Seasonality, Real Estate, and Home Staging – Your Burning Questions Answered

Last week was a busy one for me, and it included a home staging here in Nashville with Molly Hendricks, who earned her Expert Psychological Stager™ certification with me in September of this year. Just 48 hours after we staged the home, I got the message from Brentwood Area Homes that the house was already under contract for OVER the asking price!

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EPS™ Molly Hendricks of Music City Home Staging making the final adjustments

 

This is not typical for December in Nashville. Did I mention that it’s the middle of December???

While Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year,” it may not be the most wonderful time to sell.

After reading an interesting article from Spyglass Realty in Austin, Texas, I thought this would be a good time to dive into the topic of seasonality and real estate. Especially since the owner of the brokerage is Angel Rodenbeck, who attended the first Expert Psychological Stager™ course we taught!

Angel and her husband (and partner), Ryan, were sweet enough to sit down for a little Q&A with my trusty office manager, Allison, to offer some great advice for those of you who may be thinking about selling your home around the holidays. Take it away, Allison!

 

Tis The Season – Or Maybe Not!

Allison:  For those of you that don’t know me, I’ve been working for Kristie for almost three years now.  One of the best parts of my job has been getting to meet the stagers from all over the country that have taken Kristie’s EPS™ certification course.  Part of my job has been to keep up with what these ladies (so far it has been all ladies) are doing.  While checking in on Angel Rodenbeck, EPS™, a Realtor and stager from Austin, TX, who attended Kristie’s first EPS™ class, I thought she had some great advice on what time of year is the best time to sell your home. Let’s start with a little background on Angel and Ryan Rodenbeck:

How long have you been a Realtor, and how long have you owned your own brokerage?  Give us some background on your career in real estate and home staging.

Ryan:  When we started Spyglass Realty in 2008, we wanted to focus mainly on residential, but our background in renovation was quite useful as we very often help clients increase the value of their home through value added upgrades.  This past renovation experience, combined with the staging experience and education that we picked up from The Decorologist, allowed us to put our focus on presentation.  Angel carries her real estate license, but her main capacity is in staging and color coordination.

Spyglass Realty Austin Texas home staging

The team at Spyglass Realty in Austin, Texas (Angel is in the middle)

 

How have you found seasonality to affect the market?

Ryan:  Timing is everything in this business.  Supply and demand fluctuates like the seasons and we can see a much higher rate of multiple offers from February to April than any other time of the year.  

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Do you have advice for your sellers concerning time of year to sell and buy?  What evidence do you have to support your theory regarding the effect of seasonality?

Ryan:  Around October we start telling sellers that if they don’t absolutely HAVE to sell before the end of the year, then don’t.  The last quarter of the year is historically the worst time of the year to sell.  Looking at an 8 year history of the pending and sold properties on MLS, as well as the fluctuation of median home price throughout the year, the spring months clearly hold the most opportunistic times of the year to sell. 

pending

How has home staging affected your business, especially as it relates to seasonality?

Ryan:  People need to sell throughout the year, and though we advise against it in the last quarter, people still have timetables and we have to do what’s best for them in that timetable.  Our staging sets us apart from other agents and their listings that aren’t staged.  Also, in the springtime, we typically set the comps for each neighborhood we list in.  The combination of staging a home and then setting the demand for multiple offers through our “coming soon” package is a recipe to produce multiple offers on listings.  We excel at it and the staging is a huge part of that.  

 

spyglass realty staged living room

staged property by Spyglass Realty

 

What do you see as the advantages of being a Realtor and having your staging certification?

Angel:  As a brokerage, we are able to provide staging at no additional charge and it gives us a HUGE leg up on the competition.  In Austin, it’s somewhat expected in some neighborhoods, but to have the label of “in-house certified stager” carries a lot of weight.  When we started including staging in our business, it propelled us to different level and that’s when we became top producers.  

 

Chadwyk kitchen before

kitchen before

Chadwyk kitchen 2 after

kitchen renovation by Spyglass Realty

 

Why did you choose the EPS™ Certification course over other courses you could have taken?

