Real Actual Home Staging: January Edition

Once again, I decided to head out to some weekend open houses to get a first-hand look at some of what’s on the market. And, once again, as I pumped up everyone’s favorite “open house traffic” statistic, I often found myself wondering: What were they thinking?

When I say “they” I’m referring to both the home seller and the seller’s agent, whose alleged job is to advise the seller on how best to sell their house. You would think that in today’s market, when the smallest defect can cause what few buyers are out there to look right past your listing, making your home look the best it can would be a no-brainer, especially if you’re going to put on an open house.

Unfortunately, as you can see below, not all sellers see things that way. Note that in this series I won’t be linking to the real actual listing, because that would just be cruel.

basement funhouseAgent: “Northwest home buyers are really into homes that have that ‘lodge’ feel lately. Tall ceilings, open floor plans, and exposed wood.”

Seller: “Hmm, well I can do the wood part, but that other stuff is a no-go. I’ll just throw a little extra wood in there to make up for everything else.”

gimme fiveAgent: “This light switch is installed upside down. You should probably fix that before we list.”

Seller: “How about if I throw a bizarre switch plate over it instead? That will distract them from the backward switch!”

delightful houseguestAgent: “Be sure you vacuum thoroughly before the open house.”

Seller: “That’s silly. Why would I vacuum when all the buyers are just going to traipse a bunch of dirt and mud through the house anyway?”

special closetAgent: “Why doesn’t this room have a closet?”

Seller: “Because we had to have somewhere to put the toilet. Duh.”

cool companionAgent: “That A/C unit in the window is ugly. Make sure you take it out before the open house.”

Seller: “A/C out of the window: check.”

ouchAgent: “See if you can do something to spruce up the basement.”

Seller: “Hmm, let’s see… Seattle people like coffee, right? And ponies?”

All of the photos in the “Real Actual Home Staging” series were shot by The Tim at real actual open houses around Seattle.

  

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

43 comments:

  1. 1

    At least its a dead wasp! Live ones don’t work so well at an open house.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  2. 2

    RE: Conor MacEvilly @ 1 – I have a great OH story about flies, but I don’t want to give the details publicly. Let’s just say they are not a good thing at an OH. ;-)

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  3. 3

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2 – Was a corpse involved?

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  4. 4
    LA Relo says:

    Maybe the other side of the switch on the magic Oracle hand says “YES” and it moves up and down under it’s own power as you ask it questions.

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  5. 5

    RE: Conor MacEvilly @ 3 – No comment! ;-)

    Alternative response: “My clients are just dying to sell you this house!”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. 6
    redmondjp says:

    Now you know where the term “water closet” came from!

    You know, Tim, you should photoshop a pink tail on that pony in the last pic.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. 7
    random guy says:

    Now you’ve got me thinking about whether I’d give up a closet for a toilet in the bedroom!

    I know it’s offbeat but I’d use it. It seems like one of those things you don’t think you need but you would miss it when it was gone. Probably a tough sell to the wife though. Hmm…

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  8. 8

    By random guy @ 7:

    Now you’ve got me thinking about whether I’d give up a closet for a toilet in the bedroom!

    Why couldn’t you still use the closet? ;-)

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  9. 9
    Lurker says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8

    I could get ready for work so much more efficiently with a bathroom/closet combo and a toilet in the shower would guarantee an escalation clause into my offer.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. 10
    ray pepper says:

    “Once again, I decided to head out to some weekend open houses to get a first-hand look at some of ”

    Hmmm..out last weekend to open houses during NFL playoffs? The best two weekends of the year for football? This must be some kind of a joke Tim is putting on us……….Looking at Open Houses I find as stimulating as: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kL6GIe-iu8

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. 11

    LOL Tim

    They should put you and your photos on that local Seattle comedy show after SNL.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. 12
    Jillayne says:

    Tosh.0
    The_Tim.0

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  13. 13
    The Tim says:

    RE: Jillayne @ 12 – I don’t get it.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. 14
    Jillayne says:

    It’s a TV show. My teenagers made me watch it last night. Tosh is a guy who takes youtube videos and then adds his own commentary. Sometimes he recreates a video somebody else did with the people who were in the video.
    http://www.comedycentral.com/tosh.0/

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  15. 15
    Jugajoosh says:

    Last weekend, I visited an open house in Bryant (Seattle) listed at $669k that had at least 4 broken windows. I mean the single panes of glass in the windows were broken – the cold outside air was coming into the house! Are they serious?

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/6857-31st-Ave-NE-98115/home/315537

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  16. 16
    The Other Ben says:

    By The Tim @ 13:

    RE: Jillayne @ 12 – I don’t get it.

