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Three Keys to Selling Your Home in a Buyers Market

By Audra Slinkey, President of the Home Staging Resource

Don't worry about the idea of selling your home in a slow or "buyer's market" because when you follow these three easy steps, success is right around the corner!  Why, because most home sellers today are neglecting one or more of these crucial steps discussed below.  So if you are serious about selling your home, here are 3 ESSENTIAL STEPS you must take into consideration to make your home stand out from the competition.

Step One - Prepare the Home on the Inside (Home Staging)

Every home seller is aware of the need to spruce up their home (product) so that it sells, but most are not aware of exactly HOW to do this.  In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, the average staging investment is between 1 and 3 percent of the home's asking price, which generates a return of 8 to 10 percent.  Home sellers know they need to spend; they just need professional guidance on what to spend on in order to have the greatest return on investment.

After living in a home for more than 2 years, it is almost impossible to "objectively" view the space from a buyer's perspective and thus spend your staging budget wisely.  The elements of the home that may have annoyed us originally, we no longer notice.  Our homes are like our children: we are filled with sentiment about them, so that objectively altering them to fit a buyer's perspective becomes nearly impossible.

So what does a home seller do to view the home objectively and get the most from their staging budget?  Hire a professional home stager who is an expert at marketing the inside of a home, so that buyers emotionally respond to each space.  These professionals are called "Home Stagers" and they are adept at working with home sellers in order to help them "disassociate" from the home and begin to view their beloved home as their number-one marketing commodity. 

Buyers Need to FEEL HOME in Your Home before Making an Offer…

Successful staging is the art of using marketing and decorating techniques to create an environment that buyers can aspire to:  "If I buy this house, I can live like this."  An HSR Certified Professional Home Stager uses the art of "positioning" to create several "emotional connection points" throughout the home so that when a buyer steps into the house they "feel home."  This is it.  This is the one. 

So, how does a home seller create a home that has the "feel home" look that buyers like?   Here are eight things an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager applies in order to do this:


irst Impressions - Room by room, the home seller and staging professional will walk through and take note of a buyer's first impressions, what grabs us, what glares at us and what gives to us a feeling of home.  They will assess scale, balance, rhythm, pattern, texture and color in order to find simple solutions to create harmony.



liminate Clutter - The packing starts now as we pack away a good percentage of everything in the room in order to create a more clean, open and spacious feel. 



mphasizing the Positive - While Downplaying the Negative - Finding your beautiful focal points, the staging professional will emphasize what they love about the room and remove or distract from the negative aspects of the rooms.



ighten Up - Focusing on lighting and color, the stager will help you make each room into a bright, warm and inviting space that buyers can respond to.




ome Buyers Appeal - In order for a buyer to "feel home" they need not be reminded of this being your home.  The stager will depersonalize the space while retaining the warmth and fun of family living.



bligations-Cleaning/Repairs - The dirty work speaks for itself but is many times overlooked because you've lived here for so long.  Let's get rid of the buyer's mental "repair list" by doing it ourselves.



odernizing - Updating your style and building simple accessories out of what you already have to create clean lines and form.  In some cases, the stager will recommend purchases as valuable "investments" in the staging process.



motional Connection Points - Creating the "Wow Factor".  This is the fun part and is a huge focus of the stager's positioning strategy.  They will show you how to build in these subtleties in order to make the buyers subconsciously desire to live here and "feel home".  The "emotional connection points" are where marketing strategy and merchandising really comes in to play!


According to a recent 2009 HomeGain survey of over 2000 real estate agents across the country, the average staging cost, nets a home seller over a 343% return on each dollar spent!  A staging professional can consult with you and give you a detailed Action Plan, or do the work themselves along side of you for maximum returns.

Once you completed Step One, it becomes infinitely easier to do Step Two…

Step Two - Get the Word Out (Marketing Campaign)

Did you know that according to the National Association of Realtors over 80% of homebuyers are ONLINE looking at photos of the homes FIRST, before they decide to drive by and visit?  Make those photos count by doing these simple photo-taking strategies:

  1. Turn on ALL the lights - People want light and bright!
  2. Take TONS of photos - Review the photos on your computer to choose the best grouping considering that MORE is better
  3. Take OFF the Flash - Try the photos with and without the flash for better lighting choices
  4. Review the Shot - View the Room through the digital viewer for imperfections that are missed to the naked eye (ie sheets sticking out, dirty window glare, etc.)
  5. Take all ANGLES

Your real estate agent is adept at listing your home in all the venues that homebuyers are looking at in your area.  Remember to think like a homebuyer and go online to review your listing.  Does it visually have appeal and stand out among similar priced homes in your area?  If not, go back to Step One and Two to either increase the home's attraction or consider lowering Step Three.

