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3 Tips For Staging Your Home to Sell

by Allison Simson

Decluttering has financial upside
 

Question:  Allison, we are knee-deep in the sales process of our Wildernest duplex.  We live in the property most of the year and we have a lot of stuff.  What tips do you have for us to really make our place shine?

Answer:  Thanks for asking.  I get this type of question a lot and it is so important!  According to Diane Hymer of Inman News, today's buyers are looking for turnkey homes. That is, they want to move right in without having to do a lot of work. Buyers with busy lifestyles pay a premium for listings that are in prime condition. Staging can make the difference between a listing selling or not, the time it takes to sell, and the ultimate sale price.

Sellers who are financially strapped often have a hard time accepting that they'll need to invest in preparing a house for sale even though they may sell for less than they paid. Fix-up costs can mount up; your agent can help you prioritize so that you don't waste money. It's important to keep your goal in mind, which is to sell your house in a difficult market.

Recently, a home in Piedmont, Calif., an affluent city neighboring Oakland, came on the market in "as is" condition. It had been lived in for decades without much upgrading. Although located in a desirable area, the listing was vacant, dark and showed poorly. The sellers refused to do any work to improve its appeal.

After months on the market with no significant interest, the sellers pulled the house off the market and made improvements. The wall-to-wall carpet was pulled up to reveal hardwood floors that were then refinished. Painters lightened the interior and a professional stager was hired to bring in furniture, artwork, house plants and accessories. The listing was put back on the market with a fresh look and sold right away.

Although listings staged by a good decorator show well and often sell quickly, you don't need to spend a lot to put your home into shape for marketing. Most homeowners have too many personal possessions in their home from a sale standpoint. Decluttering is something most sellers need to do.

This can generate uncomfortable emotional responses. One seller, who was cleaning out the family home of 50 years, found a packet of love letters his father sent to his mother. Of course, he had to read all of them, which delayed his fix-up schedule.

Consider hiring someone to help you sort, pack, donate and recycle items that you no longer want. You may be able to take a tax deduction for things you donate. Make sure to get a receipt. Your real estate agent should be able to recommend someone who can help you clear your house of clutter if you are overwhelmed by the project.

Your Broker, or stager, may ask you to put away collections of art, personal photos, etc. This can be difficult for most sellers because, for them, it's part of the emotional appeal of their home. Your house won't look like your home after you've removed personal possessions and moved what's left around to display the house to its best advantage.

That's the point of the preparation process. You don't want prospective buyers focusing in on your personal property; you want them to focus on the house. Keep in mind that how you live in your home and how it should look when it goes on the market are not the same.

Some sellers complain that their house looks too stark without all their possessions. Even so, it helps you to detach yourself emotionally from the property. Also, less personal property usually gives homes a more spacious feel. When buyers are looking for the most for their money, bigger is usually better.

To close the deal, a listing should be spotless and inviting. Bring in new house plants to put in strategic locations, like orchids in the bathrooms. In dark spots that need a dash of warmth and color, use bromeliads.

If you can't pull this together yourself, or with the help or your Broker, hire a good stager for a consultation or a proposal for full or partial staging.  We have a few great names of excellent staging folks who can help you.  Just give us a call!

 

Happy Holidays!  For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit www.SummitHomeValue.com  

4 Ways To Attract More Buyers to Real Estate Listings

by Allison Simson

Don't underestimate the power of online marketing,private showings.

 

Question:  Allison, our condo in Keystone, CO is currently listed for sale.  We’d like to increase our showings – what suggestions do you have?

Answer:  I’m glad you asked!  It’s not unusual that your showings have slowed down during the late fall.  Just remember that the ski season is heating up and the week after Christmas brings record numbers of people to Summit County and showings will go up.  You can be ready for them!  According to Dianne Hymer with Inman News, some buyers are looking for a home that's located in a specific neighborhood. Others have more flexibility regarding where they live. But most buyers share one thing in common: They want a home that's in move-in condition.

Start working on attracting buyers to your home by putting the property in good condition before it goes on the market. In most cases, it's not a good idea to show your home to a prospective buyer before it's ready to be shown. Photos should also wait until your home presents itself well.

Pay attention to "curb appeal"; first impressions are lasting. Some buyers drive by without taking a look inside if they don't like the way a house looks from the street. The yard should be clean and tidy. Replace the front lawn if it's dead; the same goes for plants that have seen better days. Flowering plants make your home look festive and inviting.

