I came across a recent article on Realtor.org called "How to Woo First-Time Buyers
." Some lines in particular caught my attention from a home staging perspective:
* "First-time home buyers can be tough to catch because they are wary of overpaying and skeptical about buying homes in need of improvement."
* "A survey for Coldwell Banker last year found that 81 percent of first-time buyers said move-in conditions were very important. Only 7 percent were willing to consider fixer-uppers that they could buy cheaply."
* "New paint, decluttering, and removing odors are very important, but don’t urge too many expensive modifications." was listed as one of the suggestions on how to lure a first-time buyer.
Current Government incentives hopefully have placed more first-time buyers in the market, which may help your odds of selling your home. Don't rest on increased numbers of buyers, though, when you devise your selling strategy. As the article above points out, first-time buyers have unique perspectives that must be accounted for otherwise you may lose them as prospects. Obviously we are biased about staging as a key piece of the home sale process for any type of buyer but here is our reasoning for why working with a professional home staging company such as Design Matters Home
is essential to creating a positive experience for a first-time buyer.
First-time home buyers have an even harder time visualizing themselves in an empty house as they have not yet gone through the purchasing experience before. Your home needs to tell its story even better to first-time buyers than buyers who have been through the home buying process before. In particular you need to demonstrate furniture placement in the rooms of the house. Many first-time buyers may be replacing collegiate furniture or buying furniture for the first time. Chances are good that they may not have had to work with an open floor plan before in an apt. or smaller condo. If you have an open floor plan, help the prospective first-time buyers see how large rooms can be divided by furniture groupings or how they can "float" furnishings off the walls. Also, remember that vacant rooms tend to show smaller and can be confusing for buyers because they offer no perspective on how furniture sizes would relate to the space.
Updating in properties that are attractive to first-time home buyers is really important. As the Realtor.org article says this type of home buyer probably is not going to buy a property that needs a lot of work. With that being said, as the article also states, don't go overboard on too many expensive modifications that will take your home out of the feasible price range of the first-time buyer or cause you to lose money on the sale. Here are a couple easy and inexpensive suggestions that would be appropriate:
- Replace cabinet hardware, light fixtures, etc. w/current finishes (e.g., brushed nickel)
- Remove wallpaper &/or any dated color schemes
These properties must look current and on trend. Stage with more contemporary artwork, furniture lines, and accessories (e.g., no tablecloths on tables, but do use a faux "flat-screen plasma" TV hung on the wall (if feasible) in the living room). In houses with smaller bedrooms, we typically stage one as a nursery (with a cradle, which looks sweet & makes the room look big) when the property is in a family-oriented neighborhood. Showing a home office space is also helpful. Play up the master bathroom (especially if there's a soaking tub), making the space look as luxurious & spa-like as possible, as this is an amenity that can really appeal to many first-time home buying women.
Design Matters Home has successfully staged many homes in the Boulder, Broomfield, and Longmont areas that provided first-time buyers with a positive experience rather than a confusing one. Our full inventory allows us to stage rooms in the manner described above and more. Call us at (303) 249-4661 to talk more about your situation and how we can help make sure your home is as attractive as possible to first-time buyers as well as any type of buyer.