Preparing Your Home to Sell
Are you thinking of putting your house on the market but are daunted by the long to-do list? You may be suffering from overexposure to HGTV. These are some of the symptoms: Do you secretly think you are a long-lost Property Brother? Do you want to marry Chip and Joanna Gaines? Are you still toying with the idea of knocking down that wall? You may be overexposed to home improvement psychology and don’t know it. Yes, those projects you see on TV do make a difference, but most homes don’t need a wholesale makeover.
I sold a home in Hanahan that was on the market for less than a week after not selling with another agent earlier in the year. We did not rip out the kitchen or have the entire interior repainted. We used a much more effective and more importantly cost – effective technique – staging. My clients were talking about all the things they thought they needed to do before putting it back on the market and I told them not to spend a dime until my staging expert and I could see the home in person.
We started by walking through the home and making a list of things to edit. I am convinced that the home did not sell the first time because there was too much furniture that had accumulated through the years and too much “stuff” in general. We made a list of the furniture to be taken out to show just how spacious the home actually was. We also itemized the decor items that needed to be packed up before the photographer arrived. We gave them their assignments throughout the inside and outside of the house and then set to work ourselves.
We literally shopped their house. The large vases in the kitchen replaced the visual clutter in the dining room hutch with their simple lines and pops of color. All but one of the silk plants were removed and personal collections were packed for moving. Perhaps the most difficult task was the living room. My clients had recently purchased two large sofas and a large chair that filled the space. They were super comfy but the placement was not ideal. We moved them and some other pieces around the room to better advantage. “But you can’t see the tv from the chair over there.” Said the wife. I explained that they did not have to live that way, but that it worked better for the photography. Every smart Realtor® knows that every home sale starts on the internet, and the most important factor for that medium is high quality, attractive photos.
My staging expert and I have lots of experience in knowing what makes for great shots, and sometimes it’s very minor changes. This home has a pool. We cleaned up some “stuff” that had accumulated around the exterior, moved one of the tables from the screened porch to poolside and asked the homeowner to purchase a colorful plastic pitcher and two beverage glasses, with strict instructions not to spend more than $5. I told her “Since there is nothing in your glassware that is suitable, please go to the dollar store and get something that’s blue or green, and make sure it’s something you will use at the new house.” She spent $4 and got just the right thing to make an inviting shot that helped the viewers imagine themselves relaxing by the pool.
The only other expense, was in the master bedroom. The homeowner was waiting to get new bed linens so that they would look great in the new house. This bedroom was gold and the new house was blue. She thought she had to match the walls to the linens when in fact, contrasting colors make for better pictures. I put her in my car and we drove to Bed Bath and Beyond. They had nice things but the ones we liked were too expensive. We found just the right thing at Target and spent only $70 and got shams, comforter, bedskirt and pillows! And, they worked well for the new home as well. On photography day, I stole the fancy square pillows from the guestroom long enough to get the shot and put them back for that photo.
Sweat equity was really what this particular home needed to sell and sell quickly for full asking price. Call me and I will prepare a comparable market analysis for your home, hire the staging expert on my nickel, and together we can decide what we can do to make your to-do list shorter and less expensive so you can find your next dream home now.