Home Staging and the Laws of Buyer Attraction
by Jennie Norris, ASPM®, IAHSP-Premier®, ASP-SRS®, ASP-REO®
Owner, Sensational Home Staging – Serving the Greater Denver Region
The spring market is in full swing around the country as homeowners take the plunge and decide to sell. It is important to make the very best first impression for buyers and that means you need to Stage your house before you sell. Barb Schwarz, The Creator of Home Staging® coined a phrase used by many in the industry, “The way you live in your home and the way we market and sell your house are two different things.” What that means is there is nothing “wrong” with how you choose to live in your home. However, selling a house requires a shift in mindset because you are looking to attract a buyer.
Staging is the process of preparing a house for sale so that it sells in the quickest time and at the best price. It is an up-front investment in time and dollars to ensure you maximize the rate of return on the sale of your house.
Property Interviews and Dates that lead to a Match
Think about any time you went to a job interview or on a date. Did you shower, dress up nicely, present yourself well to the person you were meeting? Hopefully you answered, “yes.” Selling a house is no different. Buyers preview your potential property online and I call that the interview. When they come in person to see the house – it’s a date. In both instances the house has to look its best. If the buyer does not like what they see online, then there is no date set to see the house in person which means no offer. One leads to the other and both are essential to get you the best price for your house.
It’s the laws of attraction at work.
You might be in a “hot market” where houses are selling quickly, and yet Staging will help you get the very best price and in some markets results in competing offers for the property because it looks so good. In a traditional market statistics show that Staging helps houses sell 2-3 times faster and anywhere from 5-20% MORE than the un-staged competition. Your ASP® or ASPM® Accredited Stager can explain the difference between “Staged List Price” and “List Price” which can mean more money in the sale of your house, as well as show you the statistics that support Staging.
We live in our homes and sell a house or product. Staging is about preparing the house for the unknown buyer and that is why we have to put things away that are personal to us or might be distracting to buyers. All you know about a prospective buyer for your house is that they have money to invest in a property and are searching in your area. You don’t know their age, faith, race, background, politics, education, what they do for work, or family status. In order for your house to attract all buyers you need to remove any of those things I just listed from your home and turn it into a house that all buyers can appreciate.
Staging is also to help protect the Seller. By removing things that are too personal such as family photos, financial information, health issue items such as prescriptions, you are protecting your family from potential predators online and in person. Even something as generic as kitchen knives in a butcher block need to be removed because they are weapons. In fact any weapons in the house need to be removed and/or secured before any buyers enter the house. It is both a safety and liability issue.
Here are some tips you can use to help get your house ready to sell:
1. Clean your house – top to bottom, inside and outside. A clean house tells a buyer that you took care of your house and they feel better about the purchase. If you don’t have time to do the really deep cleaning in bathrooms and your kitchen, hire someone to help you. It will be well worth the investment.
2. Clutter-Free – removing all the excess from corners, counters, and rooms is key. You are packing – just pack up early so that when you get that offer, you are already well on your way to being ready to move. Think about the things you have now and decide if you really want to pay to move them – and then purge and donate things that you no longer want or need.
3. Color – we paint our walls custom colors that we like but have to understand they may not appeal to the buyers. Paint out any bold colored walls to a nice warm tone neutral. If you love that color you get to paint it in your new home. Remember we are selling SPACE so open up those rooms visually by putting warm tone neutral paint on the walls. You can add color with artwork, accessories, accent pillows, and bedding. Do add color to the exterior of your house with fresh annuals that are cheerful and inviting.
4. Pets – What do we do with our fur babies when the house is for sale? Buyers may have positive or negative experiences with pets so you need to minimize the evidence of pets for photos and showings. Buyers may assume a pet soiled the carpet or did damage to the house if there is evidence of a lot of activity. Leaving a large dog that barks in the backyard or garage is not a good strategy. Taking them with you, putting them in a day-kennel, or having family members help out is a good plan. Pets that are strictly indoor pets need to have a discreet area to do their business that are kept very clean, and if they are housed in a cage or terrarium it should be clean, covered and located in a discreet part of a bedroom. Make sure pet hair is cleaned up before any showings, and take time to remove any dog “bombs” from the back yard so buyers don’t track that inside.
5. Personal Items – As you prepare your house for sale remove anything of value. If you leave things out on display they are at risk because a buyer could handle them, accidentally break the item or even steal it. Jewelry should not be left out nor should prescription medications. I recommend my sellers take those things with them when there are showings. Just stuffing these things in a drawer is not a good idea because buyers may snoop.
6. Get Help - The last and most IMPORTANT recommendation I am going to make is for you to get an objective, third party opinion on what your house needs to prepare it for sale. Find an Accredited Staging Professional® (ASP®) Stager in your area and have them prepare a Staging Consultation which is a documented detailed summary of what you need to do room by room, inside and outside. We don’t see our houses the way buyers see them – and getting an objective assessment is crucial. On average a consultation investment can range between $125-$375 depending on where you live. If your house is vacant, an ASP® Stager will preview your house and provide a Staging estimate to Stage the key rooms in the house.
To find a qualified, trained, Accredited Staging Professional go to www.Stagedhomes.com and click on the ASP Directory Link.
About the Author:
Jennie Norris, ASPM®, IAHSP-Premier®, ASP-SRS™, ASP-REO™, ASP-BTS™ is the owner of Sensational Home Staging, serving the greater Denver region. Since 2002 she has Staged over 3,000 homes and over $1 Billion in property values. She is a Board Member of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals® (IAHSP®) and is the President of the local Denver IAHSP® Chapter. Jennie is also a Certified ASP® Course Trainer with Stagedhomes.com and since 2005 has helped educated thousands of Realtors and Stagers. Staging is her passion and she enjoys sharing the value and benefits of Staging with Realtors and Sellers. Jennie is a marketing expert, author, blogger, mother to four teenagers and wife of 27 years. You can find her online at www.SensationalHome.com.