I love talking about staging. Not the process itself, that’s something one has to walk through to experience, but how staging can make someone’s life better. In these days of financial uncertainty and even crisis, our team feels a huge commitment to help sellers and Realtors® get to the closing table faster and with more money. I’ve staged all kinds of homes in almost every price point and even had some great successes with REO’s when the banks were willing to pay for staging. “Short sale” homes, however, are rarely staged. Sellers in short sale situations just don’t have the capital to fix up their home or pay for staging. It’s in a seller’s best interest to get a short sale approval instead of letting the home go back to the bank. I was recently asked what I would recommend to sellers or the Realtors® working with those sellers, that wouldn’t cost them anything or would cost very little. Here are some suggestions:
First and foremost, know that being in this situation doesn’t define who you are. So many people were blindsided by the downturn in the economy and situations out of their control. The very best thing we can do is remind each other that this is a season we need to walk through together. Americans have proven time and again that we are a resilient people. “When the tide rises, all the ships rise.” We will get through this and see better times ahead as we stand together.
Now, for the practical part.
Clean, clean, clean! This doesn’t cost a thing except time and cleaning products that we already have on hand. Buyers don’t want to live in a dirty house. If your listing is clean, you’ve done the most important thing. Clean the scary parts of the house, basement, window wells, furnace room, etc. Bugs like to build their homes in the eaves, over your front door, dark corners in the garage. Do whatever it takes to make cobwebs disappear. Don’t use Halloween as an excuse to leave them up! Borrow a ladder if you need to.
Give the yard a good manicure. Cut its hair and trim its cuticles (grass and bushes). Pull up weeds. Buy some fresh bark to put around trees and bushes. Water the lawn. Green begets green ($$$).
Painting can be another inexpensive fix to brighten your home and make it feel welcoming. Paint stores usually have mis-tints on hand. It’s just paint that was ordered but, for whatever reason, was returned or rejected by the client. We recently picked up a 5-gallon bucket of top quality paint for $25.00 in a neutral color that transformed and brightened the interior of the house.
Fix what’s broken. If you aren’t handy, trade services with a friend who is.
Buy a colorful “Welcome” mat that you can take with you to the next place. Treat yourself to fresh flowers in the kitchen or dining room. Trim the stems a bit each day and freshen the water to make your bouquet last longer. Grocery stores sometimes have markdowns on big bouquets that can be split into two or three vases in your home. Then, you can add one to the master bedroom. They are a great reminder that life continues and is beautiful.
Finally, let people help you. You would do the same for them! And, it will be your turn again! Spend time with the ones you love while you are on the market. Start to imagine what is next for you and your family. After all, you had a great plan to get you this far! Many amazing people have had to start over more than once. Peter Daniels, who has authored thirteen books, including How to Reach Your Life Goals and How to be Happy Though Rich, went bankrupt three times before he finally built a real estate business that brought incredible wealth into his life. Learn what you can from this experience and flush the rest. Grab hands with your loved ones and jump back into the game!
We are all here to support you in any way we can!
Founder and CEO
Professional Home Staging & Design Services