A woman recently calls to discuss staging her home, but more importantly getting rid of her clutter. She has lived in her home for over 50 years; raised two kids there and is now ready to downsize and move in with her son. Over the phone, she mentioned removing items she no longer needed. The woman sounded excited to get started however, upon arrival of the home staging consultation she didn’t seem interested in cooperating.
When I asked what was she willing to pack and get rid of she replied, “nothing.” Then continued to say, “her kids or possibly future buyers might be interested in her worn-out belongings” (which we know probably isn’t the case). She understands there are small items, like photos, that need to be packed, but the woman can’t phantom the idea of removing or rearranging furniture in her home. In her mind she believes the decades old décor is just what buyers are looking for.
This woman is not the first homeowner I have come across that assumes buyers will like their home in it’s current state. We all have different paradigms or assumptions we use to make life decisions. Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says, “we see the world not as it is, but as we are—or sometimes as we are conditioned to see it.”
Sellers are resistant to change their home’s appearance while on the market because they use their past experiences, like the woman did in the story above. Her thought process was my home is perfect and I don’t need you telling me otherwise. Real estate agents face a similar thought process from their clients although you’re also expected to sell the home “as-is” for top dollar so they can move on. An impossible task if you ask me. “If [a client] wants to make significant quantum changes (like moving), [they] need to work on their basic paradigms—the way they view themselves and the world around them,” explains Covey. So, how do your obtain a cooperative seller’s mindset?
The first step is to get sellers to view their home as one of their most valuable assets. Whether the product you’re marketing is beer, cars, widgets or houses, packaging is a key component to every effective marketing plan. So if you have a seller showing resistance, show them the facts. A property must be merchandized and marketed just like any other product. Give them an example of a product, like a car. Provide a high-end option such as a Mercedes and a lower-end option and have them describe what they think and feel when they see the two products side by side. Then explain the price difference for essentially the same product and ask them how can one product sell for more money? Those marketers have branded a particular high-end lifestyle, so consumers are willing to pay more. Now which car would your client want to be perceived as on the market?
The second step to obtaining a cooperative seller’s mindset is to have a seller go around their home with buyer’s eyes, meaning critic each room as a buyer would. Consumer’s views have shifted as to what is acceptable in large part due to real estate and design TV shows. In the past buyers would seek out those fixer uppers, but today’s buyers are willing to invest more in a home that is “move-in ready,” which further supports the importance of staging the home first.
Home staging is not a fad. In a recent survey released by RIS Media, they polled 600 Coldwell Banker agents and found, 45 percent said that their clients were more willing to change the appearance of their homes to entice buyers this year over last. 94% of their clients said they would be willing to de-clutter, paint and fix minor repairs, 78% were willing to depersonalize and 59% were willing to bring in new furnishings, artwork or decorations to help sell the home. Are your sellers following this trend?
The Final Step to shift your seller’s paradigm is to get them moving. Actions speak louder than words. When the woman above told me that their kids may want their worn out furniture, I replied,” then ask them what they want and get it removed from the home.” That not only, begins the de-cluttering process, but it puts them in a mindset to start packing. Have your clients pack up or remove items they won’t need, prior to going on the market.
Once homeowners decide to sell their home many have the misconception they can sit back and watch the home sell quickly. The decision to sell your home is just the first step its how the homeowner takes responsibility of their paradigm that will put them on the fast track towards moving day. Let us help you, get the Stage 2 Sell Strategy, the world’s first online home staging video course that teaches sellers how to prepare their own homes for sale.