First impressions are everything–especially in real estate. When buyers tour a home it better look its best, or buyers will quickly move on to the next.
Furnishing the space helps potential buyers visualize their life within the walls. And, bonus points, staged properties sell on average 73% faster than non staged homes.To help you out, we rounded up a list of successfully staged homes that have used price-conscious or zero-cost strategies to make your listing look great without breaking the bank.
The last thing you want when you’re showing a home is for personal items (ahem, toothbrushes) to distract your clients. You want potential buyers to envision their own belongings in the space, not fixate on the current owner’s hair filled hairbrush.
In occupied homes it is crucial that sellers are on board with hiding clutter and personal belongings when it’s time for photography and showings.
2. Furniture That Fits the Space
It’s probably common sense that a 600 sq ft condo shouldn’t be furnished with the same living room furniture as a 2,500 sq ft family home. When working with a smaller space, consider the appropriate size of furniture for the space. Oversized furniture makes rooms feel crowded and well sized furniture creates the illusion of a larger space.
If your client already has a living room set, think about splitting up the sofa and loveseat into two seperate rooms to maximize resources and space. Also discuss rearranging furniture in order to create the best flow of the space.
3. Minimalistic Decor
Less really is more when it comes to staging. You want to keep the focus on the bones of the house, not the superficial decorations. You want the space to appeal to a larger group of potential buyers.
4. Real House Plants
There are many benefits to real plants versus fake ones. For starters, fake plants are actually more expensive than their living counterparts. You can buy real house plants at your local stores for under $20. Also, live house plants won’t become dusty over time (not cute!).
Plants are perfect for vacant and non vacant houses, they add life to any space. You can even give them to the buyer as a congratulatory gift once the deal is closed.
5. Neutral Rooms
It’s difficult to envision how you are going to style the guest bedroom when it’s painted bubblegum pink with ‘Princess’ hanging over the bed. Moral of the story: Buyers want to be able to walk into a room and not have to worry about all of the things they will have to change later on.
Your clients might resist painting before listing, but it is best practice to prepare a neutral space. White walls might seem dull, but they act as a metaphorical blank canvas for buyers to paint their life onto.
6. A Lived-In Feel
There is a fine line between a house that feels over-staged (cue the giant bowl of 20 lemons in the dining room), and a well curated home. Adding thoughtful accessories makes the house feel lived in and more attractive to buyers.
The key is to be authentic. Think of what you would actually use in the space, like beautiful utensils or local magazines (pictured above). It is a good idea to keep a stash of staging items handy for final touches–A stack of books or a lit candle goes a long way.
7. Natural Light
Do not underestimate the power of ambient lighting. Place furniture around windows so sunlight can shine through and brighten up the room. Sunlight in a home can physiologically influence our happiness without us even knowing. If you have a killer view, be sure to show it off by positioning furniture so it is the focal point of the room.
If your client has dark window treatments, switch to a sheer white option or remove them altogether. Letting in daylight will immediately elevate the space.
8. Mirror, Mirror
Mirrors create the illusion of a larger space, making even the smallest rooms feel open and inviting. Mirrors reflect the light in the room and intensifies its design power. Plus, they are useful!
Oversized mirrors can be expensive but overstock stores like Homegoods have great options at serious discounts. Plus, they can be reused for future staging.
9. Al Fresco Approved
Residential architects have ranked outdoor living spaces as the no. 1 “special function” room amongst consumers. Potential buyers see outdoor areas as an extension of living space and should be staged accordingly.
Investing in a small patio set for staging purposes if your client doesn’t own one might get the listing sold even faster. Extra points if you add a nice bouquet of fresh flowers.
Staging a home can be hard work, and it can take some creativity to get results without breaking the bank. Investing time upfront will get you a better results in the end.
You may have wanted to apply for a mortgage at some point but were put off by something negative someone said about this type of loan. Similarly, you may have been encouraged to apply for one based on some false information but met with a quick rejection. Some of the information that bred these misconceptions may not be false but has merely become outdated. Below are some of those misconceived ideas and the truth behind them:
1. You cannot get a loan with a bad credit score
While it is true that most traditional banks will consider you too risky if your score is below 620, other non-traditional lenders will listen to you. Those offering house loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) can approve borrowers with a minimum score of 580. Remember, though, that lenders will cover the risk of lending to folks with a low credit score by fixing a higher interest rate. So you might want to clean up your debt before looking for a mortgage.
2. You have to raise 20% as a down payment
In the past, this was true. You had to stump up at least 20% of the value of the property before you approached a lender. Some would require up to 30%. These days you can find lenders who will only ask for 6% to get closing on your mortgage deal. FHA-backed loans will accept even 3.5%.
