Making the Right First Impression
When selling your home, it's important to understand how buyers think. This can help you make sure that you are leaving the right impression that will make your home attractive to potential buyers.
How do buyers think?
Buyers have personal requirements that will determine whether or not your home meets their needs in terms of location, size, style & layout. This “checklist” is ultimately beyond our control.
However, buyers also form “impressions” that influence their buying decisions just as strongly as the “checklist” and these are things we can control. These would include elements such as smell, lighting and décor.
The Impact of First Impressions
Buyers will encounter things in your home that will give them positive or negative impressions. Obviously, the more positive and fewer negative impressions, the more likely they are to make an offer. Initial impressions are particularly important, e.g. curb appeal and front entrance.
Their “first impressions” will affect how they view the rest of your home and their willingness to accept deficiencies as they encounter them further into their showing.
Unwilling Buyers Don't Negotiate
Sellers often assume they can negotiate with buyers if there is something the buyer doesn't like. Price negotiation is actually the second step in obtaining a sale, first the buyer has to want to purchase your home. Preparing your home is about creating that desire. If the buyer perceives too many negatives, it doesn't just translate to just a lower offer; it often means no offer at all - the buyer moves on.
Motivation also translates directly into the price a buyer is willing to pay. A buyer's motivation may be affected by the factors you cannot control (refer to ‘the checklist' above) but also by their impression. For the buyer who is not really motivated to buy your home for other reasons would need to see your home as a ‘bargain' in order to make an offer. This means that if you cannot bring them in with first impressions, you will have to offer a significant price advantage over other properties for sale.
Positive and negative impression factors
There are some factors that will leave a positive impression on almost every buyer – these are called ‘universal positives'. Likewise, there are factors that almost always leave a poor impression on most buyers, these are ‘universal negatives'.
Spacious, Clean, Uncluttered, Bright, Smells Good, Comfortable Temperature, Appealing Décor/Paint Colours, Well Maintained, Renovated, New, “Just Move In” and Wow!
Small, Dirty, Cluttered, Dark, Smells Bad, Too Cold or Hot, Needs Repair or Replacement, Personal/Dated Décor, Poorly Maintained and “Red Flags” that signal bigger problems.
This is where staging comes in!
The goal of staging is to add as many of the positives and eliminate as many of the negatives as possible while prioritizing time & money to get the biggest payback. Red Flags are the first priority as they can single-handedly break a deal by undermining the buyer's confidence. Staging may seem unnecessary but if you can leave the right first impression it means that you will be in a position to ask for a higher price for your home, because buyers will be motivated to buy it!
Personalized Staging Plan for your Property
When we work with our clients, we provide a staging plan to make things easy – and we work with you on it to ensure it is reasonable and supports your selling objectives. We give you a prioritized plan to present your home at its best but for the least cost possible. We are not going to ask you to buy things or do work that won't add value to your home. We will help you repurpose or reorganize what you have as much as possible. A lot of the work of staging is in decluttering!
Whether you choose to follow the plan is your decision and all the little decorating touches that we add (e.g: plants, cushions etc.) are complimentary. The plan will include:
- To Do List for the homeowner,
- Contractor referrals where needed.
While it may seem daunting to prepare your home to sell, it is worth making the extra effort to get as close to your desired price as you can. With an organized plan and a strong partnership with your realtor, you can leave the right first impression and maybe even enjoy the process!