While I am reluctant to quote any US figures (*which is all I can find) there is a prevailing and logical opinion that ‘staging’ a home will not only increase its chances of selling, but will get a significantly improved price. However my experience has been that most South African sellers are really not that interested in using professional home staging services.
My sales team and I have a new approach, providing the seller with some work sheets and a DIY DVD as we are convinced that a small effort with regard to home presentation does produce excellent returns.
We are encouraging sellers to follow a few golden rules;
1) First impressions
Make sure the entrance to the house, the gates, path and doorway are inviting and remove pet bowls, pots and ‘garden art’
2) Remove clutter
If you are selling start packing! The extra chair and little side table and lots of decorative items – pack them now! Create space makes everything look bigger lighter and brighter.
You want people to start visualising themselves in your house not you in your home. When you remove or reduce many of the personal objects (like photographs) you create a ‘blank canvass’ for their visualisation.
4) Varnish and paint
It’s quite simply the cheapest way to freshen up a grubby area where a good wash and scrub is not enough
5) Kitchens Count - Big Time!
Put those appliances away and make the kitchen area inviting with clean spacious working areas. Remove fridge magnets and note pads and spend a few Rands on some fresh new towels.
Give floors extra attention and make them shine or if they are carpets get them steam cleaned
7) Pets and Pet Smells
Be sensitive to odors of every type of odor and remember the brain receives messages from all senses.
8) Relaxing Music
Have some calming background music in your CD player so that when you know the agent is bringing buyers in the front door, you can just press play as you step outside to water the garden :-)
There can be some sensitivity to suggestions from an agent to a seller about changes to the way the house appears. Many agents try avoid the entire topic but a professional agent will tactfully suggest optional changes and will make the point that ideally the way you want your home to be when you are living in it, is simply not the same as when you are selling your house.
As some common sense changes can really materially affect the selling price, the least I would suggest is to ask the agent during their appointment interview, what professional suggestions they have with regard to the presentation of the property. Unless you have a Home & Garden perfect property, if the agent fails to give you any helpful comments then you may want to think twice about choosing them.
Andre de Villiers
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