Gracious Moves - Senior Transition Specialists
Brooke's Blog

Through the Buyer's Eyes

As published in the Savannah Morning News - July 15, 2012
 
You want to sell your home?  Try seeing it
Through the Buyer’s Eyes…
 
In order to compete with the many homes on the market today, there are only two things that are in your control that matter:   PRICE and CONDITION. 
 
PRICE:  You have to be priced attractively, meaning your home must be in the lowest pricing of comparable homes in your market.  Your Realtor can do a Comparable Market Analysis to establish where your property fits into the market place.  Recent sales are what count, and only those that have sold in the last few months.  An appraiser will use recent sales, and so must you.  A review of active listings is also important so you know what your competition looks like, where they are priced, and where your property is positioned in the mix.  A tour of properties with your Realtor can help you make a clear decision on a competitive list price.
 
CONDITION:   Your property must be in prime condition, meaning clean, manicured, staged, de-cluttered and de-personalized.  That includes the interior and exterior of the property.Try looking at your house “Through the Buyer's Eyes” as though you’ve never seen it or been there before.   
 
Next, let’s consider the condition of your home.  When I meet with home owners who want to put their homes up for sale, or have not been successful selling their homes, we start at the curb.  Most sellers do not expect me to lead them outside, but I do.  The impact from the curb makes a buyer want to go inside for more…or not.  Many times “no shows” are from potential buyers that lost interest at the curb.  So even if your listing photos of the inside may have perked their interest, paying attention to curb appeal is important.
 
CREATING CURB APPEAL THAT REALLY WORKS!  Here are the essentials:
 
  1. Move all garbage cans to the garage.  Discard wood scraps, extra building materials, piles of yard cuttings, empty plant containers, old furniture, etc.
  2. Clean gutters and check the house for roof moss and dry rot. Make repairs as needed.
  3. Prune bushes and trees; keep plants from blocking windows, the house and entry.
  4. Weed and then mulch all planting areas. Keep lawn freshly cut and fertilized. Remove any dead plants or shrubs.
  5. Clear patios or decks of all small items such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, toys. etc. 
  6. Stage the entry and any patio, porch, decks or courtyard areas.  These are extra living spaces and add value to the home.  I’ll talk more about this in my next article!
  7. Check paint condition of the house — especially the front door and trim.  Remove or repair old screen doors. Paint the front door a contrasting color to draw the eye to your entry.
  8. Have your driveway, house, patios, decks and walkways pressure cleaned.
  9. Plant flowers to add color and attract Buyers and butterflies!
 
STAGING THE INTERIOR
 
Staging, real estate, project managementYou have heard this before, and will keep hearing it because it’s true!  I find my clients have a hard time with this next step, but a good Realtor will tell you this is necessary.  A good stager can help you get the job done. 
 
De-Personalize:  Let the prospective buyers imagine themselves in your home.  They can’t do that if there are family photos everywhere.  That is the first thing I pack up, including what is on the walls.
 
De-Clutter:  De-cluttering makes rooms look larger.  Many buyers are not visual and can’t imagine what your home would look like without your belongings.  If you have too many, they may think your home is too small even if it is the right size for them.  Things tend to accumulate over time, and a good Stager will remove items that do not need to be there.  Less is best!
 
Staging, real estate, project managementCase in point:  I had a seller with too many photos, covering walls, countertops in every room, and because she loved them, she refused to pack them up.  Her rooms, although large, were filled with too much furniture.  After 6 months of encouraging her to remove the photos and some of the furniture, I had heard too many buyers claim her home was too small.  I discussed with her that I was not going to be able to renew her listing unless she took my advice and finally she agreed.  We proceeded to stage her home, and it sold that weekend!
 
Another success story: A seller called who had her home on the market for a year and a half with a local Realtor, but no offers had been made.  She had been advised to have her home staged, so she called me to do the job.  By the time I had finished staging her front yard, courtyard and interior, I contacted her Realtor to re-photograph the home, inside and out.  That weekend she received an acceptable offer to buy her home!  This stuff really works! 
   
It has been proven that staged homes sell faster and at a higher price than un-staged homes.
 
INSIDE TIPS:
  • Clear all unnecessary objects from the house. Keep decorative objects in groups of 1 to 3 items.
  • Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. Clear off refrigerator:  everything…messages, pictures, magnets, etc. 
  • In bathrooms, remove  items from countertops, tubs, shower stalls and commode tops. Keep only those items out that are not personal and are part of the décor. Coordinate clean towels to one or two colors only, neatly folded, rolled or hung. Faded, soiled or tattered towels should not be out for display.
  • Rearrange and remove some of the furniture, if necessary.  Many times we have too much furniture, or too many large pieces in a room.  When it comes to selling, thin out as much as possible to make rooms appear larger.
  • Stage art objects and wall decor.
  • Review the house inside room by room.     
  •  - Paint, caulk and clean…buyers love a fresh, clean house. 
      - Clean carpets or drapes that need it and don’t forget windows & screens           
      - Remove dated or peeling wallpaper. 
      - Paint is always a better choice for resale.
  • Removed items may be packed and neatly stacked in boxes in the garage.  If you need   room to store extra possessions, you may want to consider renting a storage unit.
  • Clean out closets.  Buyers love large closets, and the emptier, the better.
  • During “showings”, turn on all lights and lamps, and open all window treatments.  Let in the light as many people are drawn to light, open homes.
  • Create ambiance by playing soft music during showings and adding fresh flowers.
  • Have the photos taken for your listing and marketing materials only AFTER the interior and exterior work and staging of the home have been taken.
  • More about cleaning…clean like you have never cleaned before, or have your home professionally cleaned.  It should smell good, without the use of candles, or other odor masking sprays and devices.  People are sensitive to smell, and many are allergic or turned off by odor masking efforts.  Have the carpets and draperies cleaned if necessary.  Pet and smoking odors are the most common negative responses we hear from prospective buyers.
 
Yes, it is a lot of work, but selling your home is your primary goal.  Prepare your home for sale BEFORE you put it on the market so your house stands out from the rest. 
 
Remember, you only get one chance for a first impression, so make it GREAT!
 
By Brooke Bass, Associate Broker with Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners and owner of Gracious Moves LLC, a Savannah based staging and move management company. 
 
A nationally award winning Realtor, Brooke has been successfully selling and staging homes since 1985.  For more information, contact Brooke at 912-655-9299 or visit www.GraciousMoves.com.
 
 
 
 

1 Comment to Through the Buyer's Eyes:

Comments RSS
vision therapy Vancouver on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 5:56 AM
The topic you wrote about is my research topic. You provided food for thought. Thanks.
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Website:
Comment:
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint