Staging Your Bathrooms And Getting It Ready To Show & Sell

Focus your efforts on staging in strategic areas that ensures your property is seen in the best possible light, sells quickly and with minimum investment on your part. Your bathroom is one such area. Here are a few tips to help you stage your bathrooms properly:

  • Aim for a spa-like look and feel: Beautiful bathrooms are a big draw for buyers.
  • Buyers want to imagine themselves enjoying the same kind of luxury in their own homes and so a bathroom that projects that look will appeal to them.

Since you obviously cannot create a real spa at home, your best option is to make the best of what you already have, with the minimum of expense.

With a few changes here and there, you can give your bathrooms a spa-like look and feel that prospective buyers will love, so keep this in mind as you make the changes below.

  • Give the bathroom a thorough cleaning: Clean everything thoroughly, remove stains and make sure it’s all immaculate.

Clean water-stained shower doors with a lime dissolving detergent.

You can also hire a professional to refinish a stained bathtub.

Cleaning may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it’s very important to do it, as this gives buyers the impression that your home is well maintained.

  • No cleaning products in sight. Yes, you need them to get that thoroughly clean look that will impress, but buyers really do not want or need to see cleaning products all over the place.
  • That implies housework and maintenance, not the beautiful spa-like experience buyers want to imagine they can get from a bathroom.

Remove other things like bathroom scales, spare toilet rolls, toilet brushes, wastepaper baskets, sponges and the like.

Also stash all your personal items like soaps, toothbrushes, cotton balls, etc., under the bathroom sink where they’re hidden away.

Seeing your personal hygiene products can make buyers feel a little awkward, as if they are encroaching on your personal space.

  • Hang fresh, luxurious towels and lay down bath mats. The addition of beautiful, soft towels can transform any bathroom in an instant. Thick, white, luxurious towels always work well, but brightly colored towels are also very popular these days.

Get new ones if you can, as these look better than washed towels, and only use them as display props when prospective buyers are viewing.

If you have a lot of counter space in your bathroom, you can create an even more luxurious feel by placing a neatly folded pile of two or three matching towels on the counter, beside the bath.

  • Organize storage space. Buyers love plenty of storage space and they will open your bathroom cupboards to see how much space is available.

You want to create the impression that storage is plentiful, so make sure that your cupboards are not full and overflowing.

About half full, or maximum of two-thirds full is a good look, and make sure everything inside is well organized.

This applies to your counters too. Clear off the counters and remove all of your everyday toiletries and bathroom supplies.

If you really do not have enough space for all your toiletries, put the excess in toiletry baskets and store them out of sight in another room.

  • Accessorize for a better look. Once your bathroom is free of clutter and your personal hygiene products, enhance the whole look with a few well-chosen accessories.

Use things like scented candles in varying heights, fragrant soaps, bath oils, natural loofahs, a basket of tightly rolled washcloths or even a good book.

Choose accessories in soft colors and keep things simple, so it doesn’t create a cluttered look. Candles in particular create a layer of warmth, elegance, luxury and tranquility.

If you’ve got the space, you can go one step further by putting in a stool or ottoman beside the bathtub.

This is both functional and stylish, and will give your bathroom the ultimate private suite look.

  • Add fresh flowers. Flowers and plants make a lovely impact on a room, and the same goes for bathrooms too.

Add color and texture to your bathrooms with your favorite flowers.

It doesn’t have to be a bouquet, especially if the bathroom is small – a single stem or a small planter will enliven the bathroom.

  • Upgrade where necessary. Although you don’t need to spend a lot of money to stage your bathroom, there may be some things that you are actually better off replacing.

Some small, inexpensive upgrades can have a big impact on the total look of your bathroom. Repainting your walls for instance.

You can only carry off the spa-look if the walls look good.

If your bathroom is wallpapered, it’s likely that the wallpaper is peeling. So remove it and paint instead.

Even if your walls are painted, you may want to consider repainting them to give a fresh new look. If you’re going to paint or repaint, it’s always a good idea to stick with neutral colors. They are more likely to appeal to more prospective buyers.

You can add some color using brightly colored towels and accessories as described above.

Apart from painting, other bathroom upgrades that you can do without spending a fortune are: replacing leaking and worn taps, installing new light fittings and updating the cabinets.

If your toilet is broken, badly stained or outdated, you should consider replacing them.

Buy a new shower curtain and tie it back with ribbons, or replace a shower screen that is badly stained or cracked.

If your home is higher priced, you may also consider other more substantial upgrades like changing tiles, in order to preserve that luxury-bathroom feel that buyers will expect to find in such a home.

Staging Your Kitchen To Attract More Buyers

Staging the kitchen can have a huge impact on the portfolio of your home before you decide to place it on the real estate market.

This is because the kitchen is the first thing home buyers usually see and if they find it attractive and modern, they could be willing to pay a price you set or pay a higher price than they would have.

Some people give put much weight into their kitchen that they reserve more than half of their staging budget for kitchen renovation and upgrading.

With a few simple and straightforward changes, you can transform your old kitchen into a modern space with all the desired amenities organized neatly and in place.

So, if you want to sell your home fast and for more, follow these tips to remodel and renovate your kitchen to attract more potential buyers for your home.

Staging the Kitchen

It is always advisable to go step-by-step to make sure you don’t miss anything out. And the first step in making your kitchen ready for sale is to clear out the clutter.

In other words, clean up the mess and make space for possible renovations you have in mind. Organizing is one thing that can improve the appearance of any cupboard, rack, drawer or cabinet.

Check out some DIY shelves for your cabinets to neatly place all the bottles, boxes, and cans.

If your kitchen island has a place for seating, make sure you place bar stools or chairs to utilize it. People find it extremely practical to have a kitchen with a seating area.

However, make sure not to overdo this area by placing too many chairs than necessary. You don’t want to overcrowd your kitchen, so keep it simple and neat.

Next remove all the unnecessary items from your countertops including knife holders, empty wine bottles, hanging towels, and extra appliances.

A rule of thumb is not to place more than two appliances on the countertop at one time.

Make room for others in the cabinets and properly store them. Once the space has been cleared of all the clutter, place a few decorative items to give a it a nice look.

Finally, wipe the tiles clean, make sure the lighting is adequate and all bulbs are working and then apply a quick coat of paint.

Things to Add

Your kitchen might already have all the necessary decorative stuff, but when you’re staging it is important to buy a few extra things for an even fresher look.

Some people find it really useful to have a wall clock in the kitchen. Similarly, wall hangings and paintings that go well with everything else in the kitchen look absolutely appealing.

A few of the other items you can check out include:

  • Flowers: Fresh or even fake flowers or plants have the ability to lift up a mood and make a room look more inviting.

If you are creative, you could come up with ideas to use flowers in your kitchen without having to spend a dime.

But if you’re out of ideas, simply use a vase or a glass bottle for fresh flowers to add color to your kitchen.

  • Placemats and Wine Glasses: Setting your table before any type of viewings and showings add a great touch.

Don’t forget to place a full wine bottle in the middle when somebody is coming over to see your home as a prospective buyer.

  • A Fruit Basket: Another thing that will add color and flare to your kitchen is a fruit basket or tray with fresh fruits in it.

Wash and wipe clean apples before placing them in the basket. Grapes and pomegranates can be placed separately for a more exotic look.

Use your imagination to come up with more ideas to turn your unassuming little kitchen into something totally attractive. Make sure to get rid of the old useless items to make room for the new ones.

