When you decide to list your house for sale, you need to immediately begin thinking about how your house is going to appear in your online listing and for your in-person showings. This means putting in some work before you take your listing photos. This is old hat to successful sellers, but for first time sellers, who have never been through this process, it's a whole new ball game. Fortunately, if you are a first time seller, you can learn from the pros!
Here are the habits of highly successful home sellers that you can use to stage your house effectively:
They Know Two Basic Facts:
- More than 95% of buyers start their search online and
- Buying a house is based more on emotions than logic.
By staging your house properly for your listing photos, you can tug at your buyer's emotion you dramatically increase your chances of getting a faster offer.
So, what does staging properly mean? Staging properly means way more than just decorating Here are 5 tips to stage like a pro.
They know the importance of beautiful, high quality photographs:
A great way to know if your house will look great in the online photos is to take your own pictures of each room and then evaluate the room. Think about what the strengths are of each room and think about the direction or angles a professional photographer might shoot each room from and then take your picture that way. Do you have an incredible focal point in the room? Are the surfaces of dressers, mantles, walls, etc. cluttered with small items? Can you see the assets the room has to offer?
You can even compare your pictures with similar houses that are for sale in your neighborhood by checking out your competition online.
So much of what we tune out in person is amplified in a photo, right? That's why we so often notice our own personal flaws in photographs that don't bother us at all when we see ourselves in a mirror--or is that just me ; ) Once, you are armed with your own photos and know what your competitors are up to, you can make better decisions about what you can do to update, eliminate clutter and better highlight each room's assets.
They know the power of a friendly welcome:
Although technically your buyer is a guest in your house, you really want them to imagine themselves owning it. You don't want them to feel like an intruder.
- Don't request expect buyers to take off their shoes when they walk through your house. We had to do this when we walked through the house we bought and it felt very much like we were guests in the seller's house. Awkward...
- Leave your house for all showings and open houses. The buyer won't feel comfortable really getting to see what's behind closed doors and talking about the house candidly. They will only get a superficial look at your house and feel like they don't have enough information to make a sound decision. This also happened to us when walked through our house, both times!
- Invest your money in your entry. What is the first impression when you walk through your front door. If you never enter your house from the front, do it before you show the house so you know exactly what your buyer will see.
- If possible, place a mirror in your entry where buyers are likely to "see" themselves in your house. Neuroscience research has shown that people exhibit more desirable behavior when they see images of themselves, including spending money on a desired item.
- Place a small note in your entry thanking buyers for coming to see the house. Add a bowl of candy next to your note, and you can't go wrong!
They know how to get them in the mood:
Huh? OK--I really mean to create a mood in your house. Have you ever come home from work and felt that your house was totally lifeless? It may have been chilly because your thermostat is turned down during the day. Maybe it's dark because you don't have any lights on? It is deathly quiet and doesn't exude any kind of personality? I know that I have felt this in my house and every time that happens, I think about what that would be like for a buyer coming to look at my house. If possible, during the time that you are showing your house, leave for work each day expecting that the house will be shown that day and leave it ready to create an immediate mood.
- Leave on classical or jazz music playing softly in the background
- Turn off the TV
- Leave on lights in each room, including closets
- Leave on fountains if you have them to create a peaceful backdrop
- If weather permits, leave windows open (unless you get a lot of street noise)
- Keep all blinds and window treatments open (unless there is a terrible view)
They show them the house in all seasons:
- Take pictures of your property at different times of year so buyers can see your beautiful landscaping or gardens
- Leave photos in a prominent location so they won't be missed
They know the power of a handwritten note:
- If you have an antique light fixture or new or updated appliance that you would like to include in the sale, leave a note about it detailing its age, history, newness, etc.
- If your house has unique architectural details, unique materials, or upgrades that set it apart from the other houses/condos/townhomes in the neighborhood, leave a note about that. Our house has a lot of chestnut woodwork and chestnut is no longer available which makes it all the more precious. I LOVED learning that as we were considering this house.
- If your house is in a neighborhood with a unique history, great amenities, awesome community spirit, that too would be a great thing to tell the buyer by way of a note.