June 13, 2008,
A.W. asks from Orem, UT on June 12, 2008
Any Advice for "Staging" a Home?
We are getting ready to sell our current home and have decided to try "for sale by owner" before turning it over to a professional real estate agent. Since we will not have the opinion of an agent I am turning to the wealth of knowledge here at Mamasource.
What are your suggestions for staging our home? Are there specific things we can do make the home show better? I feel our home is ready for the next owner to move right in and have little to no work before doing so but - how much should we spend to get the home perfect before putting it one the market? Are open houses effective in getting some foot traffic? We are going to list the home on craigslist but is there anywhere else we should advertise that is effective? I think we will try it on our own about a month before listing with an agent.
Thank you mamas - you give some awesome advice and this is one of the first places I turn when I have questions.
A.U. answers from Provo on June 13, 2008
Well, I've never staged a home myself, but I am an avid watcher of all those HGTV shows, one of which is about preparing a home to be sold. The biggest things they mention are 1) get rid of clutter (including toys and pet paraphenalia); homes should feel very clean and open 2) don't neglect the small things like making sure all your light bulbs work, blinds look nice and are functional, etc... 3) remove personal items such as family photos; your kids may be darn cute, but the beautiful mantle they are sitting on is what the prospective buyer needs to see most. Just a couple of ideas.
Also, we bought our house from a 'for sale by owner' and two things we really liked were that they had a website with pictures and the PRICE (seems no one wants to tell you that these days...), and they also had a lock box on the door with an extra key. It just so happened that they were out of town when I wanted to see the house so I just called the phone number on the sign, told them I was interested, and they gave me the code to get the key out so I could go right in and look. That was very trusting of them, but it paid off as we placed an offer the same day. Good luck!
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S.S. answers from Provo on June 13, 2008
Take down all personal pictures. Make sure the paint is fresh, carpets are clean, and clutter is nowhere to be found. Make sure that an overload of furniture is not present. Let the buyers use their imagination as to what "their" can look like. It helps, too, if you know someone is coming to have something yummy smelling up the house (cinnamon candles or whatnot) to give it the "down-home" feeling. Good luck selling soon!
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C.T. answers from Salt Lake City on June 13, 2008
I sold my home a year ago in Phoenix, so I feel for you in the months to come. I agree with the advice you've already been given...
I would say when you go through each room....edit, edit, edit! I spent a little money for a small space in a storage facility and boxed up everything non-essential to put in storage. It wasn't that expensive, and made it a lot easier to keep things clean. I stored most of my kids' toys (way easier to keep the play-room tidy, and they picked their favorite things to stay), most of my books (so I could use that bookshelf space for pretty but anonymous display pieces), anything extraneous or personal (clean the magnets off your refrigerator and take down your bulletin boards!) Less is definitely more.
Neutralize any paint colors that may look great with your stuff, but won't necessarily go with someone else's. (Your walls don't all have to be white, but someone else should be able to visualize their stuff in your space.)
Update anything super-outdated as far as fixtures and upgrades are concerned. Don't overdo it, but if everyone in the neighborhood has granite countertops and yours are laminate, you might consider the investment. There are also some cheaper, updating short-cuts in some areas. (I used an antique bronze-finish spray paint on all my brass bathroom fixtures and you would never guess. Also, simply buying new pulls for cabinets and drawers can update a room)
Invite a friend with a good eye to come over and help you arrange your furniture for the best flow and use of the space...it always helps to get a fresh point of view.
Get the carpets clean, clean, clean!
Then, develop a thick skin, because no matter how perfect your house may seem to you, in a buyers' market people can afford to be very picky. Don't take it personally.
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J.S. answers from Provo on June 13, 2008
I have moved 9 times in the past 11 years. We have sold 4 homes, currently living in the 5th that we have bought. It used to be that you would cook something like cookies to make it a homey feel to it, but now it is "clean". The first impressions will be your yard. If it is not neat and clean, they won't even make it in the front door. From there, when I sell, I try to go through each room and make it look clean, uncluttered, and seriously like a model home. (I have had between 2-3 kids each time I have sold so I know it is difficult to keep it clean).
If you feel that you would move right in, then it is probably so with the next owners.
As for how to sell, I would suggest putting an add in the newspaper and on KSL.com. Make sure you are priced right, come up with a flier, and hold an open house. I have sold 2 of my homes with no sign in the front yard only an open house (and this was in a buyers market like it is now).
Now by only giving yourself a month honestly you are setting yourself up for failure. Because unless you are asking far less than appraisal, you will not sell it in a month. I would give yourself min. of 2 months. Knowing that it usually takes about 1 year to sell in a buyers market.
If you do list with an agent, I would find a broker that you can give about $500 to and they put your home on the mls, you then pay (whatever you want % wise to the buyers Realtor...something like 2-3%). This is the only way I would ever list with a Realtor. Seller Realtor's are honestly pathetic ( and I'm sure I'll here from someone that they are not), but honestly, what do they do? Do they show your house? (usually not) Half the time (on the once that I did list with Realtor) I had people showing up on my door unannounced because the buyers Realtor left a message with my Realtor who never called me to make sure it was ok. So trust me...you don't need a Realtor on your end. You can act as your own Realtor. You can search through the Utah state government web site to find the contract. They are free of charge to download. They are pretty self explanatory.
I know this is a lot of information. Feel free to email me privately if you have more questions.
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L.B. answers from Provo on June 13, 2008
Plant some yellow and orange flowers (marigolds) in the front yard to add curb appeal.