Marlene Wasserstein's Blog
Have you ever visited someone's home and thought to yourself, "Their living room seems really cluttered" or "Those counter tops look like they haven't been updated since the 1960s!"
Many people quickly notice decorating flaws or home maintenance issues in other people's houses, but when it comes to their own homes -- well, that's another story!
Why is that the case? Two reasons: You're emotionally attached to your own home environment and you're also "too close to the trees to see the forest." It's hard to step back and see your home through a fresh set of eyes -- which is exactly the way prospective buyers are going to look it.
Curb appeal -- or a lack, thereof-- will be the first thing they notice, followed by positive or negative first impressions of your home's interior -- if they get that far! So if you're preparing to put your home on the market, you don't want to be like the person who tries to represent themselves in court. As Abraham Lincoln once said, they have "a fool for a client!"
Since first impressions are so vital when selling your house, it makes sense to confer with someone who really knows the ropes when it comes to home staging. Typically, that would be one of the following professionals:
- An experienced real estate agent: Real estate agents are in the business of helping people sell their homes as quickly and profitably as possible -- it's a win/win situation. In all likelihood, they've conducted hundreds of house tours and listened to a massive amount of feedback from prospective buyers. One thing they've invariably noticed is that a lot of people react the same way to the same issues. Based on experience and a trained eye, most real estate agents can quickly spot and point out cost-effective ways to make your home more marketable and visually appealing.
- A professional home stager: Although not all communities have access to professional home stagers, there are talented and knowledgeable experts in that field who can offer valuable advice. If you're working with an experienced real estate agent, however, it probably would not be necessary to pay extra to hire a professional staging consultant.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median amount of money spent on staging a home is $675, so it doesn't necessarily have to be ultra-expensive. In a survey of its membership, Realtors ranked living rooms and kitchens as the most important rooms to stage. Also considered important are the master bedroom, dining room, and bathrooms.
Thirty seven percent of Realtors® representing sellers believe that buyers most often offer a 1 to 5 percent increase on the value of a staged home. A smaller percentage say the potential increase is in the neighborhood of 6% to 10%. However you look at it, you're tipping the scales in your direction when you make your home look its best prior to putting it up for sale.