Q&A With Carol Myers
Carol Is A Professional Home Stager Who Can Help You Maximize Your Sale Price When It’s Time To Sell.
Even though we’re in a really hot market, prices have gone up enough that we’re seeing buyers balk at homes they perceive to have cosmetic issues and the inventory is large enough again that they have the flexibility to move on. Home staging can be exceptionally useful on two fronts in today’s market: a home that sells itself will almost always sell faster, and homes that sell faster almost always sell for more money.
I sat down with Carol this week for a little Q&A.
First off, can you tell me a little more about yourself so my readers know what it is that you do?
I am a Home Stager. Home Staging is a term used for preparing a house -aesthetically- prior to putting it up for sale. The goal of staging is to increase the chances of selling a home quickly for the most money possible by transforming the residence into a welcoming, appealing and attractive potential home.
In your experience, are there any mistakes or oversights you see homeowners make over and over again that they can easily fix if they just knew what to look for?
First of all it’s important to understand the difference between decluttering and home staging. Yes, it’s most important that the house be as neat and clean as possible, but the use and flow of the space is equally as important. If furniture or other objects are blocking a path to allow easy maneuvering within the house, then no matter how clean and decluttered a place is, most Buyers will not visualize an open flow and they will feel “trapped” within the space. Second, every room must show its purpose. Using a dining room as an office might work for the Seller, but when the house is listed it should show the dining room as a dining room. Staging can easily correct these problems.
Are there things you think EVERY seller should look at if they’re getting ready to sell? (paint, flooring, etc.)
Yes. Definitely. Picture yourself walking into a hotel room. The bed is not made. The walls have fingerprints and smudges on them. The carpet is dirty and smells like smoke. The bathrooms look dingy and dirty. Would you want to stay in this room, even for one night? If you walk into a hotel room, and the first thing you say is, “Oh! I could LIVE here, it’s so pretty!” That’s what a Seller should be thinking, because that’s what a potential Buyer is thinking also.
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Let’s say we have a home that’s relatively original or could maybe use some cosmetic work. Short of retrograding the entire home what steps should owners consider?
It’s a well known fact that kitchens and bathrooms are what sell the house. If you’re going to put money into anything, even just to make those rooms look fresh and new, those are the rooms you want to focus on. New carpets and painting is an easy fix, and those changes don’t require a huge financial investment. Even if you think the Buyer is going to gut a room, you need to show the potential of that room. Some Buyers want to be able to move in, spend some time in their new home, and then make designing decisions. Again, you need to show the potential of the house.
What do you think are the biggest things buyers look for when they walk through the door?
The first thing a Buyer sees is the front of the house and how it’s been cared for. If the exterior looks like it’s not been tended to, then unless the Buyer is looking for a tear-down, they will probably not even go inside to see what the house has to offer. Like the hotel room scenario, a Buyer wants to walk into a house and smile, thinking “I want to live here!”
What are your thoughts on paint and carpet colors?
Here’s a question I get a lot: “How does a Designer differ from a Home Stager?” A Designer designs with the homeowner in mind, and his/her job is to make the homeowner happy and comfortable in his home. Paint and carpet colors are very specific to the homeowner’s taste. A Home Stager has to think of the majority of people, who might come to see this house, so more neutral colors are used for both paint and carpet colors. Even a soft pink will turn some potential Buyers away, so you have to find a color that provides a warm, welcoming feeling, in which most Buyers can picture their furniture and belongings. The purpose is to get as many people into the house, which in turn “ups the ante” as far as offers to buy.
How important is curb appeal?
As I said before, curb appeal is EXTREMELY important. Realtors have told me that sometimes, even as they approach the house, a Buyer will say, “Just keep going. This house looks run down, old, dirty, uncared for, shabby, etc. Even the bushes and flowers are dead.” Who wants to live in a house like that? And even more important, it makes you wonder how well the owner takes care of the house altogether.
Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know?
My answers to your questions can serve as guidelines to the Seller, but all of this takes not only time, but a true vision of how the house should look before it’s put on the market. That’s where a Home Stager can help. Statistics say that 9 out of 10 people who look at a house to buy cannot envision their belongings in someone else’s house, whether that house has furniture or is completely empty. A Home Stager can. A Home Stager is always working with both the Seller and the Buyer in mind. A Stager wants to get the house to look like a model home, so the Seller can feel confident that his house will sell quickly. At the same time the Stager is working for the Buyer, helping them to quickly envision THEIR belongings in that house, which makes their decision to buy the house a whole lot easier!