It’s that time of year when people get the bug - the bug to move, the bug to buy or sell property, the bug to start fresh in new digs.
But what if your community is going through an economic slowdown without a lot of jobs to attract and keep workers? Homes could linger on the market a frustratingly long time.
With 84 properties currently listed for sale in the Virden area (not including for-sale-by-owner properties), and taking an average of nearly four months to sell, it’s good to have a secret weapon.
Real estate agent Kelsey Gerrand of Virden has three very important words for sellers: Staging.
“Believe it or not, staging can make a huge difference in the marketability of your home,” says Gerrand, who has studied international staging and redesign.
“Staging often helps to sell the home faster than a home that isn’t staged, and for more money.” In fact, research in the US found staging can cut the time on the market by up to half and can attract offers up to 20 per cent higher.
HAD ME AT ‘HELLO’
Let’s start with making a good first impression right from the street.
Gerrand says, “Curb appeal is such an important factor in selling your home, it’s what entices a buyer to come and have a look inside. You want to evoke a positive emotional response.”
Here are her quick and easy tips to do that:
- Keep lawn mowed and pull any weeds out of the sidewalk or driveway.
- Repair cracked windows and make sure they are sparkling clean.
- Pressure wash the walkway or deck and decorate it with a simple flower planter.
- Make sure your house number is visible and in good repair.
- Make sure the entryway has bright lighting for evening hours
To stage the interior of a property is to transform it into an attractive place where anyone can picture themselves. How does it work?
“By depersonalizing and decluttering, it makes it easier for the buyers to envision themselves living in the space.”
There are talented home stagers available to hire, but Gerrand says you can also do it yourself by remembering these three steps:
- Remove excess clutter, you want your home to look spacious and tidy.
- Repair everything you can - leaky faucets, chipped paint, squeaky hinges. If you need a contractor your real estate agent can recommend one.
- Renew. Clean, clean and clean again. You want your home to look guest-ready. Organize each room so it looks like a showcase. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way.
One final note on selling a property: Make sure you’ve priced it fairly. Gerrand reports a decrease in average sales prices lately, so you may want to revisit yours.
“I always like to provide a Comparative Market Analysis for my clients. What the CMA does is show them how their home compares to other properties that are currently on the market as well as those that have sold.”
In the end, it’s all about finding that sweet spot between what you want to get for your home and what buyers are willing to pay. And they may pay more if you take the time to stage it.