By Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space
[Reposted with permission from Reinventing Space blog.]
What is it about model homes that make them so appealing? Is it the freshness of all new; is it the sassy paint colors, the perfectly placed furniture, art and accessories or the beautiful groomed backyard that makes you want to plop right down on that comfy club chair?
Well…. Yes to all the above.
From blue print to drawer pulls, that model home is meticulously planned by builders and skilled professionals to make it beautiful.
Models homes are lovely because they have the latest and the greatest, are fresh and new, and are meticulously detailed. Psychology--more than decorating--is applied to make them look so fabulous.
So how can you make your next listing as appealing as a model home? Here are 10 ways.
1. Clean. Those nice angled vacuum lines, gleaming windows, and perfectly manicured lawns in model homes speak to a potential buyer: You don’t have to do a thing. Translate that into: A little elbow grease goes a long way.
A super clean home says “turnkey” to the potential buyer. Have every inch of the home, blind slats to porch light glass, super clean and perfectly coiffed. According to a national 2011 survey done by Home Gain, a $290 cleaning investment gives a $1,990 price increase, or a 586 percent return!
2. Fresh and smells good. People buy homes on emotion, and your five senses are a direct path to your brain. If a home smells and looks “funky,” “doggy,” “smoky,” or if the stove is coated with cooking gone bad: The home is off their list.
Just like you would detail your car to sell it, invest in clean and spotless carpets, patched, repaired and freshly painted walls, and new appliances if the old have seen better days. Be wary to skip this step and take the low road with room refreshers, candles, and stove burner covers. Potential buyers are not fooled.
3. Color. Any advertising executive will tell you color is a key to properly packaging a product, and a listed home is just that, a product. Throw away the off-white manta of old school home staging rules. Welcome to the era of HGTV. Using color is a powerful and inexpensive way of making that home stand out from the rest, and with so many decorating TV shows boasting the benefits of color, you better get hip to hues.
From the first Web impressions to curb appeal, color is a strong emotional tug for the potential buyer. Update yourself on the latest color trends in wall color, appliance, fixtures, etc., and apply it to your target buyer. For home staging, use earthy, calm tones for the bigger areas, such as wall color, and add pops of saturated colors in the details; such as front doors, accessories, or annuals.
4. Make space. The joy of a model home is the acres and acres of unused storage space and beautifully organized closets. Reduce, organize, upscale, and edit all of the home’s spaces when it comes to closets and storage areas. If the home’s price point dictates, upscale the closets with custom organizing options.
5. Clear a path. Consider that many people with be walking through the home. Make sure traffic patterns, entrances, and exits are well established. Too much furniture, undefined entrances, and awkward walkways confuse and discourage buyers from moving about the property. Follow a model home’s lead and create a concise walking pattern for potential buyers starting at curbside to back fence.
6. Lovely layouts. From the landscape to furniture placement, take a clue from models homes that continuity and flow make for a good mix. Create curb appeal with nicely maintained landscaping, added annuals and perennials, an inviting stoop and well-groomed walkways and driveways. Inside, make sure each room depicts what its function is, enhances the highlights of the room (i.e. fireplaces or upgrades), and allows the buyer to envision themselves in the space.
7. Set the mood. Create ambiance and character in the home with well-thought out placement of sensory and lifestyle components. Soft music, lighting on dimmers, candles lit, and fresh floral are all great ideas for broker or open houses. If you have a concern about candles, battery operated candles that even have timers built in are now readily available. Stage the dining room table tastefully, or set the stage in a back yard with a detailed patio retreat. Offering helpful lifestyle hints has always been a tool in the model home arsenal and always is a huge hit.
8. K.I.S.S. On the opposite note, don’t over accessorize, go over-board with the lifestyle tips, or create “store bought theme” rooms (i.e. Chef-with-a-Hat Kitchen or Anniversary Bathtub vignette complete with Champagne bottle and fake ivy).
9. Appeal to a target buyer. Model home builders hire tony marketing companies that create campaigns to market that home. Consider "WHO” the ideal buyer that will be interested in the property is, and market the property accordingly. From advertising photos to furniture, consider who will find this appealing and desirable.
10. Market, market, market. Model homes have great marketing incentives inside and out. From clear address markers, great signs, to small exit giveaways, to an exit survey. Market that listing to the fullest.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Interior stylist Julea Joseph produces the blog “Reinventing Space” and is a home stager and interior designer based in Chicago. Joseph launched her home design business, Reinventing the Space, in 1999. She also stages model homes for builders and has appeared on HGTV’s “My First Place.” Learn more about Joseph at her web site and blog.