The following was submitted to Bedford Patch by Certified Staging Professional and Bedford resident Michelle Maurice:
Gone are the days when simply putting out the “For Sale” sign and opening up the front door brought you immediate offers, and over your asking price!
Today’s real estate market is much more difficult to navigate and requires a more deliberate approach. Buyers are more savvy and banks are much less willing to lend money but even now, houses are selling, some very quickly and yes, even over asking with multiple offers.
Smart sellers and real estate professionals know that although selling a home is the largest investment most people make, it is also a very personal and emotional one. Your home needs to make a great impression, much like wearing your best suit to a job interview or having your car detailed before you trade it in. That’s where staging comes in.
Staging is the process of preparing a home for sale by highlighting its positives and downplaying itsperceived negatives. Staging focuses on the house itself rather than the “stuff.” Staged homes, onaverage, sell 2-3x faster than unstaged homes and sell for up to 6.9% more.
Most times simple changes will make a significant impact. Here are 5 simple tips to get you started:
- Stand at the end of your driveway and take a look at what people see. “Curb Appeal” is the most important first impression and will set the stage for potential buyers to come in or keep driving. The house should be clean, nicely landscaped and free of any obvious problems such as chipping paint, missing shingles, broken steps etc.
- Enter through the front door and walk the house as if you had never been there before. Is the flow smooth? Are there furniture pieces in front of desirable focal points such as fireplaces or built ins? Most people have too much furniture in too small a space. Are the spaces clearly defined and logical? Buyers should never question the purpose of a spaceand conversely, sellers can “lead” a buyer to that purpose with furniture and accessories.
- Kitchens and baths sell houses. Depending on your price point and the value of homes around you, minor improvements to these spaces are always helpful. In the bathroom, replace dated knobs, faucets and light fixtures. Purchase a new shower curtain/rings and invest in new “showing” only towels which can be brought with you to your next house. Minimize toiletries and get rid of the toilet brush!In the kitchen, clear off the counter top leaving only 3 items, put away the dish rack and dishtowels and add some fresh fruit and flowers.Replacing kitchen knobs and painting outdated cabinets also make a big impact for little money.
- De-personalize, De-clutter and clean! Pack away your personal photographs and collectibles so potential buyers can envision themselves in the space. Minimize what is on bookshelves,tables and walls to complement the architectural details of the house without overwhelming the senses. Give the room space for people to let their eyes rest without distraction.
- Put away animal toys, beds and bowls for pictures and showings. People with allergies will automatically discount your home even though it may be spotless. And although you may not notice, some animals do leave an odor so ask a trusted friend if your house has any detectable pet odor. Clean the carpets and furniture if needed and be extra vigilant with anything that might cause an offensive odor.
And remember this when you’re working hard and questioning your investment of time and money, you only get one chance to make a great first impression and staging is always lower than your first pricedrop!
Michelle Maurice is a Certified Staging Professional working in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. She can be reached at 339-927-2588 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.