home selling

13 Home Staging Secrets

13 Home Staging Secrets

Highlight your home's strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to prospective buyers with these secrets.

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1. Use Color Creatively
Color can be incorporated in many ways, so don't be afraid to use it creatively. From unique pieces of art to decorative pillows, a pop of color can really catch a buyer's eye. 

2. Conquer Clutter
Throw out old belongings that simply add to a clutter-filled home.

3. Less Is More
Too much furniture is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make. Consider arranging a few core pieces in your space and see the difference.

4. Float Furniture
Pull furniture away from the walls to create groups within a room and to help with the traffice flow in and through the space.

5. Mix It Up
Shake up the room's style and attitude by periodically moving furniture around and incorporating old accessories into your design in a new way. 

6. Repurpose Unused Rooms
Make that junk room into a dreamy crafts room.

7. Let Light In
Letting outside light in can brighten the space and make the room feel larger.

8. Light It Up
Most homes are improperly lit. Aim for 100 watts every 50 square feet in layers of ambient, task and accent lighting.

9. Rearrange Your Art
Displaying art in traditional ways -- in a circle at the same height around the room -- can make it invisible. Leave the stereotype behind and display art in surprising ways. 

10. Paint It Black
Looking for a chic, dramatic style? Try freshening your furniture with a coat of black paint. 

11. Accessorize With Threes
Odd-numbered groups of accessories, especially threes, tend to be more eye appealing.

12. Bring the Outdoors In
Head outside and grab some greenery from your yard to bring a fresh look indoors.

13. Make an Entrance
Creating a warm entrance to your home is welcoming to your guests.

 

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Preparing to Sell Your Home?

Buyers will simply flock to your home if you tackle these value adds.

Planning on selling your home in the spring? Good news — that leaves plenty of time to tackle all sorts of projects this fall that will help you snag top dollar when the tulips start blooming. Take an objective look around your home from a buyer’s perspective. What would stop you from making an offer? What do you need to do to put your home’s best face forward?

Here are some fall projects to jump on now in order for your home to be in tip-top shape for a spring sale:

 

1. Update Your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is important,” says Steve Modica, sales associate and property manager at HomeXpress Realty Inc. in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Fla. “Make sure the bushes are all trimmed. Re-mulch or replace stone walkways and paths. Remove any dead plants and trees, and aerate your lawn so it will be lush come spring. Pressure wash the driveway, the front walk, and the exterior of your home. If need be, have the exterior of the house painted and, at the very least, apply a fresh coat of paint on the front door.

2. Get a Home Inspection

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® says 77% of homebuyers have an inspection done before completing a home purchase. To avoid nasty surprises once you’re in the process of selling your home, have your own inspection done and make any repairs over the winter months before you list the home. Homebuyers often use flaws and needed repairs to negotiate a lower price.

3. Replace Flooring and Paint Walls

Determine if your carpets need replacing or just a deep, professional cleaning. If they need to go, consider if hardwood or another flooring material might be more appealing to buyers.

You’ll also want to inspect interior rooms for dirty or scuffed walls that need a fresh coat of paint. “Paint the whole wall, don’t just do touch-up repair work, because it never looks as good,” says Modica. Also, if you have eccentric or loud wall colors, now is the perfect time to update to a more neutral palette. Stagers recommend beiges, light grays, and off-whites.

4. Tackle the Basement, Attic, and Garage

Often overlooked, these storage meccas can become a catch-all for junk. Use cool, fall weather as an excuse to get down and dirty in these hot spots and organize them from top to bottom. Install shelving, pegboards for tools, and hanging brackets for bicycles and other large sporting equipment. Your goal is to pitch the junk, sell what you no longer need, and categorize the rest. 

“Donate or recycle clothes and bedding you don’t use anymore in order to free up storage space in your closets, basement, and garage,” says Amy Bly, a home stager at Great Impressions Home Staging in Montville, N.J. These areas should look roomy, well-organized, and clean. 

5. Consult a Stager

Buyers need to picture themselves living in the house, and they may have trouble doing that if all your personal effects are on display. In order to accomplish that, a professional stager can create a plan for you that you can spend the winter months implementing. Bly spends about two hours walking through a property assessing curb appeal, interior flow, closets, bookcases, media cabinets, flooring, and more.

“I give homeowners a multi-page, room-by-room form they can use to take notes on my recommendations,” says Bly. She typically recommends things like neutralizing out-of-date decor, removing old furnishings and carpeting, and updating light fixtures. She also suggests the type of shower curtains, towels, bedding, and pillows to display for an upscale look.

