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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tips to Get That Listing in Showroom Ready Shape!

Jerry Kidd by GRI Instructor Jerry Kidd, GRI, CRS, CRB
Teaches GRI Course 107 - Real Property, Tax and Exchanging
View future classes taught by Jerry Kidd

Many markets that we work in are impacted by distressed properties...homes that may be in foreclosure, or need to do a short sale or even REO properties. If you are representing one of these homes, you have your work cut out for you in attracting the right buyer.

We all know that homes that are staged properly can often sell quicker or for a higher dollar than homes where little or no effort has been expended to manage the buyer experience. (You know this from your GRI 106 Course!) Even if your seller is not in a distress situation, they may be impacted by nearby homes that are distressed.

The problem with staging is that it can be quite expensive to do if you hire a professional stager. Many of us are called upon by our sellers to offer tips on how to best present their homes to prospective buyers. If you are like me, that presented a nearly insurmountable problem...my decorating skills are at the bottom of things that I can do well!

Recently I attended REBarCampSF (Click on the link if you don’t know what that is...go ahead, we’ll wait here patiently until you come back) in San Francisco where I became aware of the work of Alice T. Chan. Alice is a home stager and educator who has assembled a Staging Home Study Course as well nearly a dozen videos that will walk you through the process of helping your client stage their home. While the course will likely have a cost (It’s not released at the time of this writing), the videos are free, and they offer a wealth of tips on inexpensively adding some pizazz to your listings. The tips range from kitchens, baths, exteriors, landscaping, painting and more. Alice even takes you into a Lowe's to show you how to buy inexpensive lighting and plumbing fixtures!

If your listing needs some paint, there are a couple of free tools from Benjamin Moore that are outstanding! One is an iPhone App (Free and requires an iPhone of course) that will allow you to photograph something that has that perfect color you want to match. It then will show you the closest color in stock at Benjamin Moore and then shows you a palette of compatible colors. Great for deciding on colors for trim and accents.

But, if you or your client need to “see” how the color will work in their home BEFORE spending the money on paint, then you need to get on over to a Benjamin Moore store and pick up their “Personal Color Viewer” a $10.00 CD (or available as a download from their website.)

This nifty tool allows you to upload a picture of the room (or exterior) of the house and then change the color of the walls and trim to your heart’s content until you end up with the perfect scheme that will win the hearts of your prospective buyers.

Sherwin Williams also offers an iPhone app (free) that is similar to the Benjamin Moore app. At the time of this writing, their online color matching service was unavailable so I couldn’t test it. It did not appear to be able to accept pictures of your house, although it did have several scenes that you could choose from that you could use to approximate what a different paint color would look like.

So, go visit Alice, get the tips that you need, and if the home needs paint, use either the Benjamin Moore website/CD or the Sherwin Williams website to help you choose the paint and get that listing sold!

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