Pretend it’s Wednesday. I know it’s Thursday.
I’ve got real estate on my brain. We currently rent and are looking to buy. My husband loves Zillow. He loves going to Sunday open houses. He loves driving around looking at neighborhoods. I do not. It stresses me out. Even as I type this my palms are getting sweaty. For starters buying a house is a big flipping deal. I know because I’ve bought 3 of them. It’s not just buying shelter–it’s aspiring to a different life. It’s what rises up to greet you in the morning and what surrounds you as you sleep. It’s where your kids make their childhood memories. It’s where life–good and bad–is lived.
And houses are expensive. So I become crazy when I walk through them and they are up for sale with as much care as a toaster in a garage sale.
Houses should not would not NEVER be sold casually…unless you have money and time to waste. People put more time in cleaning out their cars when they sell them than they do their houses. I know this because I’ve looked at A LOT of houses. A LOT.
To quote someone somewhere and I don’t remember who-You wouldn’t go to a job interview in your pajamas so why would you try to sell your house when it is wearing its pajamas? I think I got that quote wrong but the gist of it works.
Which brings me to the point: Staging. I’ve successfully staged many homes for sale over the years and what I tell every client is that the sellers (the client) cannot see (or smell) their own homes objectively. It’s hard. When I sold the houses I’ve lived in I had babies and little kids and mess and clutter and a life to live inside the “product” being sold and it was crazy. It’s a product, by the way, once the For Sale sign goes up. A product that needs to be prepped and marketed to get the fair asking price in a reasonable amount of time. If neither is done then the price or the time it sits on the market, or both, will be jeopardized.
When I walk through a house as a potential buyer I do open the master closet to see how big and I do see all the clothes and mess shoved onto the floor. I do look around the house to see if it is clean which = maintained. I do notice if the house smells musty, dirty, or worse. I see the stains on the carpet, the dry rot, and the weeds. These are all psychological turn offs for buyers and fairly easy to correct. I say psychological because I don’t care what you say–Buying A House Is An Emotional Decision. Yes, I know all about solid foundations, new roofs and HVACS, location, location, location, and plumbing–but if you get the heebie jeebies when you walk through the front door, well more times than not–it’s a NO.
Here are 10 obvious and not so obvious staging tips:
1. SPOTLESS bathrooms. NO Excuses.
2. Update dated brass fireplace screen. Spray paint it with heat resistant paint (black?), remove it all together, or replace it with something current.
3. Frilly master bedrooms complete with lace and stuffed animals. NO. A master bedroom needs to appeal to both sexes. Keep colors neutral. The bedspread should be free of wear and tear and clean.
4. Stainless steel appliances and granite in the kitchen. So many times it’s the first thing I hear–it isn’t selling because the kitchen is dated. I know it’s money but the house sitting on the market or the asking price going down is money too.
5. Open the window shades. SUNSHINE is FREE.
6. Each room should have one main use. Is it a bedroom or is it an office? Pick one and pack up the rest.
7. Pack up unnecessary items and furniture. A cluttered crowded house says NO STORAGE.
8. Speaking of storage—Clean Out Your Closets. Buyers open them! If your closets are shoved full of random items this not only says not enough storage, but it also reinforces the wrong idea–Disorganization. Remember it’s an Emotional Decision and buyers are looking for an upgrade on their lifestyle when they buy your house. The house that is neat and orderly sends a positive message for better living–and that is the house buyers want.
9. Curb appeal is vital and don’t forget the backyard!
10. Plants! Greenery helps bring life into each room, cleans the air, creates a zen environment, and fills in bare spots.
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