Tips on How and How Not to Sell in an UnReal Estate MarketEVEN IN VANCOUVER, the market for real estate has cooled off. So what can people do to successfully sell their property?
In a seller’s market you stage your house or condo by presenting it at its best to attract multiple offers. But in a buyer’s market, the competition is more fierce. Potential buyers have time to think and compare. Your house must show more appeal than others at the same price and in the same area, especially if you need to sell fast.
Staging can make all the difference. But “seller beware”: a lot of what passes for home staging is UnReal. I like to introduce you to
UnStaging for an UnReal Estate Market.
Let me tell you some stories from my own experience.A few years ago, I was looking for a place to buy for over two years. I saw countless cloned houses and condos that had been professionally staged. (By the way, I’m not attacking the home staging or real estate community, a lot of fine people work in this field; I’m just speaking up for higher standards.)
Over and over again I saw the same sort of blah art, the same thoughtless furniture, the same impersonal touches. It’s as if each place, especially in new developments, had been churned out by a cookie-cutter computer program. Here’s a sampling of the UnLogic I saw:
Take one black or brown leather sofa and matching chairs. Add a glass or dark brown wood dining table with four chairs (obviously you’re allowed only two guests if you’re a couple). Throw a few hints of one colour here and there (don’t dare mix two colours). And don’t forget to match the art on the wall with the colour of the throw pillows (art should always match the furnishings, right?)
Bedrooms should be as boring as possible, beige and more beige, maybe a little brown. After all, a bedroom is only for sleeping and snoring (right?)Don’t forget to say you’ve updated the kitchen with a granite countertop and stainless steel appliances. Oh, yes, rent a few bottles of San Pellegrino and place them on the counter. (Believe me, those can be rented, too! And fake children’s art to place on a table How sad is that?)
Voila’, even a characterless, hotel-like leaky condo suite becomes fashionable.
Ironically, though I’m a home staging and designer, I ended up buying a badly staged house myself. There was the rented tray on the bed with a teapot and two cups as if to signify cozy. (How many people these days have the time for breakfast in bed?) And, yes, there were the required bottles of San Pellegrino sitting out so lonely on the kitchen counter.
Fortunately I could see through all the fakery and envision how I could turn 926 square feet into a personal, comfortable space, and even accommodate some of the large antique furniture I saved in my downsizing. In an hour’s visit I could mentally place every piece of art and furniture I wanted to bring with me. And so I immediately put in an offer, subject to inspecting and reviewing the strata minutes and by-laws.
Of course, not everyone has the vision of a professional home stager or decorator.
Home staging helps people cut down the stress of selling by taking care of decorating tasks they’re not familiar with or don’t have the time to handle.
Brillante Home Decor approach is to enable my client’s potential buyers to visualize the use of the space by placing ordinary things in unusual ways, with some personality, and always with simplicity in mind.
Every house should also be treated as unique. So I don’t keep an inventory of furniture, accessories and bedding which I convince my clients to rent. Instead, as far as possible, I try to use what’s already in the house by editing, rearranging and minor re-decorating. It saves clients money and it’s more creative and personal.
Home sellers should be treated with respect for their individuality. I say “Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.” And when I buy a house, I want sound construction, an efficiently managed building and an intelligent layout I can make my own, not some fantasy of an Unreal lifestyle.
Practicality and genuine personality: that’s real.