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Real Estate

Presenting Your Home!

As children we have no pretensions about how we present ourselves, until the message finally gets through from our mothers that we need to brush our hair, tie our shoelaces and behave ourselves.

As young adults, associating with others, we learn that people’s impressions of us are often based more on what we look like then on what we do or say or how we contribute to the world around us.  Most of us want to ensure that we give a good impression to others and we pay attention to our clothes and how our hair is fixed.  At the same time, though, we start to realize that taking care of our health and well being can make a big impact on how we look and our attitude as we present ourselves to others.

Then as we age, we reach the point of realizing that looks are not only time sensitive, but what’s truly important is how people act and how they relate to others. We also reach a point  where we’re more “comfortable in our own skins, so while we want to look nice for ourselves and for our own self respect, looking great for others isn’t as primary a focus as it once was.

Our homes are somewhat like that also.  When we first buy a home, we set out to make it look fabulous.  We invest in curtains, furniture, art work, paint and all the things that “dress” our home and “cosmetically” make them look great.

As we live in our new home, we recognize that even a brand new home needs preventive maintenance and periodic repairs – from basic cleaning to keep the dirt and bugs out, to changing the furnace filter on a regular basis, to calling a repairman when something starts to leak.

Then we get older, as does our home. In our eyes, our home is still as beautiful as the day we hung those curtains when we moved in 20+ years ago. The décor items that so fit our younger lives, still resonate with memories of raising our families and entertaining our friends.  At this point in our lives, we would be uncomfortable with a home that looked “trendy”, as it wouldn’t fit our personality.

Then when we go to sell our home, we feel that others should appreciate it for what it is.  We shouldn’t need to change something just because.  Besides, if we do that, the buyers will probably not like what we chose and will want to do it over so it’s a waste of money.

The problem is, that buyers can’t see themselves living in the home, because it’s YOUR home, not theirs and your memories of wonderful times in the past aren’t their memories.  Those wonderful things you did to personalize your home and make it lovely when you first bought it, in a buyer’s eye, just make it dated.

Think of it in terms of going to your Grandchild’s wedding.  You want to look great, not just for yourself and the family pictures, but to show respect for the grandchild and the occasion.  Your home is like that also, it needs to dress itself up to show respect for buyers walking in the door. When it looks tired and like it’s just run a very long marathon, that’s what the buyers see.

I had a young couple once, who saw a home they LOVED. It was in the neighborhood area they wanted, it had the features and floorplan they wanted, but they didn’t buy it.  WHY?  Because the furniture, décor items, and everything in the home, reminded the young bride of her grandmother’s home, and she just couldn’t see herself living in her grandmother’s home, rather than in HER first home as a young wife and future mother.  She loved her Grandmother and her Grandmother’s home, but at 20, she couldn’t see herself living the lifestyle of her 75 year old Grandmother.

When an investor buys a home that has been well taken care of but is “dated”, often the only things he does to make it more current before he sells or rents it, is to ensure it meets current municipal codes, then he will take down any wallpaper, paint it a fresh current color and have a stager put furniture and décor items in the home that reflect current trends, and allows the buyer to see themselves in the home.

The difference in price to the family selling the home? Perhaps a couple thousand  for having the home painted, bringing it up to code and “staging it” vs $30-60 thousand less in the sales price.  We’re not talking about a “facelift” and plastic surgery to renovate a home, we’re talking about the preventive maintenance and repairs to ensure it meets code, decluttering (you will have to pack and get rid of things before you move anyway), removing wallpaper (and while HGTV may say wallpaper is coming back, it will be years before that reaches us in St Louis), painting the walls a neutral color (stop by a paint store and ask what colors are purchased most often) – paint is one of the only things that you can do to a home where you get close to 100% return on your investment, updating flooring is the other, cleaning the house till it shines then “updating the home’s décor” to match current trends,

Need help?  That’s what I’m here for.  Give me a call and I’ll be happy to go through your home with you and help you determine what needs to be done.