Its about being
The "hot house" on market
Its highly likely the largest transaction you’ll ever make will be the buying and selling of your home. You can stand to gain a lot, lose a lot, or break even. Real estate is market-driven, but there are things you can do to increase your likelihood of a successful sale. The 2 critical keys to understand when selling your house is 1) price it right 2) market it right. When these 2 keys are aligned correctly, you will sell your home quickly at the strongest dollar.
For today, let’s look at key #2) Market it Right. Marketing real estate is broken down into Internal and External marketing. External marketing is about the exposure the house gets to draw prospective buyers to your home for a showing. Once we get them to the showing, its the efforts of the Internal Marketing that will influence the buying decision.
Your first marketing efforts should be made on Internal marketing which is the preparation of the home and property itself. This would include repairs, upgrades, decluttering, cleaning and staging. Most people understand why repairs, decluttering and cleaning are necessary. As for staging, all things equal, 2 identical houses side-by-side, buyer’s gravitate to the staged home, and will even pay more for the identical but staged house. A staged home not only looks better than other homes on market, buyers view staged homes as “well maintained” and “move-in” ready. Professional staging creates harmony, balance and ambiance in the space, helping buyers feel at home. Dialing in on your internal marketing will help make your house the hot house.
Once your internal marketing is ready, it’s time for your Realtor to focus on External Marketing. These efforts can include conducting open houses and broker opens. Your Realtor’s networking is a critical function within this sales process. Also posting your house on MLS, Zillow, print ads and other real estate platforms are part of external marketing. Technology has made beautiful photos online critically important as today’s marketing platforms are largely online.
As you can see, staging influences the effectiveness of both internal and external marketing efforts. Rolling up your sleeves to work on reflecting your home in its best light before listing can help you maximize the dollar on your sale.
As Hilo’s staging experts, here’s our list of recommended first steps to transform your house to be the hot house of your neighborhood:
1. Start purging and packing. Buyers have a hard time seeing past Seller’s “stuff”. They can have difficulty seeing, or feeling, how a room is because their senses can be inundated with the Sellers items. It prohibits them from envisioning their own things in the room. Without them visualizing themselves living there, its harder for them to feel motivated to submit an offer. If they do submit you risk it being a lower offer than if the house was lookings its best. Start your declutter process by making a throw pile, donation pile, and packing pile in each room. Pack/purge everything you won’t wear or cook with in the next 6 months. Look at it like an extended vacation, and pack everything else except what you need for your extended vacation. Also, depersonalize your house by removing personal things like photos, diplomas and religious items as they remind Buyers they’re walking through YOUR house, not their potential home.
2. Clean, clean, clean. Nobody wants to buy somebody else’s dirt. Literally. Clean everything. Once you’ve decluttered by packing and purging, clean every crevice, every ceiling, wall, floor, window, light fixture, fan, door knob, cabinet, mirror, inside the appliances, and behind them too. Everywhere. Sidewalks. Mailboxes. Clean. No spiders, roaches, cobwebs, dust, stale odors, stains, pet stains. None of it. Clean it all. Overwhelmed? Have a cleaning party with friends, or hire a housecleaner to get it done.
Those are the two biggest, heavy hitting items above. At the very least you should do those two - albeit huge - things to prepare your house for market. Whether you do it before you list, or after, it will need to be done before the new Buyer takes possession. So you might as well receive the biggest benefit of doing it before you launch the listing since it can help shorten time on market as well as strengthen the dollar on your offer.
The next few items add the finesse to take your house to the next level:
3. Furniture placement - Keep walk pathways clear within the home and avoid placing furniture close to doorways which will make rooms feel cramped.
4. Kitchens and bathrooms - can be freshened up with new cabinet hardware and paint. Choose modern colors (greys), whites, off-whites, to appeal to target buyer demographics. You can even paint laminate countertops using melamine paint! (make sure you sand and primer, or hire a professional to do it).
5. Show off closets - by creating ample space in closets. Excess furniture, sports equipment, toys, clothing, and just “Life Stuff” should be donated, discarded or ideally boxed and stored off premises before you launch listing.
6. Windows - Consider removing curtains. Oftentimes they hold onto dust and odors. If you must have curtains, consider solid, light colored curtains to help the room appear as large as it can be. Dark colored and printed curtains will help visually shrink the room and make it feel smaller than it is.
7. Towels - Invest in “showing towels” to be used only for your showings and open houses. A great inexpensive way to make your bathroom feel fresh.
8. Bed Linens - All beds should have “show linens”. Fresh clean sheets for all beds, and simple blankets or comforters (only the keiki bedrooms can get away with busy and loud comforters). All beds should have fresh, evenly fluffy sleeping pillows (not old pillows whose batting has seen better days).
These are the basic preparations to ready your home for market and are the beginning steps of staging. No staging can be performed successfully without the first 2 steps of packing/purging and cleaning. To really wow! prospective buyers and be the hot house on that buyer’s list, consider incorporating a professional stager with your team. Professional stagers are trained to create well-balanced harmonious rooms which help the home “feel like home”, that buyer’s can aspire to. They also use color, decor and psychology to target the home’s buyer demographics, similar to Coke displaying a bottle of coke, dripping wet on a hot summer day. You can almost taste it...
Why leave money on the table? This is one of the largest transactions you’ll make. Start the steps to transform your house into the hot house, maximize your dollar and have a successful sale.
Check it out...
Here’s a challenge we did. The home was filled with seller’s items and old outdated finishes that didn’t really show off the great architectural features. The wallpaper was dated and the home had its share of deferred maintenance. We worked with the seller’s existing furniture once the purging and packing was done. Despite the deferred maintenance, great pricing coupled with beautiful staging put the home in escrow 15 days after listing.
The challenge in this before picture the living room didn't reflect the great features the home had. It just felt like a mishmash of stuff and gave little inspiration for buyers.
The solution made the space feel more open, inviting, harmonious and inspirational. The beautiful fireplace and high ceilings are beautifully shown off.
I'm Ululani and have been staging homes in Hilo since 2013. I'm passionate about staging, design, color and photography. I'm also about slow food free of pesticides, chemicals and genetically modified organisms for healthy balanced living for our 'ohana and communities.