I recently received a call from a super sweet lady who was frustrated because her house had been on the market for thirty days. She and her family were starting to panic. This was her late mother-in-law’s home, and the family had worked long and hard preparing it to look nice for sale. The house was in a wonderful location, but potential buyers seemed to be walking away due to the confusing flow of the home. And, of course, no one wants to drop the price of their home, and 30 days is usually right around the mark for that.
As always, I listened attentively and asked a few questions. I asked about feedback from prospective buyers who were shown the home. Of course accurate pricing to be competitive is important, too, and they were good on that.
The house was lovely, in a well-sought after neighborhood, with a lot of great potential. It had a spacious great room with built-ins around the fireplace. The kitchen was updated, and there was fresh paint and carpet throughout the home. The bathrooms were average sized for the 1970s-era date of the home, yet were recently updated as well.
Hmmm, what exactly could it be that was turning away potential buyers? I began to study photographs of the home and continued talking talked further with the sellers. This is what I love. I love solving problems like this!
At my first walk-through of the home, I approached the home as though I were a potential buyer. Immediately I picked up on that the potential buyers were being brought into the home through the wrong door, a side door off the driveway that led to the laundry room. The big first few seconds of "wow" were lost by coming through the wrong door!
The laundry room door was just to the left of the driveway, making it a convenient entrance. The front door was far less accessible, and there was no true walkway leading from the driveway to the front door. Client said, "but we never used that door!" The front door was also located slightly off-center from the home, and a bush was blocking part of the entrance.
I knew that this could really be a game-changer in potential buyers' first impressions of the home. My immediate first thought was...."Let's get them in the FRONT door!"
This client was at the end of her budget. Clients like this are often a favorite of mine, because I LOVE thinking outside the box!
I encouraged the client and her hubby to use paver stones (more cost effective) to create a walkway from the driveway to the front door, remove the bush, and add some small plants or chairs on either side of the door (see after below). Of course, perfectly placed and same-height bushes were my ideal, but we worked with what we could as best we could.
As I continued my walk-through, I realized that there was no formal dining room or eating area set up in the home. There was, however, another room or space on the same side of the home as the wonderful living room. The purpose of this second room was not clear to potential buyers. I recommended to leave that blank, but put a chair and a few books/games near a built in desk area.
Potential homeowners need to be able to picture themselves in a space. They need to see where their family will eat, where their family members will sit, and how they will play games or watch TV, and how those rooms flow. Most buyers buy based on emotional connection.
I used to think people had this ability - to imagine what would go in a home, or where to put their furniture - but about 90% of people actually don't. You have to create this vision for them!
My sweet clients and I combined our resources and ideas to improve the first impressions and overall vision of the home. I worked as liaison to set them up in getting a few pieces of rental furniture, such as a round table for the small dining area (which made it look bigger), and some additional pieces of living room furniture. We didn’t even stage the master bedroom this time. Thus, I mostly charged for my time in this instance, saving this family a good amount of money.
The family had an offer on their home in just over a week after redoing these areas and staging some areas with my recommendations. Instead of taking a large price reduction hit, their investment paid off in order to get the top return with a top offer and fast sale.
Ta-Da! The House Doctor has remedied another ailing situation! Gotta Love It!
"Patricia Justice helped us to sell our house by providing excellent guidance and reasonable pricing in staging the house. She was friendly and helpful in all aspects of the staging. I genuinely felt like she wanted us to successfully sell, and was prepared to help us in anyway she could. She went with us to the rental furniture store to hep us get great furniture to fill the space, gave us a new perspective in what areas to fix and helped us prepare the interior and exterior. Many people had stated they did not like the floorplan of the house, but with her help, we had a buyer within 4 days of staging. I would recommend her 100%."
-Satisfied Customer Review
Being the creative and energetic person that she is, Patricia loves her family, her clients, and finding new and creative ways to "think outside the box." You may find her spending time with family, scouring antique stores, figure skating, talking to Alhzheimer's residents, camping, and being active in her church and community.
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