Things to Replace

Kitchen staging is not just about cleaning up the mess but also making sure that the appliances, including the oven and other stainless steel utensils, are all of the same color.

If you have a food processor in black, the oven and microwave in silver, a refrigerator in black, and a juicer in white, it will not appeal to the visitors.

Replace a few things if you think there is a complete mismatch, however, also keep in mind that black and white can easily get along if the entire décor is of the same combination.

Some other things that need replacing are the old dirty hand towels, baking mittens, soap dispensers, and the silverware holder. Make these affordable replacements to give a new and striking look to your kitchen.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this step. If you think there are many appliances that go along well with one another, simply put them away.

Affordable Upgrades that Increase Appearance

There is no need to spend a lot of money on kitchen staging when you can easily and affordably create a very striking look.

Some of the décor items can already be found at home and some of them can be created using some creativity and imagination.

However, when it comes to upgrading spending a little money is always a good idea, because it is going to make a huge difference on the value of your home. Here are a few ideas to check out:

  • Contemporary Hardware: One of the things that instantly lift up the appearance of a kitchen is the use of beautiful ornate modern hardware for cabinets and drawers.

This step is particularly important if your kitchen is old and you haven’t upgraded the hardware even once.

Check out simple brushed silver knobs if you are not looking for something utterly expensive or decorative. The nickel ones are also in fashion.

  • Countertops: If you think your countertops need an upgrade, the laminate ones available on the market could be perfect.

When granite counters are not an option because of their high cost, an affordable alternative that will look almost as marvelous as granite is laminate.

Choose any color you want and do this upgrade before making your home available for sale on the real estate market.

  • Under-cabinet Lighting: This is one upgrade that is going to give you a huge competitive edge over other homes for sale in your area.
  • There is a huge variety of such lights available on the market and you can easily install them.

Rope and tape lights are meant for lighting up the countertops and they can go an entire length depending on the width of your cabinets.

Similarly, there are puck lights that offer a single point of illumination wherever you need one.

If you want to light up a bigger area, use lighting bars instead of puck lights.

All these can be found at highly competitive rates so you don’t have to worry about the cost.

  • Lighting Fixtures: In addition to making sure your kitchen lights up sufficiently with the existing lighting, it is also a good idea to replace the old fixtures to give a modern look to your kitchen.

There are so many wonderful options available nowadays that you will be totally surprised. Special lighting fixtures are available for the kitchen keeping in view some areas where more light is needed, such as the countertops and the stove.

  • Organization: DIY shelves, hangers, and plastic storage boxes are a great way to organize everything from spices and herbs to items in the refrigerator and rice, pulses, flour etc.

There are also attractive and useful holders for cutlery available out there. Stackable shelves come in really handy especially when you don’t have a lot of space for storage. You don’t want the visitors to open up the drawers and see spilt spices and pulses over there.

Renovating your kitchen and giving it a more refreshed look doesn’t need to be very expensive. You can jot down some areas that need a lift-up and then spend some money from your staging budget for buying these new items and to transform your kitchen into something really innovative and appealing.

Some of these ideas are also going to make your small kitchen look larger, giving you a twofold advantage! So, keep in mind that all these efforts are not going to be wasted to feel motivated and energetic in bringing about a change in your kitchen. Finally, this is going to be a huge investment as potential buyers would want to pay almost any price you set.

Main Dining Area

The dining room or dining area is often that warm and comfortable room in the home where people gather together with family, friends, and good food on a daily basis and on special occasions. Laughter resounds, news is shared, memories are made.

Such thoughts and memories could be very important in the minds of your potential buyers, so you want to do everything in your power to get it right.

Here are some simple tips in setting up your main dining area to make it inviting to potential buyers:

  • Stage the table. The table is the main focal point of any dining room. You want to have the eyes of the potential buyers open wide with pleasure at seeing the table whether in person or in the pictures you post.

You know what it’s like to have that good feeling.

Think about the home furnishing ads or magazines that you have read in the past.

Before getting started, write down your theme and ideas, and then plan accordingly, keeping in mind that adding at least a hint of popping color is going to work magic.

To subconsciously keep up the buyer’s confidence, avoid the use of a table cloth since you don’t have anything to hide there or in the rest of the house.

You have the choice to make it enticingly extravagant or to keep it elegantly simple.

While you may have to hold back your creativity while setting the table for a holiday dinner in order to keep room for the food platters and to keep it comfortable enough for your family and friends to enjoy good conversations, you don’t have to entertain these concerns while staging the table to attract and encourage buyers.

Let your heart sing as you go all out with your full dinner sets, glassware, centerpieces, plants, and whatever else fits your chosen theme. However, while having fun, keep a great sense of order to make sure that your work is pleasant to the eye.

Staging the table is so important that more time needs to be spent on this than any other part of the dining room.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it must do its job in helping potential buyers to feel relaxed and at home.

  • Blaze a wide trail. Make sure that the walking space in the dining room is comfortable.
  • The path around the table should be easily accessible, and the room must be devoid of all clutter. This includes extra arm chairs randomly placed and blocking the pathway that you might find in some people’s dining rooms.

Giving the impression of space is the best, and this could even be done by removing dining chairs altogether if you have a smaller dining room. Rearrange or remove other furniture if needed.

  • All systems go!

Has your dining room been used for some other purpose besides dining?

If you have it set up as an office with papers exposed on your desk or table, it’s time to close up shop.

Do you have a computer, extra TV, or gaming systems in your dining room? It’s time to jettison these, captain.

It may be a difficult thing to do if you are staying in your home while it’s on the market, but at least box them up and store them away during an open house or before taking pictures.

If your dining area is incredibly large and you have created a second sitting area for game nights with a large screen tastefully mounted, this is just fine.

However, make sure to separate this area from the dining area in a more defined fashion by using a sofa or other strategically-placed furniture.

  • Smooth the surfaces. Tuck away all trinkets and extra clutter.

Since you’re going to be staging the table and don’t want to detract from that focal point, it’s important to take a minimalist approach to the rest of the room and surfaces.

You want to create more space to the eye, yet have enough variety and color to envelope the prospects in the charm of the space as they walk through or view the pictures.

Perhaps a decorative vase, even without flowers, can be placed on the sideboard or corner table.

Two cocktail glasses on a tray with a cocktail shaker create a great, minimal decoration which contributes to the relaxed atmosphere, subtly inspiring the buyer with the desire to entertain guests.

If you choose to have a bowl of colorful fruit, a lamp, or any of the other choices from the plethora of possible decorations, keeping items grouped together in odd numbers creates a more appealing impression on the eye.

  • Out with the old. Now, you might really love your house and the charm of having some outdated components, but then again, if you’re selling the house, it’s time to bring some of the less expensive charms up to date.

Look around your dining room. Is the paint dirty or a dingy color? Is the wallpaper peeling or does it have a tacky or busy pattern that’s difficult to compliment?

You can find newer, more neutral wallpaper options and clean, neutral paint colors to easily blend with any furniture or accessories.

Think about big, open space and select the colors according to that. Staying away from dark colors and focusing on light and neutral blues, grays, yellows, and greens will give you the result you’re aiming towards.

If you prefer to go with white, keep it a matte blend and consider an off-tone such as eggshell or ivory.

What about the light fixtures or door handles? Bright and shiny brass or the yellow of so-called gold chandeliers or knobs speak of the tired and forgotten.

