- Market Preparation
- Digital, Internet and E- Marketing Program
- Custom Marketing Materials
- Print Media Advertising
- Direct Mail and Custom Marketing Materials
- National and International Relocation Marketing
- Marketing to other Real Estate Professionals
- Showing Your Property
- Client Communication
- Negotiation Expertise
- Full service, Five Star Customer Service
Home staging is a trend that has grown over the last few years, and for good reason! The phenomenon of staging homes listed for sale has proven its merit, as studies now show that staged homes sell faster and for a higher price than those that are not. “Staging” is anything that helps make a home more appealing to potential buyers by enhancing its best features and minimizing its worst. The goal is to:
- Create a sensational first impression
- Show a home’s potential and demonstrate its function
- Direct attention to the space and show how a room can be set up, and
- Make the home look bigger, brighter, cleaner, and warmer Think of it as a “fashion makeover” for the home.
- And based upon statistics from various studies, the net sales difference justifies the effort and expense. Those studies suggest these potential benefits:
- 1) Staged homes sell more quickly. In one study occupied homes that were staged sold on average within six days, while unoccupied homes sold within 28 days after staging.
- 2) Staged homes get higher offers. Although sellers are often reluctant to spend the money to do so, studies show that the increase in the purchase price of staged homes more than covers the cost of staging.
- 3) Staged houses look better in MLS pictures, getting more potential buyers to see the home. These days, more than 80 percent of buyers start their home shopping online, so it is crucial that photographs used on MLS and related websites be attractive.
- 4) Staged houses have an edge over competing properties, and staging may sway the final decision. Only 10 percent of home buyers are capable of visualizing what a house could become if it needs work, and potential buyers usually make their mind up about a house within 10 seconds. First impressions count!
A professional home stager possesses skills and adds a perspective that is vital to helping homeowners see their home as a product to be sold, selling the space rather than the sellers’ belongings. Moreover, many home stagers have decorating and remodeling expertise far beyond simple staging talents. The exact definition of what professional staging encompasses can vary but, just as decorating personalizes the home, staging de-personalizes and de-clutters the space.
If the seller wants to use their own furnishings, staging can range from a simple consultation about how to reduce clutter, open up rooms, and rearrange furnishings, accessories and artwork to best advantage. Or staging can include painting, landscaping, flooring and/or staging the interior of the home with the stager’s own inventory of furniture, artwork, plants, rugs and accessories to make a house look its best while on the market. Some stagers also offer remodeling and contractor consulting services which may include choosing paints, tiles, carpets, etc, and working with the contractors to get the house ready.
With vacant homes, every flaw is evident and it’s difficult for potential buyers to envision the property as “home.” Buyers may even interpret that the seller is desperate to sell and their offers are low. The home stager can furnish the empty house to prospective buyers see themselves living there. In lieu of that, some Realtors suggest that sellers utilize “virtual” staging services where “furnishings” are superimposed upon photographs of empty rooms for purposes of posting them on MLS so that potential buyers can see the possibilities.
Tips for selling your home
Even when Houston is experiencing market conditions that are more positive than those reported in the rest of the nation, sellers should not take this as a sign that they can be lax when preparing their homes for sale.
In spite of Houston’s betterthan-average real estate market, buyers are more cautious in their search for the right home. They’re more alert to value and swift to rule out homes that don’t fit the bill. Whether your home gets eliminated or receives an offer may depend on its condition. Property appearance and condition are important factors in securing a successful sale.
Sellers often have difficulty seeing their own homes through the eyes of prospective buyers. Our agents at Heritage Texas Properties are experts who work with buyers everyday and know what to look for. They can help put your home’s best face forward and “stage” it for quick sale. They’ll also help you prioritize a list of costeffective improvements to make the most of your resources. A key thing to remember is that first impressions count most. If a home doesn’t have “curb appeal” many times a buyer, short on time and trying to keep ahead of the competition, won’t even look at a home that is unattractive from the street. Peeling paint, deferred maintenance, or sparse landscaping can be major turnoffs. Fresh paint and well manicured landscaping are relatively inexpensive ways to add zest to the exterior of your home and invite buyers in. Don’t forget to make needed repairs. In addition, sellers can offer a home warranty service contract to put prospective buyers at ease about potential problems with older homes.
Once inside, clean and uncluttered is the name of the game. Unnecessary clutter and too many personal belongings distract a buyer. Overly furnished rooms make a home seem smaller. Things should be put away, out of sight. Here again, fresh paint, in neutral colors that complement a variety of furnishings and appeal to a broader homebuying audience, is an improvement that is easy on the pocketbook. Your home should be spotless when it goes on the market with everything looking and smelling fresh. Even if you have to hire a professional cleaning service to shampoo carpets, wax floors and remove pet or smoking odors, it’s well worth it. And, if you have a pool, make sure it sparkles.
