Tips for a Successful Open House

Tips for a Successful Open House

By Bob Lipply

You’re having the jitters. Your open house is tomorrow. And first impressions count!

Help your real estate agent make it a smashing open house. Help him clinch that sale. The rule of thumb is to prepare well in advance, and not 24 hours before. Twenty-four hours will not be sufficient time for the nitty-gritty that will make or break a public showing. 

You remember how it was during school. If we crammed, we most likely failed the exam the next day. But when we studied weeks in advance, we felt we knew the subject matter by heart. The same principle applies to open houses. The harder and longer you prepare, the better the results will be. It may even put a few extra thousand dollars in your pocket!

Make a lasting first impression – most real estate agents agree: a clean house is the #1 priority. The word “clean”, however, does not only mean a house that has been tidied up a few hours earlier, a walkway that was swept and hosed over, or windows that were cleared of dust and dirt. “Clean” means a lot more than that.

Studies have shown that dwellings painted in neutral colors convey a more pleasant and warmer welcome to visitors; they are able to visualize better about how their own personal effects can blend with the colors. Imagine having a wall that’s painted fire engine red or bedrooms that look more like an artist’s mural because too many psychedelic colors are flooding the eye. Re-painting your house may become a must, but do it a few weeks before, that way the fumes don’t linger.

The clutter, please – if you don’t want your potential buyers to trip just as they’re entering the house, eliminate unnecessary furniture and house accessories to allow for more breathing room. If visitors can’t move about freely because there are obstructions along the way, chances are they’re likely to go somewhere else.

Buyers will want to see the size of the closets, so eliminate the clutter. Leave the clothes and shoes neatly hung, but remove your grandmother’s old sewing machine. Remember, closets that look like storage rooms are unattractive. Don’t make your guests feel that there are real skeletons in the closet!

Be considerate – while dogs and other pets are adorable creatures, they have no place in an open house. One or two of your buyers might not be animal lovers or are allergic to animal hair. Some buyers also know of the damage and dirt these creatures leave on their tracks, so keep them out of the house until the open house is over.

Also you need to be out of the house. Leave your real estate agent to do what he does best. Potential buyers feel more comfortable when you are not there initially – they are not ready to meet you yet!

And oh yes, how about some nice, delicate flowers that don’t give off a strong smell? This simple gesture will do wonders to liven up your home. Choose different pastel colors to serve as a contrast to the neutral background.

Home Staging: Professional Service Slashes Time and Increases Profit

Home Staging: Professional Service Slashes Time and Increases Profit

By Teri B. Clark

It’s time to put your home on the market. You’ve hired a real estate agent. You’ve signed all the papers. You’ve been given the typical remarks about keeping your home neat and ready for potential buyers. And now you wait. Or do you?

Instead of waiting the typical 4+ months and then taking a reduced price on your home, why not invest in a home staging professional! Doing so will drastically decrease the amount of time your home spends on the market – up to 20 times faster – as well as increase the amount you get for your home – six percent over listing is typical!

What is Home Staging?

Home staging is simply the art of preparing your home for sale. Basically, there are five steps to home staging:

– Cleaning
– Getting rid of clutter
– Depersonalizing
– Decorating and accessorizing
– Maintaining

In days gone by, home staging consisted of advice by your real estate agent to “clean up” and “de-clutter.” If you had a savvy agent, you may have even been told to add fresh flowers or fresh linens in the bathroom. However, being a real estate professional is not the same thing as being a design professional.

Professional home stagers know exactly what to do to create the right atmosphere. They not only tell you to de-clutter, but know exactly what to do in order to create a clutter free environment. They can walk through your home and know immediately if you need to remove or rearrange furniture. With just a quick visit, they can tell you what will enhance your homes curb appeal.

Why Does Home Staging Matter?

When it comes to sales, first impressions are everything. A potential homebuyer will often decide to enter a home based on the outside appearance. And once inside, they make up their mind about a home within about 10 seconds. This means that you have 10 seconds to create an atmosphere that entices the imagination and creates a longing in the buyer.

Home staging is the way to create that desire and longing. Through home staging, you can put your home’s best foot forward.

Professional or Do-It-Yourself?

Professional home staging services are not free and many people believe that they can save money by doing it themselves. However, there are many pitfalls to the “do-it-yourself” mentality.

1. You obviously like the look of your home or you wouldn’t have created it, right? Making changes can be downright difficult when you love your things and feel that your home is comfortable “as is.” A professional can help you step back and see your home in the same way that a potential buyer will see it. They help you take yourself out of the home so that the homebuyers can see themselves in it!

2. What do you know about color, lighting, and traffic flow? If you are like most people, you know very little about these things. Although the colors or the traffic pattern worked for you and your family, a professional can see issues that will keep your home from having that “instant appeal.” Remember, buyers are not buying “your” house – they are buying “their” house!

3. Can you walk through your home and instantly list 10 inexpensive ways to increase the value of your home? Home stagers can. They know how to make the changes in a timely manner so that you can get your home on the market quickly. They view your home from the buyer’s point of view and can tell you what to store, what to keep, what to move, and what will add that pizzazz that will make your home sell.

Is Home Staging Cost Effective?

