This blog post is inspired by a conversation I had with a prospective client for my Online Listing Audit from Massachusettes. Her house has been on the market for over three months with lots of showings and no offers. The feedback has been that the kitchen is beautiful but that the house is too dark and the backyard too wooded. When I looked at her listing, I knew right away what the problems were. She had only 7 photos with her listing--definitely not enough! Three of the pictures were of the beautiful kitchen which obviously enticed buyers. The problem was that there were no photos of the bedrooms, the bathrooms or the backyard. And, based on the dated feel of the furnishings in the two rooms that were in the online listing, I could totally understand the disconnect buyers were experiencing. They were experiencing Buyer's Dissonance because they were expecting an amazing property based on the kitchen photos but the rest of the house didn't deliver.
In my business, my branding coach always says that I don’t want to just attract clients, I want to attract the right clients for me and my message needs to align with my ideal clients expectations. Selling your house is really no different. Your online listing has to show a complete picture of your property so that a buyer is coming to an in person showing knowing almost exactly what they are getting. And, most likely, her buyer is going to be someone younger than her looking for a fresher feeling space.
Attracting the right buyers is great. Aligning with their expectations is even better.
I believe that you can sell your house quickly in any market. You just need the right tools and information. So what can you do to attract today’s buyers and make them really, really want your house when they come to see it? Here are some Home Staging tips that buyers in 2013 love to see:
Lots of Pictures
Did I say this yet? I think it is worth saying one more time. 20-25 photos will really display your property and give buyers plenty of information to consider a visit. You know that happens when you do that? You know that when someone is coming to your house, they really liked what they saw online and you are more likely to get an offer.
Now, if you have a recently updated kitchen, you are in great shape and just need to follow these Home Staging tips for your photos and showings:
- clear your countertops for your photo session.
- remove all accessories that are placed on top of cabinets, including plants see in the photo below how it dates a perfectly nice kitchen. Honestly, that is more likely to turn off buyers than the older model refrigerator.
- remove all magnets from the refrigerator–not to pick on the picture below again, but it is just such a good example of simple mistakes people make
- remove the banana tree–I see this so often and always wondered who bought those things. um…everyone it seems.
Once your photos are taken, I am more lenient about what you can keep out just don’t make it look like you are having an appliance or tchotchke yard sale! That said, keep the stuff off the tops of the cabinets. It really dates your house and turns today’s buyers off as you can see–is it me or is the clown thing a little creepy?
If your kitchen is older and full of oak cabinetry, your first thought may be to add granite counters. Honestly, you would be amazed what just painting the cabinets and updating to stainless appliances can do when Staging your kitchen. Buyers today love lighter kitchens. 9 out of the top 10 kitchens on houzz.com last year had white cabinetry–and all had stainless appliances–so dig out your paint gear and get going! Look at the difference painting the cabinet made in this bathroom that I staged.
Neutral Paint Colors
Do you have a room (or two) that even you are questioning may be turn off to buyers? Go with your gut on this one! I’d rather have you put in extra work now than be left sitting with an unsold house later. There are some great neutrals that can work beautifully with a lot of color schemes. I have written about this before here. And here are a few more old reliables (great for flips too):
For more great color inspiration and education, check out Maria Killiam’s bloghere .
Buyers today love a spa like setting in the bathroom. You can Stage it by:
- painting a neutral color
- adding white towels (not embellished with chords or trim or themed)
- adding a white shower curtain
- making sure everything is off the counters
- removing bathmats or rugs of any kind on floor or toilet seat cover
- removing the plunger from next to toilet
- painting dated tile
- changing out the mirror and/or light fixture
- adding a frameless shower enclosure
I hope that these tips will work for you!