Sunday, March 20, 2011


For the last couple of weeks, I have been creating posts which, if you try to do all of it, can completely overwhelm a seller.  So, here is the reality... no, I do not expect anyone to do everything in these posts.  There are limits.  And, there are priorities. 

If you know who your most likely buyer is, and you understand general buyer psychology, then you can easily prioritize so you're making sacrifices where they are most important.

In general, here is the sales process for most buyers:
  • Buyers shop first online via a search engine (with or without their agent).  They put in search criteria:  Geography; Price and Minimum requirements - (i.e. 4 bedrooms, garage).  You can not change the geography of your home.  It's not too practical to change the basics of your home (like the number of bedrooms).  So, what you can control here is price.  Determine your listing price carefully so that you will be considered by buyers - with the wrong price (too high or too low) your home will not even be on the radar of the right buyer. 
  • Buyers (or their agents) see your ad.  They look at the picture and price FIRST.  Then they look at the details and additional pictures.  Always have additional pictures in your listing, a good description and lots of details.  Photo staging is critical here so you get good pictures.  Sometimes it is necessary for more than one photo shoot. 
  • Buyers schedule a tour - make it easy for them to show your home!
  • Buyers look at your home.....
When buyers come inside your home, here are some principles to keep in mind when choosing which areas are most important to stage properly:

  • View from the front door - the first impression usually lasts, so it needs to be impeccable.
  • While in a typical "married couple/family" scenario, the men usually determine the price range, the women usually choose the house.  So, if you must choose between areas to stage, focus on the areas that appeal to women first (if your home is likely to be sold to this type of buyer).
  • Women focus on kitchens, baths and master bedrooms - and women seek fantasy (relaxation, quiet, romance).  Candles by a bathtub rarely will appeal to a man.  Dirty dishes in a sink or a full trash can can kill a sale for a woman.
  • Areas of importance to men are basements, garages, storage spaces (incl. sheds), outdoor spaces, gyms - and men focus on functionality (organization, space for tools, toys and building, and grilling).  A workbench in these areas sells.  A TV or "party fridge" in the basement or, better yet, a garage, will make a strong impact.  Women will barely notice these things.
  • Children must see some spaces for playing - a few visible toys go a long way with children...even in a home without children, a guest room with a playful motif and a couple of stuffed animals of popular characters will make a friendly impact.  It's important that even childrens rooms are not "too" busy with toys or even an over abundance of colors - Adults find this overwhelming and will translate this as chaotic - not a thought that sells. This is even overwhelming for children who will (especially young children) immediately pick up toys that aren't theirs and get into trouble.  :(
  • If your home is likely to be sold to a "typical" suburbian family with children, and your home has 3 or 4 bedrooms, there are a few areas of importance:  Make sure bedrooms show as bedrooms - not libraries or dens.  Also, make sure there is a table in the kitchen if at all possible (even if it is a small bistro set).  Parents like to feed small children in the kitchen.
  • If your home is likely to be sold to someone who might have extended family living with them, or perhaps have a live in nanny, then staging additional sleeping areas separate from the main living areas will have a strong positive impact.  Even if it isn't a true bedroom, basements often have rooms which can easily transform to sleeping areas.  Kitchenettes and wet bars are also attractive spaces in basements which appeal to this type of buyer.

Of course, we're talking in generalities here but we always like to stage with the target buyer in mind.   When you contact me to help you sell  your home, part of my initial investigation is attempting to determine who your most likely buyer will be, so when talk about staging we can strategize together, balancing your need to get the highest amount possible for your home, quickly, with your ability to continue to live in your home.

This series is nearly complete... but there are a few more details to discuss.  Next Up:  "It's SHOWTIME!"

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A special thanks to my friend Dawn who is allowing me to use her "foot in bubbles" picture in this blog. 
ONLY A WOMAN would take a picture like this, am I right?  That's my point. 
This is what sells, for women.
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