Monday, May 27, 2013

Stumped by Staging? These People Were.

The blue walls of this dining room are the same
intensity as the brown walls in the neighboring rooms. 
Did you have a teacher who said, “There are no stupid questions.” Yeah, I had her, too.

Asking questions is a smart thing to do. I love questions from readers. Here are some I’ve received lately.

Q: Our dining room is cherry red. I really like it. Do we have to change to color in order to attract a buyer? 

A: Staging is about removing as many obstacles as possible that will prevent a buyer from deciding your home is The One for him. You don't "have to" do anything, but you'd be wise to please as many people as possible with your wall colors.

I doubt that rooms adjoining your dining room have walls as intense as cherry red. I’d say, yes, paint your dining room walls a color that will “talk to” surrounding rooms, a color that's the same value, a color anyone have a long term relationship with.    

Q: I’m staging my house, and we just painted most of the walls. I don’t want bare walls, but I don’t want holes when I take the pictures down and move out. Do you have any advice?

A: There are a few things you can do. Very often you can hang lightweight art with regular push pins, which leave unnoticeable pinholes. Or you can use Command products that are removable and leave virtually no holes.

The people who buy your house might paint the walls or they may hang their own art that would cover nail holes, so don’t stress about some wall holes.  Leave some of your wall paint, labelled, for the new owners. The holes won’t be apparent until a walk-through just prior to closing, when you can tell them about the touch-up paint if it comes up in conversations or negotiations.

Q: My home has been on the market for 10 months. It’s uncluttered, clean and staged. People say it looks great. My realtor agrees. She shows it often. The feedback I get is all positive. But still no offers. Is this normal or am I missing something?

A: Find out what is typical for days on market in your area. That will tell you if you are just being impatient or there is a problem.

If homes in your market sell in less than 10 months average, and if all that you say is accurate, I think you have to look at the price. When people tour a home and they think the price is too high for what they see, they often won’t say that, even to their own realtor. Instead, they will mention that the bedrooms are small, or they don’t like the view, or the bath needs remodeling – some deal-breaker. No one wants to look cheap.

I’d recommend a review with your realtor of how you arrived at your price. You may have to adjust your expectations and ask less.    

Q: What finish should walls have when painting them for staging?

A: Flat everywhere except baths and kitchen where semigloss or satin is best.  
This CPAP unit is unusually attractive. Most
are not this pretty. Photo Devilbiss. 

Q: My husband uses a CPAP machine for his sleep apnea. The device sits on the bedside table. Now that our home is listed, should I be concerned about how this looks to people coming to look at the house?

A: Yes, you should. These devices aren't ugly, but they raise questions. Keep a pretty, cover-up box handy for the CPAP machine, tuck in under the bed, or buy a holder.

It’s never a good idea to have anything on display that hints of problems people have. Even if the problems have nothing to do specifically with the house for sale, buyers don’t want to be reminded of hardships, illnesses or unpleasantness homesellers have. They want their next home to be a place where nothing uncomfortable ever happens.

I always encourage people to find hiding places for things like an oxygen tank, walkers, crutches, braces, and medicines. Prescription drugs need to be securely out of sight. Maybe it’s just me, but I think even a flesh-colored wrist support or some bottles of supplements look too intimate.

Do you have questions about selling your home? You can email me, or ask on our group Facebook page. My eBooks also answer your DIY home staging questions.

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