For most of the past year, sellers could list a home in virtually any condition, and ask almost any price…. And get it – immediately. Those days are gone. Selling your home for top dollar requires effort and planning on the part of the seller and the agent. Buyers now have their choice of homes in their desired area or neighborhood. So, the question becomes, “How do I make my home stand out?
There are three keys to a successful sale with less stress and more profit. They are condition, presentation, and representation.
If you have lived in your home for any period, you need fresh eyes to come in and let you know what a buyer will see and experience when they tour your home. The things you may be worried about could be unimportant or even unnoticeable to buyers. After spending tens of thousands of dollars on major “upgrades” that will net them little to nothing, we have had sellers bring us in. That is simply heartbreaking. On the other hand, we have been called in to assist with homes that have sat on the market for weeks or months, and with less than a thousand dollars worth of finishing touches such as updated light fixtures and neutral paint colors, the property sells that week.
It is never too early (or too late) to bring in a professional. We offer complimentary design assistance to all our staging clients because we so firmly believe in optimizing the condition of your home for its best presentation. Rarely does a home require major renovations such as a full kitchen makeover or bathroom remodel to sell. Even when that is recommended, there are ways to simplify, streamline, and reduce costs.
Good News! That was the hard part! Now it is all about setting the stage. Envision the process of attracting the offer you want like a giant funnel. The pictures of your home drive the showings and the showings drive the offers. The more people who look at the pictures… walk your home… and make an offer, the more likely you will create a bidding war. That’s the ultimate goal, right? It all begins with the street view of your home. Is there overgrown shrubbery blocking the view of your home? Deferred maintenance like peeling or chipped paint? If so, it’s likely buyers won’t even look at picture two. You’ve lost before you even started.
Moving inside, if the home is vacant the listing includes picture after picture of empty rooms. Buyers are left to guess function and layout. The feelings of boredom (at best) and bewilderment (at worst) DO NOT inspire that feeling of “I’ve got to see THIS house in person today!!”. Once a potential buyer does schedule a showing, how to set the stage for them to fall in love with your home? There are several trade secrets to attracting the buyer such as engaging multiple senses, creative use of vignettes, “come on in” furniture placement, etc… But some simple rules of thumb apply in every situation.
For the most money in the shortest time, a staged vacant property is the gold standard. Neutral, inviting decor and furnishings appeal to the widest array of buyers (remember the funnel we talked about earlier!). Being able to open closets and cabinets without being confronted by your clothes, your foods, your medications, and your wet towels hanging in the bathroom makes it SO much easier for a buyer to see your home as the perfect fit for their family.
However, not every homeowner can vacate before listing. If you will be occupying the property while it is listed, it is vital to seek professional assistance to neutralize your décor, maximize floor space, and improve flow through the home. Bringing in a team of professionals that can include a stager, organizer, and cleaning crew will make all the difference in how your home looks and feels as buyers consider your home versus the house down the street. We ensure the home is welcoming, fresh, bright, and open; in short, a buyers’ dream home. Whether vacant or occupied, the investment made ineffective staging brings an exponential return. Effective staging is NOT bringing in a truckload of generic furniture, staging in 2 hours, and moving on to the next job. Unfortunately, that IS what happens with many stagers (Do your research!! Ask for references!!). Staging THAT WORKS involves knowing who the buyer is for a given area and targeting the staging at them specifically. Staging a 1,200 Uptown condo is a totally different undertaking than staging a 6,000-SF behemoth in Highland Village.
Now more than ever, having a top-notch realtor on your side is essential. There are agents and then there are SUPER-AGENTS. In this market, you need a super-agent. How they market your home WILL determine how much you get and how soon you get it. One of the key indicators of a super-agent is how and when they handle the initial listing. Listing midweek to build steam for an open house is a basic strategy that super-agents apply regularly. Seeding the listing with “power words” to drive showings is key. We read so many lackluster listings with no real personalized appeal. A cookie-cutter, cut-and-paste approach simply does not get the job done. What made you fall in love with your house when you purchased it? That is likely what will appeal to the next buyer as well and may need to be included in the listing.
Pictures should be viewed as a tour of the home from the street to the backyard. Successful photos tell a story, starting with the exterior, entryway, living areas, kitchen, and moving to the master, master bath, office, bonus rooms, back patio, etc… Having an upstairs bathroom picture placed before the master bath, or the back yard before the living room is confusing to the potential buyer. The pictures need to flow in a logical order. These are just a couple of examples of the difference your agent and their team make in the sale of your home. If you already have a great agent, that’s wonderful! If not, we can put you in touch with a super-agent that specializes in your area that wows us every time we see their work.
Our goal is to smooth out the home selling process, by reducing stress and increasing the amount you walk away with. If we can be of any help, reach out to Texas Best Stagers at 940-305-9945. Follow Home Staging Dallas TX for more information.