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Home Staging and Selling Guide


“People see only what they are prepared to see”

Emerson

Selling your home is not easy. It takes time, energy, objectivity, expertise and a team of experts to help you! Luckily there are people who specialize in each step of the process like Real Estate Agents, Title Companies, Inspectors, Appraisers and Home Stagers. What is a Home Stager? A Home Stager is someone who is an expert at decorating and preparing a home to sell. What is Home Staging?

“Home Staging is using limited funds, practical creativity and extraordinary expertise to professionally prepare a home to sell so that it becomes infinitely more attractive to potential buyers, sells quickly and for more money. In turn, home staging becomes an investment for the home seller through the greater home sale earnings that are realized.”

Your home must compete in a buyer’s market with model home, merchandised rooms that speak to your buyer demographic! You cannot do this yourself since it’s impossible for you to be objective about your space, so make sure to read through this Guide and contact a Professional Home Stager!

1. Staging and Selling Overview

Selling your home is a process and this guide is intended to walk you through the most important elements of success in that process:

  • The Three Keys to Selling Your Home

  • Understanding Buyers

  • Top Ten Reasons to Stage Your Home

  • Creating a Plan for Preparing Your Home to Sell

After you’ve gone through this “Staging and Selling Guide” you will know what it takes to sell your home in this market for the best price available to you.

2. The Three keys to selling your home

Don’t worry about the idea of selling your home in a slow or “buyer’s market” because when these three keys are done right, success is right around the corner! Why? Because most home sellers today are neglecting one or more of these crucial steps, impeding the realization of a successful sale.

If you are serious about selling your home, here are 3 ESSENTIAL KEY STEPS you must take into consideration to make your home stand out from the competition:

  1. Marketing Your Home On The Inside – Professional Home Staging

  2. Marketing Your Home To The Public– Online Marketing, brochures, open houses, etc. (Agent)

  3. Pricing The House Right – Reviewing comparable homes in your area, getting a good agent, finessing your price

When each key is just right, offers will come!

First Key – Disassociate and Prepare Your Home on the Inside (Home Staging)

Most home sellers are aware of the need to spruce up their home (product) so that it sells, but often have no idea where to begin or how to prioritize the improvements. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, the average staging investment that is between 1 and 3 percent of the home’s asking price will generate a return of 8 to 10 percent in the sale price of the home! That means when a seller with a $300.000 home invests $3.000 in preparing it to sell, they will typically see a $24.000 return!

In today’s real estate market, it simply means you will be able to attract more buyers and sell your home quickly because it appeals to the broadest range of buyers. Home sellers know they need to spend they just need professional guidance in knowing where to spend those staging dollars in order to have the greatest return on investment.

After living in a home for more than 2 years, it is almost impossible for people to “objectively” view their space and their sentimental belongings from a buyer’s perspective, allowing them to focus on spending their staging budget wisely.

Elements of the home that may have annoyed us originally, we no longer notice. Our homes become very personal, filled with belongings that create memories and emotions, so that objectively altering them to fit a buyer’s perspective becomes nearly impossible to do ourselves!

So what does a home seller do to view the home objectively and get the most from their staging budget?

  • Be a Buyer – Disassociate from your home and try to see your home through a buyer’s eyes. The next section in our Staging Guide will begin to walk you through this.

  • Get Professional Guidance – Hire a professional Home Stager and an expert at marketing and photographing the inside of a home, creating an emotional response from buyers to each space. Staging and decorating is what we do all day, so we know a bit about what looks great and appeals to buyers.

Staging is an art form like gourmet cooking, painting and decorating, so consequently most people don’t have the expertise to transform and market each room of the home correctly on their own. Would you paint your own paintings?

Second Key – Have an Amazing Online Photo Presentation (Marketing Campaign)

Your online photo presentation is Key Number Two in selling your home fast and for the best price!

  • Over 95 % of homebuyers are ONLINE first looking at photos of the homes, before they decide to drive by and visit!

  • 84 % of buyers reported the photos to be the most useful information

  • The number ONE action taken after viewing a home online was to drive by or visit the home!

2012 NAR Profile of Buyers

Your home’s online photo presentation is competing against many other homes for the buyer’s attention, so make sure the listing presentation shines by following these simple strategies:

  • Use An Enhanced Listing – If you think all agents are alike in the way they list a home and market it to the public..think again! In fact, the number one, most trafficked real estate website is www.Realtor.com. There are various options for “featuring” a home that are available to agents. The “basic” option only allows an agent to display four photos of the home, creating an instant “red flag” to buyers who may assume that the rest of the home is not photo worthy or lacking! The “enhanced” option allows an agent to display 25 photos of the home, as well as list more details and a flashing header to attract buyer attention.