Affordable replacement options are available at any home improvement store.

You will notice the trend of brushed nickel or darker, brushed bronze doorknobs and handles, and will also see the elegant but modern chandelier and other light fixture choices.

Take a leap of faith even if you still prefer the older, shiny metal.

Your potential buyers will be more pleased, and in the end, you will win.

Main Living Room Staging

When it comes time to prepare the living room for the showing, the big question is whether to empty the room, or have it staged. Staging your home is actually the better option because it helps to convey how the space can be used properly, should the buyer have a lot of furniture that they would like to incorporate.

In fact, staging your home, especially the living room, can make all the difference in whether or not a buyer wants your home.

Tips for Staging Your Living Room

There are multiple ways you can incorporate staging into your living room to ensure that buyers fall in love with your home as soon as they walk through the door.

  • Have lamps plugged in and set up near the corners of the living room, to illuminate any and all dark corners, which will add more light and bright feelings to the room.
  • Do not block any of the windows or natural light sources, unless it’s a light curtain that is practically see through.
  • Only use small chairs and sofas to give the illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is.
  • Showcase lamb’s wool, satin, silk, and any soft fabrics by having throws overs chairs and sofas.
  • Place mirrors, paintings, and anything of the sort in the room to add more dimension and depth.
  • Create conversational areas by arranging the furniture in a vignette style.

Staging your living room is one of the most important things you need to do when selling a home, because it’s generally where company will be entertained.

Even if you do not have a lot of furniture staged in there, it helps to give the buyer a mental image of what they would do with their furniture, random items, and how they will see themselves within the room.

Giving a buyer a perfect mental picture of how they would do things and how they would entertain any guests within the living room is incredibly important, and will definitely help you to sell your home a lot faster.

The Importance of Traffic Areas

While staging your home, it’s incredibly important to keep traffic areas in mind, which need to be kept open to allow a good, natural flow.

Traffic areas are self-explanatory, but they are the areas where people will be traveling through a space,

the areas that will be walked through the most, and the areas where you will be showcasing your living room the most, so make the most of it.

If you have carpeted floors, then traffic areas will have already shown because of the years of traffic while you lived there.

Therefore, if there are traffic lines within your carpeted areas of your living room, be prepared to stage the room so they do not show.

With the proper amount of furniture and planning, traveling throughout your living room will be free of blemishes and will ensure that the buyer can have a perfect mental image of where they would place all of their belongings.

Identify and Utilize the Focal Point Within the Room

Focal points are specific features within a room that captures a buyer’s eye as soon as they enter the room.

All of the focal points within your living room need to be highlighted when you are staging your home, with the goal being to draw and enhance the eye on these special features, to ensure that the buyer instantly falls in love with the room.

The focal point in a living room is generally the fireplace, but if you do not have one, then your focal point is whatever is the largest, most dramatic object within the room.

A bookshelf, for example, could be further enhanced by placing books, candles, and a large mirror nearby.

The most common focal points within living rooms are as follows;

  • The fireplace
  • Arches, beams, ceilings, and walls that are angled
  • Height ceilings
  • Tray ceilings and other interesting details within the ceiling itself
  • Arched, bay, large, and other forms of windows that really stand out within the room
  • Reclaimed lumber, old brick, and other forms of featured walls
  • Entertainment centers
  • Bookcases that are built in

With a fireplace, hanging a large mirror or a large piece of art over it really adds perception, depth, and extra drama to the room, and will always draw a buyer’s eye successfully.

You could further enhance the fireplace by adding a beautiful vase, floral arrangement, candlesticks, or any object that will catch the eye of a buyer within a symmetrical line going across the mantle of the fireplace.

When it comes to focal points, symmetry is better than asymmetry because it helps enhance the focal point itself while keeping everything neat, tidy, and does not give a look of complete clutter.

For windows, however, ensure that they are kept completely open and do not have anything that could block the window itself or the view outside.

Staging Furniture

Let’s talk about furniture. Since the purpose of staging your house is to create a neutral and comfortable place that any buyer would want to call home, it is much easier to stage a home that you will not be living in.

Whether you’re staying or moving out, hiring a pro or doing it yourself, here are some helpful guidelines to help you create the best impression on buyers:

  • Take it all into account. Step back and look at your furniture with the eye of a stranger who doesn’t attach any value to it.

Grab a notepad and pen, and then step outside to clear your mind.

Then, entering through the front door, slowly walk through the house like an inspector and take note of any piece of furniture that you think would do better elsewhere in the house or completely out of the house.

Take action and remove all of the furniture that you think needs to go.

A professional stager could do all of this for you, but even if you are not doing the staging yourself and hiring a pro instead, it’s good to get a head start on clearing the house.

  • Find the focal points. Visit each room with the intention of finding the strong points.
  • Is it the large closet, the extra space near the bedroom window, the impressive master bath and Jacuzzi, the built-in shelves in the basement, the lighting on the staircase?

Take note of all of these with ideas of how to make them stand out.

Even go out to the patio or deck to add that to your list.

A pro will be able to spot many strong points, but will also want your advice on what you consider to be the focal points, so doing this is never a waste of time.

  • Prepare the props. You have taken note of all of the furniture that you are willing to keep, and have sent unwanted furniture on its merry way.

Now, if you’re leaving it up to a staging pro, this is where he or she will really take over.

However, if doing it yourself, follow your notes. What remaining furniture do you have that you can use in each of the separate focal areas?

Will you need to purchase or rent any more to create the effect that you’re working towards?

You can purchase cardboard furniture to dress up like real furniture, or you can rent the pieces that you need.

Whichever way you go, make sure that your list covers the entire house, even the deck and garage. You don’t want any rooms to be empty.

  • Set the scene. Stage actors have an important rule that they must put into practice during every performance: never turn your back to the crowd.

This is the same for staging a home, particularly for the furniture that you put into place to draw attention to a focal point.

If you don’t concentrate on drawing the potential buyer’s’ eyes towards the strong points that you have mapped out, their experience will be like watching a stage production with a blindfold, or even worse, with a row of super tall audience members blocking your view when you know you could be seeing so much more.

If your focal point is the extra-large window with a view, maybe place a colorful plant on either side or put a small table underneath it with a splash of color from a plant or decorative object to quickly move the eyes there.

Avoid blocking the view at all costs, and even make sure to use minimal, if any, window coverings so as to truly impress.

What about that cozy extra nook in the dining room or living room?

Create a warm impression with two comfortable arm chairs and a small table, or even an inviting window seat with an ottoman.

Do you have any chairs on your patio or deck?

Create a casual and relaxing look with a few patio chairs and even a small fire pit.

  • Don’t forget the color! When talking about furniture, the importance of color cannot be emphasized enough.
  • Research has proven that certain colors and light release endorphins, and if this means that your potential buyers will get a mood boost in your home, it’s a plus for you and your sale.

Of course, you want to avoid the extremes of coupling a bright red chair with a hot pink pillow, but you want to make sure that you have a few items of color in every staged scene.

Whether this is the furniture itself or complementary accessories such as pillows, lamps, vases, fruit, rugs, plants, or flowers, the color or lack thereof could make or break the scene.

  • Show time. You have your props in order and have set the stage, now it’s time to open the curtain to show off your production.

If you have been careful to pay attention to the details and have everything in its place, your show will be a hit.

The potential buyers will walk through the house or look at your pictures online with a sense of enjoyment and leave with a great impression, even if they decide that the house is not for them.

