Listing Properties for Sale July 8, 2010

What You Should Know Before Listing a Home (Part 2)

(This article by Drew Kondo was featured in the Tahoe Daily Tribune on June 12, 2010. For Part 1, click here.)

Preparing Your Home

The presentation or “staging” of your home is crucial in obtaining the highest possible sale price. Extra time and money spent making your home presentable and welcoming can yield several thousand dollars in the sale. Here are several staging tips:

1. Declutter – No buyer wants to see a mess. If a visible item doesn’t add to the aesthetic value of your home, it needs to go. This includes pictures and magnets on the refrigerator, boxes of food sitting out in the kitchen, the hairbrush on the bathroom sink, etc. Put it all away, box up what you can, and store it all in the garage, shed, or a closet.

2. Eliminate red flags – You never want a buyer questioning the structural integrity of your home. A crack in the drywall may be the result of a home settling. However, a buyer may perceive it as a foundation problem and never consider your home again. A 20-year-old water stain? A buyer may leave your home with worries of mold. I’ve even had buyers question a home’s plumbing because of restricted flow shower heads. Never leave buyers questioning anything because even the possibility of a problem may needlessly scare them away. Just fix it.

3. Gaining “sweat equity” – “Sweat equity” refers to home improvements that yield a profit when selling a home. You may not want to install a new kitchen, but replacing old fixtures and painting walls are cheap and easy upgrades that can improve your home’s resale value.

4. Staging items – Anything to make a buyer feel more at home will help, especially in a vacant home where everything has been removed. Not much is needed. Actually, less is usually more. However, consider purchasing a nice vase or flower arrangement for a living room mantle, a couple pretty cookbooks to stand up in the kitchen, fancy place settings for the dining room table, or a wine glass and bottle of wine to place next to each other.

5. Leave the lights on – If you occupy the home you are selling, follow two rules for property showings: First, don’t be present. Most buyers are more comfortable without sellers in the property. Second, before you leave, turn on the lights in every room. Homes always show better when they are well lit.

6. Consult your Realtor or a staging professional – Real estate agents have seen multitudes of homes. They know what works and what doesn’t. Ask your Realtor for help preparing your home, and follow his or her advice. If you want even more help, some individuals and companies specialize in staging homes for sale. They can be expensive, but if you’re selling a high-end property, hiring a home stager can be a profitable investment.

7. Additional resources – The tips I’ve provided are basics in home staging. More advanced tips can be found in home staging books, on the web, and, of course, HGTV.

The process of selling a home can be intimidating. However, if one takes good measures to prepare his or her home, chooses a good Realtor, and prices the home well, it can be a successful venture. When you’re ready, help is available from your local real estate professional.

If you have further questions, feel free to contact me at 530.545.1831 or