How can floor plans help resale properties?

When searching for a new construction home, buyers request flyers and view builder websites to see not only images of the properties, but also to see the floor plans.  When looking for property to lease, potential tenants do the same, always requesting a list of amenities and a floor plan.  They work for new construction and apartment units; they can work for resale properties also!

When buyers talk to others about their choices in resale properties, many times they will show images and try their best to communicate the layout, and then rely on the comments of their friends and family to make their decision. Why not provide similar marketing material and floor plans for resale properties?  Floor plans are inexpensive to produce and can be used for marketing material, online viewing, space planning for your staging efforts, and give realtors a tool for explaining the use of modified or unusual layouts with the help of a property presenter.

Floor plans allow buyers to create strong visual and emotional connections as to how they will occupy the space by combining the images they see online with what they experienced in person and connecting them to the floor plan provided.  The more we allow buyers to visualize their life in a property, the better chances we have of them falling in love with it.

To request more information on floor plans for resale properties, contact us today at info@bryansuarez.com

What is Property Presentation?

What is Property Presentation?

Whether you hold open houses, build property websites, make fliers, network with other agents, or use social media in your marketing plan; Property Presentation has its role.  Property Presentation is the process of preparing, marketing, and presenting a home though the use of staging, real estate enhancement, photography, graphic design, and video.

Staging

Staging is more than design; it’s about preparing a product for the market.  It’s creating a lifestyle and environment that buyers want.  Staging turns vacant homes into spaces that buyers can imagine and visualize themselves, family, and friends in.  When selling a product, the more senses we stimulate in a buyer, the higher probability they will make a purchase.  Staging also solves problems such as defining spaces that are oddly shaped, or re-defining unusual or modified floor plans.  The clearer interior spaces are to a prospective buyer, the better they can visualize their life in it.  Before you stage,  I recommend ordering a Property Staging report to help you identify key selling points of your property along with space function recommendations.

Enhancement

Another part of Property Presentation is the enhancement of occupied spaces.  When selling an occupied home there are several issues to resolve.  How can we get buyers to visualize their own life in this space when it is being occupied and is personalized to another family?  The solution is Real Estate Enhancement.  Enhancing a property is preparing occupied spaces for the market through depersonalizing, decluttering, and minor staging.  This is a more cost effective method of staging because it requires that the occupant maintain the showroom style home themselves, while they live in it.

Photography

When buyers (or buyer agents) search for property online, the images available can either entice buyer or turn them away.  What if the images are blurred, dark, or so cluttered the actual space being sold is almost non-existent? Composing the right images to sell the property is where Real Estate Photography comes in.  Having a photographer that specializes in product photography will ensure that the best selling points, accurate space distance, and features in a property are captured in your images. Or, if you take the images yourself, your stager can recommend what images to take.

Graphic Design

Sometimes buyers or their friends see the “for sale” signs in the yard and decide to grab a flyer.  What does it look like?  Is it marketing the property, the broker brand, or the agent?  What is the main focus?  Do the images and text provide a good impression of the property for the viewer?  How marketing collateral appears to buyers can give a strong impression of the brand, the property, and the agent.  Why spend marketing dollars on printing flyers and newsletters that are not capturing the needed attention of its target market?

Video

Many luxury sellers and agents choose to take their marketing plan one step further by producing a video guided tour of property for prospect delivery or online social media.  Some buyer of these properties my not be local and would want to view the property online with the ability of video over still shot photography.  For these video guided tours work best.  This is not to say that video only works for luxury homes.

Combine all these tools with your current marketing plan and integrate them into your social media plan to get more return on your marketing dollars!

For more information, or to get started presenting property for the market, contact BryanSuarez Property Presentation at 832-881-4488 or info@bryansuarez.com

When should you call a property stager?

The simple answer is; you should call your property stager right before you put the property on the market!  The job of a property stager is to prepare a home for the market.  In order to do this, it makes sense that they are called in prior to listing or placing the property for sale.

