As part of the Qandor property network we are also made aware of how staging can make a difference to other developers. This is an article by Gary Ellerd-Elliott from 3E Asset Management on the huge benefits to them as developers. The staging was completed by our good friends and fellow members of the Home Staging Association Lemon and Lime Interiors.
“The cost of the staging was more than covered by the uplift in the agreed sale prices and the speed we received the offers.”
“Our only regret was we didn’t stage them sooner.”
“In January we agreed to lower the price one more time, it quickly became evident that price was not the problem.”
“The real key takeaway for us is: people want to buy a feeling of home, which is very difficult to do when all they are seeing is an empty shell.”
Gary Ellerd-Elliott says:
As developers, our primary focus is on the numbers, making sure we keep a tight rein on the cost as well as making sure we achieve the end value we envisaged. However, how many of us focus on the soft skills such as design and presentation?
This is a lesson we have learned on our most recent development, The Wheatsheaf, and it’s one I think is important to share.
The development consisted of converting a former coaching inn and barns into four properties as well as building a new property in the car park.
The barns were converted into three properties and were completed at the beginning of September 2020. This was on time and the agent was excited to bring them to market and confident that they would achieve close to the list prices. The properties were as follows:
- Plot 3 – a 1982 sq ft 4 bed end mews property – Listed at £725,000
- Plot 4 – a 950 sq ft 2 bed mid mews property – Listed at £325,000
- Plot 5 – a 1126 sq ft 3 bed end mews property – Listed at £425,000
The agent organised an open day event, which attracted a lot of attention, and we were confident of receiving offers. However that wasn’t the case. In fact, we received nothing – not one offer.
One week turned into two weeks and three became four and still no offers. We were confident with the pricing as we were getting viewings, but no offers. After sitting down with the agent, we assessed the feedback, and the main points were the lack of parking and the lack of storage.
We asked the agents what screening they were doing and what conversations they were having with the potential buyers before they viewed. We were told that all the buyers had been screened and the properties were what they were looking for.
In the end the agents raised the point of price and felt we had overpriced the units. Given the pressure we were under to sell, we agreed to reduce the prices as follows: ➳
- Plot 3 – £695,000
- Plot 4 – £295,000
- Plot 5 – £395,000
- Plot 1 – a new build 2850 sq ft 5 bed detached property – Listed at £950,000
- Plot 2 – the former coaching inn – 4200 sq ft 5 bed detached property – Listed at £1,100,000.
The first agent stepped up and within two weeks we had agreed sales on plots 1, 2 and 4, which was great news, and also confirmed our pricing was right. However still nothing on plots 3 and 5. ➳
In January we agreed to lower the price one more time to try to generate interest and hopefully with the SDLT holiday ending on the 31st of March, we would get the two properties sold. The prices were lowered to:
- Plot 3 OIEO of £650,000
- Plot 5 OIEO of £375,000.
Both agents felt this was the correct course of action and again the viewings started. However, it quickly became evident that the same issues were being raised. This is when we decided to take drastic action. Throughout the timeframe, we had felt that the agents had only been interested in the larger properties, as these were the easy sells, and had just been paying us lip service on the others and hoping that by lowering the prices, someone would make an offer.
So in mid-February we took both plots 3 and 5 off the market and dis-instructed both agents. I spoke with an agent I had been following on social media whose presentation of the properties they were selling was in another league compared to how the previous agents had presented ours.
After an initial meeting they suggested we stage both properties and put us in contact with the staging company they used. The owner came out and surveyed the properties and suggested a scheme for both properties. Given the cost involved, we spoke with the agent about relisting the properties at a higher price point than when we delisted them. The agent confirmed they agreed with us on the price and were confident of achieving them.
The staging was done mid-March and the new marketing material was completed with brochures, video tour of each property and an amazing set of marketing photos.
We relisted the properties on the 24th of March at the following prices:
- Plot 3 – £700,000
- Plot 5 – £400,000.
Straightaway the agent had viewings lined up and we agreed a full asking price sale on plot 5 on the 29th of March and we agreed a sale on plot 3 for £690,000 on the 31st of March. In less than a week we had agreed sales for higher than the last list price with the old agents who had not received one offer in 5 months.
What was the difference? The staging and presentation.
Both buyers commented on the staging and felt that the properties felt like home, so much so that they have both asked if they can buy the furniture and take the properties turnkey.
The real key takeaway for us is: people want to buy a feeling of home, which is very difficult to do when all they are seeing is an empty shell.
The cost of the staging was more than covered by the uplift in the agreed sale prices and the speed we received the offers. Our only regret was we didn’t do it sooner. However, we have already agreed to use them on our next project.