Catherine Wilson's Blog
Creating curb appeal is an essential ingredient to attracting potential buyers to a house for sale. Similar to the concept of "dressing for success," when you make a strong first impression, your chances for producing positive results are greatly enhanced.
Looking good from the outside is the first step to capturing people's interest, but that's only the first of several hurdles that you have to clear. The last thing you want to do as a home seller is disappoint prospective buyers when they start looking around inside. That's why it's important to start strong and finish strong! While that may be easier said than done, it's a principle of success you can't afford to ignore.
Once you put your house on the market, there are two factors that could potentially work against you: the elements of time and competition.
- Time is of the essence: Time can either be your friend or your adversary, depending on how long your house has been on the market. When house hunters see the words "just listed," it creates a feeling of excitement and urgency. For many eager home buyers, those two words mean there's a fresh opportunity to discover the house of their dreams... or at least a reasonable facsimile! It's especially enticing to frustrated buyers who have already looked at a lot of homes, without having found the right one yet. When a new house is listed and put on the market, couples will be thinking and saying "Maybe this house will be the one!" Your challenge as a home seller is to do everything possible and cost-effective to live up to their expectations! An important factor to keep in mind is that the longer a house is on the market, the less appealing it generally is to prospective buyers. Once a house has been languishing on the market for more than a couple months or so, it also puts the sellers at a negotiating disadvantage.
- Competition is a fact of life: Buying a house is weighty decision. No one takes it lightly, and few buyers are going to make an offer on a house if they haven't looked at several others, too. Well-organized house hunters will have wish lists, "must have" requirements, and detailed notes and recollections about how each house stacks up. So it's important to work with your real estate agent to present your home in its best possible light. When your home compares favorably to other similar properties on market, your chances of getting it sold within a reasonable period of time are greatly improved.
When it comes to the marketability of your house, appearances are everything! If your house is up for sale or you have plans to put it on the market soon, there are a lot of details you need to attend to before prospects stop by.
Although it's difficult to make a lived-in house look immaculate all the time, the closer you can come to that high standard, the better! Whether they're actively looking for signs of cleanliness or just noticing it subconsciously, the overall condition of your home can and does make an indelible impression on prospective buyers.
The reason "curb appeal" is emphasized so strongly by real estate agents is that the initial impression you make on house hunters can impact the amount of time your property stays on the market. That's especially true in "drive by" situations in which prospects quickly check out your house from the street and make a snap judgement about whether or not they like what they see. If your house and yard look appealing to them, then they may follow up with either the listing agent or their buyers' agent. On the other hand, if there's peeling paint visible, an aging roof, or weeds growing out of cracks in the driveway, they'll probably drive on and continue their search elsewhere. As you can imagine, there's a lot riding on curb appeal, so it pays to keep your lawn looking manicured and other landscaping features well maintained.
Once prospects are inside your home, they're going to notice everything from scuffed walls and cluttered furniture to the smell of toast you burned that morning or greasy cooking odors. Pet odors can also be a major turnoff for many prospective buyers, especially if they're not dog or cat fans to begin with! A worst-case-scenario, of course, is to have a last-minute pet accident happen on the floor when prospects are touring the house. That's not just a hypothetical situation; it occurs more often than you might think. To prevent that potential "disaster," some home sellers make arrangements with friends, relatives, or pet daycare services to have their dogs or cats taken care of outside of the house when tours are scheduled. While that's not always practical or even possible, it can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on potential buyers.
The bottom line when it comes to effective home staging is that people are going to notice "the good, the bad, and the ugly." Your objective, of course, is to do everything possible to diminish the negatives and accentuate the positives. Your real estate agent can be an indispensable resource for providing you with the unvarnished truth about what needs to be repaired or cosmetically improved to present the best possible image of your home to the public.
Staging a home requires a seller to think about how to differentiate his or her residence from others that are currently available. Fortunately, a home staging checklist can make it easy for a seller to ensure his or her house stands out from the competition.
