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Old 20.03.2016, 10:06
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

I saw the estate agent photos for a house for sale near us.

Every room had overflowing ashtrays - including the bathroom. The kitchen had two.
There was a nice display of cartons of Marlboro on the mantel piece.

I know one estate agent who said he would only show houses to prospective buyers without the owners present - and he would turn up fifteen minutes early to pick up dirty underwear off the floor and give the places a good airing.
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Old 20.03.2016, 10:27
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

In my 10+ years of searching for the dream house, and 10+ years of worrying about how difficult it will be to sell my current house, I've done a fair bit of trying to puzzle out Swiss buyers and sellers.

And come to the conclusion that we do not think at all alike. But perhaps the difference is that few Swiss actually need to sell their houses. They can wait - sometimes for a decade - until the right offer comes along.

When I saw this house it was filthy and full of weird 80s touches. A curtain blocking off the stairwell, electric extension cords running from the one room with an outlet through hallways to another room - that kind of thing.

I mentioned this later to the agent. Her response: Well, it didn't stop you from buying the house, did it?

Yes, I too had been 'conditioned' to the Swiss market. "Here is a house, take it or leave it - and good luck finding anything any better'.

This attitude is IME so widespread that I wonder if maybe this is a strategy. As in, the disarray says 'You can see that I don't care, I don't need to sell, so don't even think about trying to negotiate'. Who knows?


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Like anything else translated to a new market, you have to try to create a need for the service...it could work.
This I think is key.

The last decade has seen overheated markets, along with a growth of the number of people who can afford to buy a house. That however will be unlikely to continue. As the economy flattens and the bubbles deflate, perhaps we'll see more people needing to sell their houses with fewer buyers around.

That is the point where professional marketing of houses might just take off.

Anyway enough of my rambling... I think the idea is worth pursuing, and wish you luck.
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Old 20.03.2016, 11:10
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

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How do you make buyers come to expect this in Switzerland, and how can you demonstrate the value to whoever hires you ?

Like anything else translated to a new market, you have to try to create a need for the service...it could work.
I'm thinking word of mouth. If you help sell a house that's been stagnating on the market, the agency will know to use you for others. Then once you've pulled it off half a dozen times for that agency, you'll find it will spread and your phone will be ringing.
Imo you will only be able to do this in properties still furnished/partly furnished however. Or you'll need a warehouse to store large pieces, removal guys to move stuff in and out, etc.
But there could be something in it, truly. Good luck with it. You need a business plan and some solid market research.
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Old 22.03.2016, 08:17
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

A quote from a start up forum.

Mr Baxter said what investors were looking for was the right person with the right attitude, business approach and technical skills "who have identified a problem that is big enough that enough people care about to pay to have solved".

"If the problem is there to be solved by people, and customers are willing to pay for it, they will actually find their way through," he said.

Like brown sugar, fish and chips, a decent hamburger ect all lacking here your idea falls into the same category. Knowing you you have the first part of the quote nailed but as others have said, the real estate market and marketing here is not like anywhere else. Until now with the market rising there has been little need for the sellers and their agents to do anything except sit and wait for buyers. With a flatter market here with us now I am still not sure they realise they might have to do something (different?).

I think it is still worth exploring maybe as a hobby to begin with. Pick a few soft targets like properties that have been on the market for more than a year and work analysis why they are slow to move, mostly it will be price but maybe you can give them a nudge on that as well. This concept works elsewhere because of open inspections which do not really exist here, it is damn hard to even get an appointment to see the inside! Best of luck what ever you decide.
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Old 22.03.2016, 09:42
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

Susan,

I admire your idea and appreciate your motivation but as someone who's lived here for decades, I'll share some of my views of your before and after pictures.

Before photo: I noticed the walls, the ceiling, the carpet and the window. Although the room was quite bare, it was clean and modern. As a prospective buyer, I thought about all the things one could do with the room.

After photo: I wondered where you bought those nice bedsheets and was a bit depressed that my made-up didn't look as nice. What it didn't do, unfortunately, was motivate me to buy the place and add my own personal touch.

However, your ideas are sound because the Swiss like exactly what also is important to you: CLEAN, ORDER, SCALE and HARMONY. Although Swiss buyers may not need the American/British version of interior decorating to be moved into purchasing a house, other buyers may feel differently.

Good luck.
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Old 22.03.2016, 16:06
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

You might not like to hear this but I will tell you nevertheless. J


I did not like your "after" picture more than the "before". It felt "unreal" or staged (at is is), like stepping into a show-room or an American movie set. It is not how Swiss people decorate their bedroom. Sorry. What I loved about the room is the hard floor. I hate carpet. With a passion J. I agree that a clean apartment without drying bras everywhere (which I had seen at my last apartment viewing) is better but I would feel uncomfortable in a house that looked that impersonal. It looks like a showroom and I am not sure if that is what Swiss people are looking for. In my eyes you were “overdoing”, showing-off. This is really just the Swiss-me talking so please don’t get offended but I think other might tried to hint at it as well. Things are still done differently here and I for one am not looking forward to the “American-way” to taking over.


So I believe it would only work if you choose houses in the upper market that attracts and international crowd or people who are looking for a house staged as a showroom.




