Anyone Can Learn How to Stage a House
Sell Your Home Faster
As anyone can tell you, this is a difficult time to sell a home. There are many reasons why you could convince yourself that it is impossible to sell your house in this market. However, some homes are selling. What makes those homes sell, when many others around them continue to sit on the market? Basically, there are only three reasons why a house doesn't sell: Location, price or appearance.
One step you can take is to use colorful flowers. They can greatly enhance your ability to stage your home so it will sell quickly.
STAGE YOUR HOME'S LOCATION!
If you are blessed to have your house in a great location, on a quiet suburban street with a pleasant view, then location is not likely to be a problem for you. However, millions of homes are located along busy roads, near shopping centers, or adjacent to ugly industrial areas. If this is true for you, what can you do?
Make every effort to minimize the affect of the neighborhood problems that detract from your home. Dealing with noisy roads? Build a higher fence or wall along that side of your property. Plant a screen of trees next to the wall. Place a fountain on the patio. The gentle tinkle of flowing water can mask road sounds. Do you have an ugly view of a power plant? Again, carefully planning your landscape can make all the difference.
STAGE YOUR HOME'S PRICE!
People are going to compare you house with similar ones in the same price range. Virtually no buyer selects the first house that they see. Consequently, you are going to have to price your house so it is one of the most attractive five or ten homes in that price range. The best house gets the offer. It's as simple as that! So, how do you make sure that your house is the best looking for the price?
First, go shopping yourself. Look at the other homes on the market for the price you are hoping to ask. Would you choose your house, or one of the others? Would you trade yours, if you could? Then chances are good that a potential buyer will choose one of the other homes, too!
What if you are "upside-down" in your house? That is, what if you owe more on the mortgage than you believe you could sell if for? Talk to a Realtor about your problem. There are different ways this could be handled, and a qualified Realtor should be able to help you. For example, some of the larger firms have departments that will help you negotiate a short sale between a potential buyer and your bank. Approximately nine states have non-recourse laws, which make it difficult for a bank to sue you for a deficiency judgment on a sale that falls short of covering the amount of the mortgage. However, this is not true in all states, and even where it is true it can trigger some tax issues that you should be aware of. Again, a Realtor could help you figure out how to handle the pricing of your property.
STAGE YOUR HOME'S DRIVE UP APPEAL!
If you have determined that your house is not the best looking one available in your price range, there are many things you can do to improve its appearance.
First, look at your house from the street. Drive-up appeal is the way that your house will put its "best foot forward." First impressions are essential in real estate, just as they are in other aspects of our life. While your house is going to be on the market, make sure you have taken steps to keep your lawn trimmed and edged on a regular basis. Fertilize your lawn, so it stays fresh and green for as long as possible. In some parts of the country, people will over-sow their lawn with winter rye grass so that it remains green in the winter, when the Bermuda or St. Augustine grass turns brown. In addition, to the lawn, be sure that your sidewalk is swept clean, toys are not scattered around, and the shrubs are well-tended.
The next way to improve your drive-up appeal is to plant spots of "color" around the yard. Flower beds, potted flowers, and shrubs with brightly colored leaves are all ways to add a bit of cheer and color to the exterior of your home. Take special care to set a few pots of flowers on the porch, or along the sidewalk leading up to your front door. These flowers will help create a warm feeling that makes buyers want to return soon. In addition, spending this extra effort on the front of your house will be helpful when buyers drive back by your house while they are deciding which house to make an offer on. You want your house to be the one with the cutest front yard!
STAGE YOUR HOME'S INTERIOR!
Once the potential buyer enters your front door, you will want to make an effort to have the interior of your home look as much like as model home as possible. HIDE EVERYTHING EXCEPT FOR A FEW, DECORATIVE ITEMS. Minimize the number of photos, vases, collectibles, books, CD's, DVD's, and other visible items. There should be no more than 3-5 items on a shelf or table. Be sure your house is clean, the carpets are vacuumed, and any walls that have gotten dirty or dingy have been repainted.
Bathroom and kitchen counters should be cleared off. Make-up, shaving kits, toothbrushes, and toiletries should all be kept under the counter. Lock up your medications. Try to have only a few small appliances on the kitchen counter. Set out a decorative bowl of fruit. No clothing or shoes should be lying around outside the closets. If your cabinets or closets are going to look stuffed, this is a good time to start packing. After all, you are planning to move! Pack up all the off-season clothing, extra decorative items, excess linens, rarely used kitchen appliances and other things that are filling up your cabinets and closet.
When you are expecting buyers to tour your home, turn on all the lamps and open all the drapes. A bright, cheery, open house is more appealing than one that is dark and has a closed-in feeling.
I highly recommend that you do a few home improvement projects before you list your home for sale. If you are looking for ideas, you can use this direct Amazon link to the book: 301 Simple Things You Can Do to Sell Your Home Now and For More Money Than You Thought. It is full of fabulous ideas for getting your home ready for sale.
STAGE THE WAY YOUR HOUSE SMELLS!
Finally, how does your house smell? While you do not want to put room deodorizers on every table, having a few candles, or other scented items sitting around can help your house smell very appealing. Some researchers have suggested to Realtors that a potential buyer will remember how a house smelled long after they remember the details of how it looked! I have known of sellers who would bake a loaf of bread in the oven, set a baking dish of vanilla in a warm oven, or make home-made applesauce in a crock-pot to give their house a delicious aroma!
STAGE YOUR PETS!
Nothing is going to make a potential buyer hurry through your house more than if they feel uncomfortable with the pets. I had a client once who would not go past the front door because there was a loose dog in the home. The dog was probably very gentle, but the buyer was not taking any chances. Those sellers didn't even get the opportunity to have their house shown to that buyer! Some sellers put their pets in cages or crates when they are expecting their house to be shown. Other sellers leave their pets in the garage or backyard when they know there will be a showing. However, there could be a problem with this arrangement if a serious buyer actually wants to see the garage or backyard! A few sellers have been known to take their pets to "doggy daycare." Whatever you decide to do, it is important to remember that very few buyers are going to love your pets the way you do. Keep your pets in a safe place, and avoid potential problems.
If you have taken most of the above steps, you have greatly enhanced your chances that your home will be sold.
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