Think Smarter with Nick Warren: March 2019

Posted by Greg Kiep on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 at 5:54pm.

Think Smarter with Nick

As the spring listing market gets underway, Nick shares some tips for sellers looking to get their home ready for market. He also highlights how staging can make a big difference in market time (and sales price!).


What 3 tips would you give to sellers looking to prepare their homes for the spring market?

If you know you are going to be listing your home for sale in the spring, you should be spending the next few weeks getting it ready “show ready”.  Here are the 3 things I think you should focus on:

1. Declutter - You know how it goes...the years pass by and you accumulate more and more “stuff” that you just can’t get yourself throw out. While the “clutter” might not bother you, it can easily become a distraction for potential buyers looking at your home. My recommendation is to use this opportunity to finally channel your inner Marie Kondo to figure out what things really sparks joy and what is well...just junk.

2. Depersonalize - This is often the most difficult part of preparing your home for sale. Like most people, you likely have a lot of personal items in and around your house that make your house feel like a home to you. The problem is that personal items can often become a distraction for potential buyers. It is extremely difficult to picture yourself living in a home when all you see is pictures of someone else’s family. My suggestion is to pack most of your personal photos prior to having photos taken and throughout the listing process.

3. Rearrange/Stage - Now that you’ve thrown out or donating items that you don’t want and depersonalized your space, the next step is to rearrange and/or stage the property. Most of us aren’t professional interior designers so I highly recommend asking your agent who their recommended stager is. In a lot of cases, they can work with existing furniture by having some items put in storage and rearranging the layout of the rest. We actually work with some moving companies which will store some of your items for free while your home is on the market as long as you use them for your full move when you sell. This can make a dramatic difference and generally helps sell your home faster and for a higher price than leaving it as-is.

Thinking about staging, what is important as a seller works with their Realtor to coordinate this effort?

The most important thing to do when working with a professional stager is to keep an open mind.  Many sellers have very specific personal tastes that might not be in line with what a stager proposes which can sometimes be hard to not take personally.  They will often use neutral tones and clean, simple furniture vs. more taste specific design that you might see an interior decorator use. This is done on purpose as it allows the property to appeal to the broadest audience and makes it more sellable.

What success have you seen at BHHS Warren Residential with property staging?

One of the more recent success stories for a listing which we had staged was for a loft style condo in South Boston.  The property originally had the seller’s furniture in it when we had the marketing materials created but she moved out prior to the listing going live so it was vacant when we had our first showings.  Even though we were getting good traffic at the open houses and plenty of private showings, the listing sat on the market longer than we had planned. Many potential buyers expressed that they had a difficult time picturing how the furniture should be arranged since it was vacant.  We decided to hire a stager who was able to quickly set up furniture in the open living room/dining area, the master bedroom, and the guest bedroom set up as an office. Within a week of staging the property, we received a full price offer.

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