A home staging checklist allows a seller to take a step-to-step approach to enhance his or her house's appeal, which may lead to a fast, profitable home sale.
In addition, this checklist is simple to create and may include the following items:
1. Removing Clutter
Although you likely have collected a variety of antiques, artwork and other attractive items over the years, you may want to remove some of these belongings from your house. That way, you can help homebuyers envision what their lives may be like if they decide to purchase your residence.
Remember, the goal of a home seller is to stir up substantial interest in a house. If you eliminate clutter from your home, you can enable homebuyers to see exactly what your residence has to offer and help them make an informed purchase decision.
To remove clutter from your home, you may want to host a yard sale or sell excess items online. You can always donate excess items to local charities or give them to family members or friends too. Or, if you want to keep all of your belongings, you can put various items in a storage unit until your residence sells.
2. Cleaning a Home from Top to Bottom
An immaculate residence is sure to garner substantial interest from homebuyers. Thus, if you clean your home from top to bottom, you can increase the likelihood that your residence will make a positive first impression on potential buyers.
Go room by room and clean as much as possible. If you require extra assistance, you can hire a professional home cleaning company as well.
3. Collaborating with a Real Estate Agent
If you need expert guidance as you sell your residence, you should hire a local real estate agent.
A real estate agent is a difference-maker throughout the home selling journey. This housing market professional can help you stage your home, along with provide real estate market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
When it comes to home staging, it often pays to collaborate with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent will learn about your house and offer personalized home staging recommendations.
Furthermore, a real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a house and can help you make tough decisions throughout the home selling journey. He or she can work with you to determine an initial asking price for your residence, whether to accept an offer a home and much more. Also, if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at any time.
Take the guesswork out of staging your residence – include the aforementioned items in your home staging checklist, and you can quickly and effortlessly get your house show-ready.
If you've recently put your home on the market -- or are considering doing so in the near future -- home staging is a priority which will soon take front and center!
Since "presentation is everything" when trying to catch the interest of prospective buyers, it's crucial to be able to see things through their eyes.
Unfortunately, being able to accomplish that objective is next to impossible because, as a homeowner, you're looking at your home and property through a completely different lens than the rest of the world. The longer you've lived in your home, the more your objectivity is compromised.
Here are a few reasons why it's really difficult to "see the forest for the trees" when it comes to home staging:
First of all, there's the emotional aspect of owning a home and seeing your life unfold there over a period of years. That's especially true for first-time homeowners, parents of growing children, and people who have sunk a lot of money, time, and energy into improvements and customization. Once you've added personal touches to your home to reflect your own tastes, personality, and lifestyle, you're viewing your home through a unique perspective that may cloud your objectivity as a home seller.
Solution: Think Like a Business Owner
For the same reason business owners and executives hire outside consultants to tell them how to improve management efficiency or profitability, home sellers often need professional marketing guidance from a real estate agent or home staging consultant. Getting input from home decorators, landscapers, or home improvement contractors may also provide you with helpful ideas, but their recommendations may not always be the most economical and cost effective.
When staging your home to enhance eye appeal and attract the most potential buyers, a good guiding principle to keep in mind is ROI or "return on investment." While you don't want to sink more money into sprucing up and staging your home than necessary, you do want to cast it in its best possible light. Depending on how recently your home has been updated or improved, your investment in home staging may be relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, if you haven't updated, repaired, or made improvements for more years than you care to remember, the cost of making your home irresistible to buyers may be a lot higher!
One More Scenario
If your tastes could be described as eclectic, "off the wall", or otherwise out of the mainstream, you might need to consider a major overall in the look and feel of your property. Unless you're lucky enough to have it be a "sellers' market" at the time you're putting your house up for sale, it's generally advisable to make your home appealing to as wide a range of potential buyers as possible. An experienced real estate professional is usually in the best position to provide the guidance you need to accomplish that key objective.