Once the “for sale” sign is up, don’t forget the importance of making your home easy to show with flexible, readily available appointment times. The more potential buyers who see your home, the better are your chances of a quick sale at your desired price. Even then, there are a number of things one can do that set the stage for showings that make the experience pleasant and memorable. Buyers often fall in love with a house simply because it fulfills their image of “home.” Most people react favorably to a home that’s light and bright, so open those draperies and let the sunshine in. And turn on lamps. Lamplight is more soothing than harsh, overhead lighting. Healthy houseplants, fresh flowers, and soft music can also add a sense of wellbeing.
As we often tell sellers, “Your house should look as if you were expecting important company,” because that’s exactly what the buyer is.
Moving Guide offers vital information about choosing a mover, getting estimates, and it also provides helpful packing tips. But, it’s looking after all the details – big and small – during this hectic time that will ensure your move goes smoothly. Time is of the essence, so having a well thought out checklist of steps to be followed is essential to achieve an organized and well planned move.
We hope this moving timeline assures that nothing gets overlooked.
6 weeks before moving
- Moving Guide for information about choosing a mover.
- Evaluate your belongings in all rooms, including attic and garage. Is there anything you want to donate, toss or sell?
- Begin using items that can’t make the move with you – such as frozen and perishable foods.
- Make a list of people who must be notified of your move – family, friends, subscriptions, creditors, etc.
- If relocating as part of your employment, check with your employer to determine what moving expenses they will cover.
- Label an envelope “moving receipts” and keep all moving expenses together in case they qualify for tax exemptions or reimbursement.
4 weeks before moving
- Arrange the transfer of all your records: legal, school, personal insurance, medical, dental, prescriptions, pet healthcare and immunizations, etc.
- Check homeowner’s insurance policies to see if your move is covered. Contact insurance agent to transfer/cancel insurance coverage. Be sure that your new home is protected by transferring fire, theft, and other personal property insurance.
- If moving from an apartment, notify landlord and request apartment deposit back.
- Moving Guide) and begin packing items that you won’t need immediately.
- Have a moving sale and donate all other unwanted items, saving charitable receipts for tax records.
- Give away or arrange for transportation of house plants (movers generally will not move plants).
3 weeks before move
- Check and clear tax assessments.
- Properly dispose of combustibles, aerosols, flammables, ammunition, or bottled gas (these items cannot make the move with you).
- Review any needs you may have for your pet.
2 weeks before move
- Set up bank account at your new location, and switch automatic payments and deposits.
- Don’t forget belongings at other locations – empty safe deposit boxes, storage units and lockers, collect dry cleaning, etc.
- If possible, you may wish to open a safe deposit box in new location to ensure that important items/records are safe.
- Make sure your car is in good working order if you are making a long road trip to your new location.
- Confirm all moving arrangements/travel plans.
- Notify utilities and service providers of turn-off date – electric, gas, water, cable, satellite, phone, internet – and request refunds of deposits where applicable.
- Cancel all newspapers and magazines, pool or lawn care service, gym memberships, other clubs or associations, and arrange for transfer where applicable.
- Complete change of address forms and give to Post Office. Also, notify insurance companies (life, health, property), local financial institutions and credit unions (where you have deposit accounts, loans, or stock), Internal Revenue Service and/or other government agencies.
- Arrange services/connections in your new location.
- Draw a floor plan of your new home indicating desired placement of furniture –this will make arrival much more productive.
1 week before move
- Confirm with moving company method of payment, and make sure that proper steps have taken place to pay movers in order to complete your move.
- Settle any outstanding bills with local merchants.
- Be sure to return all borrowed items – movie rentals, library books, etc.
- Drain water hoses.
- Disassemble items such as swing sets, trampolines, exercise equipment, etc.
- Double check inaccessible or rarely used areas such as attic, storage shed, etc. for items.
2-3 days before move
- Assemble your “Survival Kit” – a 30-day supply of medications, important papers/documents, mover contact information, other important contact numbers, bathroom and clothing requirements, valuables, and any other essential necessities for you, your children and/or pets. Maintain possession of this kit/suitcase throughout your move.
- If using mover’s packing service, plan to remain at the house throughout the packing process. Be available to answer questions and advise movers of items that are fragile or need special attention.
- Defrost your freezer and refrigerator.
- Finish all personal packing.
- Confirm utilities at new location.
- Clear all walkways.
- Plan to remain at the house throughout the moving/loading process. Be available to answer questions and advise movers of items that are fragile or need special attention.
- Make sure driver/moving company has all your contact information in case of problems.
- To avoid confusion with other boxes, load all boxes/suitcases (Survival Kit) that need to stay in your possession and will be needed immediately upon arrival. Also take in your car – maps, snacks, first aid kit, cell phone charger, and emergency road equipment.
- Load the vacuum/broom last to clean floors as a courtesy to new buyers/tenants.
- If you’re moving more than a few miles, you should have enough cash or credit to cover travel, food, transportation and lodging.
- If moving with children, make sure that each has a favorite toy or toys, blankets, games, music and other goods.
- Have address books readily available in case you need help.
- If you have a laptop computer with WiFi capabilities, make sure it is easily accessible during your trip to pick up business and personal e-mail.
- Make final tour of home before moving truck drives away.
- Lock all doors and windows as you leave.