With the parties and the holidays over we all get to get back to what we have to get back to. So, how was home selling during the holidays?
There maybe different views on whether home staging is essential or not but let’s face it - your Home is the product. Let’s get to the basics of marketing. Compare a staged home product with a non-staged one, which one do you prefer? It’s as simple as that. While staging your home is not the only standalone selling parameter, nevertheless it is part of the marketing mix of a home.
While marketing any product, theoretically the attributes of price, positioning, product itself and promotion come together to make a great package. Staging creates value for positioning, product and promotion. That’s a vital bit! It’s not the only value, price, location are of upfront importance. But it helps create value, its as simple as ABC!
Often hiring a professional certified home stager is a valuable investment, as staging is an art the biggest challenge for a homeowner is to see the home objectively from the buyer’s eyes.
Here are the ABCs of staging your home to sell to make it simpler. This is also what a certified home stager brings together as a complete package in the art of staging.
A – Accept
Yes, I am starting with accept. Before you say this has got nothing to do with design or staging let’s stop and think. Unless we as home owners accept that the buyer may have a different view to a lot of things in the home, we don’t open our mind to making the changes vital in our home to showcase it to a buyer. So that’s the importance of accepting! Keep our emotions aside and accept to open our minds to the buyer’s eyes.
B – Bedrooms
As you look at each bedroom make sure the bed sets and comforters are all clean and crisp. Flippy floppy pillows get noticed fast so they are a red flag. Make sure the master bedroom follows the rule of symmetry, balance and conveys a place of relaxation.
Clutter blocks the space in the home. While buyer’s don’t want to see empty homes but they need to be able to visualize their space and furniture in the home. So clear away clutter from kitchen, living areas, bedrooms and pack or store it away for a few weeks. You will realize you actually need to discard quite a few stuff and will get to some healthy organizing.
Seeing your vacation picture or your little one graduating diverts the buyer’s mind to many more things other than what you want him to see. If your house is the brand, you want the customer to focus on just that - the brand. Neutralizing and depersonalizing pictures is the way to go.
E- Entry Impressions
Your first impression is the entry and the curb appeal. Clean doormats, or maybe new ones, a symmetrical frame of the entrance and a green touch of plants call for a good entry. Simple things such as new mulch in your garden can enhance curb appeal.
F- Focal Points
Every room especially the vital ones such as the living will have some focal points. What does the buyer notice when he first walks in? What can be enhanced and add huge appeal to the room. In a lot of living areas it tends to be the fireplace. Enhancements with art and accessories or laying out existing pieces well can add value. Think focal points in your rooms!
Call your gardener to spruce up your garden. All landscaping needs mostly is pruning, cleaning and maybe adding a few fresh new plants. Seasonal bright flowers and fresh mulch can brighten any home entry or garden and bring a feeling of warmth to a lot of buyers. That’s the feeling you want your buyers to have.
Hallways are often neglected, buyers tend to see hallways nevertheless. Clean and clutter free is the first step here. Try and keep enough walking space to maintain the flow of traffic and enhance with elements if they are long or large areas.
Imagine now and imagine then. Yes, home staging is quite an imagine art. Imagine everything from the experience the buyer will have as he walks through the whole house. Imagine and visualize what the living area is now and what are the possibilities. Imagine and create.
To stage your house to sell, you need to prepare it with a large one time effort in getting it all well put together. But then, at every showing you need to get it ready in a jiffy. Yes, it has to be simple things you can do in a jiffy to make the last minute stage happen and yet live a comfortable life. Your home stager can add valuable inputs on how to get your house prepared for a showing – in a jiffy!
K – Kitchen
Kitchen countertops need to be cleaned off all extra appliances and unsightly elements such as cleaners, brushes and more. I am not selling my home and my countertop cleaner lies outside in my kitchen. The first thing my eyes see when I walk into my kitchen is the bright blue cleaner liquid (without naming the very excellent brand). You don’t want that when you are having a showing. Keep not more than one or two appliances out. If its impractical to take them in and out simply find alternate space to put them inside for few days. Create freshness, brightness and healthy brand values in the kitchen.
L - Living Room
Maintain a clear flow of traffic in the living area and correct any layout flaws. For instance if a lot of lamps or accessories are blocking the beautiful French windows and the view to the garden you may want to rethink layout. Our layouts, especially furniture layouts, are sometimes very subject to current comfort. They don’t allow the buyer to get the full benefit of space or advantages our beautiful living areas have.
