Cleveland Heights Home Staging Success Story Back to top Contact


Cleveland Heights Home Staging Success Story

Seller’s Goal

The  home staging part of preparing this home for sale for this Cleveland Heights home seller was logistically made a little bit harder as the seller was living out of the country so communicating via different time zones meant leaving messages asynchronously sometimes.  This Cleveland Heights home seller tried unsuccessfully to sell their home for over two years. After being unsuccessful trying to sell, the sellers decided to rent their home, which in the end, resulted in the tenant being evicted and the home was both abused and neglected.  This Cleveland Heights home seller desired to sell without taking a huge financial hit due to the deteriorated condition and the declining state of the market.


At the time the sellers found us via our website, the home sat vacant, neglected with the sellers living outside the country. The sellers asked us to please take a look at their home and to let them know our thoughts regarding selling their home. We first visited the home on May 29, 2008. This home was a substantial, all-brick, colonial home with large rooms, four finished levels, three car attached garage, three fireplaces, and a large roof deck surrounded by mature trees. However, this once-fine home had fallen into significant disrepair due to the tenants disregard for the property. This home had an old, dated kitchen and bathrooms, a wet basement that was a complete mess with strong, leftover animal odors, and many deferred maintenance issues.

Homes in Cleveland Heights in this type of condition would only appeal to investors, and most sellers cannot sell at a low enough price to make it attractive to investors, so this segment of buyers was out. Most retail-types of buyers are not interested in tackling updating a home with this many issues, so there really wasn’t much demand in this buyer segment either. Renting was out of the question, so taking the same approach as last time for the two years it was on the market (stick a sign in the yard, put it in the MLS, and wait for buyers to come) was not an option for this seller. There are other options options…

Olsen Ziegler Solution

In order to achieve the sellers’ goals, home staging was needed after some general updating by remodeling (by removing a wall to enlarge the space) and renovating the kitchen, minor cosmetic bathroom updating, refinish hardwood floors, minor misc. items and home staging.

Total Seller Investment




Positive Net Return on Investment (ROI) by choosing to renovate and home staging.

Seller Kudo

“It’s a story in its own right how we came to find Olsen Ziegler Realty. Three previous Realtors, affiliated with three separate, well-known Realty Companies, all claimed they possessed expert market insight and that they would aggressively market our home. However, in the end, we got bad advice on pricing, no strategy adjustment due to the market slowing with the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and the “aggressive marketing strategies” all boiled down to a listing in the MLS and waiting for prospective buyers to come along.

After our house sat on the market for an entire year with virtually no showings and suffered the wear and tear of being empty over a Cleveland winter, we finally decided to try renting. Renting didn’t prove much more successful since our tenants decided to stop paying rent when my wife’s job took us overseas. By the time we completed the eviction, the tenants were months behind in rent and left the house in disgusting shape; there really is no other better word for the condition in which they left the house.

Being overseas, we had no option but to find an agent who could oversee repairing the property and getting it rented or sold. After an exhaustive search of both Realtors and Rental Property Managers we finally selected Olsen Ziegler Realty because no one else who competed for the business had as detailed a plan for how to repair and market the house; had previous experience doing similar projects; had as many wildly happy references; or provided as detailed market analysis in such an easy package to understand.

Olsen Ziegler proposed a variety of marketing options, from investing nothing in the property and listing the house at a rock bottom price to a complete renovation that would increase the initial asking price by at least $75,000. We elected to invest $40,000 to repair and renovate the property over an 8 week time period. Olsen Ziegler Realty would manage all aspects of the project from material selection to coordinating contractors and laborers and providing me final authority to approve everything.

By the end of the project, our home had a complete renovation of the kitchen with new cabinets, appliances and granite counter tops; two renovated bathrooms; a waterproofed and renovated finished basement; sanded and coated hardwood floors throughout 3 levels; and a full interior painting. To top it off, they also staged it with furniture and accessories and made sure all the routine tasks like yard maintenance and cleaning were done. Julie Ziegler was especially valuable during the renovation process; she selected materials, appliances and décor that both fit within the budget and greatly enhanced the property’s overall appeal.

All the renovation and repair was done while I was out of the country and the project was completed both on time and on budget. Unlike all of our previous experience, Olsen Ziegler not only met their commitments, they exceeded them on every count.
Seventy-eight days after the house was listed, their efforts and my trust in them were rewarded– not with a single offer, but two on the same day! The offers came at a time when no other house in the neighborhood was under contract; in late October, typically a poor time of year to sell in our neighborhood; and just weeks after the Banking collapse of 2008; and at 95% of our listing price. And, like every other aspect of this project, Olsen Ziegler Realty protected my interests during closing and made a logistically difficult process as easy as could be wished for.

Beyond all this, Olsen Ziegler saved me money in all phases of the project. Their listing commission was less than the typical rate of the large Real Estate companies; they brought with them a complete portfolio of contractors and service professionals who did excellent work at rates less than had been quoted to me previously; they identified savings opportunities with the “re-issue rate” on title insurance; they selected a Title and Escrow company that was both less expensive and which managed the out of state transaction like I had been sitting in the office with them; and provided expertise in negotiating the sales contract so that the buyer ended up assuming thousands of dollars of City Point of Sale (POS) repairs.

The expertise and services of Olsen Ziegler Realty truly put them in a league of their own!” – Matthew F.

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