Home Staging

Will my house ever sell?!?

Sometimes selling your home in Metro Phoenix in 2010 can feel like a lot of hurry up and wait.  There are some things you can do to make the process quicker and less stressful.  This is reprinted from December 6, 2008. Gives you a little idea how long sellers have been struggling to sell their homes.

A Few Ideas for Handling Seller’s Stress


  1. Paint everything: every wall, baseboard, door frame and window frame. Inside and out. Year after year, national studies reveal that a fresh coat of paint provides something like a 400% return on investment.


  2. Invest $20 or $30 in a brand new, thick and cushy welcome mat for the front door. First impressions count.


  3. Weed out your closets and bookcases. Pack up 1/3 of what’s in there. Donate it or store it for your upcoming move.


  4. Take everything off the kitchen fridge. Buyers aren’t considering buying your 5-year old’s macaroni craft project so they don’t need to see it. They also don’t need to know what time Johnny has soccer practice or which Doctor Susie sees.


  5. Enlist the entire family in keeping the house clean for showings.


  6. To present the appearance of a clean house in under 5 minutes: wipe down counters, kitchen appliances and mirrors with diluted Windex or plain diluted ammonia. (Windex costs more but smells better)


  7. Hide your personal papers, bills, and so forth from the office/desk area (it’s nobody else’s business).


  8. Take down family photos from every wall and dresser top.


  9. Remove the prescriptions from the medicine cabinet (yes, people WILL look. Potential buyers do not need to know that you’re mixing a custom cocktail of Prozac and Viagra.


  10. If possible, find temporary foster homes for your pets. Try family, friends and/or neighbors. This is challenging but important. I love my cat. But if my house smells like cat, it WILL NOT sell.


  11. Take up yoga, tai-chi or meditation.


  12. Ignore your neighbors’ asking prices; concentrate on nearby sold prices.


  13. While you’re at it, (mostly) ignore your friends’ and family’s advice. They are not Realtors. You hired a Realtor for a reason. Ask questions, request documentation of market trends, but trust him/her.

  14. If your Realtor isn’t giving you a weekly or every-other-week update, ask for one.


  15. Write a counteroffer for every offer you receive, even the ones that make you want to scream profanities at the buyer (and see below about Handling Low Ball Offers)



Related Posts:

Staging Insider: how to de-clutter

Reality TV shows on networks like HGTV and DIY Network tell the tale of the economy’s impact on housing: Flip & Sell, Flip That House, and Flipping Out have moved over to make room for Staged to Sell, Sell It Right, and Real Estate Intervention.


On TV and in real life, one of the most overlooked ways sellers can get ready to sell their home is depicted here:


declutter from MLS 4448037, sep 2010
photo credit MLS #4448xxx (number truncated to protect the innocent)


Mr. & Mrs. Seller, de-clutter already! Space is your friend; clutter eats equity. (Besides, between me and my readers, the 1991 Sears Roebuck catalog called, and wants it’s furniture back.)


I’m sure these homeowners love their home and live in it very comfortably. But when you list your home for sale, it immediately ceases to be your home. It becomes a product. Treat it as such.


Each room in your Home-for-Sale Product needs only enough stuff to suggest what the room is used for.


The room above needs the following fixes to make it show-ready and maximize the selling price:


The goal is to transform the room into a bigger-than-it-looks space that has 2 sofas, 1 coffee table, 1 end table and mostly bare entertainment center.  Here’s how you get there.


**Remove everything from the sofas: bear, pillows, afghans. Everything. If you must have pillows, go buy new, oversized, beige fluffy pillows that look expensive.


**Adios the exercise equipment. Visually it implies the home isn’t roomy enough.


**Remove all pictures from the wall and replace them with one large, horizontally oriented, generic picture in a good quality wooden frame. No gold flocking!  Colors should be an assortment of beiges & browns with a touch of navy blue. Style: modern art or a landscape. Size: at least 2/3rds of the length of the couch. If you find a picture looks like it belongs in a model home or a doctor’s office, you’ve got the right one.


**Lose the dining room table set, entirely. Do not replace it with anything. Having it there reinforces the fact that the house isn’t big enough to have dining & living in 2 separate rooms. Pack it, put it in storage or sell it.


**I’m assuming the counter top in the foreground is a fixed, immovable cabinet, probably located in the kitchen. If it will move, pack it, store it or sell it. If it won’t move, remove everything from the top of it.


