Sunday, May 17, 2009

Staging for Success

You're ready to go. The move is inevitable. You've selected the best agent to market your property and the price is right on the money. Easy sell, right? Wrong! In today's buyer's market, a house priced right in a great location is probably competing for a buyer with the other 30 houses priced right in a great location.

There is one important question that needs to be asked: Is my house a VALUE perceived by buyers? Even though it's priced right, you need an edge to make it THE value that buyers want. The answer to this is staging.

Staging turns the home you live in into a model home. It makes rooms feel larger and roomier, gives buyers an idea of how their belongings would fit in the space, and helps buyers to see how they would live in the house.

So how do you stage your house?

1- CLEAN thoroughly. If you don't have time to clean, hire a professional cleaning service to come in to clean the house. This includes windows, window sills, walls, bathrooms, kitchen, etc. Paint is very inexpensive and will heighten the interest of buyers. If your house needs to be freshened up, a good paint job will do the trick. Your house has to sparkle!

2 - FIX anything that needs to be repaired. This includes windows with broken seals, leaky plumbing, etc. If you want to know the true condition of your house, hire a licensed home inspector to give you a thorough inspection.

3 - ELIMINATE clutter. Start in the kitchen. Organize the cabinets as well as the refrigerator and pantry, clear off your counter tops. Also take the time to organize your bedroom, hall and linen closets. Make sure you don't forget to eliminate personal items in the bath as well. Make sure everything is neat and organized. Yes, buyers do look in closets, cabinets and in bathroom drawers.

4 - NEUTRALIZE colors. If your house has an eggplant bedroom, black trim, or a Tennessee orange family room, then repaint with a neutral color. Neutrals are not limited to beiges and tans. Explore some contemporary neutrals in the brown and green families. Talk with a local designer or check out some model homes in new neighborhoods. Don't forget to neutralize odors, too. Pet and cigarette odors are immediate turn offs.

5 - DEPERSONALIZE your home. Removing political or organizational trinkets and accessories that would potentially deter buyers from seeing themselves in your home.

On March 17, my parents listed their home to sell in Williamsburg, Virginia. Just a small three bedroom, one bath home in an established neighborhood, their spent a few thousand dollars to have the hardwood floors refinished and the walls and trim painted neutral colors. They also decluttered the house by storing some unnecessary furniture in the garage and attic. In just five weeks, they had an acceptable offer on their house. Currently, Williamsburg is a buyer's market.

For more on staging your house, check out THIS LINK. Staging will take some time, but it will be well worth it in the end when you're sitting at the closing table signing on the dotted line.

If you're looking for a real estate agent who understands staging, please feel free to contact me. I will provide advice on how to get your home staged for successful results, and will also provide you with references to stagers in the area who can help you get your home ready to sell.

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