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5 Benefits to Staging Your House

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5 Benefits to Staging Your House

Glamour shots for your house?

5 reasons to stage your home in the Robbinsville and Princeton area.

 

1.       You get what you give

When selling a home, everyone wants to maximize the value they get out of their transaction. So when your Realtor tells you to start spending money to prepare the home for sale, it seems counter-intuitive.  However, I’m here to tell you that spending a little bit of cash to properly market your property will give you exceptional return on your investment.  


In fact, when sellers spend an average of 1% of the value of their home on staging, they see an average 1000% return on investment. Not only will they statistically sell for a higher price, but staged homes sell 72% faster when compared to unstaged homes.  


And If you are selling your home in a desirable locale such as Robbinsville or Princeton, the most important piece of the puzzle is already in place: location.  Now all you have to do is be smart about how you appeal to buyers.  Staging is an essential part of this marketing process.

 

2.       Your house is a pair of jeans:

Buyers are “trying on” your home.  When a home is properly staged, buyers can more clearly visualize and imagine themselves living there.  Staging is like getting glamour shots at the mall.  Yeah, you look pretty amazing with a righteous perm and a feather boa , but you probably don’t look like that on a regular basis.  Nevertheless, glamour shots are a fun way to say, “hey check out how great I can look when I’m all done up.”  In the same light, staging provides the buyer with that same done-up look to help them visualize the maximum potential your home has to offer.  The buyer knows that once they put their own stuff in it will look differently, but always remember that you are selling your home on an emotional level.

 

3.       “Hold on let me fix my hair.”

Do you take selfies before rolling out of bed in the morning?  Probably not.  People generally want to look good for photos. So before you post those photos of your house, think to yourself, “hold on let me fix my hair,” and give your house a facelift that is going to maximize its appeal. Using 21st century internet marketing can help you reach a wider audience, but if the photos and video are unappealing then what’s the point?  Staging and professional photography solves this problem and maximizes the effectiveness of your marketing.   

 

4.       Selling your house is a competition.

Here’s a scary thought for you:  If you want your home to sell, you have to be smarter than the competition.  It helps to have the best home in the neighborhood for an awesome price, but even if you’re not the best in your neighborhood, there are things you can do to give yourself better odds.  View your listing as a competition.  Like the old saying goes, "hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard."  Don’t be the only home on a buyer’s prospect list that isn’t staged properly.  Buyers out there are looking at a variety of homes.  If they’re interested in your home along with three others, and yours is the only one that isn’t staged, which one will they eliminate first?   

 

5.       Speak the buyer's language and woo them.

Buyers are emotional.  Sure, they may look at objective items such as how new the A/C unit is, or the cost of property tax, the school system and so on, but understand that buyers are going to buy the home that they “love.”  So speak their love-language.  Treat your home like you’re going on a first date.  Get clean.  Put on your best outfit and make sure the house smells nice.  Appeal to buyers’ emotions.  Staging does this at an almost scientific level.  Now that you know that staging is an essential part of selling your home, check out my article on some free, highly effective staging you can do yourself, here.

 


I hope you enjoyed this article on why you should stage your home!  Please share it with your friends and family.

My name is Brandon Rasmussen and I’m a Realtor.  If you are thinking of buying, selling, or renting a home I can make it simple and stress-free.  Give me a call or text at 609-651-5167.  Or shoot me an email at brandon@rasmussenhomesnj.com.



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6 Tips for Staging Your Home

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6 Tips for Staging Your Home

Six essential staging tips for selling your home

This is a 5 minute read, listing a few simple things you can do to stage your home for maximum buyer interest.

 

1.       De-personalize your home.

I have a funny story about this one.  A few years ago, back before I knew anything about interior design, I asked my mom and sister to decorate some of my first apartment.  One of the things they put up was a stick-on phrase in my bathroom wall: “relax, refresh and renew.”  Being a 24 year old bachelor, I found it especially fitting (sarcasm.)  Every time I stepped into my bathroom I felt emasculated by the domineering cursive commands commandeering my wall (how’s that alliteration?).  In selling your home, you want to avoid any words on walls.  A common one is to put up words like “love” or “family,” or “live, laugh, love,” etc.  While these commands are universally appealing in a sense, they are a problem in a few ways

No one likes being told what to do.  I don’t walk up to a girl I like and yell “love me.”  People like feeling love, but a giant bold command on the living room wall instructing you to do so is off-putting to prospective buyers.


When people shop for homes, it’s like trying on a pair of jeans at a clothing store. 


The jeans have to be nice, but what’s more important is that you feel good about yourself wearing them.  They might arguably be the best jeans money can buy, but if they don’t fit why would you buy them?   Same thing goes for buying a home.  The person has to be able envision living in the home.  It may be hard for the young newly-weds to imagine starting their own family in your house when you have pictures of your own kids hanging on the wall with the words “live laugh love” underneath.  It’s just too personal.  It’d be like if you were trying on a pair of jeans and someone came up and was like “Oh I just tried those on.  I think they looked nicer on me.”  A little off-putting, even if you liked those jeans.

 

2.       They just hate us 'cause they paint us.

If you decide to repaint, use a neutral color!  You might be thinking, “do I need to repaint?”  Well good sir, if you have to ask then you probably should.  Your 5th grade son might love the Spongebob-yellow walls in his bedroom.  But maybe the perspective buyer doesn’t have kids and was planning to turn an extra bedroom into an office.  It’ll probably be hard to picture for that buyer if all they can think of when looking at that room is “who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”  Also, even if the color isn’t obnoxious like that example, consider going neutral over your currently colored walls.  You may love baby blue, but I know there are many young buyers that equate baby blue designs of the 80s.  Maybe the red on your walls isn’t going to appeal to the perspective buyer that is a former matador with PTSD.  A fresh coat of a soft earthy gray, or greige (gray + beige) will go very far in making your home palatable to the masses, and allow their imagination to work with what is in front of them.  I sound dreary, but avoid bold colors in general, even on accent walls. 

 

3.       Pre-pack.

I have news for you.  You are going to have to pack at some point.  Why not do most of it now? 

This costs you no money and has a huge impact on appeal.  Remove and or pack as much as you can.  Throw it in your basement, attic, a friend’s house, etc. until you’re ready to move.  I guarantee that the more you pack away, the larger, cleaner and more inviting your space will appear to perspective buyers. 

 

4.       Bathrooms and kitchens.


You may have heard that bathrooms and kitchens sell homes.  I guess it’s because people love to eat and as a result have to use the bathroom. 


When it comes to your kitchen, clear away as many appliances as possible.  You want negative space.  Negative space is beautiful in interior design.  If you are handy and want to go the extra mile, install a simple backsplash.  If the design is congruent with your space, a white subway tile backslash is cheap, modern and non-alienating to young buyers that tend to avoid browns and bold color. Painting cabinets is a huge job that I don’t recommend trying to squeeze in unless you have a lot of time, energy and know how.  Something simple you can do however is purchase brushed nickel hardware.  You can get great hardware from Amazon for a third of the price compared to Home Depot or Lowes. Installation is easy peasy with a template like this one: (template).   When it comes to bathrooms, there are two things to remember: clean it thoroughly (no grime in your tile.  Get in there with CLR and a toothbrush if need be), and put your toiletries out of site.  Throw them in your vanity or somewhere no one can see them.  Toiletries are both unappealing and alienate buyers by being personal.  Put out clean white towels on towel racks, make it smell nice and don’t poop before a walkthrough. 

 

5.       Make the space look larger.

There are a few things you can do here: The easiest is to make sure all drapes and curtains are pulled open so the room is flooded with as much light as possible.  I’m a light freak.  I bought my first home with based on how much light it gets and I haven’t regretted it.  It’s really important to some people so don’t underestimate this tactic.  Consider mounting your drapes higher on the wall.  This makes the ceiling look higher and the room larger.  And of course, the less stuff you have, the bigger the house is going to feel, so pre-pack! 

 

6.       Consider updating your home:

Updating your home is not for the faint of heart.  If you do it yourself it takes a lot of time, energy and stress.  If you hire someone it can be very costly and still take some time.  Consider however that when you update your home you will get your money back and then some.  Updating a kitchen and bathroom will give you the most return on your investment.  Make sure however that you do not spend money on updating these rooms only to have a design that is unappealing.  It’s a sad story when I see someone spend a lot of money on redoing a bathroom or kitchen and the design is outdated. 


Just because something is new doesn’t mean it is going to look new to a buyer. 


And sadly, many contractors are stuck in the 80s and 90s and just don’t understand what a good kitchen and bathroom looks like in the year 2015.  Clean lines and neutral colors will appeal to the masses. Stay away from brown cabinets, brown countertops and pretty much anything brown.  Brown was in during the 90s.  Guess what it will look like if you go brown?  Probably about 15 years old.  Pinterest, Houzz and HGTV are great ways to find modern deigns that sell.  Gray, white and neutral colors are in at the moment.  Another thing to consider:  do you have carpet?  Is there a wood floor under the carpet?  If so, you’re sitting ongold mine.  Okay not really a gold mine, but it’s a no-brainer to rip that sucker up and buff that floor.  The 80s and 90s were a very strange time.  Why would anyone put a nasty carpet over that gorgeous floor!?  Time for you to benefit from someone else’s (or your own) silly 80s antics.  Hardwood floors are in. 


I hope you enjoyed this article on tips for staging your home!  Please share it with your friends and family.

My name is Brandon Rasmussen and I’m a Realtor.  If you are thinking of buying, selling, or renting a home I can make it simple and stress free.  Give me a call or text at 609-651-5167.  Or shoot me an email at brandon@rasmussenhomesnj.com.


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7 Reasons Your Home Hasn't Sold Yet

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7 Reasons Your Home Hasn't Sold Yet

7 reasons your home hasn’t sold yet

 

1.       Your home is overpriced

Probably the most common offender.  You might be thinking when you start out: I can realistically get “x” for my house but maybe there’s someone out there that will pay X+20,000!  This is wishful thinking.  You may think “well there’s no harm in trying it out for a while and if no one bites we can lower it.”  Well, I’m here to tell you why that’s wrong.  While it is certainly your prerogative to price your home however you’d like, keep in mind that homes which go on the market overpriced are likely to sell slower even after price reductions.  When a buyer sees that your home was lowered 20000 over the course of two months, their mindset is “there must be something wrong with that house.” 


It’s kind of like being picked last for kickball.  Once everyone sees you as the kid who gets picked last, it’s very hard to break that label. 


After price reductions and time on the market, people no longer see the house as a great home at a fair price, but rather, they see it as “the home that no one wanted,” therefore, “I don’t want it either.”  So, before you’re tempted to squeeze every last penny out of your house, consider the psychological impact an overpriced home may have on buyers out there.  A good rule of thumb is to realistically determine what you would pay for your home if you had to buy it again.  Try to put yourselves in the buyer’s shoes.  Chances are, the buyer is in the opposite frame of mind.  You may be thinking as a seller, “let me see what sucker will buy my house 20k over what it’s worth,” while the buyer is thinking “let me low ball an offer toward a desperate seller.”  In fact, if the buyer sees that your house is on the market for several months because it was overpriced, he or she may think that they are entitled to a low ball offer because now you look desperate.  And there’s a good chance you might be at this point, or at least highly impatient.  The alternative is to come out the gate with a fair price that is based on comparable homes sold in your area.  In the best case scenario, you’ll have multiple interested buyers who view your property with the “I need to get it because everyone wants it,” mentality.  And then you may have multiple offers from which to choose.  Some may even be over asking price if they think there’s a chance of losing it. 

 

2.       Your Realtor hasn’t utilized contemporary marketing vehicles

The MLS is not internet marketing.  Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are a step in the right direction, but more could be done.  Here at Rasmussen Homes we utilize all of the above as well as a social media marketing campaign optimized for Google search.  Furthermore, we use professional photography and video walkthroughs of every home.  These facets of home marketing are data driven methods proven to sell homes quicker and for more money.  Make sure you are using all tools at your disposal to reach your audience.  Not every buyer is going to show up to an open house.  Some buyers will only go to open houses after selecting a few that catch their eye on the internet.  So, if your pictures are average (ours are not) no one is going to come see it in person.  And better yet, if you have a video, the lazy buyer whose only day off is Sunday has already seen your home from their couch and have the luxury of showing the video to their friends and family who will talk up your awesome home about how awesome it is. 


