Listing a house with an agent isn’t’ the first step to selling your home. Getting it ready to market is. With the busiest home buying season upon us, it’s time to consider what you need to do to make your home open house ready.
Here are some tips.
- ASK: What Would You Do? It’s hard to be objective when looking at your own home so it might be easy to overlook the stack of bills piled up on the desk or the shoes lined up beside the front door. I tell my clients to consider this: “Pretend your son or daughter is getting married and the in-laws, who you haven’t met yet, are coming for dinner. What would you want your house to look like?” That can often provide a good starting point.
- Hire an agent who includes staging as part of his or her service. Sometimes agents have to show a little “tough love,” explaining that as much as you may love the “lived in” look, potential buyers prefer the “ready to move in” look. When needed, I provide a two hour consultation with a professional stager who will write up a list of recommendations to get your home ready to put on the market. In many cases she will work with what you have—moving furniture, relocating paintings—but more often than not, she’ll tell you what needs to go and what can stay.
- Consider the research. According to the National Association of Realtors® 2015 Profile of Home Staging, 49 percent of buyer’s agents believe that most buyers are influenced by home staging while over 65% of seller’s agents think that staging increases a home’s sales price by anywhere from 1 to 15 percent. The pecking order of rooms that warrant staging breaks down like this: living room, kitchen, master bedroom, dining room, bathroom, children’s room, guest room.
- Consider the numbers. The median cost to stage a home according to the National Association of Realtors® was $675 last year. But sometimes it takes more to make more. Last year I had an as-is listing which received an offer of $800,000 which the seller turned down. One year and $55,000 later in improvements, the home sold for $980,000. Some of that additional $125,000 (after expenses) in profit was due to appreciation, but I would say the bulk of it could be attributed to painting, refinishing floors, installing new carpet, updating appliances as well as kitchen and bathroom counters.
- Don’t forget the outside. In this day and age of the Internet, curb appeal still matters. My wife and I bought our first home as a fixer-upper with a yard so out of control that you couldn’t even see the house from the road. After spending the first weekend just pulling weeds and clearing out debris, someone knocked on our door asking us if we were interested in selling. Sweat equity paid off before we even touched the interior of our humble abode. While your yard most likely wouldn’t need this kind of extreme makeover, be sure to consider what these changes might do for a positive first impression—resurfacing a cracked driveway, painting the front door, arranging a colorful planter on the front porch, trimming overgrown trees.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home this summer, give me a call now so we can start the discussion on how to get your home “For Sale” ready. You can reach me at 503.939.9801 or check out my website.