Saturday, March 19, 2011

Create the NOT-So-Lived-In Look

So far, we've learned how to create visual space, to depersonalize and to highlight features and sell benefits with staging, but I have not mentioned the single most important thing you can do to increase the chances of your home selling. 

The home must be clean.  Dirt does not sell.  You knew that, of course.  Well, I hope so. (I am surprised sometimes.)

Not only does the home have to be clean, but it must appear "beyond" organized....It needs to look "lived in" as if life has no negatives. 

The typical "lived in" look does not sell. 
Ok, it will sell... but it will sell for LESS.

You know that line from the movie when the girl has been shopping for a week and trying on a million outfits and her date finally arrives and says she looks great and she replies: "Oh, (blushing) This old thing?"   It's the same concept as the model on TV that washes her face and still has make up on.  Yeah, right!  And yet, we buy the product.

That's what we're going for here.

When we sell homes we sell fantasy... and in a fantasy, the children never have homework to do, or bookbags thrown on the couch, the jacket is never draped on the kitchen chair, the laundry never stacked in a basket waiting to be put away, bills never come in the mail, the trash never needs to be taken out, there are never cartoons on and toys are never on the floor.  

Sure, all those things happen in life... but not in YOUR house.  NEVER in your house.  In YOUR house, life is perfect.  There are only features and benefits and problems, tasks, work, challenges, chores or obstacles.  Nope. All that stuff might happen in the last house the buyer looked at, but not here.  Which house are do you think they are going to buy?

So unfortunately, before every showing, it is critical that you run around the home and be sure it looks like a commercial marketing space and not like your home where your family lives and has bills, and work, and school and homework and sick people and broken legs and cars that have flat tires and a big honkin headache. Nope.  NOT HERE.  

At YOUR house:
  • Books and magazines are purposefully displayed properly and neatly, and have all the right titles.
  • You don't get bills... so there's no mail on the counter top.
  • Everything in your home works magically without the need to be plugged in... or at least that is what one would think because the surely don't see any chords, wires or plugs. 
  • Kitchen appliances like toasters, blenders, etc. should be tucked away. The food here also magically appears when you're hungry.  In fact, there's probably a bowl of fresh fruit right there on the counter top.  Always fresh.  Not plastic. 
  • Window blinds, when in place, are open evenly, to bring in natural light or otherwise create the desired effect.
  • Nothing happens at your house that is accidental or by chance - everything is always perfect.  From the outside, if you see open windows, every single window is opened to the same level.  Always.
  • Your home is so perfect that you don't even need a trash can... at least not one that people can see, and definately not one people can smell.
  • Oh... and your closets?  They aren't cluttered or packed.  Your closets are SO BIG that you have an entire wardrobe in there and still have extra space.  How do we know it's your whole wardrobe?  Well, golly, you've got something from every color of the rainbow... in fact, it's actually in order by color.  Wow.  This is a house I want to live in.  What about you?
I think you sort of get the picture.  I know it is a hard standard but I am telling you it sells. Please understand, buyers have no idea that they are as critical as they are....nor do they realize psychologically how gullible they are to these tricks of the trade.  I have shown many homes to people that they think DO look past all of these things, but they don't.

I know trying to live like you're not living in a home is, well, darn near impossible.  The good news is that if you have priced well and you actually do most of the things suggested here, your home will not be on the market for very long.

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