RISMEDIA, December 18, 2010—Selling a home in any market can be competitive. It’s essential that your sellers follow some simple, yet important tips to help make their home more salable.
A quicker home sale can be reached by keeping in mind the needs of the home’s most likely buyer and creating a fresh inspiring look just for them, according to Pulte Homes expert Janice Jones, national vice president of merchandising.
“Everyone understands the value of de-cluttering, cleaning and refreshing a home in today’s competitive market,” Jones said. “The difference between a ‘For Sale’ and a ‘Sold’ sign often boils down to effectively staging a home to appeal to young singles, families or empty nesters—the three largest customer segments that are likely to buy your home. Home sellers should have a good idea of the type of buyer who will make an offer and, since everyone likes an updated home, some simple refreshes can achieve an updated look and feel.”
Jones recommends conducting a technology overhaul prior to staging your home. “Old technology will date your home and you seldom have a second chance to make a positive first impression,” she said. “Flat screen TVs, laptop computers, iPods with docking stations and wireless technology have eliminated the need for large bulky entertainment centers or massive desks designed to hide wiring. Once you’ve rid your home of bulky, dated stereos and TVs, it’s time to hone in on attracting prospects.”
Here are a few, additional ideas:
For singles, Jones recommends emphasizing sleeping spaces and the living room, which are critical to this group. “Singles will spend a lot of time in the living room and the bedroom, which are their sanctuaries from the outside world. As a result, there is no need to set the dining room table with place settings,” Jones said. “Instead, focus on a simple TV stand with clean lines, a flat screen TV and candles in the bedroom and bathroom.”
Young families tend to revolve around children. Items that help this demographic envision themselves living in the space include age-appropriate bedding, linens and towels, a bright rug near play areas, and strategically placed toy chests with open tops. Since kids often play or watch TV on the floor, eliminate the coffee table to create a living room that appears larger and more inviting. Jones notes to remember about the garage when staging for families. “Organize children’s toys and sports equipment to showcase the garage’s storage capacity without compromising functionality,” she said.
Empty nesters tend to seek an upgrade in quality features. Upgrading bath accessories like towel bars and toilet paper holders or decorative hanging lights to a better quality and newer style will make an impact. If the budget allows, upgrading the refrigerator, stove and dishwasher can draw in a buyer.
Lighting is also a key feature for this group. Jones advises ensuring living spaces maximize natural light. If lighting is less than ideal, add lamps or a ceiling fan with light fixtures. It’s important to open heavy blinds or window coverings when showing the home.
An absolute “must” for home stagers regardless of which demographic is being targeted is color. Most sellers are instructed to use neutral colors when repainting. However, adding the right punch of color to accent walls can create depth, enhance kitchen cabinets, or bring a boring bathroom to life.
Homeowners can find color in simple accessories, like throw pillows, coffee table books, and decorative canisters. Neutral colors in flooring materials, upholstery pieces and window dressing work well because they enhance brighter accents.
When choosing colors, Jones cautions homeowners to be aware of their sensory impact:
- Red is stimulating and encourages self confidence
- Orange promotes happiness and celebration
- Yellow is uplifting and light-hearted
- Blue is calming in softer tones and promotes clarity in deeper tones
- Green is the color of nature—it feels fresh and rejuvenating
- Aqua is restful while pink is gentle and sweet—making a great pair
- Purple tones bring out a sense of compassion
“The key is to experiment and put yourself in the shoes of the prospective home buyer,” Jones said. “It may be helpful to ask a friend or relative for a brutally honest opinion before and after you start staging. You may be surprised how little changes—with a little budget—can make a huge difference to a prospective buyer.”