    Old man. :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. 17
    Lurker says:

    By Jillayne @ 12:

    Tosh.0
    The_Tim.0

    That show is so darn funny. I love it

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  18. 18
    Daniel says:

    RE: Jugajoosh @ 15 – Ouch, so many Photoshop accidents. For me, all people achieve by such listing photos is that I question everything else they say, suspecting things to be the same fake than the pictures.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  19. 19
    EconE says:

    RE: Jugajoosh @ 15

    The owners don’t live there anymore.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  20. 20
    Scotsman says:

    RE: EconE @ 19

    Just the photoshop fairies. They must get cold easily.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  21. 21
    Racket says:

    By Jugajoosh @ 15:

    Last weekend, I visited an open house in Bryant (Seattle) listed at $669k

    Call Wedgewood, Ravenna, you pick, but nobody calls that area “Bryant”

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  22. 22

    By Racket @ 21:

    By Jugajoosh @ 15:
    Last weekend, I visited an open house in Bryant (Seattle) listed at $669k

    Call Wedgewood, Ravenna, you pick, but nobody calls that area “Bryant”

    Except for the people who live there. Bryant is sometimes called Ravenna/Bryant, but it’s east of Ravenna and south of Wedgwood.
    Bryant is located between NE 45th North to NE 70th and from 25th Ave NE East to 40th Ave NE.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  23. 23
    Jugajoosh says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 22

    Thanks Ira.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  24. 24
    Jugajoosh says:

    RE: Racket @ 21
    Racket,
    It is beside the point, but FYI the Redfin listing says Bryant.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  25. 25
    Racket says:

    I understand where it is, but I have never heard of anyone say ” I live in bryant” I went to Eckstien I know the area well.

    Just like when real estate agents call parts of Mounlake Terrace “mallot”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  26. 26
    Jugajoosh says:

    RE: EconE @ 19
    Nor should anyone else until the windows are fixed. I don’t understand how Windermere people can feel ok about presenting it to potential buyers.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  27. 27

    RE: Racket @ 25
    I’ve known people who say they live in Bryant or Ravenna Bryant, but what in god’s name is ” Mallot”?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  28. 28
    Jugajoosh says:

    RE: Racket @ 25
    Are you sure that’s not “mullet”? :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  29. 29
    Jugajoosh says:

    RE: Racket @ 25

    Maybe real estate agents should call Bryant Mallot instead. Because that’s where people take a mallot and break their windows before they list their house for sale…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  30. 30
    BillE says:

    Bryant is just north of Arlington on Hwy 9. The area referenced is just part of “Seattle.”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  31. 31
    jojo says:

    Spending the weekend perusing open houses to take snarky pictures ? I guess you could rationalize that as “work related”, but seriously – unless your looking to buy a house- are you really that bored – …do people really go to open houses for fun – wtf is up with that?
    go play with your kids or something -

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  32. 32
    Mikal says:

    RE: Jugajoosh @ 28 – Funny.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  33. 33
    Julie Lyda says:

    Out looking at open houses…. makes me think Tim is getting closer to making a buying decision.

    Maybe keeping the rising home prices a secret…? Certainly as home prices have dropped the head lines have screamed. But we get a YOY price increase on average home prices and all goes quiet. interesting.

    King County Average Home Prices Rise First Time in 3 Years.
    http://bit.ly/gjlC3H

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  34. 34
    Lurker says:

    If I recall from some of his comments in the past, I think The Tim is fond of winter as a time to buy, strictly from a price perspective. He has already mentioned his belief in that pricing is close to historic trends and since he wants to own a house he could be out there seriously kicking some tires. If he found something that he liked for 10% less than market value I would not be surprised if he bit. Just my guess. He is a big boy and knows what he is getting into so if he decides to finally pull the trigger, I wish him the best.

    I do wonder how long he would continue to maintain the bubble site after he finally buys something.

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  35. 35
    Lurker says:

    RE: Julie Lyda @ 33

    Why do you post mean when median is typically used?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  36. 36
  37. 37
    Julie Lyda says:

    RE: Lurker @ 35

    I do track both mean and median. I prefer to use average in my reports. I use a year to date average so there are many sales to average, thus the numbers won’t be weighted by any high or low anomalies.

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  38. 38
    The Tim says:

    RE: Julie Lyda @ 33 – As far as I can recall, I’ve never mentioned average prices even once on this site.

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  39. 39
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: EconE @ 36

    “Golly” EconE, the department of political correctness has regulated your link forcing enquiring minds to resort to manual decoding and input of the “D” word.

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  40. 40
    Julie Lyda says:

    RE: The Tim @ 38RE: The Tim @ 38

    Yes Tim, I know you only use median. I like to watch both numbers, because I feel they tell us two different things. There are so many ways to track statistics. Mean, median, and indices. Just another way to look at numbers. I think they are all important.

    When looking at the King Co. median (ytd):
    2007 $455,000
    2008 $429,950
    a drop of $25,050

    2008 $429,950
    2009 $380,000
    a drop of $49,950

    2009 $380,000
    2010 $375,000
    a drop of only $5,000

    So the median doesn’t show us a gain, however it sure looks like the steep dropping off of prices is ending, of course, subject to anymore catastrophic economic news

    I make no predictions with the numbers, but my feeling is that the market is stabilizing.

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  41. 41
    EconE says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 39

    LOL.

    I wouldn’t have noticed.

    That’s when you know political correctness has been taken too far.

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  42. 42

    I track both mean and median too, as well as the difference between mean and median. I track mean to get some idea of the strength of the upper end of the market.

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  43. 43
    tomtom says:

    By Julie Lyda @ 40:

    So the median doesn’t show us a gain, however it sure looks like the steep dropping off of prices is ending, of course, subject to anymore catastrophic economic news

    I make no predictions with the numbers, but my feeling is that the market is stabilizing.

    That sounds like a prediction.

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