Peeling paint should be touched up, if possible. If an entire exterior paint job is called for, consider changing the color scheme to enhance the appeal. One seller repainted the exterior of his home before selling without consulting his agent or a colorist. He repainted using the existing color scheme, which was out of date. The house didn't sell quickly. When it did, the first thing the buyers wanted to do was change the color of the exterior.

Repair deferred maintenance, particularly if it's visible from the street. You want to convey the impression that your home has been well maintained. If you can't afford to repair and paint the white picket fence in front of your house, it would be better to remove it than leave it.

Houses that don't have much architectural appeal can often be improved by the addition of shutters. Houses that don't show much from the street can be enhanced with an architecturally intriguing gate or entryway. You want to peak buyers' interest in seeing what they can't see from the street.

Summit County News & Views!

by Allison Simson

The Summit Real Estate - Simson/Nenninger Team - News & Views newspaper - your source for Real Estate news and properties in Summit County, Colorado - is now available in GREEN!

Please enjoy our Winter edition of Summit Real Estate News & Views....

 

We value your opinions and comments.  Let us know what you think!  Have a safe and happy Winter!

Sellers: Real estate agents can't read your mind

by Allison Simson

 

Make your expectations known and stay involved in the process.

Question:  Allison, We are in the process of listing our ski-in ski-out condo at Keystone, CO.  We live in Minnesota and are hoping we can get one of our friends who lives in Summit Cove to help us with the sales process.  What should we look out for?

Answer: The chores of listing and selling a home should not be taken lightly, nor handed off -- especially in this market.

Typically, when you contract a real estate broker to help sell your home, you are promising to pay for services rendered if the broker finds a person ready, willing and able to buy your home.

According to Tom Kelly, Inman News, the first thing to remember is that nobody can read your mind. Make sure your agent knows your concerns and keep all communication lines open.

In two recent cases he spoke about, expectations were not expressed, mainly because the sellers -- an executive at a financial services company and a retired couple -- were constantly on the road.

The couple chose to continue touring the country in their RV and asked one of their children to be the point person with the real estate agent for their waterfront getaway. The executive, in a similar fashion, turned over tasks related to selling her downtown condo to her office secretary.

Both sellers returned home and were unhappy with the way their homes were being marketed. The couple felt that ads describing their home were poorly written, for-sale signs were not properly placed and that the agent was not doing enough to get other agents to preview the home.

The executive expected her downtown condo to be better exposed to the in-city business community. She said she felt there were more aggressive, creative agents in the industry than the one she hired.

What both parties did not do was work directly with the agent, leaving assumed requirements and expectations to fall between the cracks. Frustrated and upset, each seller wanted out.

Could they rescind the listing agreement without the broker's consent? When a seller elects to cancel, is the broker entitled to a commission?

  • The seller can usually cancel the listing agreement at any time, whether or not the seller has legal grounds to do so. A listing agreement typically creates what is known as an "agency agreement" with the broker, and it can be canceled by the principal (seller). It's always best to cancel in writing.
  • If the seller cancels the agreement without having legal grounds, the broker could be entitled to payment. Legal grounds for cancellation include broker malpractice, violation of the broker/agent fiduciary duty, or breach of contract by the broker. If the broker is not at fault, the broker could be entitled to "damages" even if the house does not sell during the unexpired term of the listing.

Damages could mean advertising costs and other out-of-pocket expenses in servicing the listing. If the house sells during the unexpired term of the cancelled listing, the law presumes that the terminated broker would have made the sale, thus entitling the broker to a commission. However, if the seller can prove the broker would not have made the sale, the seller can avoid payment of the commission.

Most of the time, a seller can cancel a listing with one agency and move it to another broker in the same multiple listing service (MLS) and be liable for only one commission.

For example, if you cancel your listing with Billy's Real Estate and move it to Nancy's Real Estate, and both are members of the same MLS, you usually are relieved of your obligations to Billy by paying Nancy a commission when the house is sold.

When you sign a listing agreement, you are actually agreeing to work with the agency and its boss, or broker. Many agents also hold the "broker" designation, which means they have undertaken additional classroom instruction and testing.

Be realistic when you sign a listing. Discuss all services, explain your expectations and don't expect miracles. Interview a few agents even though you might already be dead-set on one to represent you. Check references and then choose the one you think will do the best job.

And plan on staying involved after the initial agent interview. Your secretary may be worth a million bucks inside the office, but you should be the point person on all sales matters regarding your home. Inman News.

 

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit www.SummitHomeValue.com  

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Photo of Summit Real Estate Real Estate
Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
970-468-6800
800-262-8442
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker