The ubiquitous catch phrase “A New York Minute” has a cousin in South Florida real estate and it is “The Miami Millisecond.” That’s how quickly it feels homebuyers size up a home for sale in our neck of the woods. A millisecond might be hyperbole. In reality prospective homebuyers determine a home’s value within the first seconds of viewing online photos or stepping inside a house. First impressions are indeed everything, particularly in Coral Gables where expectations are high and the competition is vying for a finite group of buyers.
For this reason, if you are considering selling, and you expect top dollar, you must prepare your property as a “product” consumers want and not your personal memory box. Homebuyers need to visualize themselves in the home and surrounding area. Sometimes decluttering and sprucing up the curb appeal is not enough, however.
Homestaging is a service I recommend more and more to clients. It is not an indictment on a clients’ decor or taste; instead home staging prepares the property to appeal to the largest segment of prospective buyers, as it allows for an uncluttered and often bright and airy feel. This approach allows for enhanced photography, which results in the eye candy consumers have grown to expect when interacting with online browsing and shopping.
Effective homestagers are masters of space planning and flow. These are crucial in reimagining some interiors in character-filled, albeit quirky, Old Spanish homes in Coral Gables, as well as properties that might need a refresh in order to maximize their potential.
I became a staging advocate a few years back with a 1920s home in Coral Gables that had been listed for a year with another agent. The house was vacant, dark and tired looking. The seller looked to me to work a miracle. I recommended in a professional stager, who proceeded to paint the lime green walls a more neutral color, replace some dated lighting fixtures and furnish the house with light, bright colors and accessories, appropriate for the house. The yard was tidied up and mulched. One apparently purposeless room, shaped like a bowling lane and located just off the garage, was transformed with twin beds, nightstands, lamps and a dresser. Suddenly the three-bedroom house became a four-bedroom property.
My top-notch photographer took beautiful new photos. I diligently marketed the property and within days we booked a dozen showings. We soon had multiple offers, and here’s the fun part: the successful buyer, who made a full price offer, had actually seen the house when it had been listed before – but swore she’d never seen it. The investment on the part of the seller: less than $10,000. The results: a property sold and closed within 30 days at a higher price than it had been listed before. As a results-driven realtor, I instantly appreciated the value of home staging.
Carole Smith has consistently been among the top five Realtors in Coral Gables for over 20 years. Assisting hundreds of families find their place in the world in Coral Gables has been among her most significant professional accomplishments.