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“Today in the age of Internet home sales, photos matter more than ever."

Staging Your Home is Key to its Sale

As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of selling a home, which ranks with buying a home as one of the largest financial transactions that most people will make in their lives. Despite the importance of staging a home for sale, real estate professionals often express surprise at the lack of preparation clients undertake in order to make the best first impression. When it comes to selling a home, especially in a challenging al estate remarket, first impressions count, and sellers need to impress at a few key points along the way, including photos, open houses and realtor visits.

Today in the age of Internet home sales, photos matter more than ever. Newspapers, still a popular resource for home buyers, have moved their listings online, where photos of homes for sale become available to millions of people anywhere in the world. Moreover, specialty real estate websites allow larger numbers of people to look at home listings, and next to price and location, photos can be one of the first things to attract buyers’ attention among thousands of listings. On the other hand, photos also turn off potential buyers if they are not done well. What seller wants a real estate blogger to Tweet an unflattering photo of their front lawn when a few easy preparations can make things pretty?

Sellers should think of photos as their home’s calling card, but far too many people approach photos as an afterthought. Understandably, in the whirlwind of events that can surround the decision to sell a home, people forget the importance of staging for a good picture. However, as a key element in any 21st century real estate listing, the photo precedes the open house as the first opportunity to make a good impression. Ask your real estate agent about his or her plans for the photos, and be ready to put the house in impeccable condition and pick a day to shoot with good natural lighting. Consider using the services of a professional photographer to take the pictures, and always ask to see the photos before they get posted with listing. Together, you and your real estate agent can project the best first impression that leads to a sale.

Once photos are set, the next opportunity for staging comes during open houses, which potential buyers attend after seeing the announcement in the listing. The trick to staging for an open house is to make your home look welcoming but not too personal. Potential buyers must be able to envision themselves living in the space, which means that it should not be empty, but it also should not be overloaded with personal effects like family photos and clothing. Be sure to remove strong odors like perfumes and scented flowers that could trigger an allergy reaction, although a mildly scented candle may be okay, and even necessary to cover up the seller’s unique smells. It is advised to take pets like cats and dogs elsewhere for the duration of the open house. Finally, do not forget to tend to “curb appeal,” the condition of the outside of your home, by trimming trees and bushes and properly storing the garbage.

The same staging rules of an open house apply to realtor visits, or those spontaneous moments when a realtor may stop by your home with clients who could not make the open house, or who want to take a second look. This means that sellers must maintain a high level of cleanliness and keep their home presentable until the sale is finished. In a challenging market, sellers should be ready to show their home on a moment’s notice. Do not risk all your hard work by having a potential buyer drop in while the house looks untidy.

These days, everyone wants to know the secret of completing a successful home sale in as short a time as possible. While conditions are not what they used to be, and many homes continue to take longer to sell, sellers can make the process as efficient as possible by working with their real estate agent to stage their home and make a good first impression. Staging matters when it comes to photos, open houses and realtor visits. Like a real stage, sellers need to be in character all the time.
 

RE/MAX of Tenafly

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About Orly Chen

  Orly Chen is a leading
Tenafly real estate agent
in Northern New Jersey
specializing in the Bergen
County area. Her
outgoing personality,
honesty and
approachability and
integrity make Orly
one of the most sought-
after agents in the
Northern New Jersey
real estate market

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