Would you like to know how experts stage homes to get them sold fast and for top dollar?
Today I’m going to show you a step-by-step process for staging both the inside and outside of homes you list. Now I know you’re probably experienced in staging, but the ideas below will probably shed some light on important areas you may regularly miss – so at worst it’ll be a great reinforcement for you.
But before I share the steps for staging success, there are 3 rules you should know about dressing homes for sale:
Rule 1: Most buyers are very literal. They only know what they see. They have very little imagination. You must create their imagination for them (via staging) to sell effectively.
Rule 2: First impressions are lasting with buyers. Buyers decide whether they like or dislike a home within seconds of entering. It either hits them or it doesn’t. You must enhance the first impressions of the home.
Rule 3: Your home will sell because of emotion, not logic. The only way to stimulate emotion is to make your home a place where people can really “FEEL” at home. Make it warm and inviting. Emphasize the special benefits of the home and lot.
Remember not to talk about dressing the home with sellers, or improving home deficiencies until AFTER you have taken the listing. People can be very sensitive about their personal belongings or how their home looks prior to staging. So let’s begin…
STEP #1: Assess the Current Situation
Be honest with sellers about what needs improving. You’re a team now. If a floor is marred or a room needs painting, say so.
Also, let your clients know that there’s a difference between how they live in a home, and how we show it for sale. They may need to change their home and lifestyle for a short time to accommodate this rule.
For the outside, take a walk across the street from the home. Examine the curb appeal of the home. Make notes of items that are unsatisfactory from a buyer’s perspective. Remember, buyers are very literal.
You can even tell your sellers to get into their car and start driving away from their home. As they do so, ask them to take a look back at their home. Make notes about what looks good, and what needs improvement.
STEP #2: Eliminate Clutter
The key to showing homes effectively is getting rid of clutter. Make counters clear, get rid of pictures on the wall and tables, store excess furniture if necessary, put books in boxes. Your clients are doing this anyhow for their move, they just need to do it a little early. Here are other household items to put away:
- Clear away kitchen and bathroom counters. These are areas where you need to show the most space and neatness. So put appliances and kitchen-items away.
- Re-arrange furniture so rooms look larger. Store old furniture or cluttered items in another location — at least while the home is for sale.
- Get rid of as many “personal” things as you can. Buyers have a hard time visualizing “their” new home with the seller’s personal belongings everywhere. Try to make the home look neutral, as if you don’t know who lives there.
And just like the interior, you need to get all the clutter out of the yard. Put hoses away, store garbage cans, put away the sprinkler and kids’ toys. The neater the area looks, the better the first impression.
STEP #3: Spruce the Home Up Before Showing
Make improvements to the home, but only where it will make the biggest difference to the sales price. Getting the biggest bang for your clients buck usually means getting a fresh coat of paint on strategic walls and areas. New paint is an inexpensive way to show a home.
Check the paint condition of the INTERIOR of a home by removing pictures off walls. It will probably need painting. Remember to get inside painting done first, before any cleaning.
Check the paint condition of the entire EXTERIOR of the home. If it’s pealing or worn, the buyer will notice it immediately. Don’t devalue your home by trying to sell it in poor paint condition. Pay particular attention to the front door, mailbox, garage doors, and walkway areas. These are where the buyers will be walking and noticing problems. You should also consider the following items with sellers:
- Professional Cleaning. Get a professional firm in to CLEAN the entire home. Floors, ceilings, windows, fireplace, carpet, drapes — everything! Also, check for ODORS. If the owners have a pet, they’re home probably needs to have carpets cleaned or deodorized. Any odors make a home less attractive.
- Home Inspection. Check for termites and functional obsolescence. Many homeowners actually have their home inspected prior to putting it on the market. It makes a good impression to the buyers when you have your own inspection completed by an independent company. It will also save embarrassing situations with buyers who discover problems.
- Landscaping. The landscaping should look immaculate. Make sure the lawn is groomed, flower beds are clean, leaves are removed, and weeds are pulled. Check the bushes and trees for grooming also.
STEP #4: Show the Home In the Best Light
Always turn on the LIGHTS when showing. Tell your clients to turn on all lights around the home before a buyer gets there. If you show the home, make sure you turn on as many lights as you can for the buyers.
These include the mailbox light, front door, entry (especially if the entry is dark), and dark hallways. Make your home alive, by being inviting and bright. Bright homes sell better than dark homes.
Leave all front area curtains and drapes open. Have you ever seen model homes? The drapes are always open at night, and the lights are on. Why? Because it shows the home better. Also, when you keep drapes open during the day, people touring through the home will experience more natural light.
BONUS TIPS: After you complete the dressing of the seller’s home, you need to make 2 statements that will help set the stage for your relationship. You want to say the following:
- You may get some agents not showing your home because of the listing price. At this time, don’t worry about it. But if we get too many, we’ll need to revisit the issue.
- You will get offers all across the board. There are those who just make low offers to see if a seller will bite. Some may be as low as 20% below your listing price. Regardless of the price or terms of the offer, let’s make sure we examine and discuss all offers that come in, OK?
You may want to type up a list of home-staging items for your sellers to address. You can use this 4-step process as an outline to work with sellers, get more offers, and sell your listings faster.