Thursday, August 5, 2010
Selling a home is a marketing process. What makes the difference between a fast sale at asking price and months on the market before an offer far below your target price? Staging your home can be the determining factor!
When a prospective buyer enters your home, you want that person to visualize it as his or her home. Learn to see your property through impartial eyes. Most buyers are inexperienced and can’t overlook trivial things to see the basic bones of a home. You have to set the mood, entice buyers to see themselves living in your home. To practice staging, visit a furnished model home. Notice how it’s decorated. Sparsely furnished, neutral tones, tasteful but limited decorations. A model home is staged to let buyers visualize possibilities.
To begin, buy packing material and polystyrene tubs or moving boxes. Yes, those family photos and memorabilia on the walls bring you pleasure, but they are anti-sale. In addition to letting people count the nail holes to repair, they proclaim, "This is my family, my home." Pack away personal items for your new home. The same goes for all your knick knacks throughout as well as small appliances on the kitchen counter. Sure you need that Mr. Coffee every morning—but use it then put it in a cupboard.
You’d be surprised how many people fail to clean the bathroom tile, the shower, etc. They think they’ll clean just before they move out. Wrong! If the home is not sparkling clean, it signals to buyers that probably you aren’t doing basic repairs either. Put on your big girl panties, buckle down, and scour until the place shines. If you are physically unable to clean, hire a professional service while your home is on the market. Costs money, yes, but it definitely will pay off in the long run.
A friend of my mom’s had trouble selling her home and I hesitated to interfere. The poor lady’s home was all beige. If that’s your place, invest in a few colorful, coordinated throw pillows and maybe a bright throw to brighten up the room. On the opposite spectrum, if you painted your kitchen red, Junior wanted his room black, and Sissy wanted her room purple—hello, you’ll need to paint. Neutral tones sell. Buyers want to move their furniture in without repainting. A few cans of paint and elbow grease can mean more money in your pocket. Remove scraggly or over-enthusiastic houseplants. Remove extra furniture. A crowded room looks too small. No, don’t put excess in the garage! Store extra pieces in a friend’s garage or in a rented storage unit
Do you have pets? Buyers see pet toys, litter box, dog bed, etc. and they think smelly, messy, damage. Our pets are part of our family, but they must be silent and seldom seen. If you have an open house, take your pets to a friend’s home for the open house or take them for a ride. Our cat hates any interruption in her routine and doesn’t travel well, so she went into a pet carrier while we had our last open house. Our dog went with us for a drive while the realtor held the open house. We picked up all the pet toys, cleaned the litter box and set it our of sight, and put the dog’s bed in a corner. Have the carpet cleaned so there are no spots or odors evident.
Buy some prepared cookie dough. Just before showing your house, bake two or three cookies so the smell drifts through the kitchen. Nothing says "Welcome home" like the scent of freshly baked cookies. If it’s summer and you don’t want to heat the kitchen, burn a candle scented like apple pie, sugar cookies, or another happy fragrance. Not as good as the real thing, but a good substitute.
Staging your home is an investment that pays off. You want your realtor to tell prospects, "This next home is a treasure and is move-in ready."
Caroline Clemmons writes parnormal historical, and contemporary romance. You can read her blog and comment to enter her prize drawing at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/. Learn more about her at her website http://www.carolineclemmons.com/