Home staging is worth the effort

The average home seller, says Nancy Todd, co-franchisee for the Rawson Property Group’s Constantia franchise, may believe that simply tidying up their home and pricing it slightly above what they actually expect to get, will result in them getting the price that they want. In 99% of cases, this does not work effectively.

“If you want to get the best possible price for your home,” says Todd, “it will pay handsomely to work hard to present your home in its best light.”

In order to do this, she says, there are a number of boxes to tick while adopting the mind-set of a potential home buyer.

Firstly, approach your home from the road and keep an eye out for anything that you think you could do to make it more inviting, i.e. trimming hedges and painting walls or the front door or planting annuals and mulching flower beds.

Two of the most common deterrents for buyers are clutter and bad odours. These two things make it hard for buyers to imagine themselves living in the home, and the seller can easily overlook these because they have become accustomed to them — perhaps they have children who accumulate clutter or an animal whose scent they take for granted.

The next item to tick off your checklist, says Todd, are maintenance issues that you have been putting off. When home buyers see something that needs to be repaired or restored they will immediately start to estimate the costs and effort that will be needed in order to correct these issues.

“Any sum of money invested in repairs, maintenance or renovation,” says Todd, “will almost always be recovered by the higher achieved selling price, and in many cases sellers can not only break-even but actually profit significantly from their investment in this regard.”

The next step, she says, is to clean the home and do whatever it takes to make it more inviting. All windows need to be clear and clean, grass needs to be watered and green, a fire needs to be lit in winter (if possible), light bulbs and fittings need to be tested and the property needs to be staged, i.e. carpets set down, new towels placed in bathrooms, the dining room table set as if for a dinner party and perhaps fresh flowers in the reception area.

“Remember,” says Todd, “that buying and selling a home is a very emotional process — decisions are made emotionally and rationalised intellectually. We need to give the buyer encouragement to feel that the home would be an appropriate haven for their family.”

Once the home is looking as good as it can, says Todd, the seller’s attention should turn to which estate agent they will use and how they are going to market their property.

Find an estate agent you like and trust, says Todd, not one who simply gives you the highest market valuation for your home without any justification and allow the chosen agent to create a platform for competition amongst potential buyers. This way, she says, buyers are competing to buy the home rather than multiple estate agents competing to sell the home first. A great agent will manage this process skilfully on your behalf, to ensure the best price for the property. The result can be a significant improvement in the seller’s bottom line.

In order to maximise the number of potential buyers viewing your home, she says, you need to give your estate agent freedom to do show houses on certain pre-decided dates and to bring buyers into your home at sometimes unusual times. It is also always better to leave your home when buyers are coming to view, as they will feel more at ease if the seller is not around.

“There are a lot of very busy people,” says Todd, “who are unable to attend show houses and may require a special appointment. This can obviously be inconvenient, but by allowing this, it could result in a more satisfactory offer.”

Another thing that sellers need to remember, she says, is that most buyers are doing their shopping via the internet — so it is extremely important that any photographs of the home on property websites are stunning, preferably professional shots.

By going through these steps, says Todd, a seller is almost guaranteed to get the best possible price for their home as quickly as possible.

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