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How to sell your own house – Part 2 – Staging

Part 2: Staging Sells Your House Fast.

In 2009 many people started a real estate sales business by selling their own home. Today, (2010) many of these same people are still trying to sell that first home. The market is tough and with so many homes on the market today’s buyer is looking for an extraordinary home at a reasonable price, not an ordinary home at an extraordinary price. If you are a For Sale by Owner seller who is not associated with a REALTOR®, this article will provide some guidelines to help you speed up the process and make your home extraordinary.

For example, using our checklist as a guide, the first task after setting the right price (see item 1) is to prepare your home for sale or “staging.”

Before getting into the heart of staging, we must talk about disclosure. Staging does not mean hiding. As a seller, you should be aware that the seller’s disclosure of material facts is an important part of a real estate transaction. We suggest that you first have his home inspected by a licensed home inspector. Make sure your home is free of termites and has good plumbing; water quality, lead, radon, septic tank, asbestos, electricity.

If you are partnering with a REALTOR®, they will know of an experienced and trusted professional. If you’re going strictly on your own, you can look up their listings in the phone book under Home and Building Inspectors. However, be careful. Anyone armed with a do-it-yourself book and a business license can call themselves a home inspector. Some states do not require the inspector to pass a test or be certified. Be sure to stop by the Better Business Bureau. Ask for their credentials and check references. It’s a small effort that translates into maximum benefits.

As we discussed in the last article on “Setting the Price,” the first thing to remember when selling your house fast is to highlight the best parts of your home. Remember: the “first impression” is important. Just because many of you still live in the house you’re selling, doesn’t mean the house has to look “lived in.”

Make your home attractive to a potential buyer by making sure the first sight is your most attractive sight. Walk towards the street in front of your house and turn around. Do you see? Be honest with yourself; Would you pay the price you’re asking? Is the grass mowed, the curbs manicured?

Are the bushes trimmed? Is the paint fresh or chipped and discolored? Has the roof seen better days; are shingles missing or curled up in places? Are the windows broken, are the screens missing? Is there clutter everywhere, bikes and toys lying everywhere? Are the fences down or missing cleats or links? Are the walkways broken, cracked or missing? To answer the obvious question here: NO, the new buyer doesn’t want to do those repairs themselves, no matter how attractive the price.

Ok, assuming the exterior checklist is done, walk inside the house, same critical eye, notepad in hand. Make sure that the interior of your house is attractive. A well-decorated house, with freshly washed or painted walls and clean carpets, with tidy furniture, will sell faster and for more money than one that appears “lived in.” Depersonalize the house. Get rid of personal memorabilia and wall decorations, sports plaques or your child’s finger paint you’ve taped on the fridge, as well as clear and rearrange desks and bookshelves.

Clean the kitchen and bathrooms until they sparkle. These are the two most analyzed areas of the house, right after the living room. If you are having trouble doing this, you may need to hire a professional home stager and cleaning crew to keep your home looking organized, clean and tidy.

Once your home is at its best, you can also hire a professional photographer to take some great pictures of your home. Why do you ask? Because in today’s market, many home buyers and their buying agents search for homes online first.

If you belong to a FSBO service, they usually have a place for you to put photos of the house. Don’t entrust this requirement to your trusty digital camera that you got for Christmas. Get a professional who knows real estate sales. Remember that the first impression is important, how can you sell your house fast if your house itself does not look attractive on the web? You want them to be willing to view your house after they have seen the photos you posted.

After all of those things are done, you can start doing an “open house.” Open houses should be scheduled at a time when your home is showing its best performance or condition. For example, if you have a beautiful garden, show it off in the morning before the flowers start to fade. If there’s something you like best about your home, be sure to share it with potential buyers, but don’t hold back. Let potential buyers search for themselves. Allow them to ask questions and answer them honestly, but then shut up. As a professional REALTOR® partnering with FSBO sellers, I have seen more first-time sellers dissuade a client from buying than I have ever seen them convince one to buy.

With the current influx of foreclosures, if you need to sell your home fast, you may need the help of a professional to leverage your buyers list and national marketing.

If you are partnering with the services of a real estate company, your REALTOR® will be able to help you determine what needs to be fixed or corrected.

In conclusion, selling your house fast by yourself is not an impossible task. Those expenses you’ll incur to renovate the home are well worth it compared to the money earned on the sale.

By Hans Rosielle – GRI
Property Mill Real Estate Group LLC
A Fixed Fee REALTORS® Guide for the FSBO Seller.

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