It’s like going to a show and telling others it was great while it lasted but you don’t feel the need to see it again.

This should not be a disappointment.

The most important thing is to sell out every ticket to the show, to make a positive impression, and ultimately, to make money.

When potential buyers walk through your house with you or your realtor, or view the pictures online, they will be drawn to each strength that you have played up in you staging process.

They’ll feel comfortable in the bedroom, relaxed on the deck, excited about the Jacuzzi, and impressed with the view.

Best of all, one will make the choice to call your house home, and all will know that there aren’t any more seats because your sign in the yard is marked with a big, bold, “SOLD” sign.

Importance Of Good Pictures

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again – your main goal in selling your home is to make money. Whether this is to make a profit or to pay off your current mortgage, your focus needs to be on making that sale.

Not excited about the idea? Hey – you can have loads of fun with it. For starters, how are you at taking pictures?

Pictures play a huge role in nailing that sale. If you have great pictures, you’ll set yourself up above other homeowners battling for the same buyers. Think about it.

If you had to purchase a home in a particular city for work purposes and there were only two for sale in that city that could fit your needs, which seller would you trust more from the get-go: the one who posts casual pictures that capture dishes in the sink or a sock in the corner, or the one who gives the impression of a pristine lifestyle?

You can show off your pristine lifestyle and build up the buyers’ confidence in the quality of your home by putting in a little extra effort.

Isn’t it true that the real winners in every category of life are ones who put out the most effort?

Needs some ideas? Read through these tips to help get the ball rolling:

  • Pretend that you are shooting for a magazine. It all starts with cleaning, cleaning, cleaning! Get rid of the clutter, move out old and ugly furniture, and hide away all of your personal belongings.

You don’t want your family photos, laundry, or the old torn lounge chair online for the world to see.

  • Shelter the pets. This is important. Even if you’re the most meticulous pet owner in the world, advertising to potential buyers that you have birds in a cage, a free roaming guinea pig, or a bedroom dedicated to a family of rare Siamese cats is going to scare people away.

Pets often create odors that stick around for a while, and since you’ll be working hard to make this odor disappear, you want to avoid bringing any attention to these critters.

Don’t only hide them from the photos, find another place to shelter them if you want the most luck making the sale.

  • Add sprinkles on top. A few home accessories with colors that pop will go a long way. Do you have any bright sofa pillows?
  • How about a healthy green plant or a vase of colorful flowers strategically placed in each room?
  • Light it up. Are your pictures really dark or washed out?

Not enough light from the windows? Add some lighting to bring them up a level. Bright LED lamps in the corners or off-camera can add just the touch you need.

  • Hire a stager. If you don’t want to go through the effort on your own, you can hire a professional stager who can come in to rearrange the furniture or even bring in some accessories or extra pieces of furniture.

When you’re interviewing different stagers for the job, make sure to check on rates per room. You may decide to only photograph certain rooms in the house, but you’ll win bigger with more pictures.

  • Hire a photographer. Although you can take great pictures on your own without a very expensive camera, you might consider having a pro do the work.

This can give you an even greater advantage over other sellers by helping to increase the perceived value of your home.

Photos of the Outside

It goes without saying that your potential buyers want to see the outside just as much as the inside.
If you’re going to show them, show them! Before taking pictures, take these important steps:

  • Cut that grass. Whether you do it yourself or support your neighborhood professional, give your lawn a clean, close cut.

Get rid of some tension with your weed-whacker by obliterating those stubborn weeds and extra strands of grass along pathways, the house, and around trees.

  • Trim the hedges. If there is one thing that helps to look like an abandoned hideout, it’s a runaway row of hedges.

You can save the day by a quick trim to make sure that the bushes are nice and even, adding another spark of life to the outside.

  • Colorful landscaping. Plant a variety of colorful flowers, and lay some red cedar chips.

If you would like to provide a night photo for effect, consider adding some LED path lights.

  • Give it a bath. Shine the windows, hose down the house, and clean the gutters. Sweep the pathways and driveway. You don’t want pictures of cobwebs around your doorways or of water-stained windows.

Take strategic photos from angles that really show off your home.

Having followed the above tips should make this easier because you won’t be trying to avoid capturing the grass or bushes in the photos.

Drones

In the past, you would have needed to pay an expensive fee to a pilot for the use of a private plane or helicopter.  Now, you can make it all happen more affordably with drones.

Besides being used by some to spy on neighbors, drones have a variety of uses.

The good news is that one of these is to show off the high value of your home to potential buyers.

As regulation continues to shape the future of drones and their legal use by civilians, you can still stay ahead of the crowd by hiring a licensed drone photographer or getting the license to fly one yourself.

Why does drone photography give you an advantage over other sellers?

  • Provides a big picture view. You can give potential buyers a complete view of your property by an aerial photograph or video.  This is something that most home owners never see for themselves for as many years as they have been in their homes.

The house, the yard, the distance from neighbors – this is a valuable shot.

  • Shows the road home. If you choose to have the drone capture video footage, you can take the potential buyers on a ride up the street to your home and even pull up into the driveway and walk them to the front door.

Whether doing it yourself or hiring an experienced professional, make sure to draw up a plan.

Map out the route, plan the time of day, and be prepared to take multiple photographs or video shots to give yourself options.

Do you want to benefit from the lighting effects of sunrise or sunset? Do you want to catch the school bus en route?

Do you want to include any wildlife around your property such as deer?

Think ahead. Planning the details will help your drone project move smoothly and provide a valuable finished product.

Video Walk-Through

We’re now a mile ahead of the rest.  This is every home buyer’s dream.  You could use a drone or use your camera, but either way, taking potential buyers on a walk through their future home could be just the motivation they need to further explore the purchase and sign the contract.

How many entrances do you have to your home? Consider starting a separate video from each door and walking through the home to give the viewers multiple perspectives. The more you can give, the more value you will create, the more offers you will receive, and the more quickly you will make the sale.

To take it up another notch, consider making it a guided tour by either having someone walk in front of the camera while explaining each room, or make it a guided tour with a voice-over.

There’s always someone in your circles who has a great phone voice, so if it’s not you, ask this person for a favor. Otherwise, you can hire a voice-over professional through an online agency.

If you could save a few long-distance potential buyers the cost of a plane trip, you’ve already won in their eyes.  It now gives them a sense of urgency to be the first to snatch up your house before it’s gone.

Staging Solutions & Options

Renting

If you don’t have the furniture that best compliments your home so that it’s dressed to impress, renting some can be a convenient option.  Also, if the house that you are selling is completely vacant, renting furniture might not only be convenient, but the smartest move.

Before getting started on the selection process, take into account what you have at home.

Storing away worn or dingy items is strongly recommended. Even just removing an old coffee table or couch can brighten up the space.

After you have done your best to comb through your house to rearrange or clear out furniture in each room, you can reassess to figure out whether or not you could use a few more pieces.

Whatever money you carefully spend on obtaining furniture will pay off when the home sells.

Much of the time, some renting is required to really create the effect you want, and even staging experts hired by homeowners resort to renting when in need of furniture.

How does one rent furniture?

  • Furniture rental companies. We don’t often hear about these types of companies unless we’re looking for them. Churchill Furniture Rental, Cort Furniture Rental, Brook Furniture Rental and AFR Furniture Rental are big names in the business.

These and other rental companies normally provide the furniture, the trucks, and the man-power to get it to its destination.

