Getting Your Home Sold in This Market – 10 Steps to Success According to Professional Home Stagers

One of the biggest benefits of belonging to a nationwide network of real estate professionals is that my network is not limited to just other REALTORS®.  It also includes title and mortgage professionals as well as some of my favorite people – home stagers. 

Home stagers are the magicians that can take your house from just OK to WOW.  Even though my friend Michelle Minch is located in California, her advice to home sellers holds true no matter where you live.  She recently wrote an article about getting your home sold in today’s tough market and I’d like to share it with you all.

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From Michelle Minch, Moving Mountains Design Home Staging

Want to get your home sold in this difficult market? Here’s 10 steps for moving your home from "for sale" to "SOLD!". I’m here to tell you that homes are selling, some very quickly, even in this market. Most of the Los Angeles homes we stage are selling in less than 30 days, some with multiple offers. Want to know what those home sellers are doing to help their homes get sold?

los angeles home before staging  Before

los angeles home after staging  After

This Valencia home sold in 14 days with multiple offers after being staged by Moving Mountains Design (September 2008) Click here to read this very happy client’s testimonial.

Here are 10 steps you can take to help get your home sold, too:

  1. Hire the best full service REALTOR or real estate agent you can find. This is no time to be fooling around with less than full service. Do your research on the internet and by asking friends who they’ve worked with and if they had a good experience. Interview at least 3 REALTORS or real estate agents. Don’t hire your best friend, their cousin, your hairstylist who moonlights as a real estate agent, unless you are certain that they know what they are doing and can back up their claims. You are selling what for many is their most valuable asset. Don’t be embarrassed into letting your home sit unsold because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
  2. Don’t negotiate the sales commission. A really good, experienced REALTOR or real estate agent will tell probably tell you "no" anyway. Marketing and selling real estate properly is an expensive proposition. All the brochures, flyers, virtual tours, professional photographers, etc. cost money. If you negotiate a lower commission, you are preventing your listing agent from pulling out the "big guns" to get your home sold as quickly as possible. Don’t hamstring the sale of your home by limiting the amount of money your listing agent has available for marketing. Also, with the abundant inventory on the market right now, buyer’s agents are going to show the homes that pay full commissions first.
  3. Listen to your Listing Agent regarding pricing.They know what they are doing (assuming your followed step 1). They are on the MLS every day and know what homes are selling for and how quickly they sold. They talk to other REALTORS and real estate agents daily. It doesn’t matter how much your dry cleaner thinks you should list your home for. It doesn’t matter how much profit (or how little loss) you would like to walk away with. All that matters is how much someone will be willing to pay for your house. A good REALTOR or real estate agent will be able to tell you how much you should list your home for to get it sold quickly.
  4. Hire a professional building inspector for a pre-sale inspection. You can address any issues that might sink a sale during escrow, or prevent someone from making an offer in the first place. Use the information to get your home into tip-top shape.
  5. Make any needed repairs. Home buyers want a home that is truly move-in ready. They don’t want an allowance for new carpet or a new roof. They want a house that already has new carpet and a new roof so they can move in right away.
  6. Clean your house from top to bottom. Clean it until it is cleaner than it has ever been before. If you don’t have the time or energy, hire a cleaning service. Make sure your house sparkles and smells clean every day it is on the market. If there is an issue you can’t address by cleaning, then replace it. For instance, if the linoleum in your kitchen has a big burn mark from the hot skillet you dropped, replace the linoleum.
  7. Hire a professional home stager. Again, do your research on the Internet and with your listing agent. Make sure you hire an experienced professional and not a hobbyist or (again) your  sister-in-law, unless she is a pro with experience and knowledge of your market. Ask to see the stager’s portfolio (or view it on-line) and make sure all the photos are of their recent work. If you are a do-it-yourself type, at the very least, hire a professional home stager to do a comprehensive consultation so you know exactly what needs to be done. Most home stagers will also help you choose paint colors and carpet as well.                                                                                 
  8. Listen to the home stager regarding the condition of your home and what needs to be done tp make it appealing to the greatest number of buyers. If they tell you your favorite floral pattern wallpaper has to go, do it. A home stager’s expertise is preparing homes to look their best so it is appealing to the greatest number of buyers and they have done it successfully for numerous home sellers (assuming you followed Step 7). Remember, they are looking at your home through "buyer’s eyes".
  9. Have your home photographed by a professional photographer. Many REALTORs and real estate agents include this as part of their marketing package. Photos taken by a point and shoot camera are not going to show your home at its best. 80% of home buyers are looking at homes on the Internet before going out to see homes they are interested in. If your home doesn’t look great in the photos, then most buyers will pass you by.
  10. Follow all of the above steps before you put your home on the market.Clean it up, fix it up, have it professionally staged and then photographed. Once you have great photos that really showcase your home, give your REALTOR the go-ahead to post them on the MLS. Make sure they post the maximum number of photos allowed. The more photos you have showcasing your home on the MLS, the greater your chances of selling it. If you rush the process, then you will not be putting your home’s best face forward from day one. Staging or adding better pictures after your home has been on the market, even for a few days, won’t get back potential buyers who dismissed your home when they saw few pictures, bad pictures, vacant rooms or an unstaged mess.

Read The Benefits of Staging a Home

Read Home Sellers: Are You Getting a Lot of Lookers, But No Takers? Maybe Its Time For A Staging Makeover!

Read How to Choose the Right Home Stager

Remember: When you put your home on the market, you are entering it in a beauty contest. The best looking homes in the best condition sell first. It’s a no-brainer.

*Getting Your Home Sold In This Market – 10 Steps To Success* copyright 2008 Michelle Minch and Moving Mountains Design. All rights reserved.

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Please visit our Los Angeles home staging web site for more information about how we can help you get you home sold quickly and for the best price. You can reach Michelle Minch, owner of Moving Mountains Design,  directly at (626)441-8975 or via email, Michelle@MovingMountainsDesign.com . Don’t settle for second best when selling your Los Angeles area home. Choose Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, the Los Angeles staging company with the track record of rapid sales and the referrals from many happy clients to back up our claims. Featured in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Sunset Magazine and numerous other national and international publications, we don’t sell homes, but we know what makes homes sell!

Thank you Michelle for allowing me to reprint this article here!

Lisa Heindel New Orleans West Bank Real Estate Specialist

to Getting Your Home Sold in This Market – 10 Steps to Success According to Professional Home Stagers
  1. Michelle Minch
    October 19, 2008 | 7:20 pm

    Lisa: You are most welcome. I should be thanking you for your tireless efforts to educate home sellers on how to get their homes sold quickly and for the best price. Anyone selling a home in the West Bank who doesn’t call you is missing out on a great opportunity to get their home sold fast.

  2. Jessica Horton
    October 20, 2008 | 7:06 pm

    Lisa:

    Great information! You really are a great person and one heck of a Realtor(r). :)

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