Buyers want instant information and instant gratification.  Play their game and you’ll reach your goals quicker.  You never get a second chance at a first impression, so make sure you succeed out the gate!


 

3.       Your description is not honest

What’s more appealing to you: A meh house that is described as “immaculate,” or a meh house that is described as “solid bones with great potential.”  Believe it or not, buyers are not morons.  Calling a house “immaculate” that clearly is not immaculate in the photos does not convince anyone.  In fact, it probably makes them question everything else you’ve said about the home and potentially even what you’re not saying about it (such as concealing a flaw or defect). 

Using hyperbolic or overused words like “immaculate,” “stunning” and “motivated seller” statistically prolong the sale of a home by up to 10%. 

Also, and this hopefully is needless to say, but do not use an agent that is going to use improper grammar or WRITE IN ALL CAPS in the description.  Not only is it tacky, but a buyer is going to wonder why you are yelling the word “immaculate” at them.  I immediately don’t trust a Realtor when they write in all caps, or don’t know the proper usage of words like “your/you’re” or “there/their/they’re.”  You’re paying a Realtor to market your home.  No marketing agency will ever put out copy with improper usage, and neither should your Realtor.  Their improper grammar will reflect poorly upon the sale of your home and your intelligence as a person.

 

4.       Location, location, location

Here’s the solution: pick your house up and move it somewhere more desirable.  Don’t you wish it could be that simple?  You may have updated your whole house to look like something out of a magazine, and that will surely increase the sale price, however, there is a realistic cap upon which that home will sell based on your location.  Schools, amenities, taxes, accessibility and the like are items that are out of your control. They nonetheless are going to have the number one impact on the sale of your home.  So keep that in mind and be realistic about how location impacts the listing and selling price of your home. 

 

5.       Staging

Staging is important not only for walkthroughs and open houses but for photos and videos you’ll use in your online marketing campaign.   Repainting in neutral colors, pre-packing and de-personalizing your space can make or break your home to a buyer.  You might be thinking to yourself, “You mean buyers don’t like my lime green walls and billboard commandment of ‘live laugh love’ streaked across my living room wall?”  The answer is no.  And no one wants to see your dirty razor on the bathroom counter either.   Staging is hugely important.  

Check out my other articles on staging here:

·         5 Benefits to Staging Your Home

·         6 Tips for Staging Your Home



6.       You’re emotionally attached

This is one of the reasons you hire a Realtor to sell your house.  Maybe you think your home which has been passed down for five generations really is worth 2 million dollars.  And to you maybe it is.  It may even be priceless.  


Unfortunately, your emotional attachment doesn’t equate to dollar signs on your home.  Approach the sale from an objective, non emotional standpoint based on comparable sales. 


Fortunately, Realtors are there to do this for you and should be able to talk you down from your overly attached metaphorical ledge.  Buyers don’t have the memories you have of Johnny learning to ride a bicycle, or Susie learning how to pogo stick, or that time at dinner you laughed so hard you peed your pants (take the table and chairs with you.)  Like I said, Realtors should make this plain enough so make sure to use one.   

 

7.   Just plain luck

Sometimes all the right pieces are in place and you just have to stick it out.  It may be that you aren’t doing anything wrong and it’s simply because the right buyer hasn’t come along yet.  Different regions of the country sell better at different times of the year.  That might be worth looking into if your home hasn’t sold yet.  A tactic that may work if your home has been on the market for a long time is to take it down, wait a week or two and re-list it. You may find that you just listed at a bad time originally and this may solve your problem.  Or, nobody wants your house and you’ll live there forever. 

 


I hope you enjoyed this article about selling your home!  Please share with your friends, family, and your dog.

My name is Brandon Rasmussen and I’m a Realtor.  If you are thinking of buying, selling, or renting a home I can make it simple and stress-free.  Give me a call or text at 609-651-5167.  Or shoot me an email at brandon@rasmussenhomesnj.com.


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