The truth is that every property should be staged (or prepared for the market) to some extent.  Let’s be clear, not all staging requires the bringing in of new furniture, art, and accessories, although this can maximize the perceived value of your property.  Staging can be as simple as raising the mulch in the flower beds and re-arranging existing furniture, to more elaborate services including painting walls and redesigning the entire interior; depending on the market we are trying to attract.  After all, staging is a real estate and marketing profession with design as its tool.

So, how can a property stager help before you list?  Property stagers can give great insight as to how a property should be presented to the market. Even if you are not planning on staging the property, knowing a property’s best selling points and how to feature and draw attention to them would be advantageous to both the seller and the realtor. Many professional staging firms provide consultations that include an onsite visit and a detailed evaluation of the property.  There are also staging reports that give specific recommendations for your listing including instructions for preparing your property for sale.

Whether you plan to stage the property or not, adding a property presentation evaluation to your marketing plan can add value to your efforts and provide you with specific instructions and information on getting the best out of presenting your property.

Add value to your marketing plan and order your Property Staging Report (PSR®) for your listing today. info@bryansuarez.com

Photographing Interiors with Point-and-shoot cameras.

Although I would highly recommend photographing interiors with a SLR and a lighting kit, many realtors and sellers

do not have this type of equipment.  So, in turn, they will be using their point-and-shoot cameras.  A couple problems may arise from using this type of camera. 1) If you are shooting inside a low lit room, the image may not be in focus. 2) If you shoot toward an area that is emitting a lot of light, the image will be dark. So why do these things happen and how can you fix them?

1) Out of focus – In low lit rooms, it is difficult for automatic cameras to find something to focus on, a pattern, a crack in the wall, the corner….something!  In order to fix this problem, you will need to find something in the room that is at the same distance as the shot you want, to focus on. Now there is a trick to this that we will discuss in a moment.

2) Dark images – You will find that when you point the camera in the direction of light, everything else around the light will darken.  The reason for this is that the camera thinks there is too much light entering the lens, so it closes what is called the aperture, exactly the way the iris in our own eyes gets smaller when looking into light.  This causes a dark image.  How do we fix this?  When you are taking a picture of a room that has a window with light coming through, you will need to point the camera toward a darker part of the room, maybe the wall next to the window.  You will notice that the image in your preview gets progressively lighter as you pan from the window to the other walls in the room.

Now, in both of these examples, we have asked that you move the camera to focus on something other than what you actually want to photograph.  Now we will tell you how to get the photograph you wanted. After pointing the camera in the areas we have recommended, you will need to hold the shutter button down only half way.  If the picture snaps, you have pressed it all the way.  If you hold it down half way, you will see and hear your camera focus and meter the light.  Now, while holding the shutter down half way, position the camera back to the shot you really wanted to take, and squeeze the shutter the rest of the way.

Sell the Home not the House!

This is a follow up article to the Perceived Value blog.

In our lifetime, we have all made many purchases.  Some were major and required much thought, and others were minor impulsive buys; but they all had one thing in common, benefits.  Let’s take the purchase of clothing for example.  When shopping for a new jacket, shirt, or whole outfit, many people like to see how it looks on them before they buy.  People want to imagine how they will live with it, walk in it, work in it, and of course how others might see them.  If they feel good about what they imagine, they will feel good about themselves and make the purchase. So what are they really buying?  Is it not the imagination of what benefits might result from purchasing these clothes?

A vehicle is another example.  When purchasing a vehicle, many people take it for a test drive before they buy.  What is going through their mind when they are on the road?  They might wonder how many people they can fit, even imagining who those people are.  They might imagine it being parked in their driveway, or they wonder about the reaction and comments co-workers will have when they pull in with a new car.  What about taking trips, where are they going and how they look in the drivers’ seat?  Where will I put my coffee?  They even change the radio to their favorite station imagining that they already own it.  So, again, what are they really buying and how do these examples relate to selling property?

