Selling your home – STAGE IT
While this isn’t a story about food or health…. it is a story about creating balance, sanity, and positive experiences in life. All of which can lead to less stress and feeling better overall. So, if you are considering entering the spring real estate market, read on.
Do NOT, I said, do NOT use pictures like this to sell your home! Take some pride and roll up your sleeves. Become an active participant in the process of selling your home – here’s how. Your real estate agent can’t do magic with a mess!
Staging a home can occur on many levels. As a veteran real estate agent (my previous career), I can tell you – IT MATTERS!
In today’s digital age, the use of technology drives our real estate industry. While real estate professionals use computers to access MLS, handle critical paperwork, record documents, and more, there is one more element that is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to a successful sale:
PHOTOS PHOTOS PHOTOS
The old adage, pictures speak 1000 words couldn’t be more true in today’s day and age. If you are selling your home, I would demand excellent quality photos from your Realtor that are posted the SAME DAY as your home posts in MLS. In addition, the photography should incorporate staging.
Staging can be as simple as decluttering and cleaning or as detailed professional decor changes and remodeling. It can range from FREE to thousands of dollars. However, in 2015, the National Association of Realtors published a report titled “2015 Profile of Home Staging.” this report surveyed over 2,000 agents across the country and showed the median dollar value spent on home staging was $675. This may seem like a lot for some and a little for others. It all depends on your individual situation and perspective. But a little bit can go a long way.
This same report showed that 96% of Buyer’s agents felt staging had a positive effect of the buyer’s view of the home at least some of the time.
WOW! I would declare that it matters 100% of the time.
Here’s the bottom line. Buyers only schedule appointments after they see photos they like online. The photos have to appeal to a buyer – meaning they can see themselves living in the home. It must be free of clutter and simply showcase the house. Capturing a few decorating trends is also very helpful in appealing to the phinicky buyers cruising multiple websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and realtor.com looking for homes.
Once the buyer pulls up to view the home in person, judgement begins immediately. Here are some top, low cost recommendations for staging your home before it goes on the market.
1. Improve your curb appeal as much as possible. Pull weeds, cut grass, trim bushes to clear walkways. Remove dead plants. Clear all birds nests,wasp nests, and spider webs from the front entry area. Consider putting a fresh coat of paint or varnish on the front door and colorful pot of flowers on the stoop. If there are animal droppings or toys – get rid of it. Same with kids’ toys left in the yard.
2. Remove pets from the house during showings. I am a dog lover through and through. However a cat attacked me once during a showing. That little bugger sank his teeth right into my hand and I dealt with an infection, stitches, etc… for weeks after. Animals are territorial and you don’t know how they will act with strangers. For their safety and that of anyone in the house – please take them out. We wouldn’t want to accidentally have them run out the door or get hurt. Buyers will have a more clear sense of the home without the distraction.
3. Box up all your personal stuff. Yes – all your photos, statues, trinkets from Aunt Sally, afghan blankets from granny and old trophies from pops. There should only be a few simple decor items neatly arranged. Kitchen and bathroom counters should be clear of EVERYTHING for photos. Remove all magnets from the refrigerator, kids artwork from walls, and other items you have hanging in the main rooms of the house. And – make sure any holiday decor is displayed during the correct season. No one wants to see a Christmas tree full of dust in Mid-April. All this stuff needs to get moved anyway, start now. And the worst offender – dried flowers – NO NO NO. They have to go!
4. Have a system of stashing your daily items. Consider boxes or large plastic storage bins in each room to quickly stow away the stuff you use everyday. Food, small appliances, knick knacks, electronics, medicine, toiletries, clothes, toys, bills, paperwork, etc…. And for heaven sake – stash your dirty laundry where someone won’t find it – preferably not in plain sight on the floor! Don’t gasp – it has happened!
5. Deep clean like you have never cleaned before. Vacuum, make beds, and quick dust prior to showings. But before you list your home – CLEAN. All the places you don’t think about, door frames, baseboards, behind furniture, in cabinets, under sinks, windows, screens, window sills, door jambs, doors, and the vents. PLEASE clean your vents and bathroom exhaust fans. Empty garbage cans before a showing, especially the kitchen. Clean the counters and sinks in kitchen and baths. Have your carpets steam cleaned.
6. Paint over all bold colors. Neutral tones are best…. beige and grey family of colors. Check out color trends online and opt for something light and neutral.
7. Remove some pieces of furniture. If there is too much in a room, it looks cluttered and small.
6. Move around simple decor items to set an inviting tone. Simple things can really add a pop of color and interest. Move around throw pillows, artwork, blankets, and vases from room to room to assemble a cohesive, trendy look. A pillow from the guest bed might be the perfect compliment to the living room. Have an open mind.
9. No smelly room scents. Maybe a fresh swipe of lemon scent from a cleaning wipe or essential oil diffuser. Nothing overpowering!
10. Get rid of excess throw rugs. Have one entry mat to wipe shoes. Beyond that, remove the hallway runners, mats in front of the sink, etc…. anything smaller than a 5×7 rug should be stored. Many of these rugs tend to be a trip hazard and lead buyers to think you may be covering something up.
So take a look and you decide….. Here are rooms in the same house…before and after staging.