Home Staging: How to prepare your home for sale
Home staging includes everything necessary to prepare your home for sale. It is the second of the “3-Ps” to selling your Seattle area home quickly and at the highest possible price. The first P is Home Pricing, and the third P is Presentation (Home Marketing)
Gerhard’s 3-P listing system is a proven method of listing and selling your Seattle home in any market.
Preparation (Home Staging) – the second P of the 3-Ps
Home staging involves more than rearranging furniture and decorating your home. It begins with research, making to-do-lists, and collecting paperwork. Next is to decide what’s worth repairing and improving. The successful selling of any home is always the result of teamwork between the seller and the agent. To make the right decision it is critical to engage your real estate agent at the preparation stage. To that end, Gerhard offers a unique service.
To prepare your Seattle home to sell, we take six actions:
- Check public records – correct if out of date, claim your home on portals
- Take inventory – condition, seller disclosure, prepare listing input
- Make repairs and improvements – safety first, consider the return on the investment
- Make interior buyer-friendly – clean, pleasant, navigable
- Create curb appeal – grounds, vegetation, lights
- Calculate estimated net proceeds – different price points, costs of sale
1. Check Public Records (online home staging)
Home staging includes online information about your home. Savvy buyers do their homework on the Web. They will find the official information on the county websites (King, Snohomish, Pierce). See Gerhard’s blog with information about 15 Washington county websites. Is everything up to date? Do the records still show a septic tank when you are actually connected to the public sewer system? Contact the county and correct this. Remember that wrong information may keep potential buyers away.
2. Take Inventory.
Have you kept the inspection report and the Seller Disclosure statement at the time when you bought your home? If you’ve made repairs did you keep receipts? If you’ve made major improvements, did you get permits? If you did you will have an easier time filling out the 6-page Seller Disclosure Statement. Home staging includes the correct and complete information about your home.
3. Make repairs and improvements (home staging necessities)
Home staging is more than a pretty appearance. Safety comes first. That could mean installing GFCI outlets near any water source. Next, is cleaning and making cosmetic improvements. A coat of fresh paint can do wonders. Now is a good time to have the furnace serviced. How about making more expensive improvements? Consider the return on the investment. Replace the kitchen cabinets or just paint them? Is the roof reaching the end of its “useful life”? Should you replace it before putting the home on the market? Your goal is to make your home move-in-ready.
4. Home staging: Making the Home Buyer Friendly.
Buyers are looking to purchase a house that will become their home. Home staging helps them to see it that way. Remove your family pictures and diplomas. Do you have pets? Even a dog or cat-loving buyer doesn’t like to smell yours. Plan to have the dog out of sight while your home is shown. Straighten out your closets and hide the prescription drugs. Less is more. Do the “penguin walk.” Anything you bump into needs to be moved or removed. Gerhard works with home staging professionals who can help even if your home is not vacant. A staged home will sell faster.
5. Create Curb Appeal.
We own homes to enjoy the inside and rarely look at them from the outside. That’s because most homeowners enter their home through the garage. For buyers, however, the exterior is the first thing they see. Just as with the interior there are minor and major things to do. When you prepare your home to sell, clean the driveway, mow the lawn, trim the shrubs and clean the gutters. Is there moss on the roof, some shingles out of place? Get a professional. Also, hiring a good landscaper is well worth the money. Think of curb appeal as home staging the exterior.
6. Calculate Estimated Net Proceeds.
How much money will be yours after the sale? The purpose of the Seller Net Proceeds Estimate is to know the amount of money left after accounting for all costs of selling your home, including home staging. The costs include excise (sales) tax, escrow and title fees, and commissions. It is helpful to create estimates early and for different price points. This will help to evaluate the cost benefits of the preparations to sell your Seattle area home. Also, if you have a substantial mortgage the net proceeds estimates will tell you at what price point you are entering “short sale” territory.
Published originally as the 119th issue of The View from the Street.
Next, the last of the three Ps: Home Marketing
Here’s a quick summary of Gerhard’s 3-P System for selling your Seattle area home successfully.