The Texas real estate climate weathered the recession well and population centers like the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex are drawing more and more relocation traffic. Buyers are increasingly attracted to bedroom communities like Frisco, a community of 100,000 lying just 25 miles north of Dallas. Named one of the nation’s fastest growing suburbs by Forbes in 2007, single family homes are selling well in Frisco, putting extra responsibility on existing owners to showcase their properties to maximum advantage.
When listing a home for sale, divorce yourself from the emotional attachment you feel toward the house and everything in it. While most listing agents will agree that a furnished home sells better than an empty one, those same agents will also tell you that almost every home has too much clutter and too much furniture.
** Things to Do Before Staging a Home **
Staging a home, even one in which the sellers are living while it is being shown, is a matter of creating illusions to stimulate the imagination. Before you even consider the elements of that illusion:
– Clean thoroughly. No one wants to buy your dirt.
– Declutter. Don’t leave “mail mountain” on the hall credenza or let hubby’s “gimme cap” collection remain in plain sight.
– Depersonalize. For as much as they mean to you, family photographs and cherished “treasures” should be removed. You want buyers to see the home, not be distracted by your interests and eccentricities.
– Repaint areas that show accumulated dirt, like door frames and cabinets. Paint is cheap and can hide a multitude of sins!
– Make minor repairs. It may not bother you that one of the shower handles is broken. It will bother a prospective buyer.
Only when these kinds of problems have been addressed are you ready to consider staging the home.
** Start Staging from the Outside and Work In **
The absolute worst case scenario is to have an agent pull up at the curb only to have the buyer say, on first glance, “No thanks.” Curb appeal is important. Make sure that:
– The yard is free of clutter, the edges trimmed, and the grass mowed.
– The shrubs and trees are neat.
– Any faded paint has been freshened up.
– Items like listing rain gutters or crooked mailboxes have been repaired.
– Flags or signs pointing to school or sports affiliations are taken down.
– The house numbers are clearly visible.
Plant flowers or strategically position blooming plants in pots. Bright colors immediately attract the eye and create a welcoming feel.
** Rent a Storage Unit **
Dramatically reduce the amount of furniture in the home, removing or rearranging those pieces that block lines of sight or impair free movement from room to room..
The basic idea is to include only those pieces that clearly illustrate the purpose of any given room. If, for instance, you have a bed in the living room, buyers will be left scratching their heads. You may have a perfectly good reason for the bed to be there, but people looking at your home will neither know or care what that reason may be
Group remaining furniture in appealing vignettes and stage them with accessories. For instance, you might drape a satin throw over the back of a chaise lounge. Buyers are attracted to luxurious fabrics. Use unique elements sparingly and only to highlight a feature of the room, for instance an interesting piece of sculpture might draw the eye to the handcrafted wooden mantle piece.
** Use Room Appropriate Accessories **
Remember, you’ve taken out your own clutter and memorabilia. Don’t replace it with “cutesy” kitsch that’s just as bad. Think about what accessories add to a room according to the function of the room. For instance:
– Put out scented soaps in bathrooms that add a nice fragrance to the air.
– Arrange bowls of fruit in the kitchen beside a stack of cookbooks.
– Instead of framed photos, place candles in brass candlesticks on the piano.
Keep these displays simple and avoid the urge to over-do. The rule is, no clutter.
** Don’t Neglect the Backyard **
If you go to the trouble to work on your home’s curb appeal, don’t forget to stage the backyard. If you have a deck, make sure you have deck furniture. If there’s a pool, it should sparkle. Use flowers in pots or even consider setting the table to hint at how lovely evening meals would be in the setting. Remember, your goal is sparking the imagination of the potential buyer.
As a community, Frisco, Texas will sell itself. Residents enjoy an active local life and a strong, well-tended economy fostered by the Frisco Economic Development Corporation. There is currently a strong buyer’s market for relocating to North Texas and existing owners need only present their properties well to command good sale prices.
article submitted on behalf of author Darrell Self.