Sometimes clients feel that staging and improving their homes before listing them for sale isn't necessary. They balk at the expense or the time it will take to paint and unclutter etc. I can understand that. Sellers just want to get on with their lives and sell the house and move into another home. It seems that many sellers do not want to put another penny into their homes when they are just about to put it on the market. In this kind of competitive market - it's a mistake to think that way.
When I visit open houses on weekends - I am very shocked at the number of homes that look like they haven't been painted in over 20 years. I am also amazed at how many homes on Long Island still have the same carpet, kitchen cabinets, window treatments, linoleum and furnishings from when the buyers first moved in! So many houses are stuck in time warps from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Your home is like your resume. If it hasn't been updated and improved...you probably won't "get the job...or called back for another interview." Your old, dark cabinets from the 70s, yellowing linoleum, dated wallpaper and dark paneled rooms from another era - these items in your home are like trying to get a job in today's workforce when your resume says that you haven't had a job since 1970.
Your online presence is your cover letter. We all know that a cover letter is important...and it can make the difference between getting called for an interview or not. When I see that some realtors or sellers have no picture of the home online or just one (of the front of the house), I know that they are missing a lot of buyer traffic. 80% of prospective buyers look online before they even decide on going to an open house or not. If your house looks great online (and a professionally staged home looks fabulous online) - you'll get buyers to call you or your realtor. It's your cover letter that says "I am a great candidate for you, Mr. Buyer."
Here's a great analogy from a blog written by my new friend, Leif Swanson - a realtor from Arizona. His blog, Ugly House Photos, is terrific and I encourage everyone to check it out. On his blog he has a picture of a beautiful sandwich and a thin sandwich and he asks "which one would you buy - if they were both the same price?"
Of course, you'd choose the bigger and better sandwich - and it's the same with your prospective homebuyers. They are looking for the better sandwich - not one they have to add on to or fix or embellish.
So...clean up your resume, write a great cover letter - and sell your home.