Staging Your Home For Autumn and Halloween

Your efforts to sell your home this fall season can be aided by some simple decorating that reflects autumn and/or the popular holiday of Halloween. Some effective touches can not only ’round out’ your staging; they can also encourage potential buyers to imagine decorating the home themselves by creating a warm, inviting atmosphere.

The first rule of Halloween decorating is: don’t go overboard! You’re staging your home, not throwing a Halloween party. No skeletons, NO fake blood and nothing that is meant to jump out and startle people! You want people to enjoy their tour of your home; not have a heart attack when the fake bat drops onto their head.

A fall staging theme can be as simple as warm fall colors being featured in the decor. Or, it can be tastefully elaborate, with some kind of decoration in every room that ‘ties’ the rooms together.

In homage to the holiday, you can use pumpkins and the small pumpkin-like gourds to accent your porch, tables and mantelpieces. Pumpkins are definitely an attention getter, both in terms of size and color. Use them wisely.

If you decide to carve your pumpkins, make sure that they are carved in harmless, “happy” expressions, if they have faces. One idea is to use your jack-o-lanterns to highlight the numbers of your address. Or, you could carve a tiny house into one.

If you do decide to go the jack-o-lantern route, use candle substitutes. The last thing you want is to find the perfect buyer, only to have your home burn to the ground because a candle fell over. Flameless flickering lights are available cheaply from local stores, especially around Halloween.

Flowers and plants are popular with home stagers and you can make them work for you. Chrysanthemums and dried leaves are good fall choices for the home stager. A vase of these in a room can provide some attractive natural color that calls to mind the crisp warmth of fall. Planting hardy fall flowers like mums can also add some color to an otherwise fading garden.

One idea for home showing is have business cards printed up with a picture of your home and contact information. Tie these to Halloween candy bags and put them in a fall/Halloween themed bowl for prospective buyers.

Halloween and fall provide you with a great decorating scheme to bring your house together with warm, inviting colors and decorations that reflect the fall harvest/Halloween season. This can help prospective buyers imagine decorating your home for their seasonal celebrations and encourage them to think of your home as their own.

Tips To Sell Your Home For Top Dollar In A Slow Market

How long is too long? In a dry market, a sales period of six months to one year isn’t unusual. Look at recent sales reports of similar homes nearby to determine a reasonable selling interval. In a hot seller’s market, a house that hasn’t sold within one month indicates a problem. In either case, there are several steps you can take before putting up the white flag.

  • Videotape your house, inside and out, and watch the tape as if you were a prospective buyer. Is the lawn weedy or the garden bare? Is your home uncluttered and spotlessly scrubbed? Sparkling-clean houses sell faster than those that look too lived-in or show an abundance of the owner’s personality.
  • Take a second look at your listing price. Visit open houses in your neighborhood. Are similar homes priced lower? Selling prices may have dropped since your first comparative market analysis. In a hot market, if you haven’t sold your home within one month, chances are good that you’ve overpriced it. If you do lower your asking price, consider a figure slightly below those of other comparable homes if you are interested in a speedy sale.
  • Do whatever it takes to be away from your home during showings and open houses. The presence of sellers makes it difficult for prospective buyers to take their time or talk openly with their partner and agent. Leave some treats out to make potential buyers more comfortable: beverages, nuts, cookies — anything that won’t lose freshness or be too messy.
  • Pay close attention to feedback from showings. The feedback can guide you in making home repairs, toning down your décor, making landscaping improvements and the like.
  • You can offer perks to buyers, such as cash bonus, closing costs or buy down their interest rate to lower monthly payments. You could also consider owner financing.
  • Neutralize your color scheme. Most buyers prefer pale, neutral colors that make it easier to imagine a new home as their own. Houses with white exteriors are the highest sellers; for interiors, try whites, off-whites or pale grays.
  • Expose Hardwoods and buff them until they shine. It’s amazing how many buyers will not even look at a house without hardwoods.
  • If you have dogs, cats, old carpeting, mildew or smoke problems chances are that a potential buyer may offended by the odor. Ventilate the home and invest in an air cleaning and deodorizing product to remove odors. Another option is a cleaning product with living enzymes that consume the odor causing agents and remove the smell permanently.
  • Staging your home is one of the very best ways to sell your home the quickest and for top dollar. Staging sets the scene throughout the home to create immediate buyer interest in the property. The way you live in your home and the way you sell your house are two different things. One idea is to pack up several large pieces of furniture and as much clutter in each room as possible. Don’t just shift to another room or garage, rent storage space and get it out of the house before showing.
  • Pay attention to lighting. Make sure light sources are clean. Cleaning them isn’t enjoyable, but the sparkling lighting will pay off. You may even increase the brightness factor of your rooms by adding brighter bulbs, or by placing accent lamps or cabinet lighting. Be sure and pull back the curtains and lift the blinds. For the best effect, use a balance of natural, overhead, and table or floor lighting.
  • Try readjusting your sights. Determine the lowest price you find acceptable, and consider anything more as icing on the cake. In a longstanding dry market you may even have to sell at a loss, so it’s important to take every offer seriously. You don’t want to alienate a potential buyer who has solid financing because you’ve set your sights unrealistically high.
  • If the market is underwater, consider offering an increased commission or a bonus for your listing agent as extra incentive. If you do sweeten the pot for your agent, amend your listing contract to reflect the change, and be sure it’s added to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) book — buyer agents will also be inspired to give your house extra attention.

Top 10 FSBO Tips to Selling Your Home by Owner

By using some simple FSBO (For Sale by Owner) tips and techniques, the average homeowner can sell his or her own home without the assistance of a real estate agent. Just as many others have done in the past. You can sell your own home and save thousands, but it takes work and commitment.

Below you will read some simple strategies that can stack the odds in your favor, greatly increasing your chances for success when selling on your own.

FSBO Tip 1. Understanding the real estate market.

Getting an idea of your local market conditions makes good sense. Just like any other product getting a feel of what’s hot and what’s not can help you make decisions that affect the sale of your home. Consider your neighborhood and the features that distinguish it from others. If you’re comfortable, contact a real estate agent to discuss what the current market environment is like.

FSBO Tip 2. Timing is everything.

Timing the decision to sell and gauging the current market conditions could be two of the most critical decisions you make. If you need to sell your home quickly, the less flexibility, you’ll be able to have. Conversely, if you’re not in a big hurry you can sit back and wait for the perfect buyer. Just remember the real estate market is a cyclical environment. If it’s a slow period now and you’re in a position to wait it out then it might be a good idea to wait for the next upswing.

FSBO Tip 3. Assemble a team of professionals to help you.

While it’s nice to think that you can handle things on your own, selling a home takes specialized knowledge. It’s more than just writing up a sales agreement. Depending on what part of the country you’re in you’ll either need to find a real estate attorney or a title / escrow company to help with the legal details. As a rule of thumb, if you’re east of the Mississippi it’s usually a real estate attorney. If you’re west of the Mississippi, it’s a title company. Either way they’ll be an indispensable part of your home selling process. Another important partner to consider is a reputable mortgage banker/lender. They can assist in helping you prequalify buyer prospects. We’ll talk more about qualifying prospects as you read on.

FSBO Tip 4.How to determine the fair market price of your home.

This always seems to be a real tricky one. For many home sellers this typically reveals itself as a major point of contention. When trying to decide on a price guessing or basing your asking price on hearsay or nontraditional methods immediately reduces your negotiating advantage. Basing your price on what the house down the street sold for or what media outlets perceives as increased market value is not the way to get a legitimate price either. There are only two legitimate and well-recognized ways of determining a fair market value. One way is to contact a real estate agent or broker to provide you with a CMA otherwise known as a comparative market analysis. The best and most accurate way of determining price comes from a full-blown appraisal done by a professional real estate appraiser.

FSBO Tip 5. You’re selling a house not a home.

While it’s important to become emotionally detached, you don’t have to become a robot. After all this is your home, be objective but don’t be cold. Keep in mind that people are going to perceive your home differently than you do. Either way remain positive and ultimately the right person will walk through the door and buy your home.

FSBO Tip 6. Preparing your home for sale.

Today’s real estate market rewards those homeowners that place a high-value on neatnessas well as cleanliness. It not only adds value but alsogenerally promotes a quicker and more profitable sale. Once again the depersonalizing of your home helps your prospect with such an emotional decision. Decluttering the inside of a home is also key to your preparation. If necessary, rent out a small storage space and store some household items there. Just as a side note, having a garage sale is also a great way of getting rid of items that clutter up the house. Not only do you get rid of the items but also you make a little money in the process.

FSBO Tip 7. Start spreading the news.

It should be understood if you’re going to sell your home and you’re going to do it yourself, the easiest way to get the word out is to put a sign in your yard. This will immediately get the attention of anybody that happens to ride by. Naturally, this is the essence of selling on your own. Coming up with a highlight sheet to outline the key features of your home is a must. With the readily available use of word processing programs putting together a simple highlight sheet is easy.

FSBO Tip 8. Knowing a few, negotiating skills will get you a long way.

It’s not necessary to become the next great diplomat. You will want to keep in mind that it’s necessary to keep your emotions and personal feelings regarding the negotiating price of your property in check. When discussing the selling price it’s important that your calculations and numbers are correct. This allows you to have greater flexibility and leverage and you can negotiate from a position of strength.

FSBO Tip 9. Qualifying buyers and stopping the lookie loos.

So what’s a lookie loo? A lookie loo is a person that comes to your house and looks in everything. They,look in cabinets,closets and drawers check everything out but never make you a serious offer. You need qualified buyers looking at your home or it’s going to get very discouraging. One of the best ways of getting qualified prospects is to have them referred by your mortgage broker/lender. You can also take the direct approach. If you’re arranging a showing over the phone, go ahead and ask them if they are pre-qualified. Don’t be too shy when it comes to your prospects. If you’re holding an open house and someone expresses interest in your home go-ahead and ask. Most of the time if they’re pre- qualified they love to tell you. So don’t worry about asking, it’s the right thing to do.

FSBO Tip 10. If all else fails go to where the realtors hang out.

If after a while, you’re not getting the results that you were hoping for you can always go to the MLS option. This doesn’t mean that you have to list with a real estate agent or broker. As a private party, you can list your home with your local multiple listing service. Usually this cost a fee but by doing this you automatically expose your house to thousands of potential prospects all over the country. The upside is that you should be able to sell your home in short order. The obvious downside will be that you will have to pay co-op to an agent. Only in unique situations would the cost of co-opting be virtually impossible, due to low equity or some other extenuating circumstance.

These FSBO tips should give you a solid foundation to successfully selling your own home. There’s many specific ideas and recommendations that are beyond the scope of this article when it comes to pricing, preparing and staging your home, and all of the items previously outlined. You should definitely research and prepare yourself for the selling of your own home process. In the long run,it will make things easier and could either save you or even make you thousands of dollars.

Set the Stage For Your Own Home Selling Success Story

There’s a new wave of home shows on TV these days and the focus is on getting a house seen and sold quickly and for top dollar. These shows feature all the elements of a good plot; drama, comedy, suspense, bad guys, victims, good guys, and always it seems a happy ending.

The drama unfolds with the scene set as the sellers, our victims, are obviously in desperate need of a quick home makeover to sell the place. The bad guys, the Realtor or potential buyers walk through the willing victim’s home and offer candid, sometimes crude remarks on how the house shows. The victims generally sit like rabbits in hole at a neighbor’s house and watch on TV as the scene unfolds and what these bad guys have to say about their place.

Yikes, they need help! Here they come to save the day, the helpful crew, our heroes; stagers, designers, painters, carpenters, camera men and of course our host, to the aide of our sellers. They will rescue our victims and the sale of their home by getting it spiffy for sale in less than 2 days and for less than it costs for a day at Disney World. Everyone’s happy and the show, I mean sale, is a success!

How can you as a home seller create this same experience without America watching but reach your intended audience – the buyers in your market? I’ll tell you how, STAGE your own property!

Staging is a marketing tool that highlights you home’s best features while minimizing the negative. Staging is not about your personal style or taste.

Notice in most of these shows, the designer will “neutralize” the space and strip away the often outlandish, messy or outdated style of the owners in question. It’s about selling the space, the house itself, not the contents. Buyers want to envision themselves in this home, not your house.

Treating your house like a commodity for sale on the open market is the first step in separating yourself from your home, it is now a product. It gets easier after that.

Here are a few simple tips to start you on your way to your own successful sale;

1. Declutter, depersonalize and deep clean your place. All the little knick knacks, kid’s artwork, family photos and rooster collections need to be packed up and moved to storage. Save them for your next place. Remove items not permanently adhered to counter tops in bathrooms and kitchens especially. You have to pack anyway, get started early! Get the house cleaner than you ever have before, including the grout, wall plates, door frames, carpets and windows.

2. Neutralize vibrant wall colors and remove wallpaper, even if it is a “designer” color, faux finish that was popular 5 years ago or took 18 hours to dry. Buyers want a home that is move in ready and despite what you feel about the colors you love, buyers probably won’t and will look at it as work to do – not move in ready. You can’t go wrong with a warm beige or taupe or an antique white. A fresh clean palette speaks volumes.

3. Remove unnecessary furniture and rugs to storage. Keep only the necessary pieces to show placement and scale of the room. If your furniture is really in bad shape, consider buying few inexpensive newer pieces or slip covers, you’ll be taking it with you to your next place so why not slurge a little? Rugs tend to create a disruption in flow, especially if they are small and scattered about the house this includes bathrooms. One anchoring rug in proper proportion per room is fine if not too busy. Buyers are purchasing square footage, space, flooring, architectural details and counter tops, not your furniture. Show them what they’re getting by highlighting the house not your stuff.

4. Find the focal point of the room and highlight it, don’t make it compete with something else. Maybe it’s the fireplace or the beautiful view, sell the focal point, don’t hide it! Large TV units are notorious for overshadowing the focal point of many rooms, if you can move it or store it while selling you’re way ahead of the game.

5. Create curb appeal both in front and back of your property. Freshly mowed and edged yards, mulched flower beds and seasonal flowers welcome visitors to a home that says, “I’ve been well cared for.” Removing all excessive lawn art and equipment invite the buyer in and allow the imagination to flow. Keep hoses tight, pool toys stowed and bbq grills to a minimum and out of sight especially if they’ve seen better days.

By doing these steps prior to listing and showing your house, you’ve improved one of the biggest factors in the successful sale of your home, the condition.

You as the owner are the only one who can control that. So whether you invite an HGTV crew, a professional home stager or a neighbor over to help you, you’ve chosen to make your house the star of the real estate show in your local market, one that you have produced yourself and one that will most certainly have a happy ending.