Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Staging your Sacramento home is one of the keys to getting the highest price in the shortest time on the market...

Properly "staging" a home listing is incredibly important if a seller is serious about getting top dollar for a property.

What is staging, you ask? In a nutshell, it's basically a process to prepare the home for sale in order to highlight the best aspects of a property. Staging can vary from simply rearranging existing furniture in an occupied home, enhancing with accessories or artwork, de-cluttering, deep cleaning, or making repairs to a home -- all with the intent to enhance and contextualize space so that buyers emotionally connect with a house and can see themselves living there. In a vacant home, it could mean furnishing the entire house from the ground-up. Think of it as "merchandising" your home, just like a store would to entice customers to buy things.

Most sellers I speak with are ready, willing and able to go through this process if it means their home could sell for more money in a shorter period of time on the market. It's rare for a seller to list a home and not want to...although occasionally if the house is being sold via a short sale, needs to be sold really quickly, or it has been inherited and is being sold by the estate in probate or via a trust, it may not be worth the time, effort and energy for that seller. Because it does take all of that.

Staging is a group effort between the seller (you), the listing agent (me), and a professional stager (my go-to stager is Michelle Kaspari with Essential Home Staging). I do include a consultation with Michelle as a part of my listing services. The consultation is critical. Michelle visits the house and inventories existing furniture, accessories, the way rooms are laid-out, colors and textures present, and takes into consideration any unique qualities of the home to highlight...or downplay. She then comes up with a seller "To-Do" list. This list often includes re-positioning furniture, removing or relocating artwork, de-personalizing the home as in removing certain family photos or (thinning them out), re-arranging existing accessories and possibly embellishing with new accessories, possibly bringing in furniture, painting, making repairs, and cleaning. 

Most of the items on the list your average homeowner can do himself / herself in a week or two, which tends to work out well since usually sellers don't want to put their home on the market the day after we meet to take care of the listing paperwork. The "on market date" is usually slated for a future day a few weeks out, so naturally that gives a seller some time to get things ready. Sometimes if more extensive cleaning, painting or repairs are recommended those tasks can take a couple weeks or months to complete. Sometimes it's not feasible to do 100% of the recommendations too; for example you may not have the time or resources to replace your blue carpet with something neutral, or your garage may be too small to store some extra furniture and your one friend with a truck can't help you move it somewhere else. We get it. Usually though it's worth the time, effort and energy to do many of the things on the translates to higher sales prices and shorter time on the market.

Or if you are not into DIY or have a vacant home to stage, Michelle can basically act as your project manager to orchestrate the transformation of your home. And of course staging a home is topped off by having amazing marketing photos for your home...I also use a professional photographer as a part of my listing services, but that's a separate blog post for another day!

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