By Diann Carlson
Ever wonder why some homes on your block go on the market and sell within days, while others languish for weeks, even months?
While many factors figure into the recipe for success, one of the most obvious ones is how the property presents itself to house hunters, in person and online. Pricing your property in line with its most recent comparables has always been critically important, as well as making necessary repairs and refreshing paint as needed. But in recent years, buyers in the DMV have come to expect a higher standard of how a home “shows” – now more than ever, as prices have continued to rise.
A whole new industry has been born. Staging companies are thriving due to the need for professional assistance in preparing properties for the market. Successful sellers have been known to move out and turn over their vacant house to their staging crews. Others complete the process of cleaning out and throwing out unneeded items, then engage the stagers to make the best of what they intend to keep.
It goes without saying that professional photos are a must when posting online for the world to see. Why not make those photos as appealing and attractive to potential buyers as possible?
Photos of vacant properties always appear a bit sad and unloved, lacking the spark of enthusiasm that encourages buyers to pay a visit.
On the other hand, no one wants to look at photos of 25-year-old wallpaper, outdated light fixtures or antiquated appliances. The same applies to personal furnishings. Your favorite rug, chair or china cupboard may actually work against you in photos.
We are all our own worst enemies in judging our home furnishings. Most of us just can’t see it. What is needed is a neutral, third party who will tell us the truth so that we can set ourselves up for success in the selling process.
A professional stager can do just that: analyze what will enhance and improve your house’s potential and suggest eliminating those items that won’t. Most stagers maintain a warehouse full of sofas, tables, lamps and artwork at-the-ready to spruce up your house and dress it for success.
Another new industry option, though less popular, is virtual staging, wherein photos of your property can be embellished with virtual furniture, giving the appearance online of an actual decorated room.
When the house is camera-ready, a common seller response is, “Why didn’t we do this years ago?” or “It looks so great. Why are we moving?” Maximize your real estate investment, hire a stager and consider it sold. Statistically, staged homes sell more quickly and for a higher net, according to the NAR.
The writer is an associate broker with Weichert Old Town, and has been in practice since 1984.