Selling Your House During a Pandemic
Putting your house on the market and preparing to move is very stressful. Add another challenging layer of Real Estate during the COVID-19 pandemic amps up the stress level.
There are staging basics to follow with added protocols that should be enforced. Safety should be a top priority: wear a mask with minimal touching of items.
Here is what to expect during a Pre-Listing Consultation
The pre-listing consultation is done with the Professional Stager and Homeowner. Who pays? Every case is different. If the Homeowner contacts me, they pay. Some Realtors will pay for the consult as part of their marketing. Some Realtors recommend the consult to their sellers and the Homeowner pays. Some Realtors join me during the consult and takes notes to send the Seller. Most cases, the Seller takes the notes. Another service is the Staging Report which I write up to send to Seller. Level of home repair, updates or painting depends on how well the house was maintained.
There were a few virtual staging consults that were done via ZOOM or Facetime. Nothing compares to a live consultation, but we were making the best of the situation. In-person consults are now allowed. The goal of staging an occupied house, while the house is on the market with the sellers living in it, is to get the house looking good for the listing photos. The listing photos are the potential buyers first walk through.
Staging Basics for Photos
Edit, declutter and deep clean. Clutter eats equity and overloaded rooms look confusing and smaller online. Now is the time to purge items not moving with you and start packing. Remove everyday life stuff like mail, clothing, boxes, and small appliances. The way you live in a home is not the way to stage and sell a home. We don’t want to know what brand of personal care items you are using in a listing photo.
Large plants or too many plants do not photograph well. Heavy drapes are removed to show off architecture, highlight views and let in natural light. Lights should be on; all bulbs should work, with the same type of bulbs used in the same fixture and bedside lamps. If not, the color will appear off throughout the space.
During the staging consultation, I give photo only instructions. These are done before the photographer is shooting the listing photos. Every room should be photographed in staged mode to allow the potential buyer to connect with the house. I tell my clients to remove quite a bit from the space for photos. Things that are used every day can come back in the room afterwards. Rooms should be kept tidy for showings.
What Stage? For Results
Pre-shelter in place, I consulted on a house about to go on the market in Goshen. It was an in-house consultation with Realtor and Homeowner. The Realtor, Diane Blanton of Better Homes and Garden Realty, took notes of my room by room instructions. This house received an accepted offer after a virtual showing via an IPAD.
“Now more than ever it’s so important to make sure your house is picture perfect, while restrictions are easing to allow in person showings, everyone is still starting their search online. Photos and video need to grab the attention of prospective buyers, which in turn creates big demand and the rising prices we are currently seeing.” – Diane Blanton, Better Homes and Garden Rand Realty