The only downside is that they also normally require a three-month minimum rental period.

Of course, if you happen to sell your home sooner, you’re not out any extra money for returning the furniture early.

  • Thrift shops or antique shops. If you have any of these in your area, you might consider asking to rent larger pieces of furniture.

You will not always be successful at this, but if you find something that would fit your needs, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Instead of renting furniture, some experts suggest using cardboard furniture for a comparatively lower cost.

You can dress it up as standard furniture without anyone necessarily seeing the difference.

A lot of this furniture is durable enough to be sat upon, however, so that’s also a plus.

Whichever furniture option you choose, make sure that it is indeed the best for your particular situation and that it will bring you the greatest return on investment by either selling the house more quickly than expected, or selling for a higher price.

Affordable Options

Let’s talk a bit about budget. When exploring staging options, it’s possible to become overwhelmed by the price tag of renting furniture.

The great news is that by taking the time to re-evaluate and rearrange your current possessions, you will find that you may not have to rent much – if any – furniture at all.  This can save you money.

What else can save money and help make the sale? Here are a few tips:

  • Re-establish boundaries. If your living room is also the playroom, the toys need to go into hibernation. No one enjoys seeing colorful dolls and cars all over the floor – except the children, of course.

Do you golf in your hallway? Pack up the putting green.

  • Polishing. Do a deep and thorough cleaning of every single room, and pay attention to the smallest details. When was the last time that you polished the wood or washed the windows?

It’s time to do it now. Even the toilet should shine. Don’t forget the ceiling fans with their dusty blades.

  • Put away memories. It might be difficult to do if you are staying in the house until it sells, but it is now time to take down all of your family photos, certificates, sports banners, and anything else that has a personal touch.

You want the potential buyers to see the house as an immediate home for them, not to have them subconsciously weighed down with the need to clear the house of all your belongings.

  • Fresh air. There are those people who love to open the windows every morning to let the breeze rush through, and then there are those people who couldn’t be paid to open the windows.

Well, it’s time to think seriously about getting paid by potential buyers.

If you never allow fresh air to blow through your home, then it has most likely developed an unappealing odor. Open up!

Step back and look at your house with the eyes of a potential buyer who has never entered through the door.

Do a walk-around on the outside, and then go slowly through the house to see what can be cleared away or scrubbed down.

All of this might take some time, but it will save you money whether you are hiring a staging expert or doing it yourself.

DIY

Pinterest has become a great online resource for learning how to improve your living space through creative projects such as using picture frames to create attractive wall molding.

If you find out that you have enough furniture but just need to embellish your home a bit more, here are some ideas:

  • Brighten it up. Do you have a sad paint color in any or all rooms? Is the house monochromatic?

Consider re-painting rooms according to their purpose, such as using soft neutrals like mild yellows or creams that set off a glow when the sun shines in the dining room.

Add an accent wall in the living room by choosing a complementary color such as a calming sage green or a deep red against taupe walls. Whatever you do, make the home welcoming.

“Remember, you’re never fully dressed without a smile!” (Annie)

  • New clothes. What would happen if you wore the same shirt – without washing it – every day for a week? It’s time to re-dress the windows and sofas.

Updating the window coverings to compliment the paint color and re-covering or purchasing new accent sofa pillows that pop can create a quick upgrade to your home.

Also, make sure to update your bathroom collection with clean and bright towels and bathmats.

  • Bring it to life. Consider strategically adding a fresh plant or vase of flowers to the different rooms throughout the home.

The keyword is strategically. This does not mean adding a floor plant in every corner and putting a vase of flowers on every surface.

Also, be smart! You want to be careful to avoid flowers with heavy pollen such as lilies to discourage any allergic reactions among potential buyers.

  • Slow things down. Adding lightly-scented candles here and there and lighting them when showing the home will create a calmer atmosphere.

Again, be careful to avoid heavy scents that encourage sneezing or instant headaches. Recommended scents are cinnamon, vanilla, pine, and citrus.

  • Play music. Have you ever taken the time to notice the varying differences in music choices among the stores that you visit?

A very low background hum of classical music will add a level of sophistication to your home, releasing extra endorphins within the bodies of your potential buyers, and providing them with a sense of wealth as they stroll through the beautifully-arranged home.


Hiring a Professional vs. Doing It Yourself

Time is the most common denominator among homeowners during the home-selling process.

To conserve as much time for yourself as possible, you will want to delegate as many tasks as you can so that you will be free to focus on other important aspects of your move.

A professional home stager could be a real lifesaver. Staging experts often have acquired valuable experience that they can pass on to your home to increase its salability.

The staging professional or firm will create a theme in each room to compliment the layout, bring in the furniture and home décor needed to complete the themes throughout the house, and give you tips to use when showing the house such as what kind of fresh flowers to buy or scented candles to burn.

You might also consider that a staging expert or firm will make sure to provide the manpower needed to do the heavy lifting and moving of furniture throughout the house, and if any damage happens in the process, the stager covers the cost of repairs.

On the other hand, staging the home yourself could not only save you money, but could also allow you to put more of your own personality into the theme.

Having lived in the home yourself, you are more familiar with its pros and cons indoors and outdoors such as the need for more light in a certain room or making sure that the lawn is treated for weeds to keep them from sprouting up overnight.

Your goal is to gain the highest return on investment when your house sells. If you believe you can achieve this by staging on your own, then go for it, otherwise, spend the little extra on a professional upfront to reap the benefits at the sale.

What to Expect with a Pro

True staging pros run a very smooth operation.   Of course, anyone can make mistakes, but fumbling around for something to write on or asking for your pen is already a red flag. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Ask around. Don’t just select a random name from online and hire the stager. Ask your realtor, other realtors, and friends about their experiences and ask for a referral.

Then, interview several pros and select the one who could provide the best value to you.

  • You get what you pay for. If the price tag is low, it’s probable that the quality of service offered will match that price.

If your stager is a well-known expert in the field, your price tag will definitely be considerably higher than someone running a summer gig.

Can your potential stager provide references and photos of successful past projects?

  • They ask you many questions. Just like a doctor, the staging pro wants as much information from you about your needs as possible.

On your part, you also need to ask many questions during the initial consultation to make sure that this is the stager for you.

Ask questions like how do they work out their rates, how long they will take, what you could do on your end to keep the costs down, have they staged homes in the past and how many, and whether or not they’ll expect anything from you during the process.

  • They are staging pros. Not realtors. Not bankers. However, they do need to know enough about real estate to ensure that they know what they’re aiming for in increasing a home’s salability.

Their job is to make your home as appealing as possible to potential buyers, so they will not (and should not) talk to you about negotiating pricing with those buyers.

  • Be prepared to change your ways. The stager will want you to follow certain guidelines if you will be living in the staged house.

This will help keep the rooms in order and ready for viewing. If you won’t be living in the house, it’s going to be much easier to keep the home clean and ready to show. However, make sure to get in and dust regularly.

Real staging pros should make you feel confident about the quality of their work.

If you have any negative internal reaction during your initial consultation, run in the other direction and find someone you can trust. If you want to sell your home, it’s ultimately your responsibility to make it happen.

Repair Or Touch-Ups To Improve Value

First of all, keep in mind that you don’t need a giant improvement to achieve your goal. Small improvements introduced in almost every room, including the exterior of the house is what we are aiming for.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Clean, clean, and clean. Nothing looks more appealing and eye-catching than a neat and clean house. So start improving the appearance of your house by cleaning out the debris, making your garden look like an ideal place and painting or polishing the front door to make it more welcoming.

