I'm going to have to admit something that is a bit embarrassing. I've been feeling quite guilty about it so I'm going to confess.
I bought an apartment about 15 years ago (before I started Property Bloom and discovered the Hunter Region). It's been a great investment and has hardly ever been vacant. It's located in Chippendale, an inner city suburb of Sydney. The balcony off the living area looks into a peaceful, leafy street and you wouldn't know it's only moments from the CBD and two universities. In fact, it's pretty much been rented consecutively to uni students. As one student would complete their course, they'd introduce the unit to a friend and we'd have a new tenant ready to move in.
After much number crunching and portfolio gazing, it was time to sell it and as Sydney is experiencing nothing short of a boom right now, I took the lazy way out.
Here's my confession....
I tried to sell a property when it presented in its absolute worst state. I thought a strong market would mean less focus was needed.
By worst state I mean the student tenants had stuff everywhere. The lounge room consisted of two desks and the rest was covered in what looked to be their entire life's possessions. It was more like a storage shed than a lounge room. Whilst they were looking after it, there was just too much clutter.
Now, I'm used to walking into a property and seeing the true value through clutter. Believe me, I've seen some horrifying things in properties but I can visualise them cleaned up and our clients have benefited from this.
Living Room Before
Point 1: Not everyone can visualise. It's estimated that only 10% of home buyers can visualize the
potential of a property. That means 90% are not going to be able to look past dirt, clutter, and
Regardless of this, I said to the agent 'let's just whack it on the market and see what happens'. Whack it we did...and guess what, nothing happened! There was a lot of interest due to the fabulous location but not one decent offer was made. Every penny pinching investor was out to make a quick buck and I don't blame them.
Living Room After
Point 2: You attract low ball offers on poorly presented properties. So we pulled it off the market and waited for the lease to lapse. Then we had an empty shell of an apartment. Remembering that not everyone can visualise, I was certainly not tempted to try and sell it empty. We needed to show buyers how good it could look. That's when I called my friend Kylie, she'd started a staging and styling business called Property Revamped. http://propertyrevamped.com.au/
In she came and within days of the tenant moving out, we have an entirely different property.
Point 3: A total transformation can take place quickly. Kylie explained that "Property styling can evoke a lifestyle, seducing prospective buyer into an environment where they envisage themselves spending time with family and friends".
Our agent Felice Cotroneo of Inner City is now the happiest man on Earth. He'd recently sold two properties that had been staged. Both had sold within weeks of being listed. "We estimate that the staged properties sell 80% faster than non-staged or empty properties." said Felice. "Styling helps buyers to see that certain furniture works in a particular room. Styling maximises the sale potential and your return on investment is substantial" he said.
Point 4: Look at the return on investment to see if it's the right tactic for you
I will be waiting to calculate the exact return on investment. The staging cost less than $2,000 and we have furniture for eight weeks. I think that's a pretty good investment. Stay tuned and I'll let you know how quickly it sells.
If you are interested in a good inner city investment, take a look: http://www.innercity.com.au/12113913