Imagine you had a Slip ‘N Slide on a hot summer’s day at the top of a steep hill. As a matter of fact, imagine that it was at the top of the steepest hill you have ever seen in your life. Now, imagine that you were at the top of the Slip ‘N Slide wearing a shirt that said “mortgage rates” and you slid down that bad boy head first. That’s kind of like what we’re experiencing right now in the mortgage world (minus the shirt that says “mortgage rates”).
Let’s face it, it’s a buyer’s market. The great mortgage rates and home buyer tax credit make this the best time to buy a home. However life is full of surprises and events that are just beyond our control. And while this may not be the ideal time to sell your home – staging your home correctly will still make an impact on your sales price.
How Home Pricing & Values Work
The market decides the range of prices for your home. For example a home in your neighborhood may be worth $100,000-$150,000. What determines that $50,000 difference is the condition of your home, the materials (brick vs. siding, laminate vs. granite, etc.). Keep in mind that each neighborhood varies in pricing, but this example is the general explanation for why some homes (that are seemingly unimpressive) are actually worth more than homes that look much nicer because of the neighborhood it’s in.
So now, knowing that your price range is beyond your control, there is wiggle room within that price range. After all, the difference between $100,000 and $150,000 is really features of your home that impresses the potential buyer. And while I’m not saying staging your home well will get you an extra $50,000, I am saying it will affect the first impression from the buyer – making the first bid maybe $10,000 higher than a messy home that was never staged.
Home Staging Tips That Will Make the Sale
So here it is: the five tips crucial to a good staging.
1. This one is a no-brainer, and yet I still saw many homes with this problem when I was house shopping. Clean your house from top to bottom. You might say, it’s hard to keep your home clean all of the time with two children, three dogs, and ten goldfish – but trust me, a clean house makes all the difference. Yes, it will be like walking on eggshells for a few weeks or even months until the house gets sold, but you will be glad when you get extra sales money because of it.
2. Leave the house when potential buyers come. There are two reasons for this. One, you want to make the buyer feel comfortable, and not rushed. Two, you want to get out of the way, and the less people there are – the bigger your house seems. I spent way less time in homes that had the sellers there, it was awkward and difficult trying to see the house past their dirty dinner dishes and laundry on the floors. You want the buyer to be able to envision themselves there, not you and your family.
3. De-clutter your home. Junk piles up over time, and while you’ve gotten used to seeing your home that way – potential buyers will just think it’s much smaller than it actually is. It’s just common sense that bigger houses bring greater value to people – so make your home look as big as possible, even if you have to move extra furniture into a storage unit for a month. Mismatched furniture? Move the pieces that stand out the most, out of the house temporarily. Think of your house as a spa-like retreat people would love to relax and unwind at, and then arrange your furniture to create the spacious and relaxing feel.
4. Bake cookies or light candles. Smells of food generally make people feel more at home. Especially smells of sweets. While perfume scents from different sprays may turn some people off, the smell of chocolate chip cookies rarely bring negative feelings. Since the whole point of home staging is to make the buyer fall in love with the home – certain food smells can definitely bring a warm and fuzzy feeling from buyers. If you can’t bake right before leaving the house, try lighting a scented candle to fill the room with a subtle smell of baked goods.
5. Paint your house a neutral color. Are your walls brightly colored? Maybe a bright red or orange? Loud colors not only shrink the room, but also deter buyers and make them value your home less. Compared to other repairs, paint is cheap. So pick out some neutral hues and give your house a fresh new coat (inside or out).
(Photos courtesy of JAGwired & Apartment Therapy)