Staging your home prior to selling is one of the smartest decisions a seller can make, especially in a buyer’s market.Â I started seeing the benefits of staging back in 2005 when the real estate market was slowing down. It was becoming more and more difficultÂ for Realtors including myself to sell ourÂ listings. After reading some articles on staging I decided to try it on one of my listings. A few weeks later I received an offer on that listing, so naturally I wanted to stage more of my listings. The problem I ran into was convincing my sellers that staging was a viable option for them. I believed in it so much that I decided to take some classes and get my accreditation in home staging. Since getting my staging certification my sellers have beenÂ more cooperative and open about staging their homesÂ knowing that I have taken some classes. Let me make something clear, I don’t mind helping my customersÂ moveÂ a few pieces ofÂ furniture around butÂ most of the time I recommend a full time staging professional. It’s important that I keep my focus on the selling aspect and leave the staging to the professionals.
Staging is about making a house more appealing to a larger base of buyers. You can take a cold and lifeless looking house and turn into a warm and inviting home. The challenge staging presents is working with a small budget,Â that is done byÂ utilizing items around the house. Staging is about preparing a house for sale, so it needs to be viewed through the eyes of potential buyers. To see what potential buyers are going to see you need to walk in their shoes. I suggest you get into your car, drive around the block and pull back into your driveway as though you are seeing the house for the first time. Make sure you take plenty of notes during your walk through. Be very critical about what needs to be done. I made a list of some important things to consider when staging.
Work on the curb appeal â€“ Stand back and look at the house as if you were seeing it for the first time. Curb appeal is important because itâ€™s the first impression a buyer gets to make of the house. Plant fresh flowers, fresh paint, and remove anything that obstruct the buyerâ€™s pathway to the house such as overhanging branches.
De- clutter â€“ The purpose of selling your home is for you to move, soÂ it wouldÂ makes sense forÂ you to start packing your personal items ahead of time,Â wouldn’t it? You’ll have that much less to do after you sell. Start by removing allÂ loose items from the flat surfaces, put any unused appliances out of sight, clean out your closets and remove all attached items from the surface of the refrigerator.
Depersonalizeâ€“ In some cases sellers have personalized their home soo much that itâ€™s difficult forÂ the average buyer to visualize themselves in that space. You need to ask yourself, how comfortable do I feel moving into a stranger’s home? Buyers are veryÂ snoopy by nature and will spend most of their time and energy focusing on your personal items instead of focusing on your house, if you give them the opportunity. The goal is for the buyer to leave rememberingÂ your house, the floor plan, and not what type ofÂ family you come from.
Clean, clean, clean â€“ Itâ€™sÂ the #1 rule and I am not talking about a surface cleaning, Iâ€™m talking about a deep hard to reachÂ crevice cleaning. It tells potential buyers that you must have taken really good careÂ of the house and it helps put them at ease.
Think about traffic patterns - Arrange the furniture into smaller more natural conversation areas andÂ keep the furnitureÂ to scale with the room. Remove furniture from areas that donâ€™t have a purpose or that stop the natural flow of traffic.
Accentuate the positive - Highlight your homeâ€™s best architectural features by cleaning, de-cluttering, and highlighting
Define the spaces â€“ Give very room a specific purpose.Â A dining room should only have items that beÂ belongs in a dining room and nothing else.
Turn on the lights & open blinds - when you have a showing, it gives the home a sense of life.
Create the illusion of space - The illusion of space can be created by painting walls in a lighter color, by bringing furniture closer together, by using lots of lights to make the room brighter and by removing unnecessary furniture items.
With so many Realtors out there positioning themselves for your business, itâ€™s difficult to figure out whichÂ oneÂ will do the best job at selling your house. Hiring the right agent is theÂ most important componentÂ to selling. After all, hiring the right agent could mean the difference between sellingÂ or not selling. In order to help youÂ I came up with what I think is a pretty good way to find the right agent to market your property.
The easiest and best way is to contact your family and friends to see if they have recently worked with a good Realtor, one that they would recommend. If your family and friends can not help you, then I suggest you follow the simple steps below.
Â Start by going online to Realtor.com, thatâ€™s where 80% of home buyers start their search online. Before I get started, I want to mention that Iâ€™m not affiliated with Realtor.com. Matter of fact, I have issues with the way they pick my pockets every year. Itâ€™s important for me to use Realtor.com, because it helps me show you which agents are putting their time and money into promoting their listings.
