Friday, July 31, 2009

Is it smart to hire a stager when trying to sell?

This is a great question. Hiring a professional stager can be extremely helpful in today's market. It is not a secret that we have a huge supply of homes on the market and not enough demand (buyers), so sellers are competing with other sellers like never before. A buyer has many choices these days on choosing their home, so the best strategy is to push your listing to the front of the pack. A stager can help you do just that, using their expertise in paint color, positioning of furniture, artwork and flow. A fresh set of experienced eyes can help to downplay the not so positive areas of the home and feature the great qualities.

Not all of us are in a position to take on an extra cost for a stager, but it can be done fairly inexpensively if you do your homework. If the property is vacant, it will naturally cost more due to the fact that furniture will have to be rented to fill up the space. But if you are still occupying the property, often a stager can use items you already have and take down things that don't help, only paying for her time, not rental furniture/accessories which could get costly.

There are many success stories of homes sitting on the market for months and then selling almost immediately after having it professionally staged. Lets talk money a moment:

If you have little to no equity in the home, the home is not selling and price reductions are taking place, it is only a matter of time before you will need to bring thousands to the closing table if it sells. Wouldn't you rather spend a much smaller amount at the beginning to have it staged and actually have a chance at selling it sooner and have to bring little to NO money to the closing table? It's a no-brainer if you ask me.

So, here are some pointers:

  • Make sure the entry to your home has great curb appeal. Things like keeping the lawn trimmed, the weeds pulled, mulch, flowers, a fresh coat of paint on the front door and dusting off all cobwebs and dirt from the exterior does a world of good. Clean those windows! If it doesn't look appealing on the outside, noone is going inside.
  • Keep your house "Q-tip" clean. All the nooks and crannies need to be spotless. Nothing turns off a buyer more than a dirty house.
  • Fresh coats of paint to the inside of the home is a great idea. Don't go crazy on the colors, but definitely use some. Stay away from stark white walls, use neutral tones, nice crisp white floorboards are a great contrast to the walls.
  • Play some relaxed music on days when you know you are getting showings, bake a pie in the oven beforehand or fresh bread. Homey smells help the prospective buyer feel comfortable and help them imagine themselves living there.
  • Decorate towel rods in bathrooms, candles on the bathtub, things that make you think, "Ahh, that's nice".
  • Price your home RIGHT. It could be a beautiful home, but if it isn't priced to sell, it just might not for quite some time. You will eventually need to reduce the price and the home will have lost its "new listing" appeal. If you price it right immediately, you will sell it much faster. Pretty simple.

I hope that this is helpful to all who read it. I certainly haven't touched on everything, but it's a little bit of advice to "take and run with". If you are interested in staging your listing, call around, get quotes, check out their websites and "before and after" shots, meet with them before deciding who to go with. If not, try to look at your home without the rose colored glasses, compare with others and be honest with yourself. It will do a world of good!

Camping with the kiddos!

Okay, I think I am in for a wild ride! Our family is going on our first tent camping trip. We have three wonderful kids, but we have yet to take our two younger ones, Kian (almost 3) and Ella (20 months). It is safe to say that is will definitely be memorable, the question is... will it be a good memory or a miserable one! :o) Fortunately, it is just an overnighter with our church to Chatfield Reservoir. I can only imagine the chaotic sleeping arrangement, and I use the term "sleeping" very loosely. Whatever happens, this is what I know: Every activity with my children is precious, even the not-so-good ones. It reminds me that life is messy...and that is what makes it fun. If all goes well, the kids will be the messiest they have ever been and have the widest grins on their faces. Now that is a kodak moment!