3. Being pre-approved and pre-qualified are the same thing
Being pre-approved is as almost as good as having the cash to buy a property. Before you get pre-approval, you have to have submitted all required documentation to the lender. Based on your financials, the lender will arrive at a maximum amount they can advance you for the purchase of the property. Your real estate agent can, therefore, use that pre-approval to go house hunting. Getting pre-qualified doesn’t carry this much weight- it only means you have engaged a lender and that you’re ready to begin the application process.
4. The interest rate quoted is what you’ll close with
The rate quoted is subject to change unless you lock it in. Interest rates fluctuate daily, changing severally even on the same day depending on how mortgage bonds trade. From the time you get the initial quote when beginning the pre-approval process to the time you settle on a property and want to close, the rate could have changed by a few points. You can only lock the rate once you’ve identified a home to which you want to commit.
Ask your mortgage officer all the questions you can think of before you close your deal.
When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter. The outside of your home should draw prospective buyers in and make them want to see more. If you’re going to put your home on the market this spring, one of the first things you need to do is take a step back and turn a critical eye to the front of your home. Even if you’re not contemplating a move, a beautiful façade will make your home a joy to, well, come home to.
In its 2018 Remodeling Impact Survey, 99% of members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said that curb appeal is important when attracting homebuyers. So you know you need to give the front of your home a freshen-up — but uh-oh, you’re also trying to save money to move once your house is sold. Fear not! Many tasks that enhance curb appeal can be done for little or no cost. Here are a few budget-friendly ways to boost your home’s looks.
When prospective buyers pull up to the front of your home and take in their first view, they want to see a clean, pretty building that they can imagine as their own. Washing the front of your home and the walkway will refresh the façade, and may even make repainting the front unnecessary.
Concrete driveways can look refreshed after a power wash too!
Your windows should sparkle. They should be so clean that you can’t even tell there’s glass in them! Be sure to clean them inside and out. While you’re at it, giving your blinds and curtains a wash is a great idea too.
A freshly painted door in a bold color with shiny new hardware can make a bright change for less than $75. New house numbers in a modern style add appeal, and a new doormat can send a welcoming message to all who approach. Finish off the rehab with a stylish letterbox that just shouts Buy me!
Your front yard should be green and neatly trimmed, with no bald patches or brown grass. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and shaped. Clean up your flower garden and put down some fresh, dark mulch for a rich-looking bed. No flowers? Fill large tubs halfway with pebbles or wood chips, add soil on top, and plant bunches of bright flora that will bloom for at least a month.
Turn on your sprinklers before viewings. The sparkle on your greenery and the fresh scent of water on plants will enhance your home’s attractiveness.
It’s something you might not think about, but it’s the least expensive job on this list: Ensuring convenient parking for real estate agents and their clients — and having open space in front of your home — can make your property seem more accessible and slightly bigger. Can’t guarantee a front-row parking space in your neighborhood? At least be sure to remove toys, lawn tools, and any other unnecessary items from your front yard. A buyer needs to see your home with nothing blocking the view.
Once you have your home looking great from the street, the challenge is to keep it looking wonderful through all of the upcoming showings. Make a schedule to stay on top of mowing, weeding, watering, and other lawn and plant maintenance, plus keeping the driveway clean and the porch swept. And be sure to include pulling weeds from between stepping stones or bricks on your list. All of those little details mean a lot when it comes to curb appeal.
 National Association of REALTORS®, 2018 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features.
 Houselogic, “8 Tips for Adding Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home.”
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First-time homebuyers are sometimes caught off guard by overlooked expenses, which can create an uncomfortable financial pinch. Be sure you consider these one-time and ongoing expenses.
1. Home Inspection
For a few hundred dollars, an inspection can uncover potential trouble such as structural problems or asbestos.
2. Home Maintenance
Experts recommend setting aside 1 to 3%* of the home’s purchase price for annual maintenance. For example, you may need to buy lawn care equipment or replace the roof, furnace, or water heater.
3. Taxes And Insurance
Property taxes and homeowners insurance aren’t always included in mortgage payment calculators.
4. Extra Cash At Closing
Your lender should give you a detailed estimate of closing costs. But beyond those, you may have to pay additional expenses, such as a prorated portion of property taxes or homeowners association fees that the seller has already paid.
5. The Move
Whether you hire professional movers for a few thousand dollars or rent a truck, buy boxes and recruit friends to help, moving costs money.
6. Settling In
You may have to pay utility connection fees when you move in, plus utility costs may be higher than you were used to as a renter. Other costs include lock replacements and decorating expenses.
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