If you are a homeowner considering selling your property you might be wondering what drives home sales and what you can do to maximize your chances of getting top dollar in the shortest amount of time. So, who better to ask than a real estate professional? A number of factors such as market dynamics, location, condition, presentation, price and promotion all play a key role in how quickly and for how much any given property will sell. While the location cannot be changed and homeowners have no control over current real estate market dynamics, they can impact all other variables to their advantage. Today, I would like to focus on the importance of how homes are presented to potential buyers through staging and photography, which typically take place before the house goes on the market.
Clearly, your goal as a home seller is to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible so that they come to your open house or request a private showing. Obviously, the more interest you can generate through any visuals that showcase the features of your home, the higher the likelihood that you might receive an offer. Because most buyers are looking for homes online, the first thing they see is pictures so staging a home can make a big difference and it does not need to cost a fortune.
According to the National Association of Realtors 2019 Profile of Home Staging, 53% of sellers’ agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market; and 44% of buyers’ agents say that staging a home increases the dollar value offered. As a realtor who works with both buyers and sellers, I can attest to that. As I listen to my buyers’ needs and preferences when I show them properties, I know what matters to them. In turn, these insights help me guide my sellers and ensure their home is best positioned to sell.
These are some of the tips I share with my sellers to help them stage their home without breaking the bank:
- The first step to listing a home is decluttering and deep cleaning it, both inside and outside. It’s time to get rid of all those items you have been storing for a while which you don’t need or not have used in a long time.
- Make it look spacious. From rooms and closets to countertops you want to make sure each room and surface in the house looks spacious so don’t overcrowd a room with furniture that is too large for the space. If there is hardwood flooring, you want to show as much of it as possible.
- Curb appeal is critical. Buyers pay as much attention to the inside as they do to the outside of the house so entice potential buyers to come in by making a first good impression! Powerwash your driveway and sidewalk and add a new coat of paint to any areas that may need it such as the siding, the garage or the shutters.
- The kitchen and bathrooms are top priorities so if you need to invest in some updating those should be your top considerations over the garage or the basement. Simply updating the kitchen cabinets, caulking the tub, grouting the tiles, and replacing the bathmat and shower curtain are some relatively easy fixes that won’t cost a lot of money or take too much time. If your appliances are old you may want to consider investing in new appliances. Studies show that sellers tend to recoup the money they spend on appliances.
- Appeal to the senses: Keep your house smelling fresh and clean, and let the light in. Open any blinds or curtains to show your home in its best light.
- Choose neutral colors. Help potential buyers imagine or “visualize” the property as their future home by adding some color and little accents such freshly cut flowers, or fill a bowl with fresh fruit and place it on your kitchen table. Ultimately, successful staging is about finding that perfect balance between a home that’s nicely staged and lived-in. Remove any old wallpaper, which could make the house look outdated and less attractive and translate into a lower perceived value.
- Keep all personal items such as toiletries and clothes neatly packed so rooms look tidy and organized. To add a nice touch you can place some decorative soaps in the bathroom.
Once staging is complete, the next step would be to hire a professional photographer to do a photoshoot of your house and make sure your realtor will use the best ones for the listing. Bottom line is that you only get one shot to make a great first impression that will draw a lot of visitors to your home so this is your chance!
Whether you are thinking of selling now or in the future, feel free to contact me for a complimentary consultation and home valuation.
“Sonia” Margalef-Boada is a realtor based in New Jersey, US.
With over 20 years of professional experience in marketing and sales, Sonia has helped many families to sell and buy their homes.