Do I Really Need to Stage My Home in this Market?
With available property inventories at an all-time low in Summit County, property owners might be convinced that selling their home in as-is condition is good enough, especially in a climate that usually generates multiple offers, sometimes even sight-unseen. However, as Debbie Nelson and Ned Walley, broker/owners of Nelson Walley Real Estate explain, one of the most important steps in selling a home is still the staging process, no matter the price or quality of a property.
By definition, staging is “The activity or practice of styling and furnishing a property for sale in such a way as to enhance its attractiveness to potential buyers.”
“We feel that it is our responsibility, acting as an agent with fiduciary duties, to help our clients not simply sell their homes, but to extract the maximum value for our sellers’ investments whenever possible,” Walley said. “Buyers are swayed by first impressions. To get the most buyers as possible interested in your home, you need to appeal to their emotions – and staging will significantly assist in doing just that. More interest means more buyers, which could lead to more offers helping us to get you two things: (1) the most money for your home; and (2) the easiest contract with the least amount of obstacles.”
What does staging entail?
First and foremost, staging means de-cluttering, as Nelson explains. Most mountain homes have items blocking the hallways: a pile of boots by the front door; skis hanging in a mud room; or cluttered bookshelves and other practicalities of everyday life.
“Are your countertops covered with small appliances? Think about the pictures we will take of your home. Do you really want potential buyers to see a cluttered countertop? By clearing these spaces, you allow buyers to imagine their personal items in your space, emotionally tying them to the home.”
The staging process also includes sprucing things up, to help create positive first impressions. Does the front door need to be painted? Do you have a broken light fixture hanging down from the ceiling?
“All those small repairs you keep saying you’ll get to – NOW is the time to do them,” Nelson said. “As a buyer walks through the home, they are taking note of everything that is wrong with the house. Help stop buyers going down a rabbit hole, and instead focus their attention on the assets of the home. If a buyer sees delayed maintenance, they will not want to offer as much as they would on a home that looks well maintained. Their thought will be, “If I’m seeing this many obvious issues, how many hidden issues exist?”
There’s also no need to buy extra furniture, and in cases where a home is completely empty, Nelson Walley Real Estate can virtually stage a home so that buyers can see what can fit into a room. A photo of an empty room often makes it feel much smaller than it is; virtual staging allows a buyer to see if a bed, nightstands and a dresser would fit in the room.
The whole idea of staging is overwhelming to me – can you help me?
The notion of showing your home to strangers can feel like a challenge, but the Nelson Walley team includes an in-house stager, whom they call their “secret weapon.”
“Once a seller signs a listing contract with us, the first step we take is to have Ashley walk the home and offer up her recommendations,” Walley said “The list she prepares will include repairs needed, what items need to be removed and packed away, and what is needed to prepare the home for pictures. Nelson Walley has a storage unit full of lamps, pillows, desks, chairs, bedspreads, etc. that we use to help our clients stage and prepare their home for pictures and for showings.”
Ultimately, Nelson & Walley suggest that potential sellers put themselves in the mindset of a buyer.
“Walk up to your front door. What impression does it give you? Step into your kitchen with a fresh set of eyes. Does it look messy, or is it ready for a new chef? One of the most valuable services you will receive from Nelson Walley Real Estate is not only our staging expertise, but also our large network of service providers who can assist you with minor repairs or improvements that might be needed.”
Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Let Nelson Walley Real Estate maximize that opportunity for you.
Andy Stonehouse’s column “Mountain Wheels” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Stonehouse has worked as an editor and writer in Colorado since 1998, focusing on automotive coverage since 2004. He lives in Golden. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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