The Real Estate industry hasn't changed much in the past 50 years or so. There have been some nice technological advances that have helped the potential buyer navigate through the sometimes overwhelming home buying maze with sites such as RedFin, RMLS online, and Zillow. These websites help buyers get a sense of market values, see what is listed, and most importantly, allows buyers to "see" a property prior to seeing it in person, which saves time for the buyer and the realtors.
Zillow announced that they will be offering the ability to purchase a home directly online through Instant Offers, as well as keep their Make Me Move option. This could potentially be an issue for Realtors. But how will it affect the Home Staging Industry?
Home Staging has been proven to increase sales prices and reduce listing times, mostly due to the professional online presentation of the pictures. We don't know how the online purchasing option of Zillow will affect the staging industry, but what we do know is that the online presentation is going to have to be even better for those who will be listing without a Realtor. Realtors who don't embrace home staging and professional photography will be the first to feel the impact.
"Homes are already, in effect bought and sold by photos online", says Home Stager Melissa Marro of Rave Home Staging. "If photos shown online, through the many reciprocity, sites don't look spectacular, then showings are slow or non-existent." She goes on to say "Price reductions are the next step for these dinosaur agents. Savvy agents understand that staging is the first step in helping a homeowner maximize their equity".
I regularly ask clients if they looked online prior to purchasing their next home and I have never heard anyone say "No". I feel that in this day and age, buyers are now expecting homes to be staged, thanks to HGTV and the many television shows about the amazing transformations of home staging. And if they are not, they wonder what else has this seller skimped on? Are they really ready to sell? Why are they are not doing everything they can to sell quickly?
Zillow may affect Realtors lives but every seller needs to know that they can't skimp on home staging and professional photography in this age of online everything.