When we put our homes on the market, we all want two things: for the home to sell fast and for the most money possible. We start the selling process with such hope however when a home doesn’t sell or develops a stigma, sellers are often confused and unable to figure out what to do next.
What creates a stigma? What makes a property sit and sit on the market, generating few if any visits and absolutely no offers? Well, I feel its all about denial. Denial about price. Denial about the appearance of the home. And let’s face it, denial can cost a seller a sale.
So how do you avoid having a listing gather dust on the market? Well, initially it comes down to being realistic about what needs to be done before the property goes on the market. It’s not about what sellers like about their home – its about what you buyers will like – and since sellers need to appeal to as many buyers as possible, they need to understand that just slapping a ‘for sale’ sign in the front yard won’t cut it. The second step? Hiring a professional home stager who will do a consultation and give the homeowners a complete PLAN to get it ready for sale. It’s vital to follow those recommendations as the professionals will know exactly how to stage your home to sell. From finishing outstanding repairs, doing some smart upgrades, neutralizing decor schemes and then staging to sell are all essential steps to a successful market debut.
Next its all about choosing HOW you’re going to sell your home. If you don’t know a successful realtor, ask the professional stager who should have a list of realtors which she can recommend. Don’t be afraid to interview a few and look at their current listings. See how their properties are presented: are they bright, modern and spacious or do they feature dated decor, empty rooms and few upgrades? All realtors encounter a seller who will refuse to do anything to get their property ready for sale however if every listing brings to mind labels such as ‘dated’ or ‘cluttered’ then its cause for concern. Instead of recommending some smart aesthetic changes these agents may be more inclined to simply reduce the property’s price every 30 days.
Fact: Average price reduction according to Zillow.com is 1% of a home’s list price per month up to a maximum of 9% for homes under $2 Million. For homes over $2 Million, that statistic jumps to 14%. For a $300,000 home this is a $27,000 in price reductions. For a $1,900.000 that is a staggering $266,000!
Fact: For an owner occupied home, staging can cost between $500 – $1,000 and has 299% ROI. For a vacant property, staging can cost between $1,500 – $4,000 and helps vacant homes sell 7 months faster than unstaged properties. The investment in staging doesn’t even come close to what sellers will lose in home equity with even ONE price reduction.
Savvy realtors will encourage investing in staging a home before resorting to price reductions. They understand there is a direct correlation between a home’s appearance and how quickly it is snapped up by a buyer who can’t help but appreciate the VALUE of the home. Last – but definitely not least – LISTEN to the agent about the fair market value for the property. Pricing it way too high is only going to result in zero interest, zero showings and zero offers.
So, your home looks great, you’ve picked a great realtor, decided on a price and you’re ready to list your home .. right? WRONG!
Over 90% of buyers are shopping online FIRST so the pictures need to top notch. So that means that the pictures of the home need to be taken by professionals. Even better are virtual tours which really showcase all the great architectural elements of the property. Bottom line is that in order for buyers to get in the front door, they need to be seduced online FIRST so that your home can get a DATE with them!
Last, but definitely not least, is the wording of the ad for your home. Certain phrases have been used so many times that they have adopted a stigma all their own, so avoid these at all costs! Here are some of our favourites:
Fixer Upper -This phrase only attracts flippers and gawkers so don’t put this up unless you WANT to scare away the majority of your buyer pool.
One Owner Home – This says dated wallpaper and paint colours, golden rod fixtures in bathrooms and a lot of WORK to most buyers. One owner means they have not sold a home in decades and are still of the mindset that buyers can look past all the things they never got around to updating.
Nicely or Professionally Decorated – Did you know decorating is the OPPOSITE of staging? Decorating is all about personalizing a home to reflect one owners tastes. Staging de-personalizes a home so it appeals to a multitude of would be home owners. If you’re selling, a personally decorated home works against you, alienating much of your buyer pool.
Priced to Sell – Isn’t every home? This title just smacks of desperation. Better to put your efforts into your home’s appearance so you can say its Staged to Sell instead!
Handyman Special – So you want low ball offers and property flippers to flock to your property? Again, some TLC, a small investment and you can make sure your realtor doesn’t have to use this title!
Unfortunately, many of these labels serve these days as creating more of a stigma for homes instead of attracting genuine attention. Whether we realize it or not, trying to create ‘catchy’ titles and wording in ads is something we feel should be replaced by stunning pictures and virtual tour. 97% of your buyers are inherently visual so focusing on providing professional photos of staged listings is going to attract a lot more attention than calling a home ‘Handyman Special.’
Still have questions? Has your home sat on the market and developed a stigma? Contact Rooms in Bloom Home Staging & Design Inc. so we can help you develop a PLAN so you can change the way your house is viewed. We are Kitchener-Waterloo’s leading Home Staging provider and have the expertise, talent and resources to make your property THE home to see!