Do you have one (or more?) Do you even know if you do? Read on!
Maybe you’re considering selling your home and are beginning to think about the things you should do to ensure a quick successful sale. Perhaps you have a leaky faucet to fix, a dead bush out front that’s got to go, some stained carpet to replace. Buyers willing to pay near asking price or better are rarely looking for handyman projects to deal with. Time and money spent on needed repairs and maintenance will make you money when you sell. It’s just plain smart. But don’t make the mistake of putting your house on the market if you have an unaddressed Problem Space!
Let’s start out with the simple explanation of what a Problem Space is (as I define it).
Problem Space: Any room or area in a house that does not have an obvious purpose or appear to meet a need. Buyers can be massively turned off when a house poses a challenge right out of the gate. As soon as this happens, all the curb appeal, positive vibes, location, etc can take a back seat. Buyers feel a sense of anxiety when trying to imagine what to do with a space or whether or not a space can be used for a particular purpose.Anxiety and confusion are deal breakers!
Visualizing or imagining in one’s minds eye how a room could look is a skill that scientists report less than 10% of the population possess. “Buyers only know what they see not how it can be” Barb Schwarz, founder of the Staging industry.
Don’t risk it! Odds are, the potential buyers walking through your home will probably struggle to imagine how your house can look as their home. Anything that creates anxiety or disappointment can lead them right out the door and down the street to see the competition. You want them on the fast track to make an offer.
As a seller, you absolutely do not want potential buyers scratching their heads and asking themselves questions like: “ What the heck is this room for?” or “Could you even fit a table in here?”
So what to do? Consider this recent example.
This adorable home had a huge issue right when you walked in the front door.
So what was the problem?
In this case, the challenge was the first room you walked into. Large rectangular and rather narrow with several doors. Confusing. A rather strange floor plan that the home seller had always struggled with. An undefined foyer led directly to a space intended for dining in the floor plan. The owner didn’t really need a dining room so he just thought of it basically as a large hall to the back porch. No dining room? Huge red flag. No other interior room seemed appropriate as a dining space. The listing realtor recognized how this Problem Space could really unsettle potential buyers. Kerri Rossi, with Keller Williams at the Parks in Orlando, offered her client a Staging Assessment as an added value service opening the door for me to offer my services. She sensitively explained to her seller what a home stager does and encouraged him to be open to the recommendations and services of a professional. They needed help.
When the house was listed (after the staging was complete!) it sold in just under a week with multiple offers coming in and the seller getting his asking price.
How I Staged this room:
Strategically used the sliding glass door to frame the view of the back. This added design balance to the room and invited the potential buyer to explore some of the home’s strongest selling points. This was easily accomplished by repositioning the curtains leading to the patio so that they framed the opening thus drawing the eye outside to the beautiful outdoor living spaces and tropical backyard- added tie backs for some texture and elegance ($4.50- attached to wall with removable adhesive hooks)
Replaced oversized hutch (seller agreed to rent storage space) with 4 slightly undersized (to help the space feel wide) framed pictures of a beautiful nearby park (prints under $1 each and frames $6 ea) This not only hugely helped this space perception making the room feel much larger but it also helped it feel more like a dining space because of grouping of the pictures on one side and a mirror on the other. A pretty traditional dining room decorating method.
Showed the potential buyer that yes, this is where you can eat and enjoy a beautiful view. I chose to create a dainty dining space directly under the existing light fixture which was not very well placed. Chose straight lines for a bit of a clean modern feel and dark wood to balance the contrast in the photo and make it stand out. A light wood would have been lost to the eye and not have made the point at first glance that this can be a dining room. I made stops at Big Lots and Wal-Mart looking for an inexpensive option. I found a nearly identical table set to the one pictured and sent pictures to realtor- she found a near dead ringer at Hobby Lobby near her home for under $130 and plans to use it for future stagings we’ll do. Great investment.
a few other small touches, simple table decor with pops of color, added a few more of the live plants that were already in the house and voila
No more problem space, great first impression, quick sale!
Do you have a problem space or other home staging or decorating challenge? Do you know if your home needs help? Don’t risk it. Don’t “test” the market. A false start out of the gate in real estate costs the seller money. Contact me. I’m in my tenth year of helping homes look their best and sell fast. I’d love to help you.
I’m Rhonda Effron Brown ASP
Rhonda Effron Brown ASP world traveler, trash to treasure artist, home stager
founder and CEO of Staged Homes of Central FL, Inc. located in Orlando FL