It’s really that simple – people believe what they see.
In Selling Your House – Part One, I noted the majority of today’s buyers want a house in great shape. If your hardwood floors are scratched and worn, the walls or trim in your home dingy and the grout in the bathrooms dark gray instead of white, your house comes across looking uncared for to potential buyers. In a matter of seconds (seriously) you’re written off as ‘dated’, ‘tired’, ‘nothing special’ or ‘too much work’. This perception leads buyers to question the condition of the house overall and wonder what else is wrong with it. Often you’re crossed off the list, right from the start.
Sellers need to go above and beyond cleaning their house though. They need to stage. Staging, if done correctly, helps make a home look it’s best and appeal to the highest number of people. It creates light and space and helps neutralize a home. The purpose is to get your home in the kind of shape that will allow buyers to focus on your house and its best features. If your home is too heavily decorated or stylized, you’re counting on attracting a buyer with the same taste. Sometimes you get lucky, but usually by leaving it in this state you’ve decreased your buyer pool by quite a bit. Buyers may remember the family room with the ‘red walls and large floral chairs’ and not notice the lovely set of french doors that led to the terrace.
I recommend bringing in professional stagers and working with a realtor who knows the market from both a seller and buyer perspective. You want someone up-to-date with current staging and design trends. Staging begins with decluttering. Get the process started by clearing counters, desks and bookshelves of paperwork and outdated knick knacks. Do you have old wallpaper adorning your rooms? Paint colors in the jewel tones of the ’90’s? You may need to refresh your entire house with a new and updated palette. In the long run, you’ll actually save money because you’re likely to get a higher price when you sell.
Your house could be spectacular in terms of its working mechanicals and hey, you even put in a new hot water heater last year. People however, have an emotional response to a house and a new hot water heater doesn’t do much for them. Don’t get me wrong – having updated mechanicals such as a new HVAC system or washer/dryer is great and definitely adds value and peace of mind. However, you want buyers to connect and if possible, have a lifestyle experience when they walk through your home. You want them to imagine living there – relaxing, entertaining, raising their families.
By not staging, you’re making price your only marketing strategy. All products must be marketed correctly in order to sell at the highest price, why would a home be any different? You need to look at staging as an investment, instead of as a cost. The value lies with how buyers perceive the property. Remember, people believe what they see.
The Spring market is upon us. If you’d like to discuss the process of getting your home ready for the market, please contact me. I’ll help you from beginning to end!