Preparing your home for sale – often called staging – is critical to get the best price in the shortest amount of time. While some buyers choose professionals to help stage their home, anyone can stage a home with the right mindset and eye for detail.
Selling Your Home is Like Selling Your Car
Think of selling your home like you would selling your car. You wouldn’t take your car to the dealer covered in mud with the floor covered in candy wrapper and Sonic cups and expect to get the best price. To get top dollar for your car you would wash the exterior, vacuum the floorboards, polish the dash, and clean the wheels. If you were serious about getting the top dollar for your car you might power wash the engine, clean the underside, shine the tires and hoses, fix any minor dents and scratches, and possibly provide service records from past maintenance to your car. Or hire a professional detail shop to do the same to your car.
Staging Your Home is Like Detailing Your Car
The same philosophy holds true for your home. As a minimum you want to have your home cleaned, with no cobwebs at the entrance, the windows cleaned, floors vacuumed, and kitchen clean.
How a Buyer Chooses Your Home
Buyers undergo a three step process when choosing which home to purchase.
Buyers Search for Homes On-Line
Today’s technology-savvy buyers will first look on-line to find the homes that fit their needs. Professional photos help ensure your home is presented in the best light. My husband James Pratt is a national award-winning editorial photographer who has photographed covers for dozens of magazines. He photographs all of our client’s homes. This ensure you have the best photographs of your home and shows it in the best light. We also distribute your home to dozens of web sites so the pictures and information about your home is widely distributed to the largest possible audience.
Buyers Drive by Your Home – Curb Appeal is Critical
Once buyers narrow down the homes that fit their criteria and interest, they will drive by to see if the home is something they would be interested in. Curb appeal is critical at this stage. You want to make sure front of your home is clean, clear of clutter, with a well-kept lawn and fresh landscaping. A fresh coat of paint can really help you home look its best. Power wash the front of your home to make sure there are no “Okie red dirt” stains on your house.
Buyers Make a Decision on Your Home in Seconds
After showing thousands of homes to buyers over my 13 years in the real estate business, I find that nearly all buyers form an opinion on a home within 15 seconds of walking through the front door. If your home doesn’t present well, with fresh paint, clean carpets and floors, nice smells, and is free of clutter, they will form a favorable opinion and will then consider the home based on other properties such as room size, kitchen, master bedroom and other decision factors. If the home lacks “pizazz” when they first walk in – if it smells bad, or is cluttered with knick-knacks, family pictures, kids toys strewn over the floor, or laundry piled in the laundry room – usually buyers reject the home out of hand without seriously considering the main features of the home. You may have the perfect floor plan and location, but buyers just won’t be able to get past bad smells, chipped paint, and dirty carpets. For this reason it is imperative that you polish your home to make it shine before each and every showing.
For more detailed information on staging your home to sell fast and for top dollar, read our page Preparing Your Home for Sale.