Staged to sell

As I've mentioned before, we're definitely experiencing a "Buyer's Market" in Colorado Springs right now. There are currently over 7,000 active single family homes listed in the Pikes Peak MLS so if you're a buyer, that's good news. There's plenty to choose from and some homes are at a "reduced price" as seller's are doing their best to be the next sale.

So, what does a seller need to do in a market like this? One thing I recommend is staging a home. There are plenty of professional stagers who will come in and help you prepare your home to sell. This can be a scary venture for many people - they don't want some stranger telling them to take down decorations, rearrange furniture, and pull down their favorite wallpaper. The truth is, a good stager should be able to discuss and work with the seller so it doesn't feel like a judgement and criticism of the place they call home.

Professional stagers have the mindset of a buyer - remember, you want someone to walk into your home during a showing and feel like they could live there. This means the less personal items you have that portray who you are, the more a buyer might feel like it could be their future home:

1) Offensive decorations: taking down offensive decorations, posters, or artifacts that may turn off a potential buyer. These items could range from religious decor (such as crosses) to the MegaDeath poster hanging in your son's bedroom.
2) Photos and pictures: again, you're not trying to sell the buyer on your life or how cute your kids are, you're selling them your home.
3) De-cluttering: many of us have stuff, stuff, and more stuff. You don't want the house to feel cramped or cluttered, so often a stager might ask you to store furniture and other items in another location, perhaps even the garage.
4) Sensitive information: keep in mind that people will be walking through your home, including your office area, bathrooms, etc. Take the time to walk through and make sure you "hide" financial paperwork (credit cards, bank statements, etc), perscription medicines (this is the #1 item stolen from homes during showings), and anything else that has your name on it...let me say that again: anything else that has your name on it. There's no reason a buyer needs to know who lives there.
5) Clean like you've never cleaned before: Nothings worse than a potential buyer walking into your home and finding a filthy bathroom, dirty socks on the floor, or windows that they can't see through the dirt to find the yard. It's important to keep the house clean and organized during the showing period. Pay attention to details and keep it clean. This is especially important in the kitchen and bathrooms. Hire a maid if you have to, but get it done!
6) Curb appeal: Remember to keep the grass cut, trees trimmed, and touch up paint handy. It's crucial that the first impression captures the buyer. Make sure your house is ready to show, inside and out.

Rates for home stagers vary, but you can probably expect to pay $500 - $3,000. This may seem expensive, but keep in mind, it's a lot cheaper than dropping the price 2 months down the road when you're not getting anything but dead-end showings.

I have a great list of stagers if you're interested in this option or feel free to call me for some more tips. If you're thinking about selling your home, I'll be happy to come over and do an initial assessment of what needs to be done before you list.

The key is you're competing with thousands of other listings and you want yours to create the "WOW!" factor.

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