**Lose the Barcalounger in the corner and what look like TV tray tables next to it. Pack, store or sell. Leave the space empty.


**I’m assuming that stuff on the left frame of the photo is sitting on the entertainment center. Remove 1/3 of everything visible on the unit. Pack, store or sell. This gives buyers the visual cue that “there’s room for your stuff here.”


**Remove all but 1 coffee table and possibly 1 end table. Leave no more than 3 items on the coffee table, and 1 item on the end table. And I don’t mean a tall stack of magazines and 2 others things. If you leave magazines on display, fan them and use 3 or 5 at most.


**That rug probably serves its rightful purpose of anchoring the sitting area visually on the floor space. But depending on how the room looks when all the above is complete, and depending on the sellers’ budget, I might suggest replacing it with another rug. The replacement rug should have a large, bold pattern. That visually suggests a bigger space.


The End Result


Are all these things going to take time, possibly cost money and almost certainly be emotionally hard for the sellers? Yeah, probably. But I’m not your pre-school teacher here to give you a gold star tell you that “everybody loves you just the way you are!” 


Bottom line: If I’m your Realtor, you hired me to get a SOLD sign in your front yard, pronto, with the best possible price.


Pack your clutter away for now.  Because if you de-clutter and stage properly, and resist the temptation to overprice, you’ll be in that new home pretty soon. Then you can let the clutter out of their boxes to explode all over the new place.

When to *not* re-do a kitchen

FLB201 Stove


When the kitchen is vintage and the building is “mid-century modern”, and it’s a condo, there’s a good argument to be made for not re-doing the kitchen.


This is kitschy and cute and “period”.  Long time readers may have deduced by now that I am a sucker for the mid-century modern look. And I even fall hard for the untouched, true vintage homes from the 1950s and 1960s. We are a small but passionate group.


Sometimes when you’re selling your home/condo and your kitchen looks like this, you don’t have to remodel. You just have to find the few, passionate lovers of the vintage 1950s and 1960s look.  Look for lovers of Mad Men online at sites like Meetup.com. You’ll find your home buyer there.


Resources for this style


Phoenix’s online hub for mid-century modern is ModernPhoenix.net


The Mid-Century Modernist


Lushpad


MetroRetro Furniture


1950.com


Vintage Swank (they cover the 1970s and early 1980s too; true mid-century modernists will recoil)

With MLS photos, details really matter

Before


what a difference a door makes, before

After


what a difference a door makes, after

There are a few crucial details that made the After picture much more appealing (not counting the angle at which the photos were taken):




  • red door

  • black shutters

  • green grass

  • possibly fresh granite gravel in the semi-circle shape

  • flowerbed filled with red flowers

  • white window rollershades all the way down


Red shows up exceptionally well on the Internet, where something like 90% of home buyers start their search. Yellow is the same. The contrast between the black shutters & white house is also eye-catching.


Usually I don’t recommend or like head-on photos of the front of a home. It tends to make the house look one-dimensional, as if it could be a movie facade. But in this case, it works, proving there’s an exception to every rule.


I'm betting the cash outlay for this seller was about $200 for the door, $120 for shutters and another $100 or $150 for the plants. Granite gravel can be pricey, as can sod. But as you can see, the results are beautiful and buyers will respond by coming to look in person.


More proof that a couple hundred of these


Image ID 377234 by Stock Exchange user ede design ($1 bill picture courtesy of Stock Exchange user Leonardini)


can frequently get you several dozen of these


Dollars seamless background. ($100 bill picture courtesy of Stock Exchange user ede design)


at closing time.



Photo credits - Joanna Siravo of Coldwell Banker and Lisa M. Juel of John Hall & Associates. Disclosure: photos were taken about 3 years apart, this wasn’t a seller doing a fix-up before listing for sale. This Realtor was not involved in the sale of the home in either time frame.

Staging makes a HUGE difference – a note from the trenches…

We were out with “winter visitor” buyers yesterday, looking at semi-luxury condos in Scottsdale and North Phoenix.  We found two interesting units at Edge in Grayhawk:

Views Views Views!  One unit had what might be the single best location in all of Grayhawk.  A south-facing 3rd floor balcony gave uninterrupted views of Scottsdale and Phoenix, including all of the mountains – McDowells, Camelback, Mummy, Squaw / Piestawa, South, Estrellas, North..  it was AMAZING.  (and the crystal clear day yesterday only helped.)

view03

view02

(pictures not taken from actual unit – somehow your Realtor didn’t have his camera with him!)