When selling property, we have to release the buyer within us and remember how we ourselves are influenced to make a purchase.  Many realtors and sellers focus only on the features and amenities of a home such as its spacious living room, newly remodeled kitchen, four bedrooms, hard wood floors, and energy efficient appliances.  But how do all these translate to benefit for the buyer? What is it that they are really buying, a house or a home?  We can’t forget that it is not the house they are buying but rather it is how they will live in it!

As with any purchase, buyers will go through the imagination stage within a property.  The question is then, what are we as sellers or realtors allowing them to imagine?  If the property is vacant, can they imagine family nights or gatherings in a living room that is empty?  Can they imagine entertaining in the dining room with no dining table?  Can they see how comfortable and relaxing the bedroom is without it appearing so?  What about an occupied home?  When the current owner has personalized the space for their use and their family, how do we allow buyers to feel at home, or imagine their life in a space that feels as if it belongs to someone else?  Will they imagine their family and friends over at someone else’s home? Can they walk in and say: “Yes! This is home!”

By not considering the buyers perspective, we are only giving them the features and amenities to consider in their decision to purchase.  We know, by comparison, there are many other properties and products with similar features, so, when selling property, we want to allow buyers to focus and imagine how they will live in the space.  We want them to be able see their family and friends in the living room relaxing and enjoying each others company.  We want them to imagine themselves having dinner in the dining room, and see how comfortable and relaxing the bedroom is.  We want to show them how their life could be in this property. After all, is it not this imagination of how our lives could be, that makes the sale?

For more information on preparing a home for the market, please contact BryanSuarez Property Presentation.

Perceived Value

Understanding how people form judgments and make decisions is key to knowing how to present a product to a market. We all make decisions and form judgments based on our visual perception of a product, environment, or situation. Visual perception is our ability to interpret information from our surroundings through the visible light that enters the eye, technically speaking. When talking about marketing and products, the resulting perception allows us to form a perceived value.

As sellers and marketers, we try to create perceived value through a buyers’ visual perception. Now, what is perceived value? When our product makes a touch point with one of the buyers’ five senses, immediately the buyer begins to form an opinion. Is this product attractive, of good quality, useful? Will it help the buyer to stand out or create the lifestyle they want? Although we could talk-up the features of our product, the reality is that customers buy products not for their features but rather for what they perceive the benefits of that product to be. An example I love to use when talking about benefits is a drill bit. When a buyer makes the effort to purchase a drill bit, what do they really want to buy? Is it the drill bit itself? Of course not! What they are truly buying is the benefit a drill bit will provide them, a drilled hole. So when selling property, we must ask ourselves, what are buyers really wanting to buy and how do we stimulate their visual perception and increase the perceived value of our properties?

The real estate industry is a very “visual” market place. It has been said that 80% of buyers first search online for prospective properties to view. The key word here is “view.” What are they “seeing” when online? How are you presenting your property (product) online? If you are using photographs, ask yourself: do these photographs show the property well? Can prospective buyers see the space? When buyers view these photos, they will form a judgment as to what they perceived the value to be (price and functional value), then make a discussion as to request a viewing or not. We want them to view the property, so we need to be sure our photographs show the full potential of the property. It is even more critical at the showing that buyers are able to see this potential as this will be the strongest selling point and the best opportunity for them to form a judgment.

However, before a buyer views the property, and even before the property is listed; realtors should evaluate the property and take note of every aspect of the home including, curb appeal, odors, lighting, finishes, furniture (if occupied), or the need of bringing in furniture. Take special note of unusual or modified floor plans. Once you have analyzed the property thoroughly, you can now develop a comprehensive staging plan that includes furniture, art, lighting, and accessories if vacant, and rearrangement and decluttering if occupied. Staging the property is not simply the rearrangement of furniture, or decorating. Staging is using design and marketing to sell space and a lifestyle that buyers want. It is marketing a product to gain a faster and more profitable sale. Staging the property allows buyers to see the full potential of the space. It gives them reference as to how their own furnishings will work, and creates an environment that they want as their own. The more a buyer can relate to the space, the higher they perceive the value to be.

The goal then is to let buyers “see” the full potential of every space within a property and allow them to imaging their lives there, giving them justification for aligning their perceived value with your asking price.

