Buyers seek ‘homes,’ not houses: Top reasons for staging a home for sale

This week, Megan Gates — a writer for Douglas Elliman Real Estate —  is our guest contributor. Established in 1911, Douglas Elliman has grown to become the nation’s fourth-largest real estate company. It has a current network of over 65 offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island (including the Hamptons and North Fork), Westchester and Putnam Counties, as well as South Florida.

By Megan Gates, Special to The Houstory Hearth

When you are preparing to list your home for sale, there are many details to be seen to and home staging should be at the top of your list. Home staging allows you to highlight the best features of the home while downplaying the weaknesses. First impressions are everything and, with the majority of homebuyers now beginning their home search online, prepping a home to look best both for a showing, and in it’s online gallery is more important than ever.

home buying, home staging, real estate

Home buying is part emotional and part logical. (Photo: Douglas Elliman Brooklyn Real Estate)

Staging aids potential homebuyers in being able visualize themselves in the space more than an empty house will. Here are a few reasons; including some tips on how to stage a property to help it reach it’s market potential and turnover a sale quickly.

It’s Difficult to Visualize the Placement of the Furniture

Many homes remain on the market for months because homebuyers cannot visualize how they can place their furniture in the home. Most buyers cannot distinguish between a 14 x 12 foot room and a 12 x 10 foot room. The first room is 40 percent larger, but most buyers look at the rooms as the same. With furniture, buyers can visualize the difference. Buyers can also view the potential of the room if furniture is included in the home.

An important tip to remember is to not place too much furniture in a space. Look around the property and think of function of a room—if there are other pieces that don’t help define a space, store them away and allow your room to look uncluttered. Hiring a home stager can provide ideas and help sellers view the potential of the space.

People Are Looking For Homes and Not Houses

Home buying is part emotional and part logical. Most people focus on the emotional side of buying a home. The emotional side of buying a home includes the homebuyers becoming attached to the aesthetic aspects of the home and visualizing themselves living in the home. It is more difficult to visualize living in a home for 20 to 30 years without furniture.

Part of the emotional attachment to a home can include connecting with the home’s history and helping buyers see themselves as part of that history. Highlighting a home’s unique house history by including information about past owners or noting interesting events that have taken place in the home or staging a home with historically significant furniture can help buyers make that connection.

When homebuyers tour a staged home, they can automatically visualize themselves in the home. When a seller removes all of their personal pieces, like family photos and taste-specific artwork, it will provide a buyer with a neutral and appealing look. This service is invaluable because an emotional buyer will purchase a home faster than a buyer who focuses on the logical aspects of the home buying process.

Buyers Focus on Negative Details and Not the Home When It’s Empty

When a room is empty, prospective homebuyers focus on everything, but the overall appeal of the home. For instance, prospective homebuyers may judge a house on its paint colors, may ask whether the carpet can be replaced, or why the molding is not finished.

Noticeable flaws could prevent a buyer from making an offer. If the buyer does make an offer, he or she may ask for price concessions for the flaws in the home. With some easy and simple updates to a home, these flaws can be fixed or will not be as noticeable if the room is staged. Not only will this help the home sell quicker, it will also sell for a higher price.

Home Stagers are Beneficial

Home stagers require a small investment compared to the amount of money recouped from the home selling process. The service is growing in popularity because most home sellers recoup 200 percent from the home sale and also reduces the time on the market by almost one-half.  Home sellers should consider the services of home stagers because of the significant benefits of the service.

Whether selling a sprawling farmhouse in the Midwest or listing a penthouse apartment in New York City, home staging can benefit any seller. With some small reorganization steps, a huge reward can be reaped when a property is sold for top dollar.

Megan Gates is an active creative writer for Douglas Elliman, writing on topics including home improvement and the latest architecture, design and home buying. Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.

Family history holiday: To say thanks, Houstory has a gift for you

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Houstory hopes you have a great time with your family this year. Scroll down the page to see the special gift we have for you!

family heirloom, family keepsakes, provenances, family stories, family heirlooms, heirloom registry, houstory publishing, house history, home history book, family history, genealogy, mike hiestand

Houstory Founder Mike, along with his gorgeous family (wife Patty, daughters Jessica and Ally)

family heirloom, family keepsakes, provenances, family stories, family heirlooms, heirloom registry, houstory publishing, house history, home history book, family history, genealogy, dan hiestand

Houstory Marketing Director Dan, with his beautiful wife Tasi

Would you like to try the Heirloom Registry for free? Now thru Thanksgiving, you can receive a free permanent registration to save the story of a precious family heirloom.

