When you sell your car, you generally have the engine steam cleaned, detail the interior/exterior, and get rid of any minor squeaks and rattles that may have been subtlety overlooked by your accustomed ear and eye. Any savvy seller knows that these little efforts and small expenses can make the difference between hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in the resale price. The theory is not lost on the resale of your home, lot or commercial property.
I think we all remember our Mother’s saying to us as children, “Put your best foot forward”. Sage advice, and especially true with property sales in a slow, Buyer’s market.
Since the 1990’s, staging has been employed into the North American marketing of properties on a large scale. A huge industry sprang up from this trend, leading to “staging companies” who come in, redecorate, re-model, streamline and modernize properties, all, with the goal of maximizing the money you put into your pocket.
For whatever reason, except for the top end market, this concept has been left at the border by many North American sellers here in the Baja. The concept is also brand new to many of our local Mexican sellers.
But here too, in Mexico, “Putting your Property’s Best Foot Forward” can make the difference between getting an acceptable offer or not. Remember, the market has been affected by the worldwide economic crisis for the past 7 years, and there are MANY similar choices on the market for Buyers to consider. Want to be on the top of the list? Or eliminated off their list because of lack of maintenance, cleaning, streamlining or simple tricks to put your property in its best marketing condition?
A design professional or your realtor can assist you. They have the resources, an eye that is not emotional or accustomed to the “look” of your property. Some will charge you for the consult and recommendations, others do not. You can establish a budget in advance.
Can you recover the cost of the work and the services of a professional? Sometimes, and for some things you may recover your costs. However, for the most part, most staging items are a matter of what should have been normal maintenance, normal cleaning, normal streamlining, normal marketing that does not have a resale value, any more than washing your car would in a car resale; but, it is worth every penny, inasmuch as, it can possibly make the difference between a successful offer and sale, or not.
There are several things you can do, without the aid of a professional, but involve your friends, and most certainly your realtor to take a “fresh look” at your property. Ask yourself the following questions:
1) Curb appeal? Is the paint on my house chipping, old, a strange color? Is the landscaping dull, unattended, aged, lacking color or overgrown? Are the materials aged or dated? Is there termite damage? Are there potholes, cracks or missing areas in the paving? Is there trash or unneeded exposed storage visible from the street or inside the property? Is the roof in good shape, no missing tiles or has leaks?If you answered yes to any of these items, re-paint, replace, repair and /or “downsize”.
2) Interior: Are the light fixtures dated? Tile or countertops chipped, dated? Walls a neutral color or white? Can you enhance natural sunlight in the home by moving furniture, or trimming landscaping? Are the plumbing fixtures in good working order, no stains or lime build up? Would re-grouting or re-tiling enhance the look of your property? Would a new floor enhance the look of your property? Are all windows and doors functional? If you answered yes to any of these items, replace, repair and /or eliminate.
3) Furnishings: Do you have 10 lbs of potatoes in a 5 lb sack? Overcrowding and “heavy” furniture can detract from the sale of your property by making it appear smaller than it actually is. Are the countertops FULL of items? Streamline…remove furniture/items and store. You will have to box them up anyway…most people use a small fraction of the items they have collected in their homes on a daily basis.Is there clutter in the property? If so, eliminate, purge or store off the property. Dated linens and window coverings? Invest in new bedcovers, slip covers, window treatments. When in doubt, remove window treatments that have bold patterns, floral or out dated colors. Remember the “homey” touches… that say, “You are home!” Bake bread or have a non-floral room spray, or an incense burned/sprayed an hour before a showing. I find that ocean, fall/winter fragrances such as cinnamon, pumpkin spice automatically brings happy memories.
4) Bring in fresh flowers, open doors and windows, turn on lights, have fans running…be sure the rooms are fresh and cool. We may be south of the border, but our buyers may not be. They still expect the same type of conditions and staging that is common in their home countries and the major cities all over the world.
It’s worth the effort!
By Cheryl T. Miller, CIPS, ABR, NAR, AMPI, Architect, Broker of Baja Realty and Investment. 624-122-2690, www.forsaleinabaja.com.