4 “Kiss of Death” Phrases I Hear Home Sellers Use Before They Even List Their House

blog-kiss-of-deathThe vast majority of my home staging consultations are positive experiences. Even clients who are initially terrified hesitant about meeting with a home stager start to relax as we work through the process together, and they begin to understand that my goal is directly in line with theirs: sell the home fast and for more money! I meet with homeowners who are preparing for happy moves due to promotions or growing family, sad moves due to divorce or layoffs, and a hundred other reason in between, but almost all homeowners I meet are motivated to get the house sold, willing to put in a little effort, and open to diplomatic suggestions.

And then there are some who are not.

There are some who are still on the fence about selling. Some who are really out of touch with how the current real estate market operates. And, every once in awhile, someone who leaves me wondering why they even called me at all. These clients typically utter at least one of the following “kiss of death” phrases and will invariably sabotage their home sale before they ever get started…

  • “I’m going to sell it myself.” Maybe you don’t want to pay commission fees. Maybe you had a bad experience with a real estate agent in the past. Maybe you’re one of the statistical few who can make it work. But there are lots of GOOD, professional, qualified real estate brokers and agents out there who are worth every penny of their commission. They have access to services and market knowledge that you may not. Get recommendations, do your research, interview agents, and hire one who’s a good fit for your needs.
  • “I’m just going to leave this wallpaper/raggedy carpet/hot pink dining room like it is. Whoever buys the house will want to change it to their own style anyway.” After 15 years in marketing and PR and another 6 years as a professional home stager, I can tell you without hesitation that most people can’t really “see” beyond what’s in front of them. Only about 10% of home buyers can visualize the potential of a home. By leaving your home unstaged or failing to make simple updates and repairs before you go on the market, you leave the advantages of your home overlooked and left up to the buyer’s imagination. Not to mention the fact that most buyers drastically inflate what it will cost to make those changes or repairs…and will take it off their offer price.
  • “We’re going to price it high so that we have room to negotiate.” Listen: the same strategies that work at a garage sale or on an episode of “Pawn Stars” do not necessarily apply to real estate. Today’s buyers have access to a LOT of information. They know when something is priced well and when it’s not. They don’t care what you owe on it, or how much you invested, or how much you think it’s worth. Setting a price that’s inline with other comparable, recently sold homes in the neighborhood creates demand and interest and has buyers chasing YOU.
  • “Well, I don’t know if I want to make all these changes. If it doesn’t sell, then I’ll have to live with all this neutral paint/rehang my old curtains/put all the family photos back. Maybe I’ll just leave it like it is and see what happens.” No. Just…no. I can almost guarantee that if you go into a sale with this attitude it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Commit to the process and put in the prep work. If you’re not willing to do that, maybe you need to seriously re-examine whether or not you’re truly ready to sell your house (for some people, that emotional connection is still just too strong).

Preparing for a home sale is a BIG task — physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Take some of the burden off your shoulders by going all in and surrounding yourself with a team of professionals who can help you make sure your house is accurately priced and staged “just right.” Need help getting started? Just give Three Bears Home Staging a call and we can point you in the right direction.

Title photo credit: Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

How to Make Cabinets, Drawers, and Closets Look Bigger When Selling Your Home

blog-cabinets-drawers-closets-look-biggerShould I clean out all of the closets and built-in cabinets and drawers when selling my home?

Ideally, the answer is yes — making these spaces as empty as possible will make them appear larger.

Practically, however, this is darn near impossible for buyers who will continue to occupy their home while it’s on the market.

So what’s the best solution?

Take a deep breath. Except for the Master Bedroom Closet (which does require lots of attention—for specifics, check out our new book, available on iBook and Amazon), in most cases it is ok to make cabinets, drawers, and closets what I call a “B-level priority.” This is because these areas likely will not be photographed or used to advertise your listing. As long as doors and drawers stay closed, they will not jump out as first impressions to potential buyers. And honestly, most buyers have much bigger issues to address than cleaning out a junk drawer.

HOWEVER…

Keep in mind that “plenty of storage space” is HIGH on the list of must-haves for most buyers. They will open closets and built-in drawers and cabinets while touring your home so it’s a good idea to appear spacious, neat, and organized. The more organized you appear to be, the more your potential buyers will view the house as “well-maintained” and view you as a conscientious home owner who took excellent care of a product they may now want to buy.