De-cluttering is also a part of cleaning, so get rid of things you don’t need to make room for new ones.

  • The first glance is usually enough to tell a lot about a house.

Go out and see how other people would judge your exterior.

Does it need repainting? Is there a walkway that you can highlight by introducing some flowers?

Keep it simple but try to make it neat.

That’s what we look for when we are inspecting houses to buy one.

  • The kitchen usually needs an upgrade whether it has been used or is still new and untouched.

Renovating it using modern décor is going to instantly improve the value of your home.

Why?

Because people have an eye for the kitchen and they want it to be just perfect.

Even if they would have to compromise on other rooms, they will buy a home just because its kitchen is well-maintained and inviting.

  • Other than the kitchen, bathrooms are something people usually inspect very closely.

Replace the faucets, and clean up the bathroom counter. We would again emphasize on simplicity because simple and neat arrangements are usually easy to clean and maintain.

What to Invest in?

So, you’re done decluttering, cleaning and upgrading.

What’s next? Well, if you have a good investment to make for your home, it is recommended to divide it into three or four parts to bring some really impressive improvements to your home.

Here are some areas you might want to think about seriously:

  • Lighting: If you are not very satisfied with the lighting system in your house, replace it.

But for this you would need to buy fixtures and other equipment for each and every room in order to make it look consistent and attractive.

  • Plumbing: Many old homes have rusty pipes and even some leakage in the plumbing that needs serious attention.

Your home will not sell fast and at a price you have in mind if you haven’t already invested in making the plumbing system better and improved.

  • Flooring: Most people nowadays look for hardwood floors or alternatives that are easy to manage and provide health benefits instead of carpeting.

Tiled floors are also fairly acceptable.  If you think this improvement would bring you high profits, make it right away.

  • HVAC Replacement: With the passage of time, new and more energy-efficient systems are being introduced to the market that incur a one-time cost and help you save huge amounts of money on utility bills. If you want to add a new and unique selling point to your ad, make this replacement as part of your home improvement strategy and see how offers start coming.

What’s really worth repairing?

Remember that it is not wise to spend your money on each and everything just to have it repaired. Not all things are worth repairing; some need to be thrown out and others need to be replaced. This is one principle that most people follow when they stage their home.

Inspect each and every aspect of your home and then come up with a plan that will go with your budget and also bring improvement to your home. You may want to replace outdated appliances in the kitchen. Repairing these machines is not an option, so you will have to get rid of them and buy new ones.

If your budget doesn’t allow this upgrade, simply give the ones you use a color-boost or something like that to at least improve their appearance.

If you already have wooden floors installed at home, look for scratches and be prepared for some refinishing. This is one aspect most home buyers would look into closely, but there’s no need to replace the entire flooring.

Wooden floors look great even if they are old and worn out. Give them a little lift-up to make them more attractive and appealing.

Nowadays energy efficiency has found its way into many of our systems including the windows. Now people look for the latest windows and other systems that are designed to be more energy efficient providing a number of health and environmental benefits.

Replace your old windows for these new ones if you want to improve the value of your home through small yet significant changes.

If your bathroom floors are tiled, look for any flaws or cracks especially if the tiles are white or light colored. These types of flaws are hard to conceal even if you arrange everything else very neatly.

So, before investing in other bathroom accessories and putting in your efforts to de-clutter it, replace a cracked floor tile.

How Buyers Search For Homes

Whether it is to relocate for work, upsize so you have more room for the kids, or downsize because the kids are gone, selling a home is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. And that stress goes up the longer the process goes on.

Not only are you likely to do a fair amount of work before listing the home, but having to keep the house impeccably clean, vacate the premises at a moment’s notice and having numerous strangers walking through the home, your nerves are likely to begin to fray pretty quickly.

The other significant component of that stress is the fact that the longer a house sits on the market, the more the price is going to drop.

That fact alone can have a significant impact on life after the sale as many people intend to use whatever excess there is from the sale of their home as a down payment on their new purchase.

To keep the stress down and the price up it is important to take advantage of every marketing technique available to get your home in front of as many buyers at possible.

From online to yard sign, this book will teach you the most effective home marketing techniques and how to implement them so that your home sells for the price that you want, not the price someone else wants.

Online

Like so many areas of our daily lives, the internet has taken over house hunting. Using the internet, buyers can do more than just preview a home. They can research the history of the home, what sort of neighborhood it is in, what the local attractions are and more.

And the proliferation of realty agencies and websites like Zillow that list homes complete with photos of the home’s interior and the ability view the home from the air thanks to apps like Google Earth mean that buyers can learn a great deal about any given home before even leaving their own home, making the internet an ever more appealing way to at least begin a search.

In fact, it was recently reported by Realtor.com that 90% of buyers used the internet at least some point in their house hunting process.

This section will focus on the myriad of online tools available for the home seller and how to get the most out them.

Realty website – Websites for realtors have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years.

While once they may have had some text and one or two exterior photos of the home, they now offer full video tours of a home’s interior, links to Google Earth to provide aerial photography of the area, detailed floor plans and more.

How to get the most from an online listing: Make sure you follow some basic steps before taking a single photograph.

Make sure any improvements that need to be made in order to ensure a quick sale have already been taken care of. Remove the clutter, fix any obvious broken items and add a fresh coat of paint if necessary before snapping a single photograph.

Also consider doing a video tour of the home. This simple addition to the listing site can generate more traffic for your listing than any mere description, no matter how complete it may be.

Some even go so far as to say that one minute of video is worth over a million words.  Don’t worry about host costs for the video. Simply upload it to YouTube to let Google handle the hosting duties while you embed the video on the listing site.

While video is predominate, the writing on a listing has also grown in importance. A simple listing of the home’s features (large deck, sunroom, two-stall garage) are not enough in today’s market.

If necessary, hire a writer to bring out the details of the features, and present them all in an engaging way that draws the potential buyer in with the possibilities that the home offers.

Buyers also frequent third party sites, often in the beginning stages of looking for a home. There are plenty of ways for a buyer to narrow his search and compare prices and other features of various homes.

Mobile apps that allow buyers to search homes, view photos and videos and more wherever they are have also grown in popularity.  More on that below.

Facebook – Posting your listing on Facebook will help you extend your reach far beyond what you might think.

Once you post the link, every one of your friends can see it. And if they are not looking for a home themselves, they may still share it with their friends, creating an ever widening circle of people who are able to view your listing, many of whom you have never even met.

This brings your home to the undefined market of people who might be interested in moving but have yet to actually begin looking, in addition to putting your listing out in front of others who simply may have missed your home in their search.

Pinterest/Instagram – Making use of these social media sites will extend your reach in many of the same ways Facebook does.

Both are very photo-friendly so make sure that you have plenty of great, well-lit pictures of your staged home to post, allowing buyers to stumble across your listing while browsing on a lunch break.

Craigslist – Many people even search the well-known second hand site for homes.

This isn’t nearly as popular but there is no reason to not put up an advertisement that includes some of the photos and a link back to the listing.

Individual website – One way to centralize all of your content for your home listing is to have a separate, stand-alone site.

This site can act as a hub for all of the content relating to the home sale. In addition to all of your videos, photos, and links to your social media accounts, you can also include additional information and links to neighborhood attractions and activities that will give your buyers a feel not just for the home but for the whole experience of living there.

