6 UPLIFTING TIPS to Get Your House STAGED and SOLD
By Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP®
Owner, Sensational Home Staging – serving the Greater Denver region
1. If it’s cluttered – PACK IT UP
Clutter is a natural part of life and most of us do our best to stay on top of it. Things on surfaces, floors, walls, and in our yards – are all items we enjoy or have “plans for” – and that is life. However, when selling a house – the clutter that is part of daily lives actually cuts into our equity. As Barb Schwarz, the Creator of Home Staging®, says, “Clutter eats equity” and the more of it that is around, the harder it is for a buyer to look past and see the possibilities of the house and of living there as their home. When Selling – PACK IT UP – pack up the clutter and this actually gives the Seller a head start on moving – as when the Seller gets an offer they will already have packed up a lot of their smaller things and personal items – which will lessen the stress of having to move.
2. If it’s dated – SPRUCE IT UP
Not all houses are new. Not all buyers want new houses, and yet most all buyers want houses that are in move-in condition. This means that if your house or listing is dated, it might be worth the investment to paint or upgrade elements of the house so it stands up to the competition. Spruce it up – put in warm neutral paint colors on walls and paint over any custom colors that are too bright, too dark, or too dingy. Don’t be stubborn about painting – you are moving. You can paint your new house the colors you want but for Buyers – make the effort to help them mentally move in to the house you are selling by giving them a warm neutral palette.
Take down wall paper or paint over it – wall paper is too customized and individualized - make your house Buyer neutral. Replace worn carpeting if possible, and remove odd objects, funky art that is possibly distracting, and pack up controversial items. Replace dated fixtures – for about $25.00-$75.00 you can replace a faucet, ceiling fan or lighting fixture. That means for an entire house when you invest about $500 you can update a lot of elements that will help your house compete with newer houses for sale.
3. If it’s dirty, CLEAN IT UP!
Dirty houses are a turn off to Buyers. It sends the message, “I did not care for my house and you will probably find maintenance issues here.” It may also send the wrong message to the buyer that you are desperate or in some sort of sticky situation if you are not maintaining your house. That is the wrong message to send when selling. Dig in and do whatever you can to make your house really shine. If you are not able to do it yourself get help. Call in favors or get volunteers that can help you do what you need but do not put a dirty house on the market. If there are pets, get rid of the hair – and that means you need to vacuum UNDER the furniture too – and suck up those dust balls.
Get an objective opinion from someone that has high cleanliness standards – and LISTEN to their advice about your house and don’t take it personally. The things we do for buyers may be beyond what we do for ourselves, but remember this is all about the EQUITY in your house – and your desire to get the BEST offer in the SHORTEST time. Be willing to clean your windows and bathrooms until they sparkle. Buyers can tell how well you’ve cared for your house by looking at the small things – window tracks, bathroom or tile grout, fixtures. If you cannot afford to replace worn carpet, at least CLEAN it! It is an inexpensive investment to ensure your house looks the very best based on your timeframe and budget.
4. If it’s broken – FIX IT UP
Houses that are for sale need to be in good condition as well as show well. It would be worth it to have a home inspector go through your house for sale and find all the things that need repair or replacement so that when the house comes on the market it is ready to sell. A buyer does not like going through a house that has “issues” that need addressing – and anything that can be done up front will help the sale. If you cannot afford a home inspection, go through your house with "Buyer's Eyes" and see how your house stands up to the scrutiny you know it will go through with showings. Make sure things are in working order, any cosmetic scuffs or knicks are repaired, and your house is ready for the public to come through.
5. If it’s overgrown – TRIM IT UP
The outside of the house makes the first impression and we have about 3-10 seconds to capture the attention . Curb appeal is extremely important and yet many Sellers fail to address that when their house comes on the market. Trees get bigger and overgrown, and shrubs grow wider and taller – and sometimes the house – that is the product – is hidden. Take the time to trim trees and shrubs so that they don't make the house feel crowded. Add color to help with curb appeal - with annuals or perennials that highlight the yard and house and show up well in photos. And don't forget the side yards and back yard. If there is a view - show it off. If there is an eyesore - minimize it with strategically placed trees or lattice. If there are unused pots or other yard items, box them up or get rid of them. Minimize "yard art" as well - remember we want the focus on the house, not pink flamingos or a collection of cute bunnies.
6. If it’s not selling – LISTEN UP
Ultimately, Staging is a marketing tool and a financial tool to help the Seller and Staging will help a house sell faster and at the best price in any market. It is well worth it to invest in an objective opinion about your house by hiring a professional Stager to come and create a Staging plan for your house. Listen up to your Stager and do your best not to take things personally when you may be advised to pack, paint or perk up your house.
Staging works – however it is not a “magic wand” that allows a seller to price their house outside of where it will sell. It will help a house sell faster than the un-Staged competition. Statistics prove that fact – and yet Sellers - Listen UP to your Realtor and if your house is not selling and it is Staged properly for sale, then it is the price that is keeping a buyer from buying. This does not mean that the Staging did not work – it means that the house needs to meet the market conditions and other factors that could be impacting the sale – and it WILL sell before the competition that has NOT taken into account presentation and Staging as a marketing, listing and financial tool.
Follow this UPLIFTING advice and you should be receiving an offer on your house that will lift you up and make you glad that you invested the time and dollars in Staging. Whether you implement the suggestions provided to you by a professional Home Stager or you hire them to help you do the work, Staging is a proven way to get top dollar for your house in any market. And in today’s market and economy, we need every tool available to help put our best foot – or your case – house – forward and attract the positive attention that will get your house SOLD!
If you are in the Denver region and want a professional Home Stager’s evaluation of your house or listing, contact Jennie Norris, ASP Master®, IAHSP President, and Owner of Sensational Home Staging (www.SensationalHome.com)