Some open houses look like model homes and some don’t. They all seem to sell, does the presentation make much difference? – SKEPTICAL
DEAR SKEPTICAL: A home that is priced correctly will sell, whether or not it has been staged. That said, homes that are staged tend to sell for more money. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), professional staging can increase a home’s selling price by up to 9 percent. In my experience, that figure is probably pretty accurate.
I’ve often compared the home-selling process to dating. By that measure, listing a home without staging it is like showing up for a blind date in track pants. It doesn’t make the best first impression.
Staging is the property equivalent of dressing to impress. It increases the property’s “wow factor”. Buyers tend to fall harder for staged homes and typically shell out more money to own them. I’ve found the correlation between staging and sales price to be so predictable that I cover the cost of professional staging and photography services for most of my listings.
PRO TIP: Staging is more than just cleaning. The process incorporates strategic furniture arrangement, de-cluttering and the adding of décor items to make rooms appear larger and more dramatic. Typically, staged homes have a higher perceived value, experience shorter selling times and often sell for more than comparable properties that have not been staged.
You recently wrote about UFFI and air quality. We don’t have UFFI in our home, but are bothered by a strong odour and are not sure of the source. Should we get the house tested? We had it tested for mold a few years ago and the results came back negative. – CONCERNED
DEAR CONCERNED: My first thought is that the issue may be something as simple as a P-trap that has dried out from lack of use. You’ll find P-traps in the plumbing under the sinks and drains in your home. It’s where the pipe bends down and up again, forming a “U” shape.
The P-trap is designed to hold a small volume of water, which blocks sewer gas from backing up into your home. If a drain isn’t used, that trapped water eventually evaporates, which may allow a nasty gas or sewer smell to infiltrate the house.
A dry P-trap is a common issue, especially in under-occupied homes. The simple fix is to turn on the tap or pour a few cups of water down the drain. If the odour persists, you’ll need to investigate further.
PRO TIP: In some local neighbourhoods, homes typically lack a poured concrete floor in the basement and may be subject to odours. Electric heating, a lack of fresh air or even a deceased rodent can also be culprits. Start with the drain trick and give the air a little time to clear. If there’s no improvement, take a look around. If you need to call an expert, I work with a number of professionals who do air quality testing and would be happy to recommend someone. #AskDavid #Advice