HOW TO SELL YOUR HOME FOR MORE MONEY
Published by Authorify Publishing Copyright © 2019 Authorify Publishing
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Table Of Contents
1. How Making Small Changes And
Improvements Can Gain You Thousands 1 2. How Much More Can Staging Get You? 11 3. Using Curb Appeal To Sell Your Home For More 19 4. Neutralizing Your Home 31 5. Decluttering The Entire House 43 6. Staging Your Kitchen To Attract More Buyers 51 7. Staging Your Bathrooms For Show And Sell 57 8. Master Bedroom Staging 61 9. Main Living Room Staging 73 10. Main Dining Area Staging 77 11. Staging Furniture 83
12. Staging Solutions And Options
13. The Importance Of Good Pictures
14. Repairs Or Touchups To Improve Value 15. How To Deal With Children And Animals When Staging
When I first ventured into the real estate industry years ago, I did so with the hopes of helping sellers like you avoid the headaches often associated with the home-selling process. In my years of experience, not only have I helped alleviate the stress of selling for numerous clients, but I’ve also accumulated years of knowledge to help them get more money for their homes in the least amount of time. I decided to share all of my expertise in one place with potential clients. And that’s why you’re receiving this book. I want to help you have the best possible home-selling experience. And by that, I mean I want you to 1. Get the most money possible for your home, 2. Sell in the least amount of time, and 3. Avoid the headaches most commonly associated with the home-selling process. Think of this book as my gift to you. It contains insider advice on the home-selling process to help you achieve your ultimate real estate goals, including: • Secret strategies to sell your home for more money • Marketing techniques employed by top agents • Advice on how to appeal to today’s buyers • And much, much more If, after reading through it, you want to hire me to help you sell your home, I’d be more than happy to meet with you to discuss a specific plan to sell your home. Happy reading!
CHAPTER 1 How Making Small Changes and Improvements Can Gain You Thousands
Today’s housing market is more competitive price-wise than it has ever been. In this environment, it’s on the seller to go that extra mile to ensure their house stands out from the rest. The homes that stand out sell the fastest, for close to or even above listing price. But it doesn’t have to take forever or cost an arm and a leg. The good news is that dis-tinguishing your property can be done with some self-labor and little cost. In selling a home, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t bother to do these small things that can improve your sale price by probably thousands of dollars. This book is a look at the extra steps you can take to earn that extra money on your sale. These are proven methods to raise the sale price of your home. Home staging and these other strategies are backed up by statistics that prove the importance of these extra steps. Following these steps will not only improve your home, but will also make it much more welcoming to your audience during a drive-by or walkthrough. The improvements will affect its online presence a great deal, as well.
Nowadays, there are so many media platforms where houses are advertised that it’s even harder to make your home stand out. That puts the importance of the home’s appearance even higher. There are plenty of options on how to get this done. You can do it all yourself, or choose a professional stager or a full staging company, as many are available in most cities. Consider even a property stylist, since it will make your house stand out that much more.
WHAT IS “HOME STAGING?”
Home staging is preparing, dressing up, and presenting the for-sale house to appear especially attractive and extremely welcoming to any prospective buyer you might have. To avoid investing in new furniture (some do, or rent exquisite furniture) and avoid spending thousands of dollars (some do) on this project right off the bat, your or your professional home stager’s first step is to do as much as possible with everything you already have in your house. At base, home staging is about creating more space by clearing clutter, unnecessary objects, or furniture, giving the rooms a fresh, neutral color, and making any repairs you deem important. Replacing carpets and floors is another common occurrence.
The priciest items will probably come with making updates
and repairs inside and outside your house. The least costly bits are maximizing your space by moving objects around and cleaning/clearing your house out. Rearranging existing furniture, cleaning the inside and outside of the house, as well as the rooftop, are some of the simple steps involved in this process. An important part of staging is choosing new accessories and furniture to dress up your newfound space, creating a welcoming and warm environment. Your worn-out couch and easy chair imprinted with your television viewing hours aren’t your best home-selling features. Home staging makes prospective buyers see all the possibilities of purchasing the home and living in it. They need to be able to imagine their own lives taking place in each part of the home. Money spent on staging shouldn’t be considered as waste, but should as an investment or cost of doing business — and it will be recovered when the property is sold. It will pay off in the long run, when the home’s perceived value is boosted.