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Old 22.03.2016, 17:47
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

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You might not like to hear this but I will tell you nevertheless. J


I did not like your "after" picture more than the "before". It felt "unreal" or staged (at is is), like stepping into a show-room or an American movie set. It is not how Swiss people decorate their bedroom. Sorry. What I loved about the room is the hard floor. I hate carpet. With a passion J. I agree that a clean apartment without drying bras everywhere (which I had seen at my last apartment viewing) is better but I would feel uncomfortable in a house that looked that impersonal. It looks like a showroom and I am not sure if that is what Swiss people are looking for. In my eyes you were “overdoing”, showing-off. This is really just the Swiss-me talking so please don’t get offended but I think other might tried to hint at it as well. Things are still done differently here and I for one am not looking forward to the “American-way” to taking over.


So I believe it would only work if you choose houses in the upper market that attracts and international crowd or people who are looking for a house staged as a showroom.





Thank you for your honesty. It certainly would have been better, had I been able to photograph the room, without the furnishings.

Interestingly enough, I find myself the American in Europe, and the European in America, if you know what I mean. However, I absolutely do not mind the critique. I asked for your opinion. Thank you.

Last edited by arrow; 22.03.2016 at 18:27. Reason: typo
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Old 22.03.2016, 18:26
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

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I saw the estate agent photos for a house for sale near us.

Every room had overflowing ashtrays - including the bathroom. The kitchen had two.
There was a nice display of cartons of Marlboro on the mantel piece.

I know one estate agent who said he would only show houses to prospective buyers without the owners present - and he would turn up fifteen minutes early to pick up dirty underwear off the floor and give the places a good airing.
I think I must have visited this house today.

Poor gentleman, he looked quite desperate and will probably go straight to a retirement home, as soon as he can sell his property. Unfortunately, the many cigarette trays, sauna filled with suitcases, shower overflowing with clothes (not in function due to clothes!), bathroom counters covered with bottles, windows heavy laden with frilly pink ruffles, etc. etc....would need far more than one day of making order.

His far younger and beautiful wife probably could do the same as I am proposing, although I imagine someone might be blocking. Perhaps they have just lost their perspective or contact with the current market. I don't know, but sincerely felt bad for them. Their future retirement might depend upon selling this property, but it will be very difficult, unless they remove 3/4 of its contents and rid it of the unfortunate cigarette smell.

The owner even told me the market had changed and the price had already been dropped 20%. He wasn't even sure of the actual asking price, as it has already been on the market for over one year.

Anyway, the world is changing. My little idea of a service may not be enough to help anyone. Feeling sad today.

Last edited by arrow; 22.03.2016 at 18:28. Reason: spelling
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  #29  
Old 22.03.2016, 20:01
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

Or how about a house that smells like mold and you can see wet walls? Great, great location, but nasty smell and really bad layout.

70's kitchen must be a fetish here. I also saw an apt built in the late 90's with such old appliances!

One of the EV real-estate agents I called was as clueless as it gets - I called for a place worth X francs, still listed as available; the guy says something to the effect: "Are you stupid? Can't you see it's gone?"; and proceeds to redirect me to a property worth 5X francs.

Last edited by FunnyBone; 22.03.2016 at 20:30. Reason: Stupid auto-correct!
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Old 22.03.2016, 20:06
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

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I saw the estate agent photos for a house for sale near us.

Every room had overflowing ashtrays - including the bathroom. The kitchen had two.
There was a nice display of cartons of Marlboro on the mantel piece.

I know one estate agent who said he would only show houses to prospective buyers without the owners present - and he would turn up fifteen minutes early to pick up dirty underwear off the floor and give the places a good airing.

If an agent sells, often the owners aren't present.
Reasons could be various, though.
One apartment I toured was owned by a male couple who wanted to move into Zurich (rather than in a small town - they were getting older, their relationship was probably more akin to that of Ernie and Bert anyway).
They probably also wanted to avoid awkward questions and looks...

It was all clean - but at least one of the owners seemed to like to smoke heavy cigars or so because the place had the smell of a fumoir.
My guess was that this may have required removing the plastering at least partly, if not for the whole apartment. They had lived and smoked there for maybe 10 or even 20 years...
Location was nice, though it was a typical "DINK" layout in how the rooms where cut.
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Old 22.03.2016, 20:10
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

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Or how about a house that smells like old and you can see wet walls? Great, great location, but nasty smell and really bad layout.

70's kitchen must be a fetish here. I also saw an apt built in the late 90's with such old appliances!

Probably, all their money went into the house and they got the "will-do-for-now" kitchen very cheaply from somebody else...
;-)
I can imagine doing that myself. You can sometimes get great deals on used or show-room kitchens and I could imagine having a cheap one installed while I wait for my "dream"-kitchen (and the deal-of-the-century price tag).
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Old 22.03.2016, 20:11
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Re: Staging Houses/Apartments as a job?

Susan,
Don't be down. Some people one cannot help. Did you mention that you might be able to help them or was it not the right context ?
I think that for a corner of the market you definitely have something going.
Perhaps striking the right balance between drying bras and totally impersonal.
I was told 'remove photographs'/anything personal, but still I left some books and candles around in our ski flat so that it didn't look like a hotel.
The piles of clean towels can look nice (although it's more B&B than someone's home tbh). There's still a big margin where you can bring added value. And judging by some of the photos on homegate/comparis, there's work to do !
Allez ...
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