Thursday, March 6, 2014
Your Home’s Evening Look. Selling/Staging tips for Making Your House Buyer Ready Day or Night
My adventures in my business are never expected. The other night I had a few home staging evaluations back to back – The final at seven in the evening. I don’t set many evening appointments, but the seller had a tight schedule, so I was happy to accommodate. Winter in Chicago, it's dark. As I drove down the street looking for the right house number, my GPS told me I had arrived – But to my dismay, I couldn’t see the house numbers. Many of the homes lacked exterior lights, were nondescript from the street, and one looked kind of scary.
When selling your home, do not overlook the marketing opportunity to make your home show as well in the evening as it does in the day. You will get evening showings, especially if the target buyer of your home is a dual income family, so don’t lose them at the curb or beyond.
Using my house number lessons from my mother, I counted and assumed the right address. Well it turns out I had been given the wrong house number and ended up at the wrong home and had a nice conversation with the home staging client’s neighbor. After a call to the client and text to the Realtor, I arrived at the home, slightly frazzled from my house number adventure. Then it dawned on me why I didn’t set appointments for staging evaluations in the evening – I can’t see anything!
I advise my home staging clients all the time to make sure the home shows as well in the evening as the day - but from my evening debacle, it hit home why it’s so important that I offer up these tips.
Encourage Evening Exterior Coveting: Remember the HGTV commercial where the couple drives through their favorite “move-up” neighborhood slightly voyeuristically, coveting their favorite home - and the homeowner spots them looking? The wife slips down into the seat and the husband hits the gas? Well, you want that to happen to you. Don’t forget that your home needs to be marketed in the evening as well as the day. Evaluate your exterior lighting, making sure that in the evening hours your home glows. Add some landscape lighting, or improve on what you already have. You must have large house numbers, in great condition and can clearly be seen from the street. If your numbers are on a mailbox, they have great solar kits to light up your box or illuminate the numbers.
Show Them the Door: Invite your potential buyers to your front door with a clear walkway with proper lighting. If your door is not front facing or they could have an option of two doors, direct them to the proper stoop. The one house on the street that seemed scary had a side entrance. No front facing house numbers to identify it and the only lighting was interior, peeking out from behind the blinds. If the home had only guided people to where the front door was, some up lights in their landscape, a friendly street lamp or two flagging their driveway and its stoop well lit, it would not have looked like a few serial killers dwelled within.
An Inviting Stoop: Make sure your entrance has lighting, is inviting and most importantly, working door bell! The wrong house was well lit, seemed inviting - but the doorbell was a cracked stump. They instead, had one of those bell/knocker contraptions inside the screen door. Not wanting to open the screen door to get to the knocker, I just knocked. And of course the result was a homeowner who quizzically looked at me and asked “Can I help you?” because I was at the wrong address.
Light it Right: The final tip is making sure the interior of the home is well lit. From foyer to back patio lighting, when showing your home in the evening, make sure the lights are on. Consider getting a host of timers and having them set to switch on at dusk. Lighting creates mood and ambiance, allows visitors to see your homes’ best qualities and gives the spaces its best opportunity to be showcased. Get those under cabinet lights on, hit the switch on the
cabinet to create a bit of dining room mood and no one wants to move room
to room only to enter into a dark space.
Make the showing easy and friendly by pre-lighting every space.