If you aren’t saving these family stories, who will?

Please visit our Facebook page and “Like” us to receive this limited offer. Feel free to share with other friends, family who may be interested!

family heirloom, family keepsakes, provenances, family stories, family heirlooms, heirloom registry, houstory publishing, house history, home history book, family history, genealogy

Click the logo, and “Like” us on Facebook

Have a great Thanksgiving!

 

Mike and Dan Hiestand

Houstory: The Stories of Home

Looking for the perfect gift for person with everything? Help them honor the stuff — and family heirlooms — they already have

Looking for a unique gift idea that’s not just more clutter? Help your loved ones save the stories behind their family heirlooms, add texture and color to your family history and help conserve natural resources — all at the same time.

11/19/12 UPDATE: Would you like a special gift from Houstory (in addition to the gift mentioned below)? “Like” us on Facebook for a special offer, which we will make available soon!

By Mike Hiestand, Houstory Publishing Founder

I’m sure you know a person (probably more than one) who genuinely appears to have everything they need from a material goods standpoint. Both sets of my pre-Boomer parents fall into this category. Often, when you ask what they need from Santa, they honestly, sincerely and kindly tell you “nothing.” Because the truth is, we all reach a point — some much sooner than others — where we really don’t need more stuff. But do we listen? No.

We buy them something, perhaps out of guilt (which you already know is not a good reason), but more often because we genuinely feel love and affection for them. Exchanging gifts — even something very small, which they really don’t need (they told you!) — is one of the ways our culture expresses those feelings during the holiday season.

So, rather than fight the system, here’s a perfect, outside-the-box — and brand new — gift idea for 2012: Rather than buying them more stuff, help them honor some of the stuff they already have.

Show you care by helping them identify and share the stories of the things already in their lives that are genuinely meaningful to them (and probably to you as well), such as a family quilt; the dining room table that has been the center of family gatherings for generations; the cheap, funny looking lamp that your dad loves and your mom hates; family photos; a toy train; Bibles and scrapbooks — basically anything that might fall into the general category of a “family heirloom,” whose background and story make it more than just regular old stuff.

And while we understandably think The Heirloom Registry is an easy, simple and inexpensive way to accomplish this, we’re also on a two-part, nonprofit mission. And both are time-sensitive.

First, we want to stop the stories from disappearing. The interesting — and often magical — stories that can, for example, transform an otherwise ordinary, musical trinket into a priceless piece of family history, often disappear with the storyteller. And if its story disappears, the musical trinket — like Cinderalla at midnight —  changes back into just more stuff to get rid of at a garage sale — or to add to the already-stuffed landfill.

What a terrible, sometimes tragic, shame.

So, whether you permanently register the items on the Registry or not, please download the following free offline registry worksheet where your loved one can record the story of their most important things. They can just leave the completed form in the heirloom’s drawer or attach it to its underside where it can later be found. (It was such a wonderful note, written by my grandpa and left in his grandfather clock, that sparked the idea for The Heirloom Registry,  after all.) This is a simple gift from Houstory we sincerely hope you’ll use this year. Especially if it means preventing even one more story from being permanently lost.

Even better: Make it a stocking stuffer. And while the Christmas ham is baking, spend a wonderful hour with your folks or other gift recipient walking around their home, listening to their stories and taking notes. It is truly a special gift for everyone — and one that will keep on giving as future generations enjoy pieces of family history that they can actually touch. Safe from the landfill.

Which brings up the second part of our mission at The Heirloom Registry: natural resource conservation.

I’m a believer, but without question it has been my brother Dan’s passion about environmental issues and his unwavering commitment to growing a sustainable business that has guided much of Houstory’s growth and business philosophy.

We think of The Heirloom Registry as not only a useful, meaningful genealogy product, but also as a way to encourage better stewardship of the stuff we have. (And, if you think about it, our Home History Books — which tracks the story of what is usually our biggest heirloom — are just bigger, more beautiful versions of the stickers and plates we use with the Registry.)

The more you care about your stuff, the less you’ll probably want to replace it with something “new” and the more likely it avoids the landfill.

So this holiday season, give the perfect gift to the person who has everything. And feel great about it for years to come.