  • Use Over 20 Photos – As your professional stager, I will take plenty of gorgeous photos of those staged rooms as noted in Key Number One, being sure to focus on the best four photos first, since that is what the buyer sees instantly when clicking on your listing.

1 photo = 5 views and 1.37 leads

21 or more photos = over 77 views and 11+ leads

Clearly the listings that added 20+ photos generated nearly 10 times the number of leads and over 15 times the number of views.

1 photo = 70 days on market

6 photos = 40 days on market

16-19 photos = 36 days on market

20+ photos = 32 days on market

** according to Point2.com

  • Use a Virtual Tour - Did you know, that home stagers are specially trained to take great photos of staged rooms and have access to creating a beautiful “Virtual Tour” to music that can attach to your online listing? Buyer’s love clicking on those virtual tours and I can create one that makes your home shine!

  • Syndicate Your Listing – Just because your listing is in the MLS or on Realtor.com, does not mean that it was also posted to Frontdoor, Google Base, HotPads, MySpace, Facebook, Trulia, Zillow, Craigslist and all the other Web 2.0 listing sites. How do you get your listing syndicated and out to the most people? A successful Real Estate Agent also knows how to syndicate your listing so it will be seen by more buyers.

Danger: Make sure the photos are of professionally staged rooms! There is nothing worse than multiple photos of neglected looking spaces!

  • List only When ready – When an agent lists your home, buyers who have signed up for “e-mail alerts” for your area will get an e-mail of the online listing presentation. Make sure, that all the staged room photos and details are in place before the listing is launched, so that buyers are instantly attracted to your home!

Remember to think like a home buyer and go online to review your listing and photos. Does it visually have appeal and stand out among similarly priced homes in your area? If not, go back to First Key and Second Key to either increase the home’s attraction, or consider pricing as explained in the Third Key.

Third Key – Price the Home Right the First Time

Your real estate agent is an expert on the marketplace and at reading and understanding comparable. Statistically, a home that “sits” on the market loses its new listing buzz and ends up selling for a lower price down the road. In fact, according to a National Association of Realtor’s survey, the longer a home stays on the market, the further below list price it drops. Homes that sold in the first 4 weeks averaged 1 percent more than the list price: 4 to 12 weeks averaged 5 percent less; 13 to 24 weeks averaged 6.4 percent less than the list price; and 24 weeks averaged more than 10 percent less than list price.

Research the homes for sale in your area at a website like www.zillow.com and talk with your agent about introducing your home at a price that will encourage potential buyer traffic, because the first two steps to selling your home will be sure to promote offers. If you plan to “shoot high and see what happens” that’s fine, but be prepared to change the price in two weeks, if you don’t attract buyers to your home.

3. Understanding buyers

In order to understand how to sell a product, you have to understand your buyer and what makes them go from making a logical decision to visit your home, to the emotional decision of placing an offer. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when you are staging and selling a home:

The home seller has the marketing advantage…

  • A perfectly Targeted Audience – Most buyers who come to your house are good prospects. They are actively shopping for the product you are selling and your house should already meet their general criteria.

  • A Captive Audience – The buyer is in your house and will probably spend up to an hour studying it.

  • An Opportunity to Make Multiple Impressions – Each room gives us the perfect opportunity to make dozens of first impressions. With each detail, we will move the buyer from looking at your house to evaluating whether it could be their home.

Homes are purchased based on emotions….

  • We want buyers to think “This is it. This is the one!” We at Property Stages Group use an eight-step FEEL HOME process to depersonalize the space and create “emotional connection points”, which actively engage a buyer’s mind to imagine how life could be in your house for their family.

  • Like most first impressions, buyers will be looking to reinforce their opinion throughout the rest of the home. We’ll make those first impressions positive in every room!

  • When a house feels like home, buyers will reprioritize their list. We’ll accentuate the positive and downplay the negative in each room. We’ll create warmth, scale, harmony and cohesion by using expert decorating tricks of the trade. We also educate your agent in how to present each room to it’s fullest potential when they talk to the buyer.

Buyers will “profile” the sellers in their buying decisions….

  • Neat and organized sellers are viewed as taking care of a home. The opposite is also true. We’ll declutter those areas buyers use to profile neatness.

  • Nationwide, the typical homebuyer household consists of a married couple aged 36, with a household income of $71,300. We will target these people in our style and décor, so our “profile” fits. Nevertheless, we will also talk to your agent and analyzing your specific “buyer” and adjusting our staging to your target, as every house is unique.

Buyers will view your personal things, impersonally….