Real Estate with Anessa Cohen

Preparing a house for sale is a subject I have addressed more than once, but boy, was I surprised when I opened an Israeli newspaper (while vacationing in Israel) to find a detailed article about staging and how it is being used to sell apartments and houses in Israel.

The main shocker was the realization that this subject is considered so important in selling real estate in Israel, not just something we stress in the American real estate market.

The writer determined that in the Israeli real estate market, you had to spend at least 1% of your anticipated sales price on staging, which, if done properly, would return 10% on your investment. Obviously, in our marketplace this might or might not work depending on what’s necessary to be done, but it is a good general gauge to start with. Although I have never calculated the return on any staging investment in actual percentages or dollar figures based on what was spent as opposed to what kind of profit was made on the investment, there is no doubt that investing in some sort of staging prior to placing a house on the market always makes you money.

Many of the basics emphasized in this article were similar to what real estate professionals already highlight when discussing staging, such as making sure all small and large system repairs are taken care of, painting, and maintenance, promoting the overall care and nice presentation of a home.

I liked how the article drew on ideas that are as old as time in regard to real-estate selling but have been put on a back burner here: for example, having cookies or bread baking in the oven when buyers come in to look at your home, so the smells are inviting, allowing a prospective buyer to feel, “Mmm, how good it would be to live in this house,” or “Wow, this is the kind of house I would like to live in, warm and welcoming!”

Ironically, the writer went from warm, good, homey smells to the bane of the real estate broker—houses that smell from pets. Often, homeowners have lived with the pets so long that they no longer smell the odors that have permeated the house. Unfortunately, buyers coming into such homes usually only think of how they will have to live with these odors if they purchase the home, and never look beyond this.

What all of this says is the same in both countries: preparing your house for resale means also thinking a little outside of the box. Your lifestyle may not be the one that the potential buyer is looking for; therefore, presenting your home as a place that’s comfortable for any lifestyle is a key purpose of staging.


Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to Read more of Anessa Cohen’s articles at


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