If you are thinking of putting your house on the market you are probably thinking about how much time it will take to clean out the closets, get the carpet cleaned and clear out the garage. In this market you need to add something else to your list. With almost every house that has recently sold there was a difficult conversation initiated by the seller’s real estate agent.
The conversation probably went like this; the real estate agent says; “I can tell you have loved living in your house. It certainly is a great home. But any buyer needs to see it in a totally different way. Once we put the for sell sign up it no longer is your house. It now belongs to a future buyer. That buyer needs to be able to walk into your house and feel like it could be theirs at any given moment. If they walk in and see all these wonderful pictures of your family, they are going to think they are in your home, not theirs. They will feel like they are an uninvited guest in a strangers house. It is an uncomfortable feeling for them, to tell you the truth. They will walk in and then quickly walk out. They will also compare your house to the one down the street which was professionally staged. In that house, the carpet was cleaned, some of the walls were painted, and the stagers brought in a few pieces of furniture, and many accent pieces to make the house look like a model home. People walk into that house and as soon as they are in the door, they say “WOW.” Every room has been purged of clutter in that house. A storage unit was rented and many boxes containing their treasures are kept there. So, I have shown you all the many ways I am going to market your house, how many open houses we will have, how many days on average it will take to sell your house, and I strongly suggest you stage your house. Staging may shorten the time it is on the market, and it certaintly will help sell the house.”
The seller says; “Do we have to stage our house? You don’t understand, we have loved living here, just the way it was built, totally untouched, for the last twenty years!” The realtor says, “I think you just helped make my case. Buyers today want a house that has a more updated look than a house built twenty years ago without anything done to it. Painting, cleaning the carpets, decluttering and staging will certainly help.” The seller says; “O.K.”