Contributed by Tori Toth
A woman who lived in her home for over 25 years, who raised four kids there, is now ready to live a simpler life. She contacted a home staging company to help downsize to a two-bedroom condo. Over the phone, she mentioned removing items she no longer needed. The woman sounded excited to get started, however, upon arrival for the consultation, the homeowner gave the stager the cold shoulder. When asked what the homeowner was interested in junking, she said, “nothing until the home sells.” She continued to say that her kids or possibly future buyers might be interested in the worn-out belongings (which probably isn’t the case). The woman realizes she has small items, like photos, that need to be packed, but she can’t fathom the idea of removing or rearranging furniture in her home. In her mind she believes the decades-old décor is just what buyers are looking for.
What makes a home seller successful? What does it take to succeed in the real estate market? These are not easy questions to answer, and I encourage you to think about them before putting your home on the market. What do you think it will take to start out and win?
To answer these questions, I’ve studied my clients and found that most success when selling a home comes from within the sellers themselves. It’s about the psychology and practices of the seller, what is driving this person to sell their home, and what they are willing to live with -- or in some cases without -- to get to the closing table. Within this seller’s mindset you must also be realistic about the three key factors of home staging - product preparation, marketing and price - that help close the deal. Without this framework sellers lose focus, money, get frustrated and give up, or worse, they never even begin. Follow these six ideas when selling a home:
Mindset No. 1: Begin with the end in mind.
Mindset No. 2: Set feelings aside in a real estate transaction.
Mindset No. 3: Be proactive when showcasing your home.
Mindset No. 4: Control habits to reap the rewards.
Mindset No. 5: Focus on the buyer’s wants and needs.
Mindset No. 6: Create win-win situations.
The first step is to get sellers to view their home as one of their most valuable assets. Whether the product you’re marketing is beer, cars, widgets or houses, packaging is a key component to every effective marketing plan. So, if you’re a seller resistant to change, understand your property must be merchandized and marketed just like any other product.
The second step to obtaining a seller’s mindset involves going around your home with buyer’s eyes, meaning critique each room as a buyer would. Consumers’ views have shifted as to what is acceptable because of real estate and design TV shows. In the past buyers would seek out those fixer uppers, but today’s buyers are willing to invest more in a home that is “move-in ready,” which further supports the importance of staging the home first.
The final step to shift your paradigm is to get moving. Actions speak louder than words. When the woman above told the stager that her kids may want her worn out furniture, the stager replied,” then ask them what they want and get it removed from the home.” That not only begins the de-cluttering process, but it puts the homeowner in a mindset to start packing. Packing up or removing items you won’t need prior to going on the market is key to getting your home cleaned and clutter-free for buyers.
To learn more about how to obtain a savvy seller’s mindset, check out the book Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell by Tori Toth.
Tori Toth is a home staging expert and author of Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell. She is also the founder of The Stage 2 Sell Strategy and owner of Stylish Stagers, Inc., a NYC based home staging company.