Staging a Smaller Home

stageThe number one reason homebuyers purchase a home is to get more space. So if you’re looking to sell a smaller home, use these tips to attract buyers.

Bring in more light. Reflective surfaces like mirrors or polished wood floors can bounce more light into any room and make it brighter. When it comes to furniture, glass-topped tables look light and show more of the floor, which makes any space look larger.

Move curtain rods up to the ceiling and replace heavy drapes with lighter fabric, blinds, or shutters. Don’t let drapes fall across the floor. You want every inch of floor space to show.

Reduce the number of pieces of furniture in the house, especially bulky furniture, oversized pillows and furniture with skirts. Stage your home with sleek low-slung furniture with simple lines. Your home will look on-trend and appealing.

Take advantage of built-in bookcases, cabinets and entertainment areas to help you save space. The less that’s on the floor, countertops and tables, the bigger your home will look.

The less stuff you have, the better your home will show. Pack up out-of-season clothes, and pack up collectibles and trinkets that create clutter.

With a small home, less is more. By showing your home at its best, the right buyer will see the beauty of a small space.

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RENOVATION: IS IT WORTH THE COST?

HammerA stressful part of putting your home on the market is determining what to fix and upgrade to get the very best price. Rely on your real estate agent to recommend which projects to consider and which to avoid. Putting money into renovation doesn’t always mean you will recoup the money in a sale.

You may want to consult Remodeling’s website for their most recent Cost vs. Value Report for a breakdown of typical returns on renovation projects large and small in various regions throughout the country.

The report highlights the following projects as those with modest gains in their cost-value ratio:

  • Midrange roofing replacement
  • Midrange garage door replacement
  • Steel or fiberglass entry door replacement
  • Vinyl siding replacement

While your needs and budget will have a big impact on your choice of home-improvement projects, it helps to know the cost vs. return ratio when making the final decisions.

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GET YOUR DOCUMENTS ORGANIZED

papers-576385_640As a homeowner, you accumulate all sorts of documentation the moment you make the offer on your home. Loan documents, inspections, insurance policies, receipts and warranties are just a few of the documents you may be collecting. Knowing where these items are can save you a lot of time and money.

Keep closing papers such as the deed, settlement statement, appraisal, disclosures, mortgage note, inspections and title insurance policy together in one place—preferably in a safe deposit box.

For other records, a practical record-keeping system doesn’t have to be expensive. Purchase an accordion file and label each flap with a different category. Those might include:

  • Insurance Policies
  • Purchase and House Data
  • Property Taxes
  • Home Maintenance and Improvements
  • Warranties, Manuals and Receipts
  • Home Inventory

Organizing your home files may take a considerable amount of time initially, but it will definitely be time well spent in the event you need the documents in the future.

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ITEMIZE WHAT YOU ARE TAKING WITH YOU

itemizeWhen striking a deal to sell a home, Be sure you are perfectly clear about what you are taking with you and what you are leaving behind.

“Real” property: The general rule is that if something is attached to the structure or the ground, it stays with the house. If removing the item would ruin or disfigure the walls or you need tools to remove it, it generally stays. Legally, these are called fixtures, which include everything permanently attached to the property such as a fence, built-in appliances, ceiling fans, flowerbeds and shrubs.

“Personal” property: If you can disconnect, unhook or detach it with bare hands, it’s free to leave when you do and shouldn’t be assumed as part of the sale. This could be furniture, potted plants, free-standing appliances, outdoor grill, etc.

It’s a good idea to not show your home with anything you’re planning to take. It’s better to replace them. Every agent has a story about a deal falling through due to an argument about what a buyer thought was staying. Walk in each room with your agent and make a list of things that you’ll be taking with you.

However, if you decide to leave curtains, chandeliers or are open to giving up outdoor furniture, it may just help with a sale. Buyers appreciate getting something for free. A savvy agent will hint that fixtures and furnishings are negotiable. Unless they are really important, let them go with the home. Use them to get the price you want and then replace the items in your new home.

By itemizing and discussing items, there will be no miscommunication on closing day.

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HOMESELLING TIPS: WHAT IS A TAKEAWAY?

homeforsaleConsumers frequently base buying decisions on emotion. They then use logic to rationalize those emotional decisions. Homesellers, working closely with their real estate agents, prepare their homes to evoke positive and personal emotions. An important tactic is to create “takeaways” to keep those fond memories resonating in prospective buyers.

The Letter:

Consider writing a personal letter from you describing your experience of falling in love with the home when you were the buyer. The letter could describe the warm friendships you’ve established in the neighborhood. Or it could recall joyous holidays around the home with pictures taken during special times.

Recall a memorable moment of coming home after the birth of a child or after a vacation. Buyers can relate to these things emotionally. They reinforce positive feelings buyers experienced in your home. To satisfy their logic, describe the loving care you’ve given the home.

First touch upon the emotions, then appeal to buyer’s rationality.

List remodels, updates or upgrades you’ve done and include anything that gives buyers a sense of confidence in your home’s current condition. Be sure to mention any pricey features you’ve added.

The Brochure:

Another effective takeaway is a brochure using high-quality color photographs of your home’s interior and exterior. Add captions or short descriptions that help buyers remember. Again, appeal to the buyer’s logic—a descriptive sentence followed by a list of key marketing details and the tender loving care you’ve given as owner.

If you’re good at writing warm personal letters or if you have the ability to create a professional-looking brochure, it’s quite acceptable to save money by doing it yourself. If not, turn to professionals to create compelling takeaways that ensure a lasting emotional connection with buyers.

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