How Not to Hide the Money in Your Listed Home

Woman looking through an open window of her listed home

Woman looking through an open window of her listed home

Home staging has helped sell houses for decades. And believe it or not, skeptical realtors and sellers still question its power to make a difference in the home’s sale.In the era of home improvement shows, revealing a buyer’s emotions from the results of a staged home should be a ‘no-brainer’. What buyer would turn her nose up at a home that creates connections to the lifestyle she dreams of?According to the National Association of Realtors, 81 percent of buyers easily imagine a staged house as a future home. *For a seller looking to recoup every last cent from her home’s equity, merchandising the house is key to attracting the right buyers. Apparently, the latest home staging statistics show promise that the home seller increases her chances of selling the house at or above listed price. When properties show well and they are priced properly for the market, the homes move fast.Considering a seller's motivation, hiding the value in a house can quickly erode her expectations on price and time on the market. Undoubtedly, the real estate agent and the home seller would be less than pleased with that outcome.The following provides three ways home sellers can uncover the biggest value in the home before it’s ready for online photos and in person reviews.

How not to hide the money.

Take into the account the home’s features.

In a recent review of an online listing, a master bedroom appeared large and had a bonus selling feature—a fireplace. Sadly, the fireplace was blocked with a chaise lounge sitting directly in front of it. And to make matters worse, the room had no other furnishings--not even a bed.

What to do: Buyers want to easily identify rooms. Furnish the room with a bed. Place the chaise lounge under a window. Dress up the fireplace with complimentary décor accessories to draw attention to the main selling feature.

Listen to your realtor’s suggestions.

People pay a premium for a home with unique architecture. One pre-listed home, in particular, would have sold at top dollar if the seller took his agent’s advice. Instead of pre-packing and cleaning in time for MLS photos, the seller got too busy and left the property ‘as-is’. Unfortunately, the home lost an opportunity to gain a top dollar offer.

What to do: Buyers visit a property online first to determine if they want to see the home in person. Follow your agent’s advice about how to present the house well for online photos. Hire professionals to clean, organize and stage the property if you have limited time to do it yourself before the photos are taken. 

Enhance what you’re working with in the home.

A small home renovation budget doesn’t need to stall your home preparation plans. Another listed home had potential to show off its value with a little yard maintenance and a can of paint. If the home was stalled on the market for lack of appeal, the seller could have avoided a price reduction.

What to do: Trim overgrown shrubs and add colorful flowers. They create inviting curb appeal that goes a long way for a minimal investment. Attract buyers easily with freshly painted walls and/or replaced fixtures like lighting and cabinet jewelry. These small changes shed a positive light on a room and makes kitchen cabinets ‘pop’.

What were the major features that 'sold you' before you brought your home? Was it curb appeal, a welcoming entry, a beautiful view?

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*National Association of Realtors 2015 study.