Getting a jump on these fall projects will give you a leg up on selling in the spring. Today’s buyers are savvier than ever before, especially millennial first-time homebuyers who may have searched homes online for months prior to getting in the field. More than just listing your home in the spring, you want to make it’s as perfect as possible. That means everything works and looks immaculate, and there are no glaring issues that will turn off buyers. When you’re ready, have a friend or relative drop by for a tour and point out anything you may have overlooked.

Owen & Associates Marketing Strategy

Owen & Associates extends far beyond what a conventional brokerage firm offers. It envisions itself as both a lifestyle company committed to informing and connecting with communities, and as a creative agency offering design, marketing and sales solutions for buyers and sellers.  We collaborate with clients to design and implement a tailored, full-service marketing strategy for each new listing at Owen & Associates, utilizing our relationships with traditional and new media outlets – and leveraging the most emergent technologies and social media strategies – to ensure maximum exposure for every property we represent.


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8 Signs a Home Buyer Isn’t Serious

If all those excited home buyer declarations like “This place is just perfect for us” and “I have to have it!” were binding, selling houses would be a breeze. But, as with everything in life, it’s not what people say, it’s what they do that really matters.

Still, it’s hard for home sellers to not get their hopes up when a buyer’s gushing over their home—only to be disappointed when the buyer disappears without a peep.

So what are some signs a buyer isn’t serious about your home?

It’s a good thing experienced Realtors® can tell the difference between the buyer who means business and the one who has no intention of actually sealing the deal—and that these pros graciously agreed to clue us in.

Do any of the following red flags sound familiar? Keep each in mind, and you can save yourself the drama of dashed hopes.

Sign No. 1: The buyer is flying solo

If a buyer doesn’t have a real estate agent yet, he probably isn’t serious about shopping for a home.

“Buyer’s agents come at no cost to the buyer, since the seller pays the buyer’s agent’s commission,” explains Daniel Bortz, a Realtor in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Do you think a shopper who can’t be bothered to enlist free expert help is motivated enough to start putting papers in motion? We don’t think so either.

To put things in perspective, consider this: 87% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, according to a survey conducted last year by the National Association of Realtors® of recent home buyers and sellers. You do the math!

Sign No. 2: The buyer just began shopping

The old adage that timing is everything applies to selling homes as well. Typical home buyers take three months to buy, so if a seller is entertaining interest from someone on Day 1 or Week 1 of her house hunt, chances aren’t good that she’s the one.

“Many buyers look at a number of houses before they decide what they want,” says Bortz. “And if they’re at the early stages in their search, you’re less likely to receive an offer.”

Sign No. 3: You meet the buyer at an open house

It’s also less likely that a seller will score an offer from a buyer at an open house. According to a report from the NAR, only half of home buyers visit open houses—and those who do may be trying to avoid too much attention by hiding in the herd.

Serious buyers, on the other hand, will conduct their home search online, then once they spot a home they like, request a private showing.

It’s like dating: Asking to see a home one on one carries more weight than asking someone, “Hey, wanna hang out in a group?”

Sign No. 4: No pre-approval from a lender

There’s no need to read between the lines of this sign.

“You need to include a pre-approval letter from your lender when you submit an offer on a property,” says Bortz. “Without one, there’s no indication to the seller that you can actually afford to purchase the home.”

Sign No. 5: A speedy visit

Buyers who zip along while they’re checking out the property aren’t likely to cross the finish line with you.

“Rushing through an open house is a definite sign of lack of interest,” says Abigail Harris, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker residential brokerage in the Boston area. Breezing through without asking questions, however, isn’t necessarily a bad sign, she adds. “Many buyers feel that they have all the answers and don’t need to ask questions.”

Sign No. 6: All promises, no action

Call it a bait and … stall.

“You can tell that a buyer is dragging her feet if she says she’s very interested in making an offer but it is taking days for her to actually submit one,” says Bortz, who has encountered this phenomenon a number of times. “Typically such buyers are seriously interested, but they’re also strongly considering making an offer on another property, so they might be weighing their options before they make an offer on one of them.”

Sign No. 7: A (really) lowball offer

Everyone wants to score a deal, but if a buyer offers an “unreasonably low” sum, says Harris, that’s a “sure sign that they don’t really want the property.”

“Serious buyers in today’s market make their best offer right out of the gate,” explains Bortz. “So I’m honestly not sure why someone would throw out a ridiculously lowball offer. Maybe [it’s] just to test the waters?”

Sign No. 8: Lots of nitpicking

Even after the buyer has made an offer and you have accepted it, she still might not be 100% onboard with buying the property. Is she obsessed with finding faults and problems in the home?

“That’s a definite showing of disinterest,” says Harris. Bortz agrees, adding, “If she has a home inspection contingency and wants you to fix every single little thing that the inspector spots, such as a loose door knob, she might be looking for you to just give in and say, ‘No, I’m not fixing anything,’ so that she can back out of the deal.”