 Mobile

More and more people are moving away from fixed internet access on a desktop, relying instead on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. That’s not to say that desktops are not important, the majority of website visits are still done using the older computing format.

That said, the data clearly shows that desktop use is decreasing while mobile is increasing dramatically. In fact, people actually spend more time online with their mobile devices than with any other method.

This trend will only increase as movements to cut cords and simplify life in general continue.

The clear implication of this trend for home marketing is to ensure that your listing is mobile friendly and listed on sites with easy to navigate mobile versions.

Again, these listings will make extensive use of photos, floor plans and videos that show off the home at its best.  Naturally, if you choose to set up a stand-alone website, ensure that it is either mobile friendly by default or a hybrid that can easily switch between desktop and mobile versions.

Of course, setting up such an extensive website can be rather technical and time consuming so consider hiring a professional to handle the site development.

The Real World

Although online resources, whether desktop or mobile are great for marketing eventually the buyer will move from the couch or the coffee shop and start looking at houses in person.

While it does happen, most people will not buy a home on the strength of an internet listing alone, no matter how attractive it might be.

Nearly all buyers who make use of the internet in their search use it not to make their final decision but to narrow and direct their search.

Also, it is worth pointing out that not everyone relies exclusively, or even primarily on the internet in their search for a new home.

While nearly all go online at some point during their search, many will default to traditional methods to direct their search and make a decision on which home to purchase.

In fact, nearly all buyers will still work through a professional realtor. Even traditional marketing methods like open houses and yard signs still play a very significant role in the home buying process.

Real Estate Agents – These men and women are an invaluable part of the process of searching for, selling, or buying a home.

They provide a number of advantages for both buyers and sellers.

Buyers:  A local realtor will already be familiar with the area that the buyer is interested in.

This includes being aware of pricing trends, which neighborhoods are the most desirable, a knowledge of local laws such as those concerning property tax, reputable loan officers and a host of other things that a buyer would have to spend large amounts of time learning for himself.

Sellers:  For you the seller, a realtor also can help in many ways large and small. In your case, the realtor’s knowledge of the area applies in helping to price the home appropriately, comparing it with similar homes in the region and basing your price on what those similar homes sold for.

He will also be able to guide you in the preparation phase, determine which areas need to be repaired, repainted or just touched up a bit and how to do it to best appeal to the demographics that are most likely to be viewing your home.

Also, he will be able to handle the details of getting your home listed online on the major listing sites in your region, freeing you to focus on marketing through your social media accounts.

A good realtor will also be marketing the home through his own professional social media. Another distinct marketing advantage in hiring a realtor is that he talks to others in the real estate world.

This already established network can lead to connections made between realtors that in turn connect buyers with sellers who otherwise might never have met, no matter how much time they may spend online.

If your agent is able to work as a dual agent (working a realtor for both buyer and seller) he can make these connections with his own clients.

Again, while an individual can learn all of this for himself, it is difficult. And most sellers and buyers recognize this. Recent studies by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) have shown that 89% of home buyers use a realtor during their search and realtors are ranked nearly equal with websites as sources of information and in terms of general usefulness.

Given this, if you are selling, you should be working with a realtor. To not do so is to rob yourself of an excellent partner in marketing your home. And if you are realtor, don’t worry, Zillow and other mobile sites won’t be robbing you of a job anytime soon.

While only 17% of buyers make contacting a realtor the first step in their search, nearly all will be calling one at some point in the process.

Open Houses

The open house is a venerable staple of home selling. Allowing a large number of people to casually walk through a home unannounced has always provided a certain appeal to buyers.

While, they have fallen out of favor with some realtors in recent years, they can still play a very important role in the sale of a home.

Advantages – As stated, it is the casual nature of the format that provides the main appeal. Anyone, whether a serious buyer who has been searching for weeks and months online or a couple that happens to be driving by can tour the home, taking their time to inspect the bed rooms, common rooms, and yard without an agent following them around.

In this sense it takes a good deal of pressure off the prospective buyer. However, in a seller’s market, an open house can be very busy, instilling a sense of urgency in the buyer to place an offer as soon as possible.

This is made extremely convenient as the seller’s agent will be on hand. Should more than one party be interested in the home, a bidding war can begin, which the seller (and his agent) will naturally appreciate.

Before the event – The house has be to as perfect as possible before the day of the open house. Decluttering should already be done, the surfaces dusted, windows cleaned, and the lawn mowed.

Essentially, the home should be show ready on the morning of the event.

Marketing – Your realtor should be marketing the open house just as hard as the home itself. Any place the house is listed should be updated with the date and hours of the open house.

A separate video should be made announcing the open house and incorporating an abbreviated virtual tour of the home while the realtor highlights some of its best features.

Think of it as being like a movie trailer, designed to emphasize the best points of the home without revealing everything, so that prospective buyers will be drawn in.

Beyond this, flyers should also be put out ahead of time and signs placed on nearby cross streets. This not only makes it easy for those who have already researched the home online to find it, but can also catch the couple who are simply driving around prospective neighborhoods, curious if any homes are for sale.

The latter may not make an offer that day, but if they find the home appealing, they may well find themselves accelerating their process unexpectedly.

Yard Sign

The yard is one of the oldest and most recognizable of real estate marketing tools. As such, it may seem to be something of a quaint anachronism.

It is anything but. The NAR study referenced above also reported that 51% of home buyers said a yard sign was an important source of information in their home search.

How can it be that in this age of mobile apps and satellite photography a simple “For Sale” sign can be cited as important by such a large percentage of buyers?

For one, as stated above, it makes the home easy to find.  For the buyer searching for a home they researched online, that sign in the front yard instantly draws his attention towards the home he’s looking for.

If for some reason the buyer did not get the contact information for the seller’s agent from the listing, he can easily get it from the sign.

As with the open house discussed above, it also provides a focal point for those who prefer to search more casually, driving around just to see what is available.

There is also the possibility of attracting a buyer who did not even consider searching for a home before stumbling across this simplest and humble of marketing tools

Today’s real estate market is highly dynamic, filled with sophisticated buyers using a variety of sources to aid their search. As a seller it is important to be aware of buyers’ shopping trends and how to reach them. This book will take you through these and other marketing methods so that you will be able drive traffic to your home and get the best price in the shortest time possible.

Grabbing A Buyer’s Attention

You want them informed, interested, and in the house.

Since 1 out of every 2 homebuyers spends time visiting open houses, you want to throw the best open house party that you can. How do you do this?

Making sure that the home is staged and in pristine condition is a must. You can’t have potential buyers walking into a petting zoo or discovering Pandora ’s Box when opening the coat closet.

Make sure to have the homeowners spend time cleaning up the entire house as though their lives depended on it. Be meticulous. Remember that the outside of the house needs to be clean and welcoming if you want anyone to come inside.

What kind of experience do you want to create?

A pleasant, memorable one that will make the potential buyers feel right at home. Besides the glistening floors and streak-free windows, there’s a special addition that very few think of: the neighbors.

Think about it. Who doesn’t want to know about the people who will be living by them?

Inviting the neighbors to be a part of the open house adds another layer of interest because it provides the opportunity for the potential buyers to test the waters a bit.

This is a great opportunity with a small caveat: make sure that the neighbors are indeed people that you think will make buyers feel comfortable.
So how do we attract buyers in the first place?

The world continues to move forward at a rapid pace. As realtors, we run the risk of losing out on what is now the majority of home buyers if we do not keep up with the trends.

