To sell a home, good first impression is essential
TIFFANY L. PARKS | Daily Reporter
It has been said that prospective homebuyers know within one minute whether or not to consider buying a specific home.
In today’s bustling real estate market, Lori Murphy of Element One Home Staging says the time afforded to make a good first impression is even more narrow.
“Believe it or not, it’s closer to 15 seconds upon entering a home,” she said. “If buyers like what they see, they’ll be looking to reinforce it throughout the rest of the home.”
For some properties, the time is up before would-be buyers exit their vehicle.
That’s why Kathy Greenwell of The Greenwell Group has included a list of 10 low-cost staging tips for central Ohio properties on her website.
The suggestions include purchasing a new mailbox, trimming bushes that block windows, replacing weather-beaten house numbers, upgrading outdoor lighting and power washing driveways, sidewalks and exterior siding.
“All the little things you can do up front will help showcase your home to be a leader in the market place,” said Greenwell, a certified residential specialist.
Other tips include purchasing a new doormat, placing a bright pot of flowers on the front porch and cleaning the gutters.
Greenwell said buyers need to feel an initial connection to a listed property.
“In a competitive market, sellers should take heed to the advice offered from their knowledgeable agent that is specific to their property whether it is decluttering, painting, new carpet (or) landscaping,” she said.
Murphy, who founded Element One in 2012, said she understands buyers who want their property to stand out from the crowd.
“I had a home on the market for two years in 2010; my life was in limbo waiting for that home to sell,” she said. “I empathize with sellers.”
Element One’s most popular service is vacant home staging.
“It is more important to have your home ‘show ready’ before you list it even if it means delaying it by a week or two,” Murphy said. “Declutter, depersonalize, stage and listen to your Realtor’s advice when it comes to pricing.”
Like Greenwell and Murphy, Felicia Frazier, owner of Staging by DWELL, stressed the importance of a property’s aesthetic appeal.
“It’s important that you try to establish an immediate emotional connection by staging to the desired lifestyle of your target buyer,” she said.
For occupied homes, DWELL offers redesign and decorating services. For vacant properties, the company specializes in furniture and accessory rental.
“The investors that I’ve worked with have seen a lot of success using staging as a marketing tool. My most recent investor used staging for the first time,” Frazier said. “He received an offer the day after it was staged, it got the highest price in the neighborhood and it received a supporting appraisal.”
Murphy said 90 percent of buyers don’t have a vision of what a home would look like with different paint colors or their own furnishings.
“In an occupied home this means finding the balance between too much and too little and helping buyers feel as if they are in their home, as opposed to yours,” she said.
“By staging a home we’re able to remove objections and appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers resulting in a faster sale for more money.”
Frazier said the way a seller lives in their home and the way it should be marketed are two very different things.
“If you want to increase your odds of a quicker sell at the most money possible then invest in staging. Whether you choose a consultation and you stage your home yourself or you hire a stager to do the work for you, there is definitely a return on investment,” she said.
“Most sellers understand the value of good presentation, but cost is typically why they’re on the fence. To that, I’d say the investment in staging will always be less than your first price reduction or a low ball offer. Even in today’s market where inventory is low and houses are selling more quickly, staging can be that secret weapon used to bring multiple buyers and drive up the price.”