Feature Article in the KC Star


June 13, 2015

Successful selling experience leads to ‘Stage to Sell’

You could say that for interior decorator, business owner and author Kelli Soetaert-Pratt, necessity was truly the mother of invention.

She had a successful business creating faux finishes and murals in residential homes around the Kansas City metropolitan area, a husband and two beautiful children, and was living in her family’s custom-built dream home in 2005.

Then the housing market crashed, and the company that her husband was working for was bought out by two other companies. But, he was able to find a great new career position — in Colorado.

Because of the falling home prices, selling “in the black” seemed completely impossible.

“The idea of selling our home at the price we had built it was hard to swallow,” Soetaert-Pratt said. “That meant there would be no equity. It was as if we had just been renting for the past five years and throwing our money into a bottomless well.”

Determined to defy the market, she set up a strategic plan to make their house the house everyone wanted, by decluttering, cleaning and organizing, and putting a fresh coat of paint on interior and exterior walls where needed.

She next estimated what the family’s expenses would be and determined what investment was necessary to set their home above the others, without cutting into the equity they had planned on by going over budget on repairs and upgrades.

When all was said and done, she invited some family members and good friends over to come take a look and was told, “Your house looks like something out of a magazine!”

Three weeks later, the house was sold.

That experience inspired Soetaert-Pratt to write “Stage to Sell: Make your home the house EVERY buyer will want.” Her goal was to create a resource that would have a positive and practical impact on homeowners and promote the successful sale of their homes.

“After hearing story after story from homeowners across the nation who were having difficulties selling their homes, and of those who had given up hope of selling,” she recalls, “I decided to combine my interior decorating skills with my personal experience to write ‘Stage to Sell.’ I tell people that you don’t want to show the typical house. Your aim is to show a house everyone wants, so give them a reason to want it.”

“Stage to Sell” is designed as a workbook with step-by-step instructions, stages and schedules for any homeowner, whether in a thriving or challenging real estate market environment.

“Anyone can use this workbook as a guide to creating a home that shows like something out of a magazine,” she said. “Make the buyer fall in love with your home. Once they do, they will be willing to pay a fair price for it.”

The budget estimate pages help homeowners take into account the cost of supplies, repairs, upgrades and labor, while in each stage Soetaert-Pratt deftly addresses every nook and cranny of the home, offering practical tips on how to apply all of your senses to view the entire home from a potential buyer’s perspective. She also provides cutout patterns and graph paper that homeowners can use to explore different furniture arranging options for each room, and demonstrates how to deal with pet care, planning meals and daily upkeep while still living in the home.

“In the end, I really want homeowners to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, because selling your house quickly and for a fair price is now attainable,” said Soetaert-Pratt.

The book is also a great resource for those not yet sure if they are ready to sell, as well as for homeowners who simply desire to have a fresh, clean, organized and updated home to enjoy for any upcoming occasion.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/homes/article23747020.html#storylink=cpy