Does your home have to be in perfect condition and beautifully staged to sell?

Buyers often look at dozens of homes before making a decision to buy. If you are a seller, how do you make yours stand out to be the one they choose?


Once buyers are ready to buy it usually comes down to two things…if a property looks better and is priced better than other comparable properties they are seeing, there is a good chance an offer could be on the way.

Does that mean every property should be in perfect condition and beautifully staged…and priced super low? Absolutely not! It is striking the right balance for both your property and your motivation… keeping in mind that 'looking better' also refers to having a better online presence than your competition, regardless of condition.

It depends on multiple factors, such as…

  • Condition of your property to begin with
  • Your target market
  • How much time, money and energy you want to invest into preparing it for sale
  • Your priorities…highest price, quickest sale, least work, etc

Keep in mind that different buyers are looking for different things.

1. Move-in ready

Many buyers are looking for a home where they can just move in and not have to do much, if any, work…some fresh paint colors may be the extent of the work they want or are able to do. If your home is in good condition to begin with or if you are a re-habber with a completed project this may be your target market. If so, it is worth it to make sure it is in tip-top condition and properly staged…many buyers cannot visualize how furniture will fit and how they will actually live in an empty space…or a crowded and cluttered one. These properties usually yield the highest price, but should look better and be priced better than other comparable properties in tip-top condition to get the quickest sale.

2. Cosmetic updates needed

These buyers usually want a home that is structurally sound and has 'good bones' but needs updates, as may be found in an estate or a 'Grandma house'. This type of home often appeals to homebuyers who plan to live in the property and make updates themselves…sometimes to save money and build sweat equity, sometimes so they can make the space their own. To sell this kind of property, clear out the space, clean it, make any repairs required by the city…and price it lower than similar properties in move-in condition. I remember when we bought the townhome where we currently live…it was in desparate need of updating, but the location and setting were perfect…and the price was low enough that we could comfortably make the investment of renovating the whole property. We were delighted it wasn't 'move-in ready' so we could tear out the old and re-design the space to make it our own without feeling guilty!

3. AS-IS condition

In this case I am not referring to properties sold in 'AS-IS' condition because the owner is no longer available… here I am referring to properties in need of considerable work. The work may involve anything from structural to mechanical to cosmetic to city inspection issues to hauling out items and debris left behind. With so many foreclosures and short sales on the market in recent years we have seen many of these properties on the market. Sellers seem to have learned that to sell these properties the biggest factor is having a rock-bottom price…in fact, the selling strategy is often to price low enough to elicit multiple offers. Even in this category, however, the properties that look better than other properties at the same price point sell the quickest.

LOOK BETTER… BE PRICED BETTER… determine your target market and priorities, then prepare and price accordingly.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX ResultsEmailTwin Cities Listing Agent


Written By

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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