There is a saying in the Home Staging industry which states that ‘the way that you live in a house, and the way that you need to live in a house in order to sell it, are two different concepts'. In my years of experience as a Home Stager, I have found that the majority of today's sellers do not completely understand what this message implies nor how it would apply to their situation. In a series of articles, I hope that I can get every seller, or potential seller out there, to see what it takes to sell a house in 2008.
Let's start with the easy part: ‘the way that you live in a house.....'
In the movie, Steel Magnolias, the character named Clairee points out that "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize". Let's face it, we are ‘nesters' and we like to have our ‘comfort things' around us. We also tend to surround ourselves with items that make us feel good. It is for those reasons that our homes are an extension of who we are. Some people enjoy a certain feeling of ‘sparseness' in their home and call it a ‘clean, crisp' look. Like anything else, this can be taken to the extreme where the house is practically devoid of ‘personality' and conveys an almost clinical impression. Think of a house with all white walls, white furniture, glass and chrome tables and no color whatsoever - not a plant or ‘tchotchke' in sight. Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who have ‘too much' in their home; too much furniture, too many collectibles, and an abundance of accumulated ‘stuff'. Thankfully, most of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
‘the way that you need to live in a house in order to sell it.......'
Okay, so here is where the confusion seems to begin; what does that statement really mean? In order to explain this, I need to digress for a moment and point out some facts about today's Real Estate market. I am not just talking about the difficult market that we are finding ourselves in these days, but rather the shift in how houses are marketed in this millennium - that's right, we are no longer living in the 50's, 60', 70's, 80's or 90's. Those ‘good old days' are long gone as is the simplicity of those times. In the ‘old market', painting and cleaning up the house would suffice. As long as it looked ‘presentable', it would sell. Buyers would look past any ‘defects' and visualize what they could do to make the house fit their lifestyle. It was almost a ‘given' that once you moved in, you would be painting and ‘fixing up' for quite some time.
Fast forward to 2008. Most of us spend our lives ‘multi-tasking' because we have way too much to accomplish each and every day. We are busier today than ever before and inflation has forced the majority of us into the work force. In the interest of saving time, most of today's buyers begin their search for a new home on the internet. If you have ever gone online and visited your local MLS listings, you are aware of the abundance of houses that are available in a given area. Many of those houses are newly constructed and others have been completely updated. Both offer a substantial amount of amenities. These houses are the biggest competition for all of the others for they ‘set the standard' against which the comparison begins. Which brings me to another important aspect of Real Estate today - sellers need to ‘market' their house in order for it to sell! So, what does that mean? Well, in order to ‘market' (sell) something, you need a ‘product'; in the case of Real Estate, that ‘product' is your house and it has to ‘meet or beat' the competition!
So far we have discussed the 'why' aspect of today's market; Part 2 of this article will address 'how to' prepare your 'product' so that it will sell more quickly and for the highest possible price. Stay tuned.
For your Home Staging needs in Manhattan, Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, & Queens, Staged 2 Sell NY can 'set the stage' for your successful sale! Call us today for a free estimate.