Following is an excellent reminder for Sellers about things to do and not do in preparation for putting their homes on the market. It is written by Donna Ross, a professional home stager, in Australia.
There's no doubt there's a lot of myth surrounding staging to sell. My previous post on the subject saw several more staging/presentation myths come to light.
In this second of 2 ‘myth busting' posts, I'll take a closer look at another 8 misconceptions surrounding how best to present your property once you've decided to move on.
A special thanks to those who shared some of their own staging myths (via their comments) on the original post, which are now included here. You guys ROCK!
1. I can't smell anything. As I pointed out in my first post, baking bread, brewing coffee and playing music are pretty much considered a bit too cheesy these days. Lots of buyers now begin to wonder what smell you're trying to hide. Don't cover them up, go to the source. Remove anything belonging to your pet. Other common sources of odour problems are smoking, dampness, cooking. So keep a sharp eye nose, out for these. If you're selling, make it a habit to air your place out for as long as you can, as often as you can.
2. The buyers will adore my pet/s. The truth is my friends, it just isn't so. Lots of house hunters (and their kids) are allergic to cats or scared of dogs and plenty more will have just one word for the various rodents some home owners like to call the family pet - yuk! Believe me when I tell you that buyers will scurry out your door faster than your agent can say; "Let me introduce you to..." My advice: save your house and your furry or slimy little friend the embarrassment of being shunned. When prospective buyers come to call, take your pooch out for a walk, put kitty in a carrier or ask a friend to ‘pet sit'. Oh, and by the way, doggie beds, litter boxes and chew toys, should NEVER be left inside for buyers to see during showings. Even if it's the bathroom or laundry. Like I said - yuk!
3. I don't need to do anything because people always tell me how lovely my house is. Congratulations - glad to hear it! But you know what? You should know, there's a hidden danger in the lovingly decorated home. It all comes down to it fitting its current owner like a well tailored, one off, custom made suit. And that's ok. In fact that's perfect - when you're not selling. It just doesn't work too well when you're ready to move on. Think of it this way; having a well made, beautiful looking suit that fits you perfectly, will almost certainly see your friends complement you for your wonderful taste and dress sense. But, what if you wanted to sell your suit so you could buy a new one? You'd need to find someone with exactly the same taste in clothes, dress size and shape, as you. Sure, it can be done. But it could be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Truth is, as good as your house looks and fits you right now, you're probably alienating your prospective buyers.
4. Why bother putting anything away when I might need it? The incovnenient truth about storage is that you just can't have too much of it. A lack of storage can actually kill your sale. If you can't find a place to put your stuff, a buyer certainly won't. Good storage means order and calm to buyers, and hints at a less frazzled life. So, create as much storage as you can, like adding a shelf in the laundry for example, (I did this in my own laundry when I sold). If you've got a lot of suff, consider storing what you don't need of site at a storage facility, because you're not just selling - you're moving.
5. My family photos add a homely, lived in feel. I remember very clearly inspecting a property where the home owner's daughter went to my son's school. I must have spent half my time perusing the various school awards that were posted on the wall...in the living room. In the end this distracts buyers. But it also lets buyers into a bit more of your life than you perhaps realise.
6. No need to clean, buyers understand we really do live here. Simply put, a clean house and tidy yard will NOT fail you. It might mean doing it more often than you normally would, but it will pay you back. Make sure frosted glass looks like it's well...frosted. Not grimy. And don't forget to scrub the grout between tiles too. If you keep on top of it, it shouldn't get out of hand.
7. The buyer can re-paint the place if they want to. Yes they can - but they'd prefer not to. So they may just by-pass your place in favour of a property that doesn't need a re-paint. You see, they would much rather have a paint colour that's in good condition, and is easy to live with from the get go, while not being overpowering. Recently, I came across a man who decided NOT TO BUY a particular property because of the bright red paint on the wall in the main bedroom - and he was a professional house painter! You can create a whole new look and feel to your place with a fresh coat of paint. I should point out that very personal colours (like bright red), indoors or out, can hurt your sale. So keep it simple by not using too many colours and steering clear of the very bright or very dark shades.
8. Why should I bother fixing up or updating anything, when the buyer will change things to what they want? I hear this again and again. Yes, buyers will want to put their own stamp on things. But, few buyers are looking to buy themselves a money pit. Just recently, I inspected a place I was keen to buy. One thing I noticed was that the stove/cooker did not work - at all. I learned that the agent had advised the seller not to fix or replace it before listing for sale, but instead to allow the buyer to do it. That was ok by me. When I made my offer, I took into consideration the cost of the $3500 stove I wanted to replace it with. A brand new, but basic, model would have set the home owner back about $500. A functioning 2nd hand one, even less, and I wouldn't have given it another thought. It also meant that I was on the look-out for other issues that would require my time and money to fix - to my standard. There are times when it can hurt you more than you think to just leave it to the buyer to take care of, so weigh that up very carefully.
So, what do you think? Do you have any more you'd like to add?
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