All the images of perfect-looking properties online have heightened buyer expectations. Here are some statistics to be familiar with if your clients are reluctant to stage their property.

In the age of instant visual gratification fueled by platforms such as Pinterest boards, Instagram and a whole slew of other interior design media, homebuyers are not wasting any time with lackluster listings. They have evolved.

Yes, technology is generating a new breed of buyers with even higher expectations, and it’s the “Pinterest look” that they want!

Gone are the days of slapping a few photos on a flyer to get a home sold. Buyers want to envision themselves in a space. They want to experience the lifestyle, and they want to see interiors that feature of-the-moment trends. 

This new buyer mentality was top-of-mind when my brokerage hosted California Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist, Lesile Appleton-Young last month. She came to address the state of the market and enlightened us all with her take on the global and economic factors that are impacting California real estate.

Before the event, Appleton-Young and I discussed this new buyer phenomenon, and we both agreed that the Pinterest effect is real. It got me thinking: How do sellers and buyers view the same home?

If your home is stunning and still has popcorn ceilings, does it get the same result in sale price? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s not a risk I would be willing to take as a homeowner if I could pocket more cash in the long run by giving my home a little TLC

Of course there are a handful of simple tricks like eliminating clutter, adding fresh paint or updating appliances that can work wonders for a listing that’s gone stale. But what else can we do as agents to get that Pinterest look? 

I, like many others, turn to professional stagers for many of my listings — especially the ones that have sat on the market far too long.

If an owner can’t afford to remodel, the next best thing is getting a stager in there to help bring a dead listing to life. They can move furniture around, open up a space, and suggest tried-and-true tips to help your listing shine. But do staged homes get more offers in less time than their counterparts?

The importance of staging

According to Investopedia.com, “Some 77 percent of buyer’s agents said home staging makes it easier for prospective buyers to visualize the property as a future home.” And most professionals agree that staged homes sell faster and for more money than those that are unstaged.

Yes, you want to update those kitchens and master baths — that is a great place to start. But if you think you can get away with dull, dated living rooms and dining spaces, think again. 

The National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Profile of Home Staging reveals, “The most common rooms that are staged include the living room (93 percent), kitchen (84 percent), master bedroom (78 percent), and the dining room (72 percent).

This leads me to believe that the Pinterest look goes well beyond just images. As suspected, a listing in this day and age needs to make a Pinterest-worthy first impression the minute a buyer walks through the front door.

And there is another big hurdle to overcome. If a seller is too attached to their interiors or not flexible enough to make a few changes, what do you do? This is where an agent has to push and do a little convincing to generate results. 

Staging helps to sell properties quicker

A recent “Consumers Guide to Real Estate Staging” by the Real Estate Staging Association, reports that unstaged homes sat on the market an average 143 days.” However, once they were staged, they sold in 40 days. And if you staged a home pre-listing, it averaged only 23 days on the market. 

It’s important to consider these obstacles and find ways to work around them. As an agent, you are obligated to know your market inside and out, and this includes understanding the Pinterest look. Stay on top of what’s selling in your area, and note those trends.

This can be the difference between selling your client’s home for top dollar in record time and having it sit on the market with nothing but the sound of crickets at your open house.

Have you noticed the Pinterest look taking effect in your market area? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Troy Palmquist is the founder and broker of The Address in Southern California. Follow him on Facebook, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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