What most sellers don’t understand, says Alan Cohen of Hammond Realty, is that buyers lack visual literacy: What they see is what they think they get. Buyers buy on emotion and if you don’t engage them in the first 8 seconds they may walk.
It's important to remember that buyers always see the negatives first. Once a buyer has a negative impression, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get them to change their mind. It doesn't matter if the home suits their needs and requirements, if they can't envision it, they won't buy it. . . .Buyers buy on emotion!
So the best way to help the buyer, and the seller, is to ensure that before the home goes on the market, it is staged. Real estate sales records show professional staging increases sales price by 10 -15%. Staging is an investment that quickly pays off. Statistics show staged homes sell, on average, in 33 days and non-staged homes take at least 166 days to sell.
One of the first things to remember when staging a home is the importance of curb appeal. Statistics show that a potential buyer makes up his or her mind within the first 8 seconds of walking through the door. But what about those potential buyers who decide not to get out of the car because the home lacks curb appeal? You don't want to lose the buyer before they step through the front door!
MLS pictures are the first step to getting them inside. Make sure that the pictures of the outside of the property are welcoming and inviting. To this end, make sure the yard is free of trash, dead leaves, and toys. Shrubs and bushes should be trimmed and neat. A colorful pot of flowers on the front steps or porch makes a welcoming sight. And don't forget to remove any unsightly droppings the family pet may have left behind. Make sure that the house is well-lit at night and that the house number is visible.
First Impressions Count
The entryway is another critical area where first impressions count. Make sure it is free and clear of clutter and that personal items and photos are removed. Buyers are looking for that Pottery Barn look. The goal is to get the buyer to imagine themselves in the house surrounded by their things, not the current homeowner's belongings. Also make sure the home smells fresh and clean (lemon is the universal smell of clean)
Kitchens and bathroom are the next most important areas. Make sure the counter tops are as clean and clear as possible. All remaining appliances should be sparkling clean. Remove anything that is posted on the refrigerator or notice board. And make sure there are no discernible cooking odors.
The bathroom should be clean and free of mold and mildew. The sink and tub should be gleaming; all personal items should be stowed. And any towels on display should be clean and unused.
By helping the buyer visualize living in the home, you are on your way from for sale to sold!