M – Modernize
Yes, the staged home needs to follow a style befitting the area and the city. But, buyers don’t like jaded old homes, they aspire for a modern lifestyle. We aren’t saying that modernize every home but a home stager knows how to balance and build some level of modernizing in every home. Sometimes its as simple as old light fittings or it may be simple new accessories, the layout, furniture, artwork or something else.
N – Negatives
You know there are positives and negatives to each home. How do you move the buyer’s eyes away from the flaws. Make them focus on another focal point in the room – a large artwork, a inspiring lamp arrangement, a beautiful sculpture. These or others can be solutions to de-focus from the negatives.
O – Optimize on space
Space plays an important role in staging your home to sell. A house needs to convey space and often for the buyer to visualize his own home or furniture in that space. Yet, it doesn’t need to convey lot of empty space. Optimizing space requires creating the right balance without over burdening a space yet letting them visualize possibilities.
P – Paintings and Artwork
Paintings and artworks during a home stage are vital. They create a sense of style. They are perceived as adding luxury and enhancing home value or price. Often we need to create an aspirational aura of modern and inviting or create a style or theme as per the area the home is in. When you think beach home its different form what you visualize a city condo home as. That’s what art helps do. A good home stager doesn’t just buy art and put it there he or she blends it with a sense of style. Right style, right position placement greatly enhances home value.
Yes, that’s right we need to question ourselves all through the process of staging our homes. What is the first thing I notice in the room when I walk in? What are the areas I should focus on? Does this layout convey space and proportion? Every question leads us to focus objectively and answer all questions to address potential customers.
Very often this is forgotten. Let’s accept it its easier and exciting to just go straight to rearranging, staging and getting the home ready. What about competition? If the buyer is not buying your home he is buying the one half a mile away. Make sure you spend time researching surrounding homes before you start – price, style, staging or no staging. Your home staging prepares the house to stand out stronger than competition. Realtors partner to provide excellent updates and comps which keep you well researched on your zipcode trends.
S- Spa like baths
That’s the bath transformation. Think of yourself entering a spa on a vacation in the Far east, Hawaii or Asia! That’s the bath impression you want to create, essential oils, luxury soaps, fluffy towels, candles. Whether that’s your daily bathroom setting or not it doesn’t matter, but when you are creating mass buyer appeal they want to get the spa feel in their mind. Clear off all personalized items here as well especially. Hide the unsightly. Relaxed and inviting is what we want the bath to be.
Simple and straight, you don’t want toys in sight. I love my kids cuddly toys. Except for my little one’s personal favorites I would hide all of them in neat baskets and below beds. During showings and open houses we will need to do that quickly. You may want to read the 10-minute guide to home showings prep.
Understand buyer’s mind, understand his psyche, and understand mass buyers appeal not one. Understand the marketplace, the area and your home. Put it together and stage your home to sell!
You are asking for a price and you want to command the price. You want the buyer to aspire for the lifestyle your home creates. Your home staging changes and enhancement should all work towards creating value. Things to be discarded or stored temporarily are not adding value currently. Don’t get upset at the thought of the work you have to do in putting them away, just remember your goal is to enhance your home and your product's value.
Buyers wants, buyers aspirations. We all want a lot in life and aspire for luxury. We may neither use all of that in our daily lives but the home to sell conveys a fulfillment of the buyer’s wants. We may take two vacations in a year but we want the master bed to look like a five star resort bedroom. Think fulfilling wants and aspirations.
X- I am skipping this one! I don’t want to force fit anything! But tell you what if you can think of something from X, why don’t you suggest in the comments. There are lot of bright minds out there who will find a X in the ABC of home staging. I am leaving this for you!
Y-Yourself or home stager
You will do it yourself, a home stager needs you to work with. But you could consider if hiring a home stager can bring all the ABCs and elements together. They help you see neutrally from the buyer’s eye. If it’s a vacant house they create a home. Sometimes the work is marginal and sometimes more. Its an art and it markets your product. You will call a plumber to fix a leak. You will call a certified specialist to help prepare your home to sell.
Selling a home is zealous hard work and yes you can sleep peacefully when its sold!
Realtors ad owners can hopefully sleep peacefully the night when the escrow closes peacefully. That is the beauty of success and a product well positioned.
BlueGrape Home Staging
Staging San Diego