DOES HOME STAGING REALLY WORK?
According to the information from the Real Estate Staging Association, properties that are well-staged professionally and look more appealing spend about 75% less time on the market. They are most viewed by buyers as “well- maintained” and “must-see” houses, and are subsequently
sold at a higher price.
When it comes to acquiring real estate, most prospective buyers imagine or think they can overlook empty rooms or poor décor and see only potential, but they really can’t. This is the main reason that successful builders use model suites and model homes to sell their projects. The sole purpose of this is to make it easy for prospective buyers to envision how they’ll live in the house. It gives an example of the type of comfort and life that these prospective buyers can have in the house.
WHY CHANGING THINGS AND MAKING SMALL IMPROVEMENTS CAN GAIN YOU THOUSANDS
Experienced home sellers discover that the same principles from modeling a home are also useful in the resale market; therefore, they rely on professional home stagers to ensure they sell at a higher price and get off the market quickly. When hunting for a house, home buyers start with a reasonable list of prospective properties, but the house they buy is often chosen mainly for emotional reasons (except for investment properties, for which they have no plans of inhabiting). The goal of staging a project is to ensure prospective buyers see the great possibilities that owning the house will bring them. The prospective buyer can walk into the home and experience that “Finally, here’s my dream home!” feeling.
If potential buyers are pleased with the house, then they’re willing to look beyond some of their predetermined “must- have features.” That’s why it’s so important to put minute details into consideration. Small things that you might overlook — such as personal memorabilia, overcrowded rooms, ugly doors, or dripping taps — can disengage the buyer emotionally from the home. They’ll begin to think of all the problems they’ll have to face later, and they immediately shift their attention to the next appointment while writing off your house as a realistic possibility. The greatest motivator for someone to make an offer on your property is a connection they make with it while imagining their life there. If this can be achieved, then you just might have put an end to the buyers’ search for their perfect choice. Your motive is to keep them a bit restless, with the feeling that if they decide too late, someone else will take away their dream house.
HOW YOUR LISTING SHOULD LOOK ONLINE
This might be the most important aspect in the Information Age. Most prospective buyers first look online for what they want, before ever employing the services of a real estate agent. From a survey carried out, 90% of home buyers in the U.S. first search for houses on the Internet. Therefore, when you’re listing a house, the photos need to be captivating to the buyers — so much so that they can’t wait to see the house in person!
It’s not necessarily required to buy new furniture during your home staging. You can make do with what you have available, but pieces need to be rearranged in ways that’ll look appealing to potential buyers. You should be careful while spending on a house that will be sold; work on the important items to make the house appear impeccable. If not, you may even end up spending money and still getting low offers, thus coming out upside down on the deal. If your spending is done appropriately by changing out some worn-out things and improving other facilities, you stand a better chance of selling your property quickly, and at a price that will earn you even more money than had you not made the expenditures in both time and funds.
SUMMARY: CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE SALE PRICE
There are many things you’ll need to do to get your property ready for the market to maximize your selling price. The top item is get rid of your clutter. A home that’s well lived in becomes cluttered with excess furniture, wall hangings, and personal items, not to mention items stored in basements, attics, and crawlspaces. This may keep you from realizing how cluttered it will appear to strangers. Culling this material might be difficult, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to decide on what to keep or what should be thrown out. My advice is to keep your emotional attachment to your things low. Looking at it from a
theoretical perspective, staging looks simple and less expensive. However, many homeowners find it hard; it’s often difficult to see things objectively when you love them.