Here are some ways to make sure that you are in control of your selling destiny:

 Make use of texting

This is where we are today. Almost every person in the country with any real buying power has a mobile phone of some sort. Having a system in place to send out mass texts to all buyers on your list will bring greater results than you normally project.

Are you signed up for text alerts from your favourite restaurant or clothing store?

You might not take advantage of every single offer, but you most likely do visit these establishments more often than you would without these regular reminders of their existence to keep you engaged. Same thing here.

Potential buyers on your list are not going to buy every home that you tell them about, but when the one comes up that appeals to them, they’re ready to see it in person.

Use a Mobile customer database

Keeping track of your potential buyers and their needs will lead you to success. A customer relationship management tool (CRM) enables realtors to keep records of every interaction with buyers, set up reminders about phone calls and appointments, and send emails or texts automatically or manually to particular buyers.

In a mobile world where you and everyone else is on the go, why wouldn’t you take advantage of a mobile CRM? Like almost everything else, if you can manage it from your phone, do it.

While others are playing solitaire, you are closing deals.

Provide easy and quick access to information

How often do you hand out your business card? Do you have your web address listed? Even better, do you have a QR code on the card?

With a QR code, you can have people perusing your website within seconds of receiving the card.

Also, you can decide which page to lead people to so that they don’t have to navigate from your home page. Of course, people are capable of punching in the web address on their own, but with the ability to scan a code quickly once you hand them your card, they’re more likely to take action right away rather than storing it for later.

Once on your site, they are also more likely to sign up for your text or email alerts because they still have a personal connection with you in their minds.

Work to attract out-of-town buyers

This is big. As a realtor, you want your sales funnel to be filled with as many qualified potential buyers as possible.

Why limit yourself to your hometown or cities within a certain radius? People are relocating every day in our country, and that means that you can potentially have a new client every day.

When Mrs. Violin or Mr. Encyclopaedia receives an irresistible job offer, what do you think she or he would do?

Relocate of course! If it happens to be to a nearby city or from a nearby city, you’re in luck because you have set yourself up on your website as the go-to expert in the area backed by powerful content to draw traffic to your site.

By creating pages with relevant information for the industry, you can attract buyers using broad terms like “Florida real estate.”

You can also provide complementary information such as a relocation package which includes tips on finding a good realtor to sell the home left behind, information about local events and fun town secrets, or general demographic information.

If you need to hire an online marketing expert to help your online performance, it’s worth the extra investment. If you do everything you can to set yourself apart from the other realtors by building confidence in your brand as the best realtor in the area, you will reap the rewards.

Now that you’ve figured out how to get a buyer to come to the open house or to a private appointment, you want to make the sale.

This means that you are successful in selling one of your listed homes to this buyer. To do this, you’ll need cooperation from the homeowners.

As stated in the beginning of this chapter, make sure to have the homeowners spend time cleaning up the entire house as though their lives depended on it. This is huge.

You can spend your time, money, and effort on attracting buyers, promising to deliver fabulous results and building their confidence in you, but without the cooperation of the homeowners, the buyers will be turned off and you will fail.

What turns off potential buyers? It could seem like a small thing, but mean a lot to the buyer.

Here are a few:

A neglected yard.  Messy, overgrown, unkempt. This is what the potential buyers will think of your client’s property, inside and out. We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s really hard to say the same thing about a house.

The inside could be immaculate without a spot of dust in site, but if the outside looks like a natural abode for snakes and massive spiders, potential buyers will most likely keep on driving by.

A pet to greet them.  Absolutely not allowed. Homeowners need to be informed about the dangers of having pets around when showing the house. No matter how clean and trimmed their pets might be, potential buyers don’t know the homeowners nor their pets.

Instead of seeing how well-groomed the animals may be, potential buyers are seeing animals. This means they are thinking of animal things such as hair everywhere, accidents on the floors, germs on the kitchen counters, and worst of all – fleas!

Yes, fleas come to mind almost right away, especially if doggy beds and dirty toys are in plain sight. If for no other reason, having a potential buyer trip over a pet or get bitten is a definite turnoff.

Yesterday’s dinner spending the night. Disgusting. How could you show off your client’s kitchen if the lasagna dishes are piled up in the sink? With this kind of disrespect exhibited by your client, the potential buyer’s reaction would be to wonder about the overall cleanliness and quality of the house’s upkeep over the years.

At the very least, your clients could have loaded the dishwasher and even have it running. But you’re not asking for the very least. You must demand the very best of your clients because ultimately, their home is a reflection of your brand as a realtor because it is an exhibit of the quality of clients you attract.

Bugs in the windows. It’s bad enough to have water-stained windows in need of a good polishing, but having cobwebs and dead flies or a heavy collection of dust is a sign of neglect. Windows are important structural components of every home.

Good quality windows are expensive to replace, so buyers want to be confident that they won’t be making this kind of investment any time soon. Clean windows are a must.

A bedroom that is…not a bedroom.  A home office or mini Chuck E. Cheese’s might be part of the American dream, but not necessarily every potential buyer’s dream. Turning a bedroom into a working office is very common as more and more people are working in their own private businesses or remotely for a company.

The problem arises when renovations are made that destroy the integrity of the room and requiring renovation again to revert the room into a bedroom. The same goes for children’s bedrooms with permanent structural changes such as a built-in bed in the shape of a pirate ship or Cinderella’s coach.

A potential buyer may not have children or even grandchildren young enough to enjoy these customized designs. Before you take on a client with similar particularities, make sure to offer your suggestion to have renovations made before putting the house on the market.

Taking the garage away.  If potential buyers want a home with a garage, they want a garage. They want to have a secure place to park their cars or to store their lawn-mower and other necessities.

If they find out that behind those doors lies something other than a garage, they will continue one to look elsewhere. It’s okay to use the space for whatever you want to be – a family room, a gym, a workshop – but if you make permanent structural changes such as laying down permanent carpeting and adding extra walls or counters, it’s no longer a garage.

A deep-sea experience.  There are those who love sea creatures and those who don’t, yet most people will agree that a large clean tank full of colorful fish and plants is very pleasant and relaxing to be around – for a limited amount of time. Customizing walls to house built-in aquariums could pose a threat to the sale of your client’s home.

The amount of work and money required to keep up the tanks could be a turnoff.  Besides that, even newer “silent” tanks put off a consistent hum in the background which some potential buyers will see as a source of annoyance in the future.

A swimming pool.  Whether in-ground or above-ground, not all buyers are looking to invest in pool maintenance.

You will be more successful in selling your client’s home with a pool in Phoenix than one in Minneapolis. In Phoenix, a pool is more of an actual necessity than in Minneapolis.

Nonetheless, the water bill, constant cleaning, and potential safety hazards that come with a pool could encourage buyers to move along. It is true that an above-ground pool can be dismantled, but it is better for your clients to do this before putting the home on the market in case there is any issue with the ground underneath it that needs to be corrected.

As a realtor, you need to pay attention to details if you want to be successful, but most of all you need to use your greatest weapon – common sense.

So much of what it takes to attract clients and then effectively sell their homes isn’t a miracle of thought. Take the time to look at your client’s home with the eyes of a buyer, and then give tips on what buyers are looking for.

Keeping in mind that the home with its yard, its windows, its kitchen – everything about it – reflects on you and the quality of your service, you can proceed to attract the best clients and the best buyers for them.