Unfortunately, the interior couldn’t compete with the balcony – it was vacant and clean, but nothing jumped out as superior.. Inside it was just another condo.

Our clients appreciated the great view, but wanted to push forward.

Welcome Home!  The next unit we entered had a good location, with (another 3rd floor) pool-facing balcony angled slightly away from the neighboring building – it gave a sense of openness, community, and privacy all at the same time.

interior01

(again, picture not from actual unit.)

Inside, however, this unit was furnished and decorated perfectly.  Warm and inviting, cozy and comfortable, rich and elegant, all at the same time.  Our clients gave a smile, let out a contented sigh, and after a quick tour of the rest of the unit, made themselves comfortable at the couch & breakfast table.  Then they started talking about writing an offer!

Heather & I discussed with them the concept of some things being unchangeable.. that it was possible to make the previous unit look exactly like this unit, while impossible to give this unit that spectacular view.

In the end talk didn’t matter; staging did.

Your making a note to share this post with future sellers Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

In MLS, more photos isn’t always better

We’ve long maintained that pictures are a critical part of selling your home.

More buyers are using the internet to view homes, more broadband connections have made this ever-easier to do, and digital cameras have never been better or less expensive.  In today’s digital age, most buyers look at any home listed without a full compliment of pictures online as trying to hide something.

On the other hand, online photos, from a seller’s perspective, serve a purpose – they should help to SELL THE HOME.  The seller (and the seller’s agent) have the advantage of making the photos look as good as possible, with perfect lighting, staging, and camera angles.

Yesterday I was researching a neighborhood in the MLS for a client when I came across an interesting listing.  The Property Description read:

“NOT BANK OWNED & NOT SHORT SALE ~~~ MUST SEE ALL 59 PHOTOS TO APPRECIATE ALL THE UPGRADES & CONDITION OF THIS HOME - stunning semi-custom home with…”  (emphasis mine.)

Well, let me take a look at those 59 photos I must see (I thought to myself.)  Here are 5 of them:

pic5 pic1 pic2 pic3 pic4

What am I seeing from these pictures?  A curtain? a dark bedroom looking out at another house?  Shutters?  A Fleur de lis, which probably doesn’t stay with the home?  Dirty dishes in the sink &/or leopard print chairs?

I’m just thinking out loud here, but more isn’t always better.  Reminds me a little bit of the old Goldilocks’ kitchen story..

Your looking for just right Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Spruce Up Your Home's Exterior

Here are some low-cost ways to increase a home’s curb appeal.





  • Clean up beds by weeding and pruning shrubs. Add mulch for a high-end look.


  • Invest in pots. A couple of attractive ceramic (or ceramic look-alike) pots filled with attractive plants can really make an entrance look classier.


  • Install landscape lighting on the path to the front door.


  • Replace the mailbox with a newer one and put some nice plantings at its base to dress it up.


Source: Tribune Media Services, Cameron Huddleston (07/26/2009)

And a few thoughts of mine:

  • Red deck chairs

  • Paint the door a shiny red

  • Potted Plants - red & yellow photograph really well for internet display

  • New house numbers on the entryway walls

Staging Your Kitchen, Goldilocks Style

This kitchen has too much stuff.


KIT with too much stuff again

This kitchen has too little stuff.


KIT with too little stuff

This kitchen is just right.


Starter Home KIT upscale

A Few Pointers for Kitchen Staging


Greenery makes potential buyers feel ‘homey’, calm and reassured. A little goes a long way though. Notice this fairly roomy kitchen has only one green plant. Don’t overdo.


Paint. That. Kitchen!  Home builders across the Valley of the Sun use particularly horrible shades of white paint. Cottage White and Swiss Coffee are common. I think it’s because they can buy it in bulk and it touches up easily.


But the quality of the daylight in Arizona is different than elsewhere. Under our scorching sun, these whites look chalky, dead-flat, grayish and depressing.


Swiss Coffee does look stunning under other daylight conditions, however.


Unsure about choosing a white? It’s no wonder. Dunn Edwards alone has 100 shades of white. Seriously!?!  For help choosing a white, visit this old post about “Real Estate Beige”.


