Wow, you’d think Shakespeare was talking real estate if you are the one trying to sell a home in the Bay Area during this “cooling” market. With nearly 9-months of inventory on hand and buyers sitting in their easy chairs waiting for another 10-20% to fall off the market, Realtors and sellers are looking for every way to rise above the long list of houses for sale in their neighborhoods.
I have always been an advocate of staging. When I lived in San Francisco, nearly every house was staged to the max. I was surprised when I moved back to the South Bay and saw very few homes staged for selling. Recently, I spoke with my friend and professional stager Karen Negrete at Transform Your Home, about the need for staging help in these tightening times. She has been great working with my clients and has helped me realize how many different ways you can stage a home.
We discussed why it is important to stage a home and Karen hit it right on the human head (or is that heart?); “People are looking for the best price and whether they realize it or not, in the prettiest wrapper. Why else do new home builders have model homes and have them professionally decorated. They understand how the appearance of their models sell their houses. They also understand that if they can get a buyer to visualize themselves already living in the house by utilizing designer furnishing and creating either a hip, cool or elegant environment, the house is as good as sold. It’s emotionally driven. ”
The “visualizing yourself in the home” is a critical component to any home buyer’s decision. That is why it is so important to take as many of the seller’s personal items out of the home before opening it to potential buyers. Karen uses the term “visual merchandising” and that is key to presenting the home in the very best light. Many times I will take sellers on tours of the best presented homes and the not so well presented homes in their neighborhoods to really demonstrate what an impact professional staging can make.
Karen and I also help sellers understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean renting the Rembrandt to successfully stage a home. According to Karen, “In a lot of cases, just cleaning, removing clutter and rearranging some things usually will do the trick.”
Recently, the National Association of Realtors gave some stagers a mere $250 to stage homes for sale. It was amazing the impact they had on the the presentation of the home. If you are interested in seeing their results go to NAR’s site. View the video and see the magic they create.
It is not always easy to make these changes to the home you have owned. However, both Karen and I agree that if you really want to sell your home, you need to begin looking at it like a house, a marketable item, and not your home. Take the time to show the buyers all the aspects that attracted you to the property; the beautiful patio area, the spacious living areas, the privacy of the master bedroom, and the sense of pride that comes from owning a beautiful home. Treat your home’s entrance onto the market as if it were going on stage and you will have the best chance of obtaining top dollar.