change here. I properly made the bed. I used the same comforter, but reversed it and steamed it.
The other agent did not include a photo of the downstairs guest bath that is right off the guest bedroom. White towels were added.
I moved the bed to a better location, brought in another matching shelf from another room, and staged the shelves.
Another photo the other agent did not include, the Jack & Jill bathroom, a feature many are looking for. I also added more white towels.
The other side of the Jack & Jill.
The other agent did not include this bedroom in their photos. I removed a shelf from this bedroom, added artwork as well as added items to the desk.
I added a computer monitor, staged the shelf, and removed the decoration that was in the window.
The candlesticks in the original picture stood out too much in their location, so I removed them and used them in another room. I also moved the white chair to the other side of the room.
There was not much change to the media room. You can see the true size of the media room with the professional pictures.
This was another room left off in the other agent’s pictures. The bed was pushed against the right wall, and I moved it to the center and added a few decorations on the windowsill.
This bathroom was also not included in the other agent’s pictures. I also added more white towels.
Once the home was photographed by my photographer, my videographer came in and filmed the interior and exterior. This is a useful tool for agents with out of town buyers who might be interested in the home, but not able to visit the home in person. I also included a photo of the floor plan of the home to allow buyers to understand the flow of the home.
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If you are interested in learning more about Sarah’s listing expertise, contact her directly via email at SarahJ@jpcsells.com or 214.223.1924