Lose the clutter. If you don’t use it every single solitary day of your life, get it off the counter and out of sight. Or up on the pot shelves.



Cheap Staging Idea

Sellers, does your kitchen lighting look like this? (click the pic to enlarge and get the full effect)


get rid of builder lighting


If so, it’s the builder’s original cheapo lighting. Change it! Every buyer out there knows the builders put in this cheap lighting because they got it at a bulk discount of about $5 each.


Change that builder lighting before listing your house for sale and before your Realtor has photos taken. (Also don’t let the photographer decide that the focal point of the photo is the lighting; that’s lame.)


Replace with this:


get rid of builder lighting replacement


Or replace with this:


get rid of builder lighting replacement 2


(click pics to enlarge; back button to return)


Sellers, you’re probably thinking, “why spend $200 installing a new lighting fixture the buyers might not like anyway?!”


Yeah, except….   The builder original cheapy lighting is visually jarring enough to make buyers pass you right on by. They’ll buy something else. Sounds silly, I know. Why would somebody not buy your house just because of the lighting? Because they can.


Many of my recent home buyer clients started out with 100’s of homes to choose from once they specified area, size, pool vs no pool, number of bedrooms, price and so on. Given 100’s of choices, any sane person will play “process of elimination” with the list. They cross homes off the list for silly little reasons (like lighting,  paint color, or lack of appliances) until they whittle the list to a manageable dozen or so.


Don’t let the builder’s bulk discount lighting be the reason they eliminate your home from consideration.


Need proof? I recently had buyers purchase a house in Cave Creek, Arizona. The sellers were in their 9th month of being on the market and on their 3rd listing Realtor. But this Realtor was staging savvy. She required that the sellers spend about $600 to change out the original builder lighting in the entryway, dining room and kitchen (all the areas immediately visible from the front door). Out went the builder lighting, in came nifty new lighting like replacement photo number 2 above.


Guess what? My buyers and I found and toured the home literally 3 days after the  lighting switch was done and offered on it immediately. Listing Realtor #3 didn't even have time to take new photos! Post-closing my buyers spent about $8,000 on new paint, flooring and yes, wait for it....    lighting fixtures throughout the home. Buyers are happy as clams and sellers moved onwards and upwards. I happen to know the sellers bought the same exact floorplan in another city. I'm betting they had to change lighting fixtures after they moved in too.

Staging Tips For Entryways


Staging is vital in making your home as appealing to potential buyers as possible. However, staging effectively can be a challenge in tract houses, which by nature are uninteresting square white boxes. Metro Phoenix is filled to bursting with tract housing, especially in the price ranges in reach of the average working family. Here's a tip or two for making the entryway in an average house stand out.




[caption id="attachment_1837" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Great Entryway!"]Great Entryway![/caption]

Put up a really cushy, plush welcome mat. It should be thick enough and large enough that visitors to the house stop for a moment to notice the plushiness of the doormat. Slap a fresh coat of paint on your entryway door while you're standing there admiring the new doormat.


If the front door has sidelight windows, clean them inside and out so they sparkle. The trick here is to make potential buyers stop for just a few seconds while they notice how lovely your exterior entryway is. If the outside is great, potential buyers will automatically think better of the inside.


Picture Number 1 is is an inviting outside entryway on a 1950's brick ranch. Number 2? Not so much.  The homes are the same size and about the same floorplan. Granted, someone in home number 1 spent a chunk of change to switch out the front room windows and add landscaping. But the entryway of home number 2 could have been made more appealing with a few simple steps.





[caption id="attachment_1838" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Entry Needs Help"]Entry Needs Help[/caption]

First, lose the mobile basketball hoop. It's tacky. If your kids play with it every single day, you can leave it in the driveway. But at least take 3 minutes to move it out of the photo frame.


Second, go to Target, WallMart or Home Depot and spend $250 on a bench or some chairs for the front door. While there, grab a plastic planter pot and a fern. Better yet, grab a plant that's flowering. It'll provide extra punch in the photo. Reds and yellows show up extremely well in online photographs.


Finally, make sure your Realtor zooms in on the front door when taking the photo. Buyers aren't buying your driveway, so it shouldn't be the focus of the shot.


Tomorrow - how a little photo fixing can go a long way.

Staging Bedrooms

Bedroom staging can be tricky. Here are a few tips that have worked for me with my listings.

