For those of you who are avid HGTV watchers, you recognize that this is the time of year when the "Dream Home" Sweepstakes begin. Each year, since 1997, HGTV has built and decorated a house with a value of $1,000,000+ in different areas of the country. In turn, each house has been raffled off and one lucky winner walks away with the house, a new SUV and usually a cash prize in the vicinity of $250,000. Viewers are allowed to enter the contest once each day via an online ‘application', so between now and February 14th, more than 40 million entries will be submitted.
This year's "Dream Home" is located in Winter Park, CO. The house is a custom built mountain home patterned after a Ski Lodge.
If you look at the pictures above from the Kitchen and Media Room, you will notice that the rooms are designed to appeal to everyone. The designers use warm colors and various textures to make each room cozy and inviting. The props (accessories) could be utilized by just about anyone and they convey the feeling that if you were to move right in, you would not need to add a single thing! Please DO notice that there are no personal photographs, no shelves and walls full of collectibles, no magnets on the refrigerator, no wall to wall carpeting hiding beautiful hardwood floors, and no dark window treatments to prevent natural light from entering.
As I was looking through the online tour of the "Dream Home", I was reminded of how eager everyone is to win this house. There are message boards on the HGTV website, and I remember reading them occasionally in years past and hearing how each person wanted to live in that house so badly, because they had already envisioned their family dwelling there. And so I pondered, what is it about the "Dream Home" that excites everyone so, other than the obvious - that it's a FREE house with state of the art appliances and features? And the answer that came to me was that each "Dream Home" draws you in emotionally; as you take the "virtual tour", you feel as if you are walking through a house that was made just for you...the house of your dreams!
Now, let's shift our focus to an ordinary house on the market - doesn't it follow suit that the principles that are applied when creating a "Dream Home" would have a similar effect on prospective buyers who are viewing the listing? When a house is Staged to Sell, the rooms should be painted with warm neutral colors and each room should hold just enough furniture and accessories to define the space, accentuate the positive features in the room, add some color and texture, and invite the buyers to envision themselves living a certain lifestyle within that house. This is the key - the emotional appeal...that is what the "Dream Home" offers, and that is what every house on the market should convey in order to sell quickly and for the highest possible price. Aside from location and proper pricing, the 'presentation' can make or break a sale!
Realtors and Sellers alike, should make sure that the house is styled to sell; that every room invites the buyer in. This goes beyond decluttering and cleaning and entails purposeful design and placement. There are professional Home Stagers located all across the U.S. and the cost is definitely affordable! Most, if not all, Stagers offer different levels of service to fit every budget. The Active Rain website is an excellent source for locating both Realtors and Home Stagers in your area.