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Helping Your Sellers Sell

posted Jun 15, 2018, 4:03 PM by Joyce Evans
Here is the latest in a series of occasional articles on “Best Practices” for PSAR members from 2018 PSAR President Jan Farley.

As real estate professionals, it’s our responsibility to advise our clients on effective ways to boost the value of their home before selling. Especially because inventory is so thin in today’s market, we can assist our clients with ideas that will improve the curb appeal before that for-sale sign is placed in the front lawn. Buyers recognize and appreciate cleaner homes. Taking time to invest in home maintenance will likely produce a big payoff. So, before the home is put on the market, here are a couple of ideas that should be shared with sellers: 
  • Clean-up the exterior with a fresh coat of paint, window washing and maybe even power washing the driveway and backyard patio. Also, clear out gutters, trim overgrown landscaping and remove dead plants and trees. Clean the front door, change out any worn-out hardware and make sure the doorbell actually rings.
  • Spruce-up the interior with de-cluttering and a deep cleaning. Gather and donate all those unwanted closet items, as well as unused furniture and décor. Clean out the garage (make sure you can actually walk through it). Decluttering might be a challenge for some sellers, but most of them know that a spick-and-span property looks better for any open house. An interior deep cleaning means wiping down all baseboards and moldings and cleaning cabinets, appliances and every corner from top to bottom, including ceiling fans and light fixtures. If necessary, hire a cleaning crew to tackle this. Also, do a light bulb check (both indoor and outdoor); make sure they’re all working and free of dirt and debris.
  • Be proactive and complete projects now that could potentially slow the escrow process over demands from the buyer. For example, service the heating and cooling system before the home inspector checks it anyway. Replace the batteries in the smoke detectors and make sure they’re working.
  • Consider a professional stager. A National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) study found that for every $100 investing in staging, the potential return is $400. NAR found that a staged home will sell for 17 percent more on average than a non-staged home, and 95 percent of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. That is statistically 87 percent faster than non-staged homes.
In a follow-up study, NAR found that: 49 percent of buyer’s agents said that staging had a positive effect on most buyers’ outlook on the home; 77 percent of buyer’s agents said that home staging helped buyers visualize themselves in the home; 29 percent of sellers’ agents reported an increase of 1 percent to 5 percent of the dollar value offered by buyers when staging, in comparison to similar homes; 21 percent said that staging a home increased the home’s dollar value by 6 percent to 10 percent; 39 percent of sellers’ agents stated that home staging greatly decreases the length of time a home is on the market.

Sellers should understand that a stager’s purpose is different from an interior designer’s work. The interior designer wants to make a home more livable for its residents. However, a stager’s goal is to emphasize a home’s assets, minimize its less desirable features and make everything look more attractive, especially for photography. The stager is not interested in comfort.
  • Think about small remodeling jobs, especially for the kitchen and bathrooms. An out-of-date kitchen could delay a sale because the kitchen is one of the most important rooms potential buyers look at when choosing a house. Updating tiling or cabinets, or even a new backslash over the cook-top, can add a new look to an older kitchen. Also, small functional changes in a bathroom can make a huge difference. Shower heads, faucets, lighting fixtures, and tiles can make a bathroom more aesthetically pleasing.