Here are some basic rules for proper home staging:
• Your house must be clean. “Sparkling” should be the right description for the condition of your house. It should never be 10 years since the outside of the second-floor windows were washed. Floors must look brand new. This is often achievable (and only feasible) by employing a cleaning crew’s services. It’s even considered a good investment to have your cleaning team in weekly to inspect and freshen while your home is for sale. Your windows, chimneys, shutters, and other places should be professionally cleaned outside and inside the home. • Fix or replace broken or worn-out items. Having a cracked tile or a dripping faucet will send a wrong impression to prospective buyers — that the home has been neglected. Replacing or getting these (small) items fixed before putting your house on the market is critical to your sale. • Get rid of clutter. Make use of the “50% Rule.” You get rid of clutter in your house by at least half. Since we all tend to love our stuff, this might be the most difficult rule of all. Our stuff reflects our hobbies, memories, and values. Unfortunately, clutter doesn’t sell a home; in fact, it hinders the sale. Clutter also makes a home seem disorganized and smaller. I opened the garage to a house we were considering
making our own home to find a partially dismembered deer in process of the homeowner’s hunting and taxidermy hobby. We didn’t consider the home any further, although it was equal in most ways to others we liked. We just couldn’t get past that dead deer in “our” garage. • Using neutral colors. It’s well known that using neutral colors sell. Conveying an image of neutrality and quality is important. Prospective buyers walk through your home, imagining themselves as the owners. While you might have enjoyed a unique paint scheme, buyers won’t be engaged enough to envision their own lifestyle in that hue. Painting your home with odd or loud colors can turn buyers off. They might not be able to imagine living in your home with those colors if they don’t suit their personal tastes and style. • Depersonalize. Get rid of objects that your prospective buyers could be personally offended by. For instance, religious and political items may turn off groups of potential buyers, especially if they have different religious and political backgrounds. As mentioned, the process of acquiring a home is quite emotional, and you want prospective buyers to attach emotion to your home by making it possible for them to see themselves as the owners. Staging a home should cover every area of the house; however, there are some specific places you need ensure are in their most excellent state — i.e., the entrance to your house, the kitchen, the bathroom (s), and all toilets. Most
buyers put more emphasis on these areas.
If you can make changes and small improvements in your home, no doubt you’ll be rewarded greatly for your efforts.
CHAPTER 2 How Much More Can Staging Get You?
Now you know what home staging means, and have an idea of what it looks like and its place in home-selling. However, you might be still skeptical about the worth of the time, effort, and money. After all, does “staging” a for-sale house really make a difference to buyers? Don’t they see past the toys on the living room floor and see their own children’s toys there? Do most people care that the house looks “lived in” at a showing? After all, they know it will be emptied before they move in, or at least understand that real people live there and that they’re not shopping for a museum. Won’t people see past a collection of butterfly magnets on the fridge and just see the fridge that comes with the house?
For better or worse, the answer to these questions is a resounding “No!”
Recent data on home staging shows that 9 out of 10 people can’t see past what’s in front of them to envision something different, whether it’s a collection of fishing trophies in the living room or a completely empty space. People have a hard time separating what’s there from what they’ll bring when they move in.
Frankly, home shoppers likely don’t even want to see what it’ll look like with their furniture in it. What your potential buyers really want is to know that their new home can be made to look like the beautiful set pieces one can see on HGTV. Perhaps it’s not fair, but it’s the reality of the world we live in. It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money to adequately stage a home for sale and will almost certainly result in getting your money back, plus some. Which raises the question, “How much money am I going to get out of this?” While it’s impossible to predict specifics, recent data from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) show that staging your home is likely to sell the property faster (and time is money) and will also bring you a higher price than if you don’t stage. Let’s look at some data. Anecdotal evidence and smaller surveys had been suggesting for years that staging was a surefire way to set your home apart from the pack. However, it wasn’t until January 2015 that NAR published a report, updated in 2017, that provided reliable facts on the growing trend and its effect on home sales. In that report, it was shown that 49% of agents witness their buyers being affected by staging in almost every instance, with 47% reporting that at least some buyers have been affected.
This means that removing the clutter and putting on a fresh coat of paint before your agent even begins taking pictures for the listing will almost certainly result in more people being willing to stop looking at your house from Zillow and set up an appointment to view it in person. In fact, a large portion of agents reported in the study that their buyers were more likely to walk through a home if they first viewed it online — assuming, of course, that the photos represented a clean, modern, and overall appealing home. Another positive effect of staging is that buyers are more likely to overlook faults in the property. This was reported by 28% of agents, meaning that a tastefully staged home can lead to a buyer overlooking things, like a smaller backyard, or the lack of the skylight they were hoping for. Even more important is the amount of time spent on the market. According to RESA, a home adequately staged prior to being listed will sell in an average of 42 days. A home listed without being staged can spend as much as six months on the market. For anyone who has ever tried to sell a home, any time that can be saved in this stressful process (some say it’s more stressful than divorce!) is precious time indeed. What about the money? How much more can going through the effort and expense of staging really gain a seller? The responses vary, but according to NAR, most Realtors® say that staging yields higher selling prices,
ranging from 1% (29% of the time) of the value of the home, all the way up 20% (3% of the time). On average, for an investment of 1-3% of the home’s value, a seller can expect a Return on Investment (ROI) of 8-10%. Then, there is the faster sale. Time is money. As stated above, if you’re able to sell your home in a mere six weeks instead of a massive six months, that’s likely to be thousands of dollars in mortgage, utility, and insurance payment money that doesn’t have to be spent on a house you no longer think of as a home. Even if you happen to live in an area that’s currently enjoying a seller’s market, staging is still critical, ranging on imperative. Staging your house — making your home more appealing in the buyer’s eyes — is the factor that can positively affect the would-be buyers and possibly lead to a bidding war between them. That means a higher selling price for you; it also would make a quick sale even more likely. The facts are clear: staging your home prior to listing is almost guaranteed to bring you a higher price, and to get you out of your old house into a new dream home in as little time as possible, making staging a more than worthwhile investment.