If you want top dollar for your home (and who doesn’t?), invest a little time and energy making these high-value spaces look their best and biggest by using these tips:

  • Reduce and simplify. Box up the holiday plates you only use once a year. Stop buying bottled water and toilet paper in bulk at Costco for now. Donate gently used clothes to a local charity or thrift store. The single most powerful thing you can do to make these spaces look bigger is to make them as empty as possible so start packing.
  • Get things off the floor. Whether it’s a scattering of shoes and luggage across the closet or a giant bag of dog food and stacks of canned drinks in the pantry, pick it up and move it. Emptying out floor space will instantly give closets a more open feel.
  • Invest in drawer and closet organizers. Available at home improvement stores and big box retailers, these little organizational tools can be very appealing to homebuyers and help streamline the look in places where the “stuff” must continue to exist.
  • Brighten up. Replace light bulbs with the brightest bulbs possible and clean the fixtures to make closets feel even larger. Need help choosing the right bulb? Read our blog post here.
  • Use baskets or opaque bins to organize/hide what’s left. Leaving items stacked on shelves or in see-through containers may be convenient for you, but it creates visual clutter for potential buyers.

Remember, just like a large bedroom packed with way too much furniture can look smaller, the same rule applies to cabinets, drawers, and closets — having them too full just makes them look littler. Invest the time now, BEFORE listing your home for sale, to make those spaces look their best. And while you’re at it…yeah, just take the plunge and clean out that junk drawer, too.

Need a little help getting started? Give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 to schedule a Walk & Talk Consultation, where you’ll spend up to 2 hours with a professional home stager and receive immediate, one-on-one feedback about exactly what needs to be done right away to prepare the home for the quickest, most profitable sale!

Photo credit: “DIY Drawer Dividers” by Dan Malec is licensed under CC by 2.0.

How to Improve Curb Appeal When Selling Your Home

How to Improve Curb Appeal When Selling Your Home

How to Improve Curb Appeal When Selling Your HomeLet’s be honest — we don’t live in our front yard so we have a tendency to overlook the many cobwebs, grease stains and water stains that accumulate there. A buyer’s critical eye will not miss a detail, however, especially when they are standing on the front step waiting for the Realtor to open the door.

Curb appeal is literally the first impression and sets the tone for the way the buyer will view the rest of the house. When staging your home for sale, remember the goal for the exterior of the home is the same as the interior:  a clean, open, sunny and well-manicured look. Use these staging tips and tricks to maximize your curb appeal and make the best first impression:

  • Keep the yard green and trimmed.
    • Mow and edge regularly (weekly).  A lush, green, weed-free lawn gives the impression that the home is also well-cared for. An overgrown, dried out yard gives the opposite impression to potential buyers.
    • Trim bushes and hedges (no shagginess).
    • Add fresh bark or mulch to flower beds.
    • Remove or replace dead and dying shrubbery.
  • Declutter the yard.
    • Get kid toys, empty flower pots and garden equipment out of sight.
    • Hide trash cans. Roll up the hose or remove it entirely.
    • Keep the driveway clear of extra cars as much as possible (park down the street).
  • Clean, clean, clean!
    • Power wash the porch, sidewalks, driveway, front door and the siding if necessary (this makes a HUGE difference in many homes, making them look fresher and, thus, newer).
    • Remove mildew and cobwebs from eaves.
    • Clean and shine all windows and light fixtures.
  • Make investments in updates that have high impact.
    • Freshen up the front door and garage door with a new coat of paint.
    • Add two to three flowerpots of matching color to help dramatize your entrances. Don’t overcrowd the entry way, but give it just enough warmth by adding something everyone loves–flowers.
    • Replace any outdated brass light fixtures in the front of the house. Use iron, black, rust or brown.
    • Invest in a new oversized, natural bristle doormat. This is an inexpensive way to give the doorway a larger, cleaner feel.
    • Add a bench, rocker or bistro table and chairs to help buyers imagine themselves relaxing out front.
    • Replace or update the mailbox if necessary.
    • Update or add house address numbers under lighting. This also helps to ensure buyers and Realtors can find the house!
Curb Appeal - Before

Curb Appeal – Before

Standing in front of your home with critical “buyers’ eyes” is always difficult for any home seller, but it’s critical in the success of the sale. Don’t take it personally! This is business–try to think of your house as a product that you must market in the best possible way. How do you think your house compares to others in the neighborhood? How about in home decorating magazines? Drive around the neighborhood to assess and compare the competition.

Curb Appeal - After

Curb Appeal – After

Still need help getting your home market ready? Give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 to schedule a consultation. We can help get your home market ready!