Master Bedroom
The message you want to convey here is sanctuary. The master bedroom is probably the second most important room to potential buyers, behind the kitchen. Your goal is for the master to appear as a retreat, a getaway from the stresses and cares of the world. Think luxury, comfort and ease.

Buy a new, plush comforter or bedspread in a neutral color and pattern. Good colors are beige, green, and blue. Beige goes with everything; blue & green are soothing. Patterns should be medium sized and gender neutral (no cabbage roses! no petunias!). Wash and iron the bed ruffle if you're using one.


Buy 2 new pillows if yours aren't fluffy and luxurious looking. Use the pillow shams if the set you have (or just bought) comes with those. Buy and place a selection of decorative pillows in varying shapes and sizes.


If the master bedroom is simply huge, you can stage a sitting area with two chairs and a small table between them.



Other Bedrooms
The message for these bedrooms is space. You want the potential buyers walking through to be amazed at how much room there is in your extra bedrooms - plenty of room for their stuff. All you really need to effectively stage a bedroom are



  1. a bed,


  2. two night tables,


  3. two lamps,


  4. and nothing else.


Unless the room is enormous, this is enough. If the room is very small, you can use only one nightstand. If you're living in the home while you're trying to sell, the closer you can get to this ideal, the better. I realize that sellers with children are going to struggle over this. Enlist the kids' help and try to make it an adventure. If you stage it right, and price it right, and your chosen listing agent markets it right, you'll only be living like this for a month or two. Besides, you're going to have to pack the stuff once you sell, so you might as well start now. Buy a new bed-in-a-bag set in a neutral color & pattern.


If you're painting the whole house anyway, use a pale bluish off-white in one bedroom and a pale pinkish off-white in another. Set it off with sparkling white trim and baseboards. Dunn Edwards' Coy and Romantic are great pale pinks; use Clear Skies or Distant Horizon for bluish off whites.



Staging Bedrooms in Vacant Homes
If you're trying to sell an empty house, it will pay to rent a bed set at least for the master bedroom. For the other bedrooms, let your budget guide you. Contact my favorite staging company, Staging  Solutions LLC

Of course, if you've chosen the right Realtor, I'll be doing all this for you. Thinking about selling? Give me a call.


Related Posts








"Real Estate Beige" Explained

One of my favorite sayings is "They call it real estate beige because it sells houses." Don't know where it came from. Brilliant as I am, I'm 100% certain that I'm not the first one to say it. But it is true. The most inexpensive high-return thing you can do when selling your home is slap on a fresh coat of paint. Do the baseboards, trim and doors while you're at it.

So what's Real Estate Beige? These are some good beige tones from Dunn Edwards.

screen clip from DunnEdwards.com


Swiss Coffee, Pearl White, Pale Wheat and Cottage White are all going to look like a nice off-white once the job is done. Same with the old standby Navajo White.  Swiss Coffee & Navajo White are in the taupe-y color family. Pearl White has a bit more yellowish undertone and Cottage White has a beige-tan undertone. If the room you're painting gets lots of sun, you might be happier with Swiss Coffee, Pearl White or Najavo White.

Whisper and White Beach are nice yellow whites. Whisper is paler, White Beach is a creamy color about like a manilla folder. Little sun and/or a north facing room? The yellow undertones in Whisper and Pale Wheat will help warm up the room.

Ready for a bolder beige that's a notch above off-white? Try Quicksand (yellowish undertones), Sandcastle or Inside Passage (mustard-y undertones), English Scone (brick red and pink undertones), Sandy Beach (peachy undertones), or Golden Gate (grayish beige undertones).

Want bolder still?! Try Gourmet Honey or Warm Buttersotch which are the darker hues of Inside Passage (yellowish brown tones). Or for beige with a little ruddy, reddish undertone try Travertine, Stonish Beige or Colorado Trail (listed in order from paler to deeper). Finally, Brichwood, Trail Dust and Mesa Tan are good taupe-y grayish beiges with a deeper tone than Sandcastle.

Staging Demystified

man-peeking-out-of-moving-box.jpgStaging a home for sale is pretty close to vital these days in metro Phoenix. For most folks the professional stager’s recommendations will include de-cluttering. Here are some of the most common de-cluttering tips.





