Selling Your Home? Remember the Tortoise and the Hare

An investor flipping a house planned on staging the home to help it sell; very smart!  Unfortunately, prior to having it staged, in his haste to get it listed and sold, made a very common mistake.

The lesson in the story of The Tortoise and the Hare is that you can be more successful by doing things slowly and steadily than by acting quickly and carelessly.  The same is true when selling your home.

The investor was like the hare. No, he didn’t take a nap, but, in his haste to get the home listed, he took five photos of his investment and put them on the MLS. The photos were of the bathroom and kitchen, and I’m guessing he took them with his cell phone.  Why was this a mistake?  Because in today’s market, it’s critical to take every step to make sure your home stands out, even if it means pushing the listing date back a little.

The quality of the photos was poor and dark, and it was difficult to see the updates that he had spent so much time and money on.  In the description, he mentioned that professional photos were coming, but I don’t think very many people even read that after seeing the photos.  The cell-phone quality photos didn’t make a good first impression and I’m sure buyers moved on fairly quickly.   Which photo below would get your attention?

This is a photo of a home I staged last year, taken with my cell phone


 Professional photo by JPG Media

Very early on in my staging career I had a realtor tell me that the best chance of selling a home is in the first two weeks.  He explained that with Zillow, and buyers are able to set criteria for the home they’re searching for: how many bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, price, etc.  When a home hits the market and meets their criteria, these websites sends an email alert to the buyer(s).

A buyer’s first view of a home is online.  I use to track homes I have staged.  Redfin has a that you can click if you want to “favorite” or save a listing, or they have an 𝗫  that you click if you don’t like the home and don’t want to see it again. has a to save a listing or a “no” symbol to hide a listing.  Buyers who didn’t like what they saw in the five dark photos most likely will never see the photos of the home staged.

Photo taken by a realtor – notice the dark background


Professional Photo by JPG Media

At the end of 2017, I staged a home that had been on the market for 45 days.  After being staged, the home was in contract in one day.  As it turned out, I knew the buyer’s agent.  She told me that she had tried to get the buyers to see this house several times prior to staging.  Every time she brought it up to them, their response was the same: It’s too dark and needs too many updates. This was the impression they gathered from the online photos.

 The sellers took the home off the market to have it staged, and when it was relisted the buyers sent the listing to the realtor and said, “we have to see this house”!  They didn’t even realize it was the same home their realtor had been trying to get them to see.

When spending the time, energy and money on preparing your home for sale don’t make the mistake of listing before it’s ready.  Make sure you’ve removed excess items, finished the cleaning, painting, done repairs/maintenance, staged and had professional photos taken for marketing.

Element One can take care of the staging and professional photos and help you decide what to pack, what needs painting (including color choices) and what repairs and updates are necessary.

Remember the lesson from the Tortoise and the Hare and take the time to make sure you’re home is ready before you list.