Here is a submission from a local REALTOR® who has a home in the greater Cleveland area listed that is looking for ways to help get the home sold. Let’s look at some of the obstacles and how to overcome them. You may seem some similarities in your own home that you can correct:
Curb Appeal – many buyers will drive by properties that they are interested in before scheduling to see the interior with their REALTOR®. If the drive by doesn’t stand out in a positive way, they may never get inside the house, so don’t neglect the exterior. Also, more than 80% of buyers start their searches online. If you want them to click beyond the initial outside picture to look at what’s inside, make sure your exterior presentation sets a positive tone.
- This home has some great features – brick exterior and nice landscaping, but it also has one great curb appeal flaw – the awnings. Even if the awnings are newer, the look dates the home back a number of decades. Look at the neighbors up and down the street. Chances are that more updated homes have taken down the awnings. From an interior perspective, awnings cut off a large percentage of the natural light most rooms need, making the house darker and less inviting. Remove the awnings to increase appeal inside and out! Also, place some decorative accessories at the front steps, such as pumpkins or mums in the fall, evergreen topiaries in the winter or colorful flowers in the spring or summer. They will help draw buyers into the house.
Vacant House – Vacant homes are always harder to sell than furnished homes. Most buyers today have a hard time imagining their things fitting in a house if there is no furniture to compare it against. Vacant homes also feel cold and uninviting. They also show every possible flaw because there is nothing else to grab a buyer’s attention.
- This living room has lots of potential – a bay window, lots of space and a fireplace (not shown in this photo). There are also hardwood floors under the carpet. What do buyers see? A lack of natural light from the awnings on the outside makes the room feel dark. A lack of color, whether through furnishings or simply colorful accessories, such as warmer window treatments, leaves the room feeling colder and uninviting. Wallpaper on the walls is a huge red flag for most buyers. Take down the wallpaper and paint with a warmer, more current color and pull up the carpet to expose the hardwood floors. Even hardwoods that may not be in fantastic shape are more valuable than carpet for today’s buyers.
Wallpaper, wallpaper, everywhere – if the house you are selling has lots of wallpaper and it’s in a first-time buyer price range, you’re shooting yourself in the foot twice! Younger buyers don’t have the willingness or desire to remove wallpaper themselves. They would be more willing to spend a little more on the house and get a finished product. In a first-time buyer priced home, the buyers are not likely to have lots of extra cash after the purchase to make changes. It’s easier for them to have everything rolled into their mortgage from the start.
- This room is spacious, with good natural light and double closets, as well as hardwood floors under the carpet. Remove the wallpaper and paint with a warm, current color. Pale greens often make good bedroom colors because they inspire relaxation. Pull up the carpet and expose the hardwood floors – there’s lots of value there. Use a colorful pop via new window treatments to bring some energy to the room. Consider swapping out the ceiling fan for something that hugs the ceiling or changing out the lighting cups for something a little more contemporary.
Take the time to make the changes before putting your home on the market. There is usually a small window of opportunity while your home is fresh looking to buyers. If you wait until it’s too late, even making changes can still result in a loss of your potential sales price, but the money you’ll spend to update your home to get it sold will usually be far less than even your first price reduction!
If you have a home staging question or would like to share a staging tip, please let me know. Send me a photo of your home staging dilemma and I’ll be happy to help!