  • Remove half of everything on bookshelves

  • Remove half of the clothes from each closet

  • Make sure remaining hanging closet items are neatly arranged by season and/or color

  • Make sure other remaining closet items are neatly boxed and/or stacked and labeled

  • Straighten up your pantry with labels facing out, items alphabetized and neatly stacked

  • Remove all family portraits from walls & fridge

  • If you’re leaving the fridge, straighten and declutter it too. No mystery leftovers!


Tips for Bachelors Only
Guys, I’m sure you’re exceedingly happy in your bachelor life and I celebrate your desire to remain unhitched. But it’s a weird truism that most homebuyers are single women or married couples. And you know from watching your married buddies that the wife makes all the decisions. So cater to her when you’re trying to sell your swingin’ bachelor pad.


  • Borrow some women’s clothes and hang them in half your closet

  • Put a few candles and fake green plants on dressers and side tables

  • Talk to a professional stager or Realtor who’s a Certified Home Marketing Specialist to discuss ways to disguise your ginormous TV

  • Do laundry frequently so the closet doesn’t smell like a high school gym locker

  • Wipe down the bathroom counters and shower daily to remove hair and water spots

  • Hide the Keg-erator fridge and put some real food in your fridge (condiments and beer do not count)


This sounds like a lot of work, no? And a  big pain in the neck. But the bigger pain in the neck is sitting on the market for months and months and never selling. There are no guarantees in life or real estate, but staging your home will exponentially boost the odds that you'll sell while others don't.


I’ve recommended a good deal of packing. Where to put the stuff??! And why do I have to pack before I even sell the house!?? First, you’re going to pack it anyway so you might as well get a head start. Second, Pods.com and BoxCart.com will help you with portable storage needs. And if you sign up with the Valley’s best Realtor (me!) I can get you 3 months of storage free with one of Coldwell Banker’s participating Concierge moving companies.



So that’s it for now. More on staging later. Happy packing!

Staging Your Entry

A good first impression is worth thousands of dollars in the home selling business. Most potential buyers will make up their mind about your house in the first 10 to 15 seconds. Maximize that microburst of time by completing the following:





  • Well trimmed lawn, or weed-free rockscape


  • Clutter-free look


  • Freshly painted door and trim


  • Sparkling clean windows and lighting fixtures


  • Brand new, cushy doormat


  • Dust-free entry


  • Consider adding a little color


A little color near the front entry draws the eye in from the street to the door. Where the eye goes, the buyer follows. Try potted flowering plants, painted shutters, or even raised flowerbeds or rockbeds. Of course, you must  consider your home's style when adding these accents. Shutters on a Santa Fe style adobe home look ridiculous, but they're perfect on the red brick homes built in the downtown areas in the 40's and 50's. With flowers and flowering plants, reds and yellows are beautiful for photographs, while any color works for in-person viewing. Ask your Realtor or a certified home stager for more advice here.


Don't skimp on the doormat. A good thick doormat makes folks pause for an instant or two. That instant allows the potential buyer to think about how much nicer your doormat is than theirs. Sounds silly, no? But you've already got the potential buyer thinking your doormat is a step up so they're likely to assume your house is really nice too. Never forget that home buyers may be shopping for 2000 square feet with 4 beds and 2 or 3 baths, but they're also shopping for a lifestyle makeover.


Finally, don't forget to dust your front door area. The Arizona climate kicks up a lot of dust (and pollen this time of year). Your front door is probably covered in a fine coat of dust which you probably don't even notice. After all, how many of us actually use our front door?  That's for company, we use the garage or carport entry for day to day. Well when your home is for sale, company's coming! Grab a microfiber cloth and give the door a quick once-over every couple of days. Wipe the dust from the windows, the door (especially if your door has raised panels or other detailing), and the threshold. Sweep the concrete at your entry while you're out there.


Next in this series - Behind The Curtain

Ice Cream and Real Estate

I've been looking over my blog stats as part of my New Year's resolution to reorganize and fine-tune what I do. It seems that my post comparing selling ice cream with selling your home is the most popular post by far.  Dunno if there's a whole lotta people Googling for pictures of ice cream or what, but I'll repost it here for everybody's enjoyment. They are really purty pictures of ice cream, after all.


.


Most home sellers these days in the Valley are savvy enough to realize there's a lot of competition out there. They know they've got to spruce up, clean up, organize, and stage their house so it stands out from the competition. The process of doing this is a whole other post that I'll get to in the coming days.


