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Staging. When is a Good Dusting and a Vacuum Enough?

Implications of an Aging Population on Real Estate

We all know the statistics on today's aging population. There are almost 40 million people aged 65+ in the United States (13% of the population), and each year more than 3.5 million boomers turn 55.

This is having a significant impact on the real estate industry which will continue for years to come. An article on aging trends has broken down the following statistics on income and home ownership:

  • Eighty percent of elders are home owners and 20% renters.
  • The median construction year for homes was 1969 and 4.4% of the homes have physical problems.


  • About 68% of older homeowners in 2007 owned their homes free and clear.


I am writing a few posts about these population trends, and relaying what we're seeing on the street. This first post relates to staging.

I spoke with an older friend recently, and she was contemplating selling the family home. This is a beautiful old home (out of state) that has seen six children grow up and move on. The house is tidy and structurally sound, but it has the taste of an older couple which is not necessarily the taste of today's younger buyers. There are photos, knickknacks, brass fixtures and three floors of wall paper.

She was overwhelmed by the recommendation of her realtor to strip the wallpaper, paint, remove all of her things and put them in storage, and stage it for a younger demographic. It would be a huge disruption, time-consuming, and given age, health and other considerations, it would be exhausting.

True, the house would probably sell for a higher price without wall paper and a fresh coat of paint. But at what cost? In this case, the seller is willing to settle for a lower selling price in favor of convenience.

Often we get caught up in over-the-top staging strategies we see on T.V.. This usually entails a team of people making major updates and changes - and sometimes spending a significant amount of money - to make a home appealing to potential buyers. It is important to remember there are times when a little can go a long way. Whether it is a good dusting and a vacuum, cleaning your windows, de-cluttering counter space, or edging the lawn, there are many small things that can have a big impact.

A good listing agent will take the time know to their audience. They will identify what is important to the seller, not his or her bottom line, and structure the sale accordingly.

Likewise, a buyer representative will see this as an opportunity for the right person to get a great home at a lower cost, and have a chance to make the improvements that suite their tastes specifically.

Stay tuned for my next post on the implications of an older demographic on the buying and selling process.

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