Last week I wrote a rather lengthy article going through the importance of pricing your home properly when you are placing it on the market in Myrtle Beach. In the end of that post, I mentioned that I would be covering several other topics related to other important things to pay attention to when selling a home. Today, I want to discuss one of the most important areas that get the most amount of push back from sellers when we are discussing placing their home on the market, staging.
Now, when I mention staging, I am not talking about hiring a professional decorator to come into your home that is going to remove all your furniture and replace it with rental furniture to sell your home. Instead, what I mean when I say staging is making the necessary changes to get your home to sell for top dollar in quickest time possible. I’ll explain much more about this as we continue forward.
When placing your home on the market, the first thing you can do to help your chances of selling for top dollar is to declutter the home. This is a simple step that doesn’t cost any money to do. It just takes some effort and time. Start by cleaning off all the furniture of papers, coins, and other items that are not vital for day to day living. We don’t need to let the tape dispenser & scissors sit out just in case you need to use them in the next few days.
By simply removing all the nick knacks from furniture surfaces, you are making your home look more organized and neat. Now, you might argue and say that you do not have a place to put those things. I would tend to argue that you do, but you just don’t want to place things into a spot that might not be as convenient to access. I share with sellers regularly that it is ok to start packing things up and placing boxes in the garage to declutter the main living area of the home. Buyers can look past boxes in the garage, but have a hard time seeing how spacious a home is when there is stuff out everywhere.
I like to walk through a home with the seller and point out things like this as well as any items that could cause injury or a bad experience to a potential buyer. Usually this includes moving small items sitting around the room that could cause a buyer to trip and sometimes it includes moving a piece of furniture to make a room look larger, or a walkway easier to navigate. If buyers have to turn sideways to go down a hallway, they will feel as though the rooms are smaller than they actually are just because of too much furniture. Sellers sometimes want to argue that those items aren’t in the way because they are used to walking around them and have even done so in the dark. Buyers that aren’t familiar with the home won’t feel the same way and it will have a negative impact on their thoughts of the home.
I have to admit, this one might be the hardest for me to do if I was selling my home. When selling a home, it is crucial to remove all the personal items. I’ve seen it way too many times where a buyer enters a property and within moments sees a family photo, a trophy, or something else that distracts them from focusing on the home and whether or not they want to purchase this home.
For me, this would probably be where I’d end up spending the most amount of time if my wife & I were selling. We are super proud of our three kids and all the amazing things they accomplish throughout the year. Our refrigerator barely has 1 square inch of clean space on it as we have decorated the entire thing with layers of class projects, good grades on quizzes, and schedules for all of their extra curricular activities. The counters are littered with projects that they have done at camps and church. I’m serious when I say that I could easily fill several large bins with all their papers and achievements.
Depersonalize goes further than just my kids pictures on the walls and projects on the refrigerator. Any and all medicines need to be put away in a safe location. Bottles many times has your confidential information on them and can be a temptation to people visiting your property. While we do our best to try & qualify buyers before they enter your property, there are still some that can have ulterior motives when looking at homes. Remember, buyers are going to be opening closets, looking in your kitchen cabinets, and much more, so put away your medicines.
Another thing that I find too often are homes where sellers have left piles of mail sitting around. That mail includes all your private information that someone would need to steal your identity, and use your good credit to make purchases on your behalf. Some may include your social security number or birthday too. Take the mail and any credit cards and lock them up somewhere safe so that you do not become a victim while selling your home.
The biggest segment of potential buyers these days are millennial buyers who are looking in our market as well as the baby boomers who are searching for their retirement home in Myrtle Beach. The millennial buyers are looking for a property that is ready for them to move in. They cannot visualize what a home could be nor do they want to have to do work to make it look right. Buyers who are moving to Myrtle Beach to retire are also not wanting a project that they will have to handle when moving. They do not want to have to spend time painting, replacing flooring, and cleaning up landscape around the home.
I recently went on a listing appointment where the seller said they didn’t really care to do a bunch of fixing up to the property before selling and would prefer to place the home on the market “as is” instead of getting the carpets cleaned, freshening up the landscape with new mulch and painting the entire inside of the home one single color and remove all the very personal preference wallpaper throughout the home. I then went on to share with them the difference in price in their market for home in top condition versus homes being sold as is.
In their neighborhood, the difference was almost $30,000 between the two price points. To do all of the necessary fixes would cost at most $4,000. Also, the time on market went down almost two months if the fixes were done. It doesn’t take rocket science in this case to see the value in fixing things up.
In the past year I’ve had more and more sellers take this approach when selling their home. It has resulted in two of my last listings going under contract in less than two days and one selling for list price, the other selling for 98% of list price. In comparison, one of the properties I listed for sale within the last year was on the market for six months, had over 65 showings and no offers. Almost all of the feedback received on the property was similar to this: “Buyers liked the home, but found something they liked more that didn’t have as much work needed.” My seller had painted every room in the home a different color to their preference, and did not want to neutralize the property. It ultimately kept the home from selling.
In closing, let me leave you with this thought. If you look at any home furnishings magazine these days you will see the things mentioned above happening. Whether it’s IKEA, Pottery Barn, or some other home furnishing catalogue, you will see simplistic designs, neutral colors, and clean designs. This is what is in front of consumers eyes every day, so when they begin to shop homes, they are going to want the same thing in the home they purchase. Spend the time making these changes and getting your home ready for sale so that it will sell as quick is possible for the most amount possible. Doing a little bit of extra work can be the difference between a buyer saying let’s see the next home and let’s write an offer. It will pay off in huge dividends when you see your bottom line at the closing table!
Call me today at 843-222-9402 if you are thinking of selling your Myrtle Beach home and would like to learn more about what we can do to get your home sold or contact me here via email.