Saturday, May 14, 2011

Home Seller Tips

Everything I Know About Home Staging I Learned From My Mother

In 1964, my parents sold their first home to the first people to see it. My mother has always held the belief that the home sold quickly based on how it was decorated. I think she may be on to something.

It all began when my parents were taking a drive in the “country” – Katonah, NY – and saw a model home they really liked.

As they considered a move north from Yonkers, they discussed their potential plans with a neighbor. That neighbor told a friend who shortly thereafter stopped by to see the house. Later that evening the neighbor’s friend returned with her husband and agreed to pay the asking price.

Without knowing it, my mother had staged her home to sell.

Why can’t it always be that easy to sell a home? Well, even if it can’t always be that easy, there are simple and inexpensive ways to make a home more attractive to potential clients. And, like this example, the faster a home sells, the higher the sale price.

Growing up, if your mom was like mine, she took great pride in decorating and showcasing her home.

I remember our formal living room. There were no electronic devices – phones, stereos, or TVs – and it was set up purely with friends and family in mind. A cozy conversation area was established while still highlighting the room’s two main features – a fireplace and large picture window. And, as with staging, these spaces were always ready for company.

Even today, my mother’s home is a reflection of how she wants her guests to feel when they visit – welcomed and relaxed. From the minute they drive up, until they enter the living area, they are greeted by warm, inviting, and clutter-free spaces.

My mother understands the emotional response to home decorating and that emotional response is even more powerful when decorating a home to sell.

Both staging – and my mother’s decorating style – are based on emotion, because few people buy a home based on logic alone. Think back to when you purchased your home. Most likely, you bought the home you fell in love with.

As you prepare your home for sale, step into your buyer’s shoes, and ask the questions that perhaps your mother did as well:
  • Are the rooms inviting?
  • How do they make you feel?
  • Are the spaces clean and neat?
  • Do they encourage conversation and relaxation?
  • Does the furniture layout draw you into each space?
  • Is your home designed to appeal to a wide variety of friends, family and potential buyers?
  • Will your “guests” feel like staying – lingering – perhaps long enough to make an offer? 
(By the way, these are the same questions home stagers ask themselves as they walk through the homes they stage.)

Having trouble stepping into your buyer’s shoes? Consider hiring a professional home stager to guide you.