WHERE TO SPEND?
By now, you might be convinced that staging your home is an important part of the home-sale process and worth
doing. And while we’ve touched on it briefly, the nagging question remains: “How much does this all cost?”
The answer, of course, will vary depending on your market and how much work your home may need. To get an idea of what sort of things you should focus on in your own market, work with your agent, and, if possible, a professional stager. Your own eye can tell you a great deal. Take a drive around your neighborhood. Take note of the homes for sale. You’ll see a wide difference in the outdoor maintenance and upkeep at homes with “for sale” signs. Siding will be new or freshened, walkways will be without cracks, and the landscaping will look professionally done. If house for sale looks dilatated or “lived in,” you can bet it will sit on the market longer and sell for a less-than-desirable price. While the expense of appropriately staging your home for sale is not a small sum, it’s one that many will be able to afford. However, where to focus and how much money to spend on a particular area are questions that should be answered.
Staging the inside of a home can be very expensive if you are going for that finished, model-home look and need to build it from scratch. However, it can be quite inexpensive if you can think creatively.
The key is to focus your time and energy on where it will be the most effective. The living room is one of the most effective areas to stage. It can cost as little as a $30 can of paint and a few fresh plants to give your room a whole new look. This is particularly important. How easily buyers can see themselves in the home’s main gathering space is sure to affect that ROI we discussed earlier. In addition, the fact that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes is a maxim that has been repeated, over and over. The NAR study shows that this cliché is actually true. Making these rooms more appealing need not be expensive. Nearly any surface can be painted, as long as you find the right kind of paint to stick to the surface that you’re trying to freshen up. Other improvements, like new towels and new hardware for the cabinets, are simple to do, and combined, shouldn’t cost more than $100. A simple thing you can do anywhere in the house is to improve the lighting throughout the home. There is no need to go for the expensive LED bulbs; just focus on ensuring the highlights of your home are sufficiently well-lit so that it will create a warm atmosphere — $20 of new incandescent bulbs will go a long way to giving your home an expensive — but effective — makeover.
Curb appeal represents the first impression your buyer will
have as he or she comes up the driveway. You should plan on spending a little money here. Consider painting your doors and trimming your yard, getting some new plants, or even adding something extra like a decorative fountain. Creating a positive first impression will have a big impact on how your buyers will view the rest of your home and will affect the price in a positive way, as well.
NEUTRALIZATION AND DEPERSONALIZATION
This largely falls under the heading of internal staging; however, as the most important part of the staging process, it deserves a separate mention. You no doubt have heard of decluttering. That’s what this is, but focus on the items that are uniquely yours. As you can imagine, it doesn’t cost much. If you don’t have an “out-of-the-way” place in your home to store boxes, a storage unit will run $50-$100 a month. Keep in mind that if your home is staged properly, you needn’t worry about the expenditure for more than a month or two. The benefit is that decluttering preps the home in such a way that your mark is minimized as much as possible, allowing the buyers to visualize themselves in the home. In fact, 81% of agents report that staging accomplishes exactly that, and the more easily a buyer can see themselves in your home — the easier the home is to sell.
Furniture placement doesn’t cost much, especially if you’re able to move items around the house. However, you may need to replace or remove items that are damaged or worn. You could buy new, but a better solution might be to rent furniture for the time that your home is on the market. While it’s true that this can run in the hundreds of dollars, this step can more than pay for itself. Remember, an investment of 1-3% of home value leads to an 8-10% ROI.
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