Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The fastest way to sell your house

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being interviewed by a reporter from the Denver Post. Here is the article:

The fastest way to sell your house
By Sheba R. Wheeler Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 04/17/2007 05:12:53 PM MDT

Staging enables a house to look its best for potential buyers.
(photo credit, Julie Dana,
The best way to get your house sold fast is to make it simple for buyers to imagine themselves living there. "Staging" makes that happen by capitalizing on a home's best features.
Accredited staging professional Julie Dana explains its benefits in her new book co-written with Marcia Layton Turner, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Staging Your Home to Sell" (Alpha Books, $18.95).

Here, Dana shares a few words of wisdom.

Q: Do "staged" homes sell faster than non-staged homes?

A: It varies across the nation, but the latest figures ... say it cuts your house's time on the market by 50 percent. The average increase in selling price for a staged home versus a nonstaged one is 6.9 percent.
Staged homes are more appealing to a wider range of people, and they are market-ready. When it comes to nonstaged homes, what you see is what you get. Usually these houses are just plain dirty. They are so cluttered that you can't appreciate what the house has to offer. Thirdly, the decorating is very distracting. People can't imagine themselves living in the house because it's not their personal style.

Q: What common changes are made to a staged home?

A: I usually request (that) clients remove wallpaper, which is very taste specific, and labor intensive. People know it's not a fun job to remove it, so they won't buy a house with it.
In 50 percent of homes I complete, I take out all the curtains. People tend to have their windows covered up with big, old ugly curtains that are out of style and out of date and end up blocking most of the light. Pulling those curtains way back or taking them off can make a room feel bigger and brighter.

If a child's room is painted with pinks and purples for a girl or a sport's theme for a boy, I tone that down. The statistics show that 80 percent of people cannot visualize the potential of a house and only 20 percent can. That means only a few have the ability to see a house as theirs if they changed the style or made a couple of tweaks. Most can't see beyond what's directly in front of them. Aim for neutrality (in decorating) to make the house appeal to (more) people.

Q: What are critical changes that need to take place in other areas of the house?

A: In kitchens, clear off the counters. Having the coffee pot, canisters, the tea pot, toaster ovens and other appliances on the counter make it appear as if there isn't enough space or storage. Also, getting all those photos and notes off the fridge won't cost you a thing. People have misconceptions that staging is really expensive. Some changes that make big impact don't necessarily cost a lot of money.

In living rooms, a few furniture items may have to be removed to make the room feel bigger. But the biggest problem in this room is smells! The living room is one of the smelliest rooms in the house because it has the most fabric, and therefore absorbs the most odors. If you can smell the house, you can't sell the house. Clean the upholstery to get rid of animal smells and cigarettes.

Q: Do homeowners change their minds about selling once their home has been staged?

A: Sometimes people do decide to stay once it's been staged. They got rid of clutter and that makes the house feel big enough. One reason why people move into another house is because they believe they've run out of room. But when you clear out the stuff, suddenly the old home meets their needs again.

If you need help staging and marketing your house, visit .

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