Real Estate Insider article June 15, 2007
How long will your property be on the market waiting for a buyer? Master Accredited Home Staging Professional, Carolyn Stieger of Images of Elegance will share some tips on what will give you a competitive edge.
In today's market, home sellers are starting to take a hard look at the reality of selling their property. Buyers are on the internet searching for homes and today's buyers are certainly aware of our market conditions. What do these two factors equate to? If your home doesn't "WOW" the buyers, you will not get their attention.
Home Staging can prepare your home for sale professionally and with solutions to enhance the features of your home. Ask your self the question. What made me fall in love with this house? We look for those features, add warmth, and through Staging create an emotional feeling for buyers. Remember, "The investment in Staging is always less than the first price reduction." For example, an average home listed at $175,000 the first price reduction could be $5,000 or 5% at $8,750, but the investment in Staging would be much less. In this example, a Staging fee could range from $450 to $900. In most cases, your home is the largest single investment. ROSI, Return On Staging Investment, will be a small investment to sell your house faster and for more equity.
What do your marketing photos show? Falling leaves, Snow, bare trees? With the warm summer weather here, outdated photos are an indication of how long your house has been sitting on the market; months, maybe even a year or more. Great photos bring buyers, but the photos also reflect how you maintain your property. Curb appeal is the first
opportunity you have to make a great first impression. A great exterior, well manicured yard, you are starting to get their attention. You are in control of how your property looks.
Have you continued to maintain your home? Catching up and finally getting to all of the half completed handyman weekend projects, is not an investment in getting your house ready to sell. That is called maintaining your property. Buyers are looking for "turn key" move in condition or a bargain basement price. The days of "carpet allowances" are outdated. If you want to offer a carpet allowance, buyers want 3 to 4 times what it would cost you purchase and install it. Don't take the "wait and see" approach either. The largest amount of traffic you will have on your property is usually in the first 2 to 3 weeks. Buyers won't know that you "fixed" something or "replaced" something. Those buyers are long gone and you have to wait for new buyers to come and with each day you are losing equity. You are painting the picture in the buyers mind and they are starting to calculate, do they want to see more, do they want to make an offer, and what would the offer be?
Offers will reflect what buyers think your property is worth. Home Staging is your competitive edge to prepare your home to appeal to the broadest market. How realistically is your listing price? How much would you invest in Staging your home verses multiple price reductions in our market? Each property is different, even with the same floor plan, in the same neighborhood; we all live differently and have different "stuff". Each Staging plan is unique to your home and is prepared based on the condition of each room.
Another scenario the market is facing with employment trends of company buyouts and relocations; is too many vacant homes. There is nothing in a vacant home for buyers to remember one property over another. There is no personality in a vacant house. Again, you have to decide. Can you afford not to invest in Home Staging? Many sellers today are faced with hard decisions, time is money and the longer your property is on the market, the less you are going to get in equity.
Optimize your return on your largest investment and the length of time it's on the market. Before you pack up too many things, paint the wrong wall color, have a blow out garage sale or put your home on the market. Get advice from a Home Staging professional. Prepare your home correcting from the beginning, you will never get a buyer back for a second showing if they didn't like the property the first time.
This article was intended to provide home sellers with an overview on Home Staging and the importance of preparing a home for sale prior to marketing.
A note about the author: Carolyn Stieger of Images of Elegance, Inc. is an Accredited Home Staging Professional Master, ASPM, located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. For over a decade, Ms Stieger has worked with homeowners to enhance their homes through Staging to Live and Staging to Sell. Ms Stieger is on the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House of Southeast Michigan, current President of the local Great Lakes Regional chapter of IAHSP, 2007 National IAHSP Ambassador, International Association of Home Staging Professionals Foundation, and member of the local Women's Council of Realtors-Birmingham Bloomfield Chapter, Western Wayne and Oakland Board of Realtors and the Building Industry Association BIA. Ms Stieger may be reached at (248) 322-4703 or (248) 515-2156.