Agents Must Know How to Set the Stage Correctly
March 25, 2008 - In today’s market where buyers have lots of choice, you must make an immediate “good first impression” says Thomas Mitchell, spokesperson for the Staging Specialist Council.
There are of course many things you can do to your house to stage it correctly. The Accredited Home-Staging Course (AHS), a one-day staging course is one of the most thorough overviews of staging available today and delves into all aspects of the home staging process from color to style and from symmetry to placement – both inside and outside the home. Agents struggling to sells their client’s houses with all flood of home saturating the market at the moment would be wise to learn how they can make their listings stand out from the ours.
At the end of the course the Staging Specialist Council has a large resources section, filled with additional tips and tools to help budding new home stagers. One of the latest additional to the available is the DIY Home Staging Action Kit, a 5 page document with 17 I inexpensive fixes that will help create that outside appeal most houses need.
Here are a few extracts from the Staging Kit:
Fix # 5. Make sure landscaping bricks are in their proper placement. Mowing and weed-whacking by gardeners sometimes dislodges them, and while this is something the homeowner rarely notices it makes the property look unkempt to a potential buyer.
Fix # 9. If the house needs painting and a full paint job is not in the cards, have it touched up professionally in the worst, most visible spots. Paint and fix any crooked or damaged shutters. At the very least these updates may help get a buyer in the front door, even if they negotiate a full paint job into the sale later.
Fix # 11. Make sure grass is in good shape, weeds are removed, trimming done regularly. So many sellers fall down on this job the minute the house is listed, and this is critical to selling a house quickly, especially one where the owners have already moved out. In snowy climates, removal must be done regularly as well. If you are no longer living in the home, make sure you have a Home Warranty in place to reassure buyers.
Fix # 14. If the roof has missing shingles and they can be replaced inexpensively, go ahead and take care of it as it may save negotiation over a completely new roof. Roof repair needs and costs should be minor, if repairs are extensive you might as well replace the entire roof, or adjust the price accordingly.
Fix # 17. If it’s a holiday season, by all means decorate the home! Just as the scent of freshly baked cookies or vanilla helps create a ‘homey ambiance’ inside the house, seasonal decorations really say “This is a home” and “I can see myself enjoying life here!” to potential buyers. At the very least, always have some greenery or flowers appropriate to the season on the front step or porch. Even a simple birdbath with some flowers around it around it says “home”.
“Most home buyers cannot visualize even these very simple changes and fix-ups in a house,” says Mitchell, “and the ones who can, will be looking for a reduced price from you.”
So, to sell the house quickly and at top dollar, make it appeal to the all the potential buyers who will be seeing it, rather than the few who may be looking for a “fixer upper.” Those buyers know what they want, will go after it and need less assistance in the process.
Finally, have neighbors or friends look at the finished results to see if you’ve missed anything key that would be quick and easy to do. When the home looks its very best, make sure your agent updates the picture on the Internet. This is especially important if the season has changed, for example from winter to summer.
Maybe the time has come for you to show your clients the way to a better staged home and a faster sale. Consider becoming an Accredited Home-Staging Specialist (AHS) and acquiring the extra skills and knowledge you need to be their #1 resource. With the Internet and great learning management software, you can now obtain all the staging knowhow you need over a weekend in the convenience of your own home. Visit www.stagingspecialist.com for more information.