Why Buyers Love Model Homes And How To Make Yours Show Like One
Yours is not the only property the prospective buyer will see. You are competing with model homes that may have been professionally decorated and homes that have no children, no pets and Mr. and Mrs. Perfection as owners.
Start with the outside. Houses with no landscaping lose thousands of dollars of value in the mind of the buyer. Are shrubs overgrown? Mildew or stains in the driveway? How does the grass look? Do the flower beds need weeding and mulching? Try very hard to see your grounds through an independent observer's eyes. Trim the shrubs or plant new ones if they are lacking. Shrubs that are overgrown or just too large make a house appear much older.
If the grass in the front yard is particularly non-existent, consider sodding. Do some price shopping on this; sod is not cheap but there are some good prices available. Let's say it costs $600 to sod the front yard, but your house payment is $1,000 per month. If you save one month of selling time, you are $400 ahead.
Consider having your driveway and walkways pressure washed to eliminate stains and mildew. Next, go around and clean up the yard. Remove any toys, tools and/or building supplies. Here's the test; if you don't see it in a model home yard, don't have it in yours.
Now look at the exterior. Is the paint fading or chipping? Is the color outdated or too personal? Is mildew growing? If the house needs painting, choose a neutral color. White, cream (not yellow), beige and light brown are good colors for appealing to most people. If you want some ideas for paint combinations, go and look at 3 or 4 model home communities that cost $20,000-$50,000 more than your neighborhood and copy one of them. One last note on painting: always give the front door and door trim a fresh coat of paint or stain even if you paint nothing else. Buyers stand at the front door waiting to get in; give them a good first impression.
Now let's go inside
Go through room by room and pack up 30% of the accessories. If you doubt the wisdom of this, go back to those model homes and compare their counter tops their coffee tables and end tables with yours.
The cardinal rule is this: "The way you live in a home and the way you sell a home are two different things." I know this will take some time and may seem like a nuisance, but remember you are in competition with other properties. He who wins the Good Housekeeping Award probably sells.
If carpets are neutral and in good condition have them cleaned. Tan or beige painted walls are best. Stay away from builder beige though. If painting is required, use flat latex except in kitchens and baths where you will use semi-gloss latex. If walls are dirty, experiment to see if scrubbing them is easier than painting.
If you have wallpaper, make sure it's clean and up-to-date. If not, strip it. (Hint: some wallpaper is easy to strip if first sprayed with window cleaner.) After stripping it, never re-wallpaper. Painting is much more up to date. Sponge painting is not an alternative. Repair badly cracked plaster, loose door knobs and crooked light fixtures. Correct faulty plumbing. Leaky faucets can discolor porcelain and call attention to plumbing defects. To remove mineral stains from such leaks, pour hydrogen peroxide on the stain, and then sprinkle with cream of tartar. Leave this for 30 minutes before scrubbing. Bad stains may require 2 or 3 applications.
Next, make your house sparkle
If you do not have time or the inclination, hire someone to thoroughly clean the house. Clean windows inside and out. Clean with white vinegar using newspapers. Clean mini-blinds, curtains and drapes.
Finally, tackle the thing called the garage. This area is the catch-all where everything goes that has no other place to go, so it is usually a mess. If your storage area is not neat, no one would surmise that you take good care of the whole house. Empty everything out of the garage. Hose down the floor, if there are stains, paint the floor.
After the paint is dry—put everything back in the garage piece by piece. Throw out what you will not be taking with you. Pack what you can add to the stack of neatly labeled boxes. If you have too much stuff", rent a small storage unit. De-cluttering can make all the difference in the world.
Lighting plays an important part
During the day, have all your curtains and blinds open. If the day is cloudy, turn on all lamps as well. At dusk, put the blinds down, but leave them open. Leave the drapes open. Turn on all lamps and overhead lights. At night, use the same lighting formula as above, but close all the blinds, curtains and drapes. Adding candlelight is very effective. Turn off the television during all showings. Put on soft background music. Once you have "set the stage", leave the house for the agent to show it. Prospects are more likely to ask questions of the agent if you are not around.
Here's How An Inexpensive Upgrade Could Earn You Extra Money When You Sell If you have 60 watt bulbs or low watt bulbs in your house it can make the house seem smaller and less appealing, especially in the kitchen and family rooms. Upgrade all your light bulbs to 100 watts and your house will appear bigger and more inviting and may just earn you some extra cash.
Dressing a House for Success - STAGING A HOME
Home Staging is More Than Decorating. And staging can help sell a home for more.
Home staging is about illusions. It's beyond decorating and cleaning. It's about perfecting the art of creating moods. Staging makes your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving and, best of all, it makes home buyers want to buy it.
Contrary to what you might think, it's about more than preparing your house for sale. Staging is what you do after you've cleaned, de-cluttered, painted, made minor repairs; it's all about dressing the house for sale.
It's about adding the small details: the lipstick and mascara.
What is a Professional Home Stager?
Professional stagers are highly skilled artists. Stagers possess the skills of a top-level designer and they create dramatic scenery that appeals to all five senses. Here are some of their secrets:
- Arrange sparse pieces of furniture in an appealing grouping known as a vignette
- Showcase a generous usage of soft fabrics such as silk or satin
- Display unusual knickknacks in units of 1, 3 or 5
- Drape window coverings with simple lines
- Add unique elements to shelving, bookcases and fireplace mantels, which draw attention to predetermined areas
What Accessories Does a Stager Use?
Stagers bring in a vast array of items to spruce up the house. Here is a small sampling of items professional stagers often use to dress each room. How they are utilized is limited only by the creativity and vision of the stager.
- Floor & Table Lamps,
- Area and Throw Rugs
- Small Love Seats
- Inflatable Queen-Size Beds
- Plastic Tables & Chairs
Professional Staging Tricks & Tips
The idea behind staging is to allow rooms to show themselves. Without staging, a home will probably remain on the market for many month.
Bring the outdoors inside through the use of greenery and plants; create clean, crisp spaces and arrange furniture with plenty of room to walk around. Bathrooms are essential to dress well. "Bathrooms should look open and airy. Fill baskets with spa treatments such as:
- Towels, tied with ribbons
- Scented soaps
- Creamy lotions
- Moisturizing & Facial jars
The back yard needs staging, too. For patios and decks bring in plants and potted flowers, and adds additional color by setting the picnic table with bright, plastic dinner plates.
How Much Does it Cost?
Prices vary depending on where you live and the local demand for professional home staging. Coastal areas and large metropolitan cities where home staging has been prevalent for years command higher prices. Some real estate agents help sellers stage the home themselves. Most listing agents agree, however, that vacant homes show better with staging and will encourage sellers to hire a professional stager. Fees range from $500 to $5,000 or more, depending on square footage and the number of rooms staged.
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