Betty Stroll's Blog
There's one thing all successful real estate agents, advertising executives, and marketing professionals know about human behavior: Many people make buying decisions for emotional reasons, and then justify those decisions with facts. In other words, they might say they bought a particular house because of all the updates and stainless steel appliances, but the real reason was that they could imagine themselves living there, being happy, entertaining friends and family, raising their children, and even growing old together there.
For some home buyers, the deciding factor is that it reminds them of fond childhood memories or perhaps the house they grew up in. Whenever a home for sale stirs up good feelings, happy memories, or positive thoughts in the mind of prospective buyers, it increases the chances they'll make an offer on the house.
Home Staging Tips
If your house is now on the market or you're considering putting it up for sale, there are a lot of steps you can take to make it more attractive to buyers. Obvious improvements like doing a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning of the house can make a big difference, but there are literally dozens of other things you can do to attract more offers and get the highest possible price for your property. Sometimes it's something as simple as a creating a pleasing scent, like cinnamon, lavender, hot coffee, of freshly baked bread, cookies, or muffins, that can create a comforting and enticing ambiance for potential buyers.
Although your real estate agent should already be well versed in the nuances of home staging, it would be to your benefit to do some research on it and participate in the process. Some home owners hire a professional home staging consultant to make sure no details are overlooked.
Avoiding Home Staging Pitfalls
Attractively decorating your home can be one aspect of making a good impression on potential buyers, but it's necessary to cast the widest possible net, so to speak, when making decorating choices. In other words, you would want the appearance, style, and color choices in your home to appeal to a wide variety of different tastes, rather than just a select few. That's why it's beneficial to get an objective opinion from an experienced real estate agent, a professional decorator, or a home staging consultant. Since you've been living in your home for umpteen years, you're probably going to be "too close to the trees to see the forest."
Some things that homeowners often tend to overlook just before prospective buyers arrive to tour their house include the following:
- Furniture that's arranged in a haphazard, disjointed, or cluttered way
- 'Welcome' mats that are dirty, faded, and anything but welcoming
- Overflowing or grungy-looking trash baskets
- Overgrown shrubbery
- Smudged or cobweb-laden windows
- Kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas of the house that are disorganized and visibly unclean
Although preparing your house for a real estate showing can be hectic, there are ways to make it easier and less stressful. One source of stress for many people is that nagging feeling that they're forgetting to do something important.
Admittedly, overlooking some things could result in lost sales or even lost valuables, but a little advance planning and organization can help prevent those problems from happening.
The solution is to create a checklist of important reminders and tasks you have to complete before leaving the house. Your real estate agent will provide helpful guidance and tips on effectively preparing your house for showings.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
When your house is up for sale and it's being actively marketed, appointments with prospective buyers are sometimes made on the spur of the moment. While real estate agents will be scheduling the appointments and conducting the tours, it's up to you to ensure that your home is always in tip-top condition. Hopefully, you'll be able to enlist your family's help in picking up clothes, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and cleaning up after themselves. If you have small children, they will undoubtedly need assistance in putting away their toys and making their bedrooms look civilized! Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when getting ready for house showings:
- Cleanliness (or a lack thereof) will be one of the many things that house hunters notice. While your house may meet their requirements for number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall layout, they could quickly lose interest if your floors, countertops, and sinks are visibly dirty.
- Pets can be a potential issue if your home is scheduled for a showing. Not only can dogs be a distraction if they bark a lot or have other undesirable behaviors, but some people are allergic to dogs and cats. The ideal solution is for a friend, family member, or neighbor to take care of your dog while the house is being shown. Unfortunately that's not always possible. Sometimes confining your dog to a fenced-in back yard (briefly) or a comfortable crate that they're accustomed to may be a viable, short-term solution. Several factors would come into play, including the weather, the temperament of your dog, and whether it's going to bother the neighbors by being outside.
- Doing your best to eliminate clutter throughout the house is another strategy for making the best possible impression on potential buyers.
Protecting Your Valuables and Privacy
Another priority that some homeowners forget is to hide valuables, such as jewelry, mobile devices, checkbooks, and cash. It's also a good idea to make sure your computers are password-protected, and that you turn them off before leaving the house. If you have any concerns about security during home showings, you might want to hide computers, personal items, and yesterday's mail in a secure place. Although most people touring your house will only be interested in its features, décor, and condition, it's always good to exercise a little caution when opening your house up to the public.