The Importance of Appearance

First impressions are certainly everything! I read some crazy statistic about how people make an impression in the first .9 seconds of meeting someone and the same applies to selling homes!

“Staged homes sell faster.”

You and I have both heard this on HGTV multiple times and I come across it frequently when I am showing buyers. But fact of the matter is–it does!

It is a statistic and I can attest to this. Many times it is the overall “feel” or look (or appearance of how one looks) that helps sells the home.

Honestly–price is #1. People will jump on something if priced right, because the market–and savvy buyers–know what they are willing to pay for a home–and what the market is willing to endure, but today’s blog isn’t about aggressive pricing strategies.

A very important question to ask: “Can the buyer imagine themselves in this home?”

Often times staging “covers up” the fact “Wait a minute..:

“There is no good place for my TV…”

“This place has no storage after all…”

 

Most people lack vision. Ok, not all people…but it is hard to imagine the potential of a space–unless you show them. People also don’t want to have to do a ton of work!

When I am with buyers and the home is empty, yes that can be a great at times, but often a buyer can’t figure out how they’d lay out a space…or it actually seems smaller than when furnished.

And at times when a place is being currently occupied but not “prepped” for showings–I find myself saying “Ok, try to get past their furniture as it really out dates this home here.” Or you find distracting items taking you away from really looking at the space (this happens a lot with family photos and people trying to decipher what the sellers look like, what they do or how old they are).

If you are selling your home and you plan on living IN the home during the sale, here are some words of wisdom from yours truly:

 

  • Move out.(OK, I am kidding, but basically you should go visit a few model homes and listed homes, but for most–it is time to start TOSSING stuff.
    • If you haven’t opened that box in years that’s in your garage from the last move–toss it! (Totally guilty of this myself)
    • Have a garage sale!
    • Drop at Goodwill, Salvation Army, charities or on Facebook marketplace

  1. MINIMIZE, MINIMIZE, MINIMIZE

“Anything less than the size of a football is clutter.”

 

  • The caveat to this tip above is: Do not clear ALL your shelves and countertops, but stick to a few objects per shelf space/counter top depending on the size. An empty-feeling home also does not faire well when trying to sell.

 

Here is an example from a listing that was not selling and we came in and staged it.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

  • Real plants and small succulents also give the home a nice touch. Fake plants don’t always have the same effect, but you also don’t want it to die before people come view your home, so keep an eye on it, or just use the fake plants!

  1. De-Personalize

 

  • I see this often–people get distracted by family photos “Aww look at that baby” or “Are these the sellers?!” Do yourself a favor and take yourself out of the equation. Let people focus on your clean, welcoming, minimal home. No one wants to see your naked black and white maternity shots.

 

  1. Hide Collectibles

 

  • Store ‘em. Often times I see a big wall of crosses, a library filled with hunting trophies or grandma’s Precious Moments collectibles in a big china cabinet–>pack it up!

(Don’t be like Steve Carrell in 40yr Old Virgin)

 

  1. Good Furniture is Key (less is more)
  • A home definitely shows better with furniture in the home. Maybe not how you have it currently set up–but furniture is good, nonetheless. If your furniture is old and tattered or stained, or bulky or smelly or way out of style that it isn’t even considered vintage, then that may need to leave for showings and photos… but bottom line-you need something in there. What I have noticed is I have a home on the market currently and they minimized it so well for pictures that it almost doesn’t seem “homey” enough. So I had to go pick up some things to “liven it up”.

BEFORE:

Hard to see the actual room or feel that you can see yourself in this space.

AFTER:

(We added some color by bringing in the rug, changed the chairs out, added some art work and took out some of the furniture that made it appear more dated.)

 

Items that freshen up a space:

  • Plants
  • Books
  • Candles
  • Trays with decorative pieces
  • Throws
  • PILLOWS! (karate chopped of course)
  • Bowls of inanimate objects (or fake lemons)
  • Canisters/dish towels in the kitchen
  • Prints
  • NATURAL light
  • Less is more–Keep patterns to pillows and rugs and solids to bedding–white photographs nicely in most homes, making a space look cleaner and larger

 

A few other tips when preparing your home for photography & before showings:

  • Take off all your screens, get windows washed (store screens in garage)
  • Take down curtains, or choose lighter ones, open up blinds (unless there is an eye sore in the window)
  • Remove everything from bathroom countertops, toilet seat down
  • Carpets professionally cleaned
  • Touch up paint and drywall cracks or holes (I recommend this AFTER moving items from home)
  • Lawn mowed, edged, fresh mulch and plants
  • Professionally clean (nice to do before new buyers take over or if you moved out while home on market-do before stager comes)

These are all the pretty obvious items, above, but I think where the real value comes in–is hiring a Realtor who uses a professional stager. (Unless said Realtor does own staging…that may work too, but definitely check out their previous listings). Home stagers typically have a design eye, not too mention the inventory of items to decorate with. They also have a keen eye how to make a space appear bigger or detract from negatives and adding a few elements can go a long way.

When your home finally hits the market, do not short yourself by not having it ready. As a professional (now it certainly depends on timing of the market) I would rather a client delay a week to get the house in order, vs not having it perfect for photos and going “live” on the market.

Work backward from your timeline. Set realistic expectations (price it right!!). Hire people to help you. Make money on your home. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

I am not going to tell you that adding furniture to your home when you are overpriced is going to get you sold. But if you are priced right, and so is the other similar home in your neighborhood that is also on the market, yours will stand out against the competition–and most likely sell faster, if priced accordingly.

For further questions or conversations, feel free to reach out, always happy to assess, chat or offer my opinions/professional advice.

For more homes I have for sale or have sold, you can always visit my Facebook business page (check out the albums) and see my testimonials from previous clients here.

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