So what's the biggest mistake home sellers make? Thinking that potential buyers will walk into their home and just love the way they have decorated? Wrong.
And the second biggest mistake? Thinking that their home can never look like the one in the Architectural Digest Magazine. Wrong again.
In real estate beauty is in "the eye of the buyer" and many consumers fail to recognize that fact. They continue to make many of the same basic mistakes - referred to by some as the "Seven Deadly Sins." And that's where a professional stager, or a real estate professional with staging knowledge, can help the sellers get their house in order, as it is widely recognized that staged homes sell faster.
Here is what the Accredited Home Staging Council refers to as the Seven Deadly Sins of Staging. Do you know any sellers guilty of any of these potential deal breakers?
1. Failure to thoroughly deep clean your home - especially the kitchen and bathrooms.
A dirty house is an immediate buyer turn-off and the two most important areas are the kitchen and the bathrooms. If there has not been a deep cleaning of all counter and tile surfaces to a spotless condition you stand the chance of having the buyers walk right back out the door. Another critical area is the floors - all carpets and rugs. Without question they must be either replaced or steam cleaned as a dirty carpet is the number one buyer turn-off. If they're hardwood and scratched and marred you might want to have them refinished.
2. Failure to de-clutter your entire home.
Clutter,both inside and outside, makes it extremely hard for the buyers to visualize moving in. The disorganization will directly affect the buyer's ability to focus on the house and they will most likely overlook its key selling features. In addition, clutter has the affect of making the house appear smaller than it is as the "open" feeling is gone.
3. Failure to de-personalize your entire home.
The seller's home is their comfort zone and it is filled with all of their personal memorabilia, but to the buyers it represents a huge distraction. People are generally curious and when you want them to notice the beautiful entryway they may be focused on all the family pictures on the piano or all the "stuff" stuck to the front of your refrigerator. Your objective is to change the view of the house from the sellers "lived in home" to the buyer's "ready to move in house."
4. Failure to use neutral colors when painting both inside and outside.
While the seller's favorite colors may be the exact complement to their living style, the shades and hues may be a complete distraction and turn-off to the buyers. Their favorite wall paper may not be on the buyer's "best" list. The best way to present a home is for the wall colors to be painted a neutral color. This goes for the outside as well - a loud or non-neutral color may just keep the buyers from even stopping to see the inside.
5. Failure to spotlessly clean the windows and window coverings.
Nothing is more distracting to a buyer than to be looking at a view through a dirty window. This area, as in cleaning the carpets is best left up to the experts. The same can be said for the kitchen and bathroom counters and tile. A little investment here will pay big dividends---what you don't see is often more important that what you do see.
6. Failure to make the pets disappear.
While pets are a loving member of the seller's family, for the buyers their presence, food and boxes are generally a turn-off. Every trace of their presence should be removed so, once again, the buyers are not distracted from the prime objective - viewing the house in the best possible light.
7. Failure to spruce up the number one calling card - the landscaping
A healthy, neat, trimmed and well maintained yard and flower beds are the keys to getting the buyers up to the front door. The last thing they want to see is the seller's "stuff" all around an uncut and untrimmed lawn. A little effort in this area with perhaps the help of a professional gardener will pay big dividends. A well maintained exterior sows the seed of a well maintained home in the mind of the buyer.
Maybe the time has come for you to show your clients the way to a better staged home and a faster sale.