One of the most important things you can do to sell your home quickly and for the highest possible price is to “stage” it. The proof is in the pudding:

– According to the National Association of Realtors, for every dollar sellers put into staging, they get $4 back

– The average increase over the listing price is 6.32%. On a $500,000 house, that is nearly $32,000 and will more than pay for your professional real estate agent! Think of home staging as a way to get your real estate agent for free!

A real estate professional has the knowledge, experience, and qualifications to sell your home. A home stager has the knowledge, experience, and qualifications to prepare your home for the sale. Although professional services are not free, the cost of the services more than exceeds the benefits received!

Selling your home can be a trying time. Why wouldn’t you want to decrease the time your home spends on the market while increasing your sales price? Relying on a home stager can make all the difference.

How to Really Declutter Your Home for Buyers

How to Really Declutter Your Home for Buyers

By: Bob Lipply

Your real estate agent has come to your house to assess what needs to be done to sell it the quickest. The word, “declutter,” continues to come up. You assure your agent that you are a very neat person and that everything will be clean when the potential buyers come to view it. Many sellers encounter the same situation each day. 

What agents wish their clients would understand is that decluttering is more than just keeping the baseboards dust-free and the countertops wiped down. Try some of the following tips and wow your real estate agent, and especially, your buyers.

With pen, paper and clipboard in hand, tour the outside of your home, then the inside. As much as possible, pretend that you don’t own the house and even that you’ve never seen the place. You will quickly see what your real estate agent meant by decluttering when you use this new perspective. Write down anything which is the least bit offensive to the eye, including unruly hoses, toys in the front yard, a busy mantle above the fireplace and newspapers stacked up in the laundry room. The list will seem longer the more times you go through the process. However, the more you notice, the more prepared your home will be for eagle-eyed buyers.

The biggest stumbling block for sellers preparing their home for the market is their lingering attachment to their house. From repainting a room neutral, to taking family photos off the wall, sellers must accept that their time in that particular house is coming to an end. To counteract this mental block, take your most personal items out of rooms first. Get plenty of clear plastic tubs, or boxes to store your items. 

Treat the decluttering process as if you are preparing a model home for viewing. In order to sell your home, you have to give the buyers room to imagine their personal belongings. Little forward-thinking daydreams about decorating your new abode should also counteract those strong attachments.

A good round of decluttering will often leave you with a pile of boxes and bins to contend with. Although stacking them up in a closet seems like a nice, out-of-the-way option, this may not be the best choice. Consider that closet space is often one of the key selling points for a home. Closets should look as impeccable as possible. This will aid greatly in creating a spacious feeling. If the closets are crowded and messy, the buyer may think that your home is just not big enough, even if it has the square footage they want.

Your garage is the most acceptable place for storage in the mind of the buyers. Of course, not everyone has this luxury. If you can convince a family member, friend, or even a neighbor to let you store those boxes and crates, then take advantage of the opportunity. 

However, if you really need or want your storage items in the house, then try to stack them up in the least conspicuous place you can find. A playroom or basement can usually stand to have a few of these bins stashed in the corner. Better yet, think about renting a temporary storage facility to house these things.

Despite all your efforts, be prepared to hear your real estate agent tell you that you still have too many belongings cluttering the house. If this happens, just remember that they’re on your side and that they’re the expert. Also, remember that a well-decluttered house is your quickest ticket to a “Sold!” sign.

Home Staging – An Essential Merchandising Tool for Resale

Home Staging – An Essential Merchandising Tool for Resale

By: Sveta Melchuk

If you are wondering what Home Staging (or House Fluffing) is all about, here is a definition for you: MSN Encarta dictionary defines Home Staging as the act of “beautifying a home for sale: cleaning, repairing and updating the decor and furnishings of an older home to make it more attractive when shown to potential buyers.

Actually, I believe that ANY home can use some staging before being put on the market. Remember, the way we live in a home and the way we want to sell a property are two completely different things. When we sell a property, there is no room for emotions – after all, it’s probably our biggest financial investment and, so, we want the biggest possible return on it!

The concept dates from 1970s, when a California REALTOR and decorator noticed that the properties she took the time to stage sold faster and for more money than the average. Today, it’s an important marketing/merchandizing tool in the USA (and spreading to Canada from the West) for the realtors and the home owners alike and it’s especially important in a slow market, where you need every advantage over your competition. TV shows, such as Designed to Sell and Flip that House, demonstrate that a bit of effort and a small investment can transform a property and make a BIG difference at sale time!

The logic is strikingly simple: when you decide to sell your used car, wouldn’t you clean, wash and fix it up before reselling it? You should do the same for your house, which is probably your biggest investment and presents an opportunity for a biggest return.

First impressions count for a lot, especially today, when most buyers pre-select the properties they are interested in on Internet. If your photos don’t show your house at its best, you are probably missing out on dozens of potential buyers. The same is true for the visitors – when they come, make them feel “at home”, create that first impression which will make them fall for YOUR house.

Statistics vary from marketplace to marketplace but, on average, a staged home can sell 30%-50% faster and for 2%-10% more money than a comparable unstaged home. So, a few hundred dollars invested can bring you back thousands! And a home staging consultation costs a lot less than a first price reduction on the property.

A professional Staging consultant looks at your property with a buyer’s eye and will recommend some easy and inexpensive solutions to enhance its value – such as decluttering, depersonalizing, and reorganizing your furniture and artwork.

The end result: your house shows better than its competition and it sell faster and for more money!

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