Home Staging 101

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If you are trying to sell your home, you need to take staging seriously. Nearly one-third of all buyers looking for a new home look online. Looking online means they are looking at photographs and deciding whether or not your home is a contender and whether or not they want to see it in person. If the pictures don’t look good, or don’t look good compared to others the buyer is viewing, you are likely to have fewer potential buyers visit your home.

Staging is also very important once potential buyers are through the door. Here are some helpful tips that will help you sell more quickly, and for the best price:

1) Paint

When selling your home, you want your home to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. You may love your candy apple red kitchen, but not everyone does. Paint is one of the most simple, effective, and cost efficient projects to get your home ready to sell. Very basic, light, earthy tones allow buyers to see the home’s potential and makes it easier for them to mentally decorate, design, and personalize the space. Not only does paint help broaden your buyer base, but a fresh coat of paint also feels new, fresh, and like the home has been well maintained.

2) Neutralize

Let’s face it, when you put your home up for sale you are acknowledging that you are soon moving and the home will no longer be yours. You will, at some point, need to pack up the family photos, knick-knacks, collectors’ pieces, and other random items you have placed throughout your home. That being said, it is recommended that you face this reality head on, take a proactive approach, and pack up the personal items the moment your home is listed on the market. The only items that should be seen by visitors are the items you need on a daily basis. I have sellers that ask me, “So what would you recommend we pack up?” My answer is always very simple…when listing your home, it should basically look like a hotel. What I mean by this is that anyone could come over, with a suitcase of personal items, and have just the bare necessities available to them for their visit. Basic furniture, generic décor, and kitchen items are about it. As a seller, you want a buyer to see themselves in the home and want them to already feel like they could live there. The less of you they see in the home the greater chance they will see themselves in it.

3) Fix it

If something is broken, or even looks broken, fix it. When potential buyers visit your home, they are looking for reasons not to buy just as much, and for some even more, than they are looking for reasons to buy. Don’t give them a reason not to buy your home. If you have a broken door handle, replace it. If you have a hole in your drywall, repair it. When a buyer sees a problem, they begin to worry about what else may be wrong with the home. Some buyers will say, “If this person doesn’t even fix a problem that is obvious, what else is wrong with this home?” Do repairs cost money? Of course they do. However, it can be more costly for a buyer not to fix them. Choosing to sell a home without making necessary repairs will inspire buyers to place lower offers. Buyers often over compensate when they factor repairs in to their decision.

4) Smells matter

There are 5 basic senses and smell is one of them. When a buyer visits a home, the smell of the home can influence a buying decision. One of the most common smells that turn buyers off is pet odor. I am not asking you to get rid of your furry family member, but I am asking that you keep clean. If you have a litter box, make sure clean it daily. It is not just enough to clean it before an open house or tour. The waste may be gone, but the smell is not. Also, be careful of what you spray throughout the home. I have seen sellers spray air freshener throughout their home prior to a guest arriving. One of the most common things I am then asked by potential buyers is, “What smell are they trying to cover up?”

5) Cleanliness is next to godliness

While this tip has been more or less explained in tips one through four, it can not be emphasized enough. At the end of the day, a clean home will sell quicker than a dirty or cluttered home. I would even go so far as to recommend having your home professionally cleaned. Have your carpet and rugs cleaned, toilets and tiles scrubbed, windows washed, exterior power washed, etc. To have a house cleaned from top to bottom can cost several hundred dollars, but it is money well spent. If you are selling your home for $200,000, and it costs you $1,000 to have your home cleaned, the cost is 0.5% of the listing price. Having a sparkling clean home will not only help sell your home, but it will help you get the best price.

Remember that selling a home is more than putting a sign up in your front yard. Any property can sell. There is a buyer out there for just about everything. However, as a seller, you want your property to appeal to as many people as you possibly can. Having a broad appeal will help you sell your home quickly, and for the best possible price. If you make selling your home quickly and for the best possible price your goal, the time, effort, and financial investment made will make a lot more sense and will not feel like a burden.

Brian A. Peters, M.B.A., M.S.A.
Shorewest Realtors

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Categories: Home Selling

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