For more information, please contact BryanSuarez Property Presentation.

10 things you should you look for when hiring a property stager

TV networks have used design and staging as entertainment and have made the profession seem glamorous, easy, and fun.  This has given the profession of property staging great attention and has caused a mass of people to pursue a new career in this industry, or to take on staging as a hobby, or to make money on the side. For this reason, it has become difficult for realtors and sellers to select a qualified professional to prepare their property for the market. Selecting a property stager should be taken as seriously as the decision to sell the property and/or selecting a realtor. With so many “professionals” to choose from, what should you look for when selecting a property stager? 

You will find that many stagers will promote their accreditation or certification as proof of ability or credibility.  The problem with this is that each of these schools of staging has their own certification and accreditation.  Imagine if each real estate school issued its own licenses, or if each design school gave their interior design students a license.  With these professions, the state issues a license based on a passing score or of a regulated qualifications exam.  Unfortunately, there is no qualifying exam for stagers at this time, so each school qualifies its own students. 

So how do you know if you are hiring a “qualified” stager without looking at their schools’ accreditation or certification?  Here are 10 things (not in any particular order) to look for in your search for a qualified property stager.

  1. Knowledge – A professional stager would have an understanding of each industry they represent such as the design, marketing/advertising, motion picture, and real estate industries.  A property can not be staged correctly if the stager has only completed a staging course and has no knowledge of marketing and real estate. 
  2. Seriousness – A professional stager understand that staging is not a hobby but a career.  You can see the seriousness in the stager by what they have invested in their own business.  Do they have a functional website, business cards, and a reliable telephone number?
  3. Portfolio – A professional stager will have developed a portfolio with various rooms or styles.  When viewing a stager’s portfolio, ask if the photographs are of an actual client’s property.  Some inexperienced stagers will use their own home as their portfolio; however this will only show you how they staged within the security of their own time frame and personality.  This does not give you confidence that they are able to work with clients, or within the time constraints of others.
  4. Flexible – A professional stager is flexible with their time, pricing methods, and services rendered.  A professional stager is able to stage as much or as little as you need.  However, the professional opinion of the stager should be considered first, after all this is why they were hired.
  5. Relationships – A professional stager has formed relationships with resources for furniture, art, accessories, lighting, and trades professionals such as painters, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and landscapers.
  6. Education – A professional stager understands that keeping up to date with the industries they represent is critical to the success of the properties they stage and the sellers or realtors they work with.  For this reason, they keep moving forward in expanding their range of education beyond their initial staging course.
  7. Expert – A professional stager is an expert in their field and proves so by the content they produce on their websites, marketing materials, and other written communications.  They do not rely on templates or pre-written marketing materials to educate their client base.  They educate based on their own statistics and personal research.  As with any profession, keeping up to date and having strong research skills makes for a better professional.
  8. Professionalism – A professional stager carries themselves as a professional.  They should be dressed appropriately, show respect to their competition, clients, vendors, and allied professionals.  If they are unable to perform a project due to lack of ability, they will recommend another stager rather than attempting the project. They know that it must always be in the best interest of the seller.
  9. Questions – A professional stager will ask questions about the property such as how many days on the market, list price, who is the owner, and what are prospective buyers currently saying about the property.  A professional stager will never ask the seller or realtor to give an opinion about design such as “what do you think about this chair? Or do you like this table here or how do you feel about this color?”  These are things that the stager should already know.
  10. Individual Producers – A professional stager is an individual producer.  When speaking about staging, they can give you information about projects they have actually produced.  Many inexperienced stagers or hobbyist will refer to successes as an industry or successes of another stager.

Once you have narrowed down the list of stagers you might want to work with, it is an absolute must to meet them in person.  If you are a realtor, you will want to make sure that this person is the best fit for working with you and your client. If you are a seller, this is the person you will be allowing in your home; you want to be sure you are comfortable with their personality.  This is a lot to keep in mind when hiring a property stager, but remember, it is your investment you are protecting, and in fact it is this investment you are entrusting to the stager.