One home was staged, and the other was not. Which one do you think sold first: the average home, neat and clean, but rather plain vanilla, or the one with that all-important “wow” factor?
If you want to compete in today’s market, it is important, if not imperative, to stage your home, creating that jaw-dropping, eye-popping, just-gotta-have-it look that will make buyers race to the office with their Realtor to write an offer.
Just What IS Staging?
Don’t let the term, “staging” intimidate you. Staging simply means presenting your home in its best possible light. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Borrowing a line from the movie, “Jerry McGuire”, if you want the buyers to walk into your home and breathlessly whisper, “You had me at hello…” , you’ve got to impress them the moment they step inside.
And in order to draw them inside, you’ve got to “woo” the buyer from the outside. With a fresh pair of eyeballs, stand back and take a good look at the exterior of your home. Beautiful landscaping that is well manicured, offering a clean, inviting look with fresh mulch and a splash of color will keep a prospective buyer glued to the internet wanting more information or parked in front of your home calling their Realtor to get inside.
Don’t forget your mailbox. If it’s all dented or rusty, replace it. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, and if the hardware also shows signs of age, polish it up or replace it.
When buyers walk inside your home, they need to find it so clean it sparkles! Clean will sell a house faster than anything! Don’t have the time to scrub every corner or get up on a ladder to clean the top of your ceiling fans? Invest at least once in a cleaning crew to take care of that for you. And if you can afford to, go ahead while the home is on the market and keep a cleaning service coming in weekly or bi-weekly to keep everything looking and smelling clean and fresh. This will help your stress level, too!
Everybody tells you to de-clutter, and you should, but what IS the definition of “clutter”, anyway? We think of clutter as that mess out in the garage, or books piled up in corners. But when you’re selling your home, clutter is defined as anything that will detract from prospective buyers looking at your house. They need to be able to visualize themselves in your home, and they can’t do that as long as you have family pictures and other memorabilia sitting all over the house. It also tends to make the rooms look smaller and disorganized. So box it up and store it away. If space doesn’t allow, rent a storage unit. De-cluttering also means getting rid of superfluous items on your kitchen counters, vanity tops in your bathrooms, and too many things stuffed into your closets. Create as much floor space as possible, too. Box up your area rugs and store away any furniture that is taking up too much space in the room. Think of it as advanced preparation for your upcoming move!
Keep it neutral: Several years ago when you spent an entire day putting up that wallpaper you now hate, I’ll bet you weren’t thinking about the day you’d have to take it back down. I know I wasn’t thinking about that! What a hassle! Often you have to rent a steamer to get the stubborn wallpaper off, and sometimes you have to deal with repairing damaged drywall that tends to come off with the wallpaper. Well, if you’re considering putting your home on the market, that day has come! The wisdom of the day is neutral colors. Even though it might sound boring, walking in to a home with a neutral palate helps create the illusion of a newer home, and homebuyers find it much more appealing than the unpleasant thought of having to strip wallpaper or paint over dark colors.
Remember, you’re in a stiff competition. Buyers will look at literally dozens of homes before making a decision. In order to be the lucky winner and receive an offer in today’s challenging market, you’ve got to be willing to pull out every stop.
If you want to see some staged homes before you take the plunge yourself, visit some open houses, especially model homes, and you’ll see how they’re “all dressed up and ready to sell”.
In recent years professional home staging has become a booming industry, and they bring a lot of value to the table. If you prefer to hire a pro, The Shafer Team pays for one hour of home staging consultation. Often it only takes an hour for a stager to walk through your home and offer great advice you can run with. Or you may want to take it up a notch and hire him/her to purchase some accessories or even help you pick out a new countertop, paint color, or an attractive area run. I think you’ll find them very cost effective in helping you get top achievable dollar for your home.
And if you would prefer to hire a stager to get your home ready, I can recommend several area stagers who would be happy to help. Write me at Jacki@TheShaferTeam.com
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