Want to know how the experts stage homes to get them sold fast and for top dollar?
Before we talk about the steps involved, there are 3 rules you should know about dressing your home to sell.
Rule #1 Buyers are literal. They only know what they see. They typically have very little imagination, so you must create imagination for them, via staging.
Rule #2 First Impressions really are lasting. Buyers decide whether they want to like or dislike a home within seconds of entering. Your home either connects with them or it doesn’t, enhance the first impressions.
Rule #3 Your home will sell because of emotion, more than logic. The way to stimulate emotion is to make your home a place where people really feel at home. Make it warm and inviting, showcase special features of the house or lot.
Now let’s talk about the steps to follow to stage for a faster sale
Step #1 Assess the situation, be honest about what needs to be improved. If a floor is marred or a room needs paint admit it and fix it. You’ve heard it before, the way you live in your home is different than the way we show and sell. You may need to change your lifestyle for a short time to accommodate this rule.
Walk across the street, spend a few minutes looking at the house as a buyer would; examine the curb appeal, make notes of items that need to be cleaned, fixed or spruced up as well as what looks good.
Step #2 Eliminate Clutter, no surprise here, you knew we were going to say it. The quickest, least expensive and most effective way to improve the impression of your home is to get rid of the clutter.
Clear Kitchen and Bathroom Counters. These are the areas where you need to show the most space and neatness. Put small appliances and personal items away out of sight.
Closets and cabinets should appear to have plenty of space available. Pack or get rid of anything you’re not using and organize what’s left in every closet, drawer and cabinet in the house. Yes, buyers will open everything – they want to make sure there’s room for their stuff.
Re-arrange furniture so rooms look larger. If over time you’ve added furniture pieces that narrow an entry or hallway, if you have to walk around, if it blocks clear passage or interrupts the flow of a room or walkway, remove it now to an off-sight location. Decide now if you’re going to keep it, if so rent a small storage unit while your home is on the market. Storing things in the garage is counter-productive making the garage look cramped. Less is more in this case.
You’re going to move right? Start packing now, it’s time to make the decision if you want to keep, sell, pitch or donate.
Neutralize, neutralize, neutralize. Buyers have a hard time visualizing “their” new home when they see your personal stuff everywhere. Think about how home builder’s show off their models; they look warm and inviting, anyone could live there.
Don’t forget about de-cluttering the outside too; put away hoses, store garbage cans out of sight, pick up the kids or dog toys replant any pots that have dead plants.
Step #3 Spruce up
Make improvements where it can make the biggest difference to the sales price. Again, be honest if you see scuff marks or you’ve removed pictures from the wall, fix and add a fresh coat of paint. Painting strategic walls is an inexpensive way to make the biggest impact. Don’t forget the exterior, if you see peeling or worn paint – so will the buyer. Don’t devalue your home by trying to sell your home in poor paint condition. Pay particular attention to the Front Door, Mail box, Walkways, Garage Doors.
Professional Cleaning, after you’ve spruced up, bring in a pro to clean the entire house. Floors, windows drapes – everything! Check for odors, if you have pets the carpets and furniture may need to be deodorized. Odors are the #1 turn off for a buyer so don’t forget this important step.
Home Inspection, isn’t required but a great way to set your home apart from the competition and make a great impression with the buyer. Better to know now if there’s a problem so you can fix it before and a great way to show a buyer the house has been well cared for, and in good condition and repair. This simple impression adds value. It will save potentially embarrassing or expensive situations if a problem is discovered after you’re under contract.
Step #4, The Best Light
If you have low wattage light bulbs or compact florescent bulbs, remove them now and replace with high wattage bulbs throughout the entire house.
For every showing, turn on every light – make your home alive and inviting. Open all drapes and blinds. Buyers respond positively to light and bright homes. A home that is bright will always sell better than a home that appears dark.
You and your agent are a team now, so it’s important to work together on what really needs to be done. Be honest and don’t get offended when your agent suggests things that need to be done. Now is the time to divorce yourself from your home and think of it as a house, think of it as a product and the best way to market that product.
Thinking about selling your home? Give us a ring, we bring more than 20 years of design and staging experience as we work with our clients to sell their home quickly for top dollar.
Cathi and Ben Walter