This humble little home in the Fair West neighborhood of Albuquerque, on the eastern fringe of the UNM area, had sat on the market from July of 2014 through November of 2015 – that’s a year and four months, folks. I had just closed a deal on another home in the neighborhood and I saw this listing cancel and fall off the market.
I managed to track down the owner, Kevin, who’d moved to Florida and was pretty disappointed over the amount of time wasted on the market, but he was kind enough to hear me out. I told him his last broker had seemed to do a decent marketing job, good descriptions, competent photos, etc and asked why he thought it didn’t sell. Did he get offers? Good turnouts at open houses?
Kevin told me no offers and wasn’t sure about the open houses. His broker didn’t give him much feedback. That told me what the first problem was. But I’d also been looking at the pictures in the multiple listing service (MLS) and told Kevin I couldn’t quite figure the house out. What was the glass block about, which room held the fireplace… He put me with a neighbor who held a key and I toured the home.
A little Staging Packs a Big Punch
It was a pretty home but kind of quirky. Built in the 1950’s as an 800 square foot starter home, it had been added onto twice. Before Kevin had bought it in 1993 someone had enclosed a car port and added on the family room addition on the north side. Kevin then added a master bedroom and bath on the south.
I saw the potential of the place, but the pictures I’d looked at didn’t do it justice. I told him it was a great place but needed some push. I thought the price was fine and if he’d let me re-list it and put some furniture in it, I could get it sold. He agreed to take another shot and off we went. Here’s what I did:
Warm Up the Kitchen and Original Living Room
The prior broker took a decent photo, but they were a bit cold and empty. A couple items in the living room and something as simple as a red towel on the stove helped. It also helped that I used a warmer filter when I shot.
Beamed ceilings, a stone fireplace and clean tile flooring made for a handsome family room. A couple overstuffed couches, coffee table and rug and a bit more color lets you see the potential of the room – brings it out nicely. Here we are looking toward the fireplace…
And here we are looking the other way. Behind that partial wall is the dining area.
So what’s with the glass block? It seems obvious there’s a bath of some sort in there, but where to hang your hat (or toss your shorts, as it were)? We put a bed in place and a few pillows and now it makes more sense. By the way, I could have shot that photo a little brighter and the broker before me did, but again, I went for warmth and logic. Not sure which is the better shot, but at least mine lets you see the potential of the room.
Looking the other way, the addition of the bed, side table and chair better define the room. It’s not a big room and my furnishings may actually make it look a bit smaller, but at least someone looking online has a much better idea of the scale of the room and how it works. The concept is clear and there’s no room for disappointment when they see it in person.
“It Looked So Cool”
OK, not the exact words of the young couple who eventually bought it, but pretty close. They liked the way it looked online and stopped by one of my open houses to see it live. They spent a lot of time wandering around the home and I was pretty sure they were hooked. They had their own broker and a few days later he called to tell me they were going to take a private look. A week after that we were in escrow.
It wasn’t just the staging. I held frequent open houses, knowing how many buyers like to cruise them. The price was right and the staging was impressive enough to grab attention. It just needed the right touch and some good exposure.
– Joe LaMastra, Realty One of New Mexico, May 31, 2016