Should you stage your home to sell it?
Do you know how long it takes a potential buyer to form an opinion of your home? Some buyers will decide in about 15 seconds whether your home goes on the “Rule this one out” list or the “Keep this on the potential list”.
When it’s time to sell, it doesn’t matter how much you love your home’s decor or how much it cost to get the look. It’s not going to be your home any more. It’s a commodity which must appeal to the largest number of people. It’s not personal it just business. There are lots of great homes on the market so if you want to see that sold sign, it’s time to get to work. The goal is to appear to give the most value for the dollar. One way to do this is to visit open houses or the parade of homes looking at homes that are twice the value of your home. Try to find a wall color to paint throughout the main level or other upgrading idea that will not empty your wallet but will make your home stand out above the rest of the competition.
By now, you have no doubt heard about staging and what an effective tool this can be when used properly. A recent poll of real estate agents indicates homes that were staged sold much more quickly and often for more money. You can hire an expert or do it yourself. The reason this is effective is you are not only selling your home but a lifestyle. You want to potential buyers to enter you home and see themselves living there.
The basic elements are simple, starting with depersonalizing your home. We tend to fill our homes with memories, including photos, knick-knacks from trips, kids artwork and other items that declare to visitors, “I own this home”. That’s not what a buyer wants to see. They want to imagine themselves in this home for years to come making their own memories. It may be tough to do but you must remove family photos, religious objects and teddy bear collections. The last thing you want is for the buyers to spend more time looking at the people who own the home than the home itself.
The best selling advice you’ll ever get is summed up in two words – De-clutter and Clean. Newspapers, magazines, books, lost socks, homework and mail are referred to as “visual dandruff” by decorating experts. It is the first thing a buyer will see and will visually impair the selling points of your home. Clear it away and while you’re at it, remove any furniture that sticks out in walkways or obstructs doorways. If your sofa is a little too comfy, consider a slipcover or renting something more presentable. Arrange furniture to take advantage of a room’s focal points, including windows or fireplaces. Try to make the rooms appear as big and open as you can.
Everything must look fresh and updated. One of the least expensive updates is paint. Choose neutral colors. Remove wallpaper it can be a turnoff along with pastel colored paint. Invest in new hardware for cabinet doors and take down the heavy drapery. Counter tops should be completely cleared except for maybe a small green plant or the coffee pot. Enhance your home’s space even further by clearing out the closet and utility areas. Light, bright and airy is the look you’re going for. Wash your windows!!
Continue your staging efforts on your home’s exterior. Nothing is more important than a first impression. An attractive planter, new welcome mat and freshly painted door is an invitation to explore what’s inside. Remove the dirt and cobwebs from last fall. Make sure all of your doors and windows open properly. A little bit of WD40 never hurts. I am sure you have heard the old saying “You never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression”. It was probably said 1st about selling a home.
Staging will take a little time and money, but the results are worth it. In today’s competitive market, it’s a must. Remember staging is a word that means many different things, most important it means improvement. It does not have to cost thousands of dollars. Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest differences.