There's a new wave of home shows on TV these days and the focus is on getting a house seen and sold quickly and for top dollar. These shows feature all the elements of a good plot; drama, comedy, suspense, bad guys, victims, good guys, and always it seems a happy ending.
The drama unfolds with the scene set as the sellers, our victims, are obviously in desperate need of a quick home makeover to sell the place. The bad guys, the Realtor or potential buyers walk through the willing victim's home and offer candid, sometimes crude remarks on how the house shows. The victims generally sit like rabbits in hole at a neighbor's house and watch on TV as the scene unfolds and what these bad guys have to say about their place.
Yikes, they need help! Here they come to save the day, the helpful crew, our heroes; stagers, designers, painters, carpenters, camera men and of course our host, to the aide of our sellers. They will rescue our victims and the sale of their home by getting it spiffy for sale in less than 2 days and for less than it costs for a day at Disney World. Everyone's happy and the show, I mean sale, is a success!
How can you as a home seller create this same experience without America watching but reach your intended audience - the buyers in your market? I'll tell you how, STAGE your own property!
Staging is a marketing tool that highlights you home's best features while minimizing the negative. Staging is not about your personal style or taste.
Notice in most of these shows, the designer will “neutralize" the space and strip away the often outlandish, messy or outdated style of the owners in question. It's about selling the space, the house itself, not the contents. Buyers want to envision themselves in this home, not your house.
Treating your house like a commodity for sale on the open market is the first step in separating yourself from your home, it is now a product. It gets easier after that.
Here are a few simple tips to start you on your way to your own successful sale;
1. Declutter, depersonalize and deep clean your place. All the little knick knacks, kid's artwork, family photos and rooster collections need to be packed up and moved to storage. Save them for your next place. Remove items not permanently adhered to counter tops in bathrooms and kitchens especially. You have to pack anyway, get started early! Get the house cleaner than you ever have before, including the grout, wall plates, door frames, carpets and windows.
2. Neutralize vibrant wall colors and remove wallpaper, even if it is a “designer" color, faux finish that was popular 5 years ago or took 18 hours to dry. Buyers want a home that is move in ready and despite what you feel about the colors you love, buyers probably won't and will look at it as work to do - not move in ready. You can't go wrong with a warm beige or taupe or an antique white. A fresh clean palette speaks volumes.
3. Remove unnecessary furniture and rugs to storage. Keep only the necessary pieces to show placement and scale of the room. If your furniture is really in bad shape, consider buying few inexpensive newer pieces or slip covers, you'll be taking it with you to your next place so why not slurge a little? Rugs tend to create a disruption in flow, especially if they are small and scattered about the house this includes bathrooms. One anchoring rug in proper proportion per room is fine if not too busy. Buyers are purchasing square footage, space, flooring, architectural details and counter tops, not your furniture. Show them what they're getting by highlighting the house not your stuff.
4. Find the focal point of the room and highlight it, don't make it compete with something else. Maybe it's the fireplace or the beautiful view, sell the focal point, don't hide it! Large TV units are notorious for overshadowing the focal point of many rooms, if you can move it or store it while selling you're way ahead of the game.
5. Create curb appeal both in front and back of your property. Freshly mowed and edged yards, mulched flower beds and seasonal flowers welcome visitors to a home that says, “I've been well cared for. " Removing all excessive lawn art and equipment invite the buyer in and allow the imagination to flow. Keep hoses tight, pool toys stowed and bbq grills to a minimum and out of sight especially if they've seen better days.
By doing these steps prior to listing and showing your house, you've improved one of the biggest factors in the successful sale of your home, the condition.
You as the owner are the only one who can control that. So whether you invite an HGTV crew, a professional home stager or a neighbor over to help you, you've chosen to make your house the star of the real estate show in your local market, one that you have produced yourself and one that will most certainly have a happy ending.
Karen Otto, ASP, IAHSP is the owner of Home Star Staging, a full service Real Estate Staging and Consulting firm located in Plano, Texas. Karen knows what it takes to get your house seen and sold. While Karen doesn't sell houses, she knows what helps houses sell. Karen is passionate about educating the Real Estate Community and the Public on the benefits of staging. Please contact her for your home staging questions and needs.
Karen is available to the Real Estate Community and Media for articles, information and seminars on the home staging industry. Please contact her at Karen@homestarstaging.com