Angel:  Once I subscribed to Kristie’s blog, I instantly became a HUGE fan. I looked forward to her emails everyday because they were right up my alley. I love my job as a stager and love learning about her transformations with paint and furniture placement. I took all of her online classes on these subjects and as soon as she announced the 1st EPS course, I jumped on it. My office manager, Sunny, and I flew to Nashville and learned so much in those few days.

I was a bit star struck at first, but then realized “The Decorologist” was just like me. She is so sweet and approachable – so helpful whenever I have questions on a project. I feel like she is my fairy Godmother of staging. I listen to everything she says. The only other staging course I have taken was 5 years ago. I had no prior connection to that instructor and no contact since. Kristie’s class was so much more informative. I keep my class booklet, as well as her book, within arms reach in my office. I feel connected to her and the other EPS graduates through the Facebook page, which has been immensely helpful to me. She is the best in the business and I am so grateful to have found her. 

 

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living room before

Allison:  After the EPS™ course is over, Kristie continues to mentor the stagers she has trained. Angel sought advice paint color and paint color placement on updating this living room via the EPS™ private Facebook page, which our stagers use frequently when stumped with staging dilemmas. Check out the beautiful result!

spyglass realty staged living room

Spyglass Realty staging 

 What did you learn in the EPS™ course that has helped you with your existing business?

Angel:  The EPS™ class was chocked full of tips from a pro. The most important piece for me, which I had never been trained in other than her on-line class, was the importance of paint and the Paint Color Tool Kit. I use this on every staging consultation and rehab I do. Having these go-to colors with notes on the back has really given me confidence in selecting colors. Clients are impressed when I bring in my kit and start going through options. Additionally, the pro tips on furniture placement and picking the right accessories has helped tremendously.

 

Allison:  If you are currently thinking about selling your home, we strongly advise you to call a reputable Realtor in your area to get advice on how seasonality affects the market in your area.  Also, if you are a Realtor and are looking for a way to amp up your business, be sure to check out Kristie’s next Expert Psychological Stager™ Certification Class coming up March 9-11, 2016.  We have opened up registration and we’d love to see you there!  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

For Spyglass Realty’s complete article on seasonality and home selling, check it out here.

 

 

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Joanne
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Joanne

Interesting article. I am a home stager. I definitely think staging makes a huge difference. If realtors are working with a client who does not have any money to spend on staging, doing it themselves will definitely help. The one thing I hear from realtors is that they are all busy. I think if the house was vacant, many realtors would not have the time, resources and energy to spend on furnishing a vacant property and staging it. It takes at least 40 hours.

Holly
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Holly

Kristie, you crack me up! So unpretentious. Always read emails ASAP. Holly in Columbia.

Kimberly
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Kimberly

Kristie, I love your blog and look forward to your emails in my mailbox. I am still fairly young and will be retiring from my “full-time career” in 4 years. I have been interested in home staging for awhile now, but really don’t know where to begin. I’m not sure there is a big market for hiring stagers in the area in which I reside (Western NY). The nicest compliments received (this past summer) were by professional realtors who wanted to know, “who staged your house?” when my realtor placed my home on the market.

Melissa Allen
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It’s always a tough call about listing during the holidays. Definitely business is ‘different’ than in the spring. However, in a transient city (yep! that is our Nashville), there are always folks being relocated at all times throughout the year. Folks with families often look at January as a good time to start at a new school with the beginning of a new semester. With our current sellers market and even lower inventory in winter months, the people looking now tend to be more serious buyers. From a personal perspective, I love showing homes decked in their Christmas glory. Caveat,… Read more »

MK
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Kristie, I love your blog. Whether staging or just updating a home to live in, what are current trends for curtain fabrics/colors/styles for living/family rooms? I know you did a post about on-trend bathrooms. I would love it if you could do something similar about what is now on-trend for curtains. I’ve been seeing a lot of the same thing for the past few years and while I like them, I don’t want to invest $$ in something that is “on its way out” as soon as I hang them!

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[…] of growth, delaying will not produce substantially higher values.” We know from history that early spring is the optimal time of the year to put a home on the market, so preparing to do so now will put home sellers at an […]