Here, today, I want to talk about my Ice Cream Analogy. I whip this one out when I'm talking to sellers who are resistant to the idea of painting, carpeting, or snazzing up counter tops. The usual refrain I hear is, "We don't want to waste money updating that when the buyer might not like the color or style anyway. Why bother? Just let them do it once they move in."


Folks, that mind set is a cop-out. Why do I say that so bluntly? Here's where the ice cream comes in.


(vanilla cone image courtesy of Stock Exchange user kovik; platter of ice cream image courtesy of Stock Exchange user yron_db)


Image ID 845894 by user kovik


Let's imagine you & your neighbor both stand in your front yards offering free ice cream. Your neighbor offers vanilla ice cream. You're offering a hot mess of an ice cream sundae that includes everything but the kitchen sink.


Image ID 923654 by user yron db


Whose ice cream offering do you think will get more takers?


Vanilla! More folks will choose the vanilla ice cream, every time, no matter how yummy the almond nut crunch looks and tastes. Why? You can dress up a vanilla scoop any way you like. Add chocolate sauce, rainbow jimmies, chopped peanuts, Oreo cookies, strawberry topping or anything else to make it all yours. But the over-full platter of ice cream sundae is an option which is hard to un-do. You can't easily turn that confection into anything else. It would take time, patience and some creativity.


Time, patience and creativity are qualities most buyers are lacking or are unwilling to exercise, for a variety of reasons. Today more than ever, buyers want a blank canvas that they can just spend a little money & effort personalizing. Most are turned off by a home that needs a lot of "un-doing" before they can get to the personalizing stage.


Need to sell? Vanilla-ize your digs. It's called "Real Estate Beige" for a reason - it sells real estate.



Related Posts -
Selling Home? Think Used Cars

What Ice Cream Has to do with Selling Your Home

Most home sellers these days in the Valley are savvy enough to realize there's a lot of competition out there. They know they've got to spruce up, clean up, organize, and stage their house so it stands out from the competition. The process of doing this is a whole other post that I'll get to in the coming days.


Here, today, I want to talk about my Ice Cream Analogy. I whip this one out when I'm talking to sellers who are resistant to the idea of painting, carpeting, or snazzing up counter tops. The usual refrain I hear is, "We don't want to waste money updating that when the buyer might not like the color or style anyway. Why bother? Just let them do it once they move in."


Folks, that mind set is a cop-out. Why do I say that so bluntly? Here's where the ice cream comes in.


ice-cream-swirly-cone.jpgLet's imagine you & your neighbor both stand in your front yards offering free ice cream. Your neighbor offers vanilla ice cream. You're offering almond nut crunch with chocolate sprinkles and caramel sauce.


Whose ice cream offering do you think will get more takers? Vanilla! More folks will choose the vanilla ice cream, every time, no matter how yummy the almond nut crunch looks and tastes. Why? You can dress up a vanilla scoop any way you like. Add chocolate sauce, rainbow jimmies, chopped peanuts, Oreo cookies, strawberry topping or anything else to make it all yours. But the almond nut crunch w/ toppings is an option which is hard to un-do. You can't easily turn that confection into anything else. It would take time, patience and some creativity.


ice-cream-complicated-cone.jpgTime, patience and creativity are qualities most buyers are lacking or are unwilling to exercise, for a variety of reasons. Today more than ever, buyers want a blank canvas that they can just spend a little money & effort personalizing. Most are turned off by a home that needs a lot of "un-doing" before they can get to the personalizing stage.


Need to sell? Vanilla-ize your digs. It's called "Real Estate Beige" for a reason - it sells real estate.

10 Tips for Pet-Owning Sellers

Puppy Eyes1. Remove photos of pets from the walls, shelves, or refrigerators.

2. Clean food and water bowls regularly, and hide them when not in use.

3. Stash away pet toys, crates, carriers, and leashes.

4. Vacuum carpets, upholstery, and wood floors.

5. Keep litter boxes clean and out of sight, and remove signs of doggy potty pads.

6. Open windows to let in fresh air.

7. Neutralize odors with fresh-smelling candles and air sanitizers.

8. Hire professionals to remove unsightly pet stains.

9. Board or crate animals during open houses.

10. Repair visible signs of pet damage, such as scratched walls or floors.

Source: Newsday, Aimee Fitzpatrick Martin (12/29/06)