Throwback Thursday Post - Staging Your Home to Sell
Last week I found an older post that still held true today. I was told by a "website guru" that it might be a good idea to keep old posts, polish them off if necessary and give them a fresh date. So I'm trying it. The truth is, many people won't go back to a post written in 2005 and think it pertains to today's market. But some posts hold up, as the one below does.
The following post was originally written on November 26, 2005
If you've heard of the term "staging" your home, you're probably wondering how important it really is. I believe it is very important. Buyers continue to get more picky. What this means is that your home has to be the best for the price in order to get an offer.
Multiple offers are happening less often than during the Seller's Market of the past. So how do you make sure your home is the best in its price range? Choosing the correct price is the first step, the next step is "staging" your home for sale.
What is staging?
Staging is doing as much changing as you can, within your budget, to make your home look as close to a model home as possible. You might be looking around your house laughing right now. I realize your home might be 50 or more years old. You might have some original features that you have no intention of changing for the sale. That's fine, you just do the best you can.
The first step is to remove all clutter and personal items. Unless you have so much stuff that you need to pay for storage, this should not be an expense. Box extra items up and get rid of things you'll never use again. This goes for the home, closets, basement, garage, shed, etc. Clean out whatever you can. Pack up personal items such as family photos and collections. The buyer needs to be able to place themselves in the home, not to get constant reminders of you. You might actually like the spared down look yourself.
Paint or clean the walls
The next step is to really look at your walls through your buyer's eyes. Are they just dirty or do they need to be painted? Walls and floors are important. If you have decent paint that is somewhat neutral maybe a cleaning will be sufficient. Maybe all you need to do is clean or patch certain areas. Painting an entire home can be very costly if you have to hire someone to do it. It's a big job to do yourself. But it could make a huge difference in how your home is presented to buyers. If it's needed and you can do it, go ahead.
I hear many sellers say that "the buyers will want to paint it themselves." That's not true! A fresh neutral palette (which doesn't mean stark white everywhere) can attract a buyer to choose your home out of the competition. No one wants to paint. Buyers have choices - you only have one home to sell. This might be an investment that could get a quicker sale at top dollar.
Floors are the next most important item and sometimes makes an even bigger difference than the walls. I recently convinced a couple to cover their beat up hardwood floors with new carpeting. They didn't seem too happy about it but they did it and it completely transformed the home. It made it cleaner, brighter and more updated looking. They loved it. And we got two offers on this home. Also, because of getting new carpet put in, it forced them to get rid of a lot of clutter that they boxed up, including a bookshelf that was messy looking. This also works for bad tile or vinyl flooring in kitchens and bathrooms.
A new floor can make an older room look newer and cleaner. If you can afford this expense there is a very good chance you'll actually get your money back via a higher offer. In fact, it's better to do this than give the buyer a credit as so many buyers are "visual" and simply can't envision how new flooring would make such a huge difference.
Wood laminate is so good today that sometimes I really have to get down and touch it! This is the popular way of getting the hardwood look, usually at a lesser cost. Although some people don't care for hardwood, it seems to me that the majority like the cleaner look vs. carpet.
Rearranging existing furniture
The other part of staging is rearranging furniture to showcase rooms better. Sometimes changing furniture around can open up a room, make it look bigger and/or more welcoming. It might also encompass getting rid of oversized pieces that make a room look cramped.
Proper placement of art can warm up a stark looking wall. Adding a plant or two can also make a room more welcoming and add depth. I can give you some ideas although I'm not an interior decorator or professional stager. You might actually want to hire a professional that has experience in staging a home to sell if you can afford it. Once again, you need to look at the whole picture and hopefully by spending some money, if you can, you should be able to recoup some of it with a higher offer.
We can help at no charge
I once had a listing where the family of 7 outgrew their home. They had a typical split level style home with a family room in the lower level. Their family room was packed floor to ceiling with "stuff." I told them to sell they'd need to clean it up & it was like they had a new home with this new living space. They almost didn't feel the need to move! This was many years ago before staging became popular.
Over the years I've had many sellers tell me they didn't want to make changes because the buyers would rather purchase their own carpeting or choose they're paint colors. As I said before, many buyers just can't see what a place could look like if fixed up. Today, a bit of color is actually popular and it can still be neutral using a warm beige color instead of stark white. Carpet should be a beige shade; stay away from greens, blues, reds or browns. If you have less than perfect hardwood floors you might be able to get away with a nice area rug instead of carpeting the entire room. It will warm up the room and take your eye away from the older hardwood.
It surprises me how many sellers want top dollar but aren't willing to spruce their place up at all. Then their home sits on the market and they don't understand why. I always prepare my sellers during my initial consultation. I give them my opinion and suggestions and most have been receptive and understand that if they don't want to do any work they need to price their property lower.
The living room above was stuffed with a lot of big furniture & you walked in the door to the back of the couch
My favorite story was a home (picture of the living room above) that had a lot of big furniture and the placement was strange. We went room by room and they took down notes. I didn't expect them to do every single thing I mentioned, but they did. It looked like a different house! We sold it very quickly and it wasn't even on a good street (2 doors down from a school and apartment buildings across the street). But the staging they did and our photos made the house look fantastic. The best news? I can't remember if they put some furniture in storage or just got rid of it, but if they paid for storage it was their only expense.
Call The Judy Orr Team at 708-536-8200 and we’ll give you our staging ideas. We don’t want a seller to do or spend more than they have to and we know what buyers want and expect. We would never ask you to do something we wouldn't do ourselves. We've been there and done that to sell our own homes. We also have access to professional stagers if needed.