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2009-10-07 15:53:54

Presentation – More Important Than Ever


A recent Maritz Research study confirmed that the presentation of a home has a strong impact on buyers. A full 63% of home-buyers preferred a home that did not require any renovations over a “fixer-upper”, and they are willing to pay more to make that purchase. If you watch HGTV, you will be aware of how many buyers begin looking for a home “to make their own”, and ultimately choose the pricier home that is “move-in” ready.   
With a glut of houses on the market, it’s even more important that you convince Sellers of the need to clean, repair, and declutter. I realize that, with so many homes being a Short Sale, this can be difficult. Improving their home – when they might not want to move – can be an ordeal. Yet, if they just leave it “as is”, then everyone loses. Especially these very homeowners, when buyers aren’t compelled to put an offer on their house. 
As an agent, there is a way to extricate yourself from all of this.
It’s All About Emotions
Buyers need to make an instant, emotional connection with a home. A messy house WILL NOT sell at the speed you need it to. However, that very mess is the result of emotional ties the homeowner has to the objects in the rooms. Their home is an extension of who they are as individuals. They enjoy every memento, every photograph. And clutter? They no longer notice it. So, now we have a major conflict. A conflict which will stall the sale of ANY home, regardless of whether it’s a Short Sale or a pricey house on the waterfront.
Buyers see rooms haphazardly filled with “stuff” and are turned off.
Sellers see rooms beautifully filled with “treasures” and are turned on.
In order to sell a house fast, you need to ensure that the owner sees EXACTLY what a potential buyer sees. To assist you, there is a new guide I have created that will clearly communicate this message for you.
The first section of the guide, “The Worse Case Scenario”, gives a humorous account of a couple who are looking to buy a house. They arrive on the doorstep of a residence belonging to owners who believe their home is wonderful. In fact, it’s a mess. As the buyers wander through the house, the reader sees how the rooms are actually perceived. For instance at the point of entry, the buyers notice the following:
 “Mrs. Hopeful pushes the doorbell – that hasn’t worked properly for the past six years. She has plenty of time to notice the flowers in the pots, which look as though they expired the previous summer. Also, the outdoor light fixture is missing a light bulb. After a moment, they are welcomed into a dark and depressing entry hall. Mr. Hopeful opens the closet. Out tumbles two golf clubs, a basketball, a pile of old newspapers, several dog leashes, a single running shoe and a game of scrabble. Every outer garment owned by the Blank Family has been crammed onto hangers, and whatever didn’t make it to a hanger has taken up residence on the floor.”
After many disappointing showings and no offers, the sellers finally realize the need to convert their home from a personal space into a more appealing space for buyers. After making the necessary changes, the same potential buyers return. The revamped area now looks like this:
“The pots of dead flowers have been replaced by a spotless white swing glider filled with yellow and white striped cushions. There is a shiny brass doorknocker, a bulb in the porch light, and the front door has been painted the same bright blue as the shutters. The Hopefuls feel a sense of excitement. After a moment, they are welcomed into a cheery entry hall. There is a small table with fresh flowers, and a colorful little basket to hold the day’s mail. The walls have been painted a cream color to give the entry a feeling of light, and the Blanks have hung a tall mirror at the far end to give the illusion of depth to the small space. The closet contains only spring coats and jackets and there are actually empty hangers.”
Steps To A FAST Sale
The first step in this transformation is to simply clean and declutter. If possible, sellers should pack up extra personal items and remove them into temporary storage arrangements, to create more space. It’s important to remind them that their home isn’t being altered for THEM, but rather for potential buyers. (If there is reluctance to sell – as there might be in a Short Sale – then it becomes a case of reinforcing the fact that the faster the sale, the faster they can move on with their lives).
The second step is to create small “stagings” in each room. These are room settings that are designed to connect with buyers on that important emotional level. There is no need to spend a great deal of money. In most cases, owners can “stage” a room with their own possessions. It might mean spending a bit extra on towels, or bed linens, but these would be items they are taking with them.
To make it easy to proceed with these steps, I have prepared individual room charts. This way each seller can prioritize what needs to be done to sell their particular home – Fast.  For example, let’s take a kitchen. First there is a “Preliminary Work” chart, which is a comprehensive “to-do” list and contains lots of ideas on cleaning and decluttering that particular room. This is followed by a “Finishing Touches” chart, which describes various staging elements for a kitchen setting. Lastly, is a “Personal List” chart, which allows the seller to make his or her own notes for that room.
Many e-PRO agents consider this guide …
… one of the best investments they have made.
It can easily be emailed to clients. You can request a personalized cover with your photo, logo and contact info. Most importantly, you are given a license which allows you to give this to as many homeowners as possible, for as long as you wish.
e-PRO Trainer and one of the Top 25 Most Influencial Women Joeann Fossland called this book “... a 'must use' for any Realtor who wants an edge.  Checklists make it easy and the format is brilliant."
Click here for more information:
Wendy Jones, Owner
A RealTown Vendor

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