Step Three - Price the Home Right the First Time

Your real estate agent is an expert on the marketplace and at reading and understanding comparables.  Statistically, a home that "sits" loses its new listing buzz and ends up settling for a lower price down the road.  In fact, according to a National Association of Realtors survey, the longer a home stays on the market, the further below list price it drops.  Homes that sold in the first 4 weeks averaged 1 percent more than the list price; 4 to 12 weeks averaged 5 percent less; 13 to 24 weeks averaged 6.4 percent less than the list price; and 24 weeks averaged more than 10 percent less than list price.

Research the homes for sale in your area and talk with your agent about introducing your home at a price that will encourage potential buyer traffic because the first two steps to selling your home will be sure to promote offers.

We hear amazing home selling success stories daily because home sellers are following these three critical steps.  In order to find out more about what a Staging Day looks like, or how a professional home stager works, go to http://www.homestagingresource.com.  Mention this article for home staging discounts on every service when you contact an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager.

See Audra's other article

Audra Slinkey is President of the Home Staging Resource (http://www.homestagingresource.com) a home staging training company designed to provide business solutions and training to people involved in the preparation of homes for sale.  Her passion for decorating, home staging, and real estate investing expertise has led her to the Home Staging Resource where her mission is empowering Professional Home Stagers and Real Estate Agents to be successful in their field so that "every home may be staged to sell."

Prior to establishing HSR, Audra was a recognized leader, international speaker, corporate trainer and published author on Internet research, sourcing and marketing.  She successfully launched an Internet Sourcing company that is still strong today.

Our Mission

The Mission of Home Staging Resource is to add integrity to the home staging industry by offering the most comprehensive 21 Day HSR Certification staging program available to Professional Home Stagers.  By doing this, we ensure high quality, result oriented partnerships between our HSR Certified Stagers and their  Realtor and Home Seller clients in the marketing and preparation of homes for sale otherwise known as "staging".  We do this so that "every home may be staged" and marketed to it's fullest potential!



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"We are so very proud to be a part of HSR and our company has accomplished so much since getting certified the first of March. Many thanks to you and your excellent staff for making our passion flow so quickly."

Diane Welch, CA

"I had spent a lot of time researching home staging programs. There are quite a few out there but none compare to HSR. Once I signed up for the training I was amazed at the wealth of information that was right at my fingertips. If you are uncertain as to whether or not to sign up with HSR I would say to you, don't put it off. You will get more information than you ever imagined possible, as well as, you will receive personal interaction emails from Audra and her staff. I certainly feel I have gotten more than my money's worth. I only wish I would have done this sooner."

Theresa Burba, IN
Premier Staging and Redesign

"Thank you for your passion and commitment to your members and the Home Staging industry. I'm so pleased with the investment I have made in the Home Staging Resource. The training and information I gained are worth every penny I spent. You approach your business with integrity and unselfishness, consistently demonstrating your motto of giving back to your customers. Word of mouth is sometimes the best marketing there is, and you can be assured that I will be singing your praises to anyone that asks."

Michelle Butler, FL

Home Staging Resource has been an very enlightening experience. The information on business structure and advise given in this course is well worth the price alone. I would advise signing up for the website program as
it saves you time that equates to dollars for you and allows you to get a jump start into a business of your own. I checked out all programs available to me and this, by far, was the most professional one out there. Thanks Audra for a great experience!

Jane Blanton, Tennessee.

HSR's professional training, resources, marketing strategies and image, along with their vision, has proven to be quite impressive. With a background in customer service, HSR's professionalism in each of these areas stands out - whether directed to Home Stagers and Redesigners or working with clients.

Progressing through each phase of the training continues to reveal the depth that Audra and her staff have devoted to developing the total business concept and plan of what we can offer our clients. With each new turn I continue to become more educated, intrigued, and creatively motivated!

Joining HSR was definitely a wise choice and would truly encourage anyone who is seeking to build a strong foundational Home Staging and Redesign business - HSR is the way to go.

*add'l Solutions
Glenda Lord-Wright

The training I have received from HSR is outstanding!. Audra has provided me with so much information about starting a successful business beside the art of Staging. I can't imagine learning all that in a weekend seminar. The continuous education, reference materials, and web training, to mention just a few, are always available to me and at my convenience. Thank You HSR. I am looking forward to many more successful years as an HSR graduate.

Yvonne Marquez - Escondido, California

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