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Susan Saurastri: Staging a home can bring more than list price

Susan Saurastri: Staging a home can bring more than list price

January was my busiest month since I started selling real estate more than 15 years ago. Other agents in and around Orange County are reporting the same phenomenon.

Diane and Janine Beals sold their home of 50 years at 8331 Linden Street in the Glen Cove tract, south of Talbert Avenue and west of Bushard Street. I received 14 offers in one week, and it sold for $ 18,000 over the list price of $ 599,000. This was an “as is” sale, no repairs and no termite clearance was provided by the sellers. A neighbor who lives in the same model on an adjacent street purchased the property for a family member.

Ron and Kim Marquez are moving to Huntington Beach. I listed their house at 17899 San Clemente Street in the Rancho Mesa tract, north of Talbert Avenue and west of Ward Street. We opened escrow for well over list price and within five days of its debut. It’s set to close Feb. 25 as the highest closed sale of its size in the neighborhood.

When I meet Fountain Valley neighbors at various functions around town they inquire about what it takes to sell quickly and for the best price. There’s a process, and your agent is the facilitator, but it’s a joint effort that requires due diligence on your part. Some of your neighbors are currently preparing their homes for the market. That pod you see in the driveway is a temporary storage facility for the furniture that the stager requested be moved out. No, a vacant house does not sell better than a furnished home. A vacant house lacks emotion, but too many furnishings can diminish the space.

The trash bin at the curb is holding 30 years of accumulated clutter, most of which hasn’t been used in several years.

Star Real Estate offers the Listing Advantage Program that allows a seller to borrow the funds necessary to replace worn carpet and update the property before marketing it. The loan is repaid through the close of escrow.

Professional staging maximizes the space and emphasizes the best features of your home. I’ve used a professional staging company to sell my listings since 2005.

The stager will tour a home in the weeks before its debut, instruct the client on what has to be stored, which pieces are to be moved and what to keep. The end result is a model home.

How we live in our homes versus how we market them can mean the difference between receiving low-ball offers as opposed to selling your home for $ 10,000 or more over the list price. Staging and professional photography provide the tools to showcase your home to its best advantage. The cost of staging is relative to the size, number of bedrooms and baths, and how much furniture and accessories are needed.

The staging company requires payment at the time of service. Some agents pay the cost of staging and the seller reimburses them at the close of escrow, some include it as a complimentary service, others split the cost with the client, and some sellers agree the service is valuable and fork over the funds forthwith. Is it worth staging your house? Absolutely. You’ll attract a much higher buyer population to your listing than your neighbor who didn’t stage. Your home will sell faster, and you will likely garner multiple offers. Is there a downside to staging? Sure. You might like the new look so much that you decide to stay put.

Susan Saurastri is a

Fountain Valley resident and a Realtor with Star Real Estate. Contact her at

714-317-0664 or susan@fountainvalleyliving.com.

The Orange County Register – News Headlines : Real Estate News