When you get to the front page of Realtor.com start your search by just entering your zip code, then spend some time looking to see which agents are doing the best job promoting their listings. Keep in mind that when you find listings with multiple pictures on Realtor.com those agents are paying a lot more money to promote their listings in that manner. Iâ€™ve written down a few things to think about when you are searching for the right Realtor to promote your property.
Â Here is a list of thinks youÂ should asked yourself:
Â Whoâ€™s featuring more than one picture? If 80% of home buyers are going to search here I would want to know why that agent is not reaching into his pockets to promote his listing. Maybe that agent has more issues with Realtor.com then I have or maybe he’s figured out a better place to spend his money, either way, I would want to find out why? As a seller it would be important for me to have multi pictures on that site.
Howâ€™s the picture quality? I would look for the agents that are featuring the brightest and sharpest images. Selling homes is like selling anything else. If you want someone to go out of their way to see your product when there’s so much to choose from, you better give them a good reason to do so. Thatâ€™s probably why big companies spend so much money hiring expensive photographers and Advertisement Company.
What is that picture saying? Look for the agents that put some thought into their picture selection. Ask yourself what is that picture selling me?
Are they using a wide angle lenses? Most Realtors do not use wide angle lenses, so if you happen to find pictures that where taken with WAL keep that agent in mind, it’s a big bonus. A good WAL will take sharper pictures and shows off a lot more of the area, which give buyers a better understanding of furniture placement and so onâ€¦
How does the property description sounds? Compare property description, some Realtor’s put more thought into it than others. TheÂ listing enchancement feature that Realtors pay for on Realtor.com lets you addÂ more inviting description on Realtor.com.
Is thereÂ a virtual Tour?Â BuyersÂ want to see virtual tours.
Is the agentâ€™s contact information there? You wantÂ an agent that can easily be reached by a potential buyer needing additional information.
Is the property address showing? Buyers love to drive by the property before calling a Realtor to show them the property
Â Before you log off Realtor.com write down the addresses of the ones you picked toÂ do a drive-by of those properties. When you are in front of the property see if there are well stocked on property information sheets and see if the yard sign has a rider with the agentâ€™s name and phone number attached to it, you might want to call that number too. Itâ€™s a good idea to see how quickly a Realtor will respond to a sign call. There’s a lot for you to do here, butÂ that extra workÂ up-front could mean the differences between selling or not selling and making a little bit of money or a lot of money.
Emotions play many important roll in our lives, itâ€™s what drive us to succeed and what drive us astray. Emotions get in our way when it comes to real estate. Buyers canâ€™t negotiate in their favor because they get emotionally attach to the house they want to purchase and sellers canâ€™t close a deal because they are to emotionally connected to the property they are trying to sell.
When it comes to negotiating the person that has the greatest control of their emotions will have the upper hand and the person with the most knowledge will come out on top. That is why itâ€™s important for a seller selling FSBO to have a professional involved in the sale of their home. A Realtor will help put everything into perspective and can help you avoid costly mistakes.
Here areÂ some other common mistakes to avoid.
Decided to do it FSBO â€“ A 2007 study by the National Association of Realtorâ€™s shows that when selling FSBO (a.k.a. private sale), those sellers will typically net an average of 16% less, then if they where toÂ sell with the assistance of a real estate Broker.
Established their own value- If a property is not priced correctly when itâ€™s put on the market that property will spend more time on the market and result in a lower sales price.
Rejected the first offer- There areÂ many sad stories about sellers regretting to accept the first offer that was presented to them.
Seller is not motivated â€“ In a buyers marketÂ non-motivatedÂ sellers tend to saturate the market with more homes, ultimately bringing home prices down.Â
Failing to interview more than one agent- Like doctors and lawyers there are good and bad Realtors out there. In order to eliminate your chances of working with a bad agent itâ€™s good practice to interview at least three.
Putting the home on the market before its ready- The first month or two is when a new listing getsÂ its most activity. In order to take full advantage of that window of opportunity the property needs to be ready to sell prior to being put on the market. In order to do so it needs to be cleaned, de-cluttered, and de- personalized
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