Selling your most valuable asset, your home, for top dollar can be a tricky process, especially in this age of digital marketing when both realtors and owners (who choose to sell their own houses) have access to tools that can greatly enhance the pluses of their house, while minimizing the blemishes. Staying in front of the competition and setting yourself apart is key, but many homeowners rely strictly on their realtor to suggest improvements that will make their house sell at the list price or above. This can be problematic, since realtors are in the business of selling homes, not designing them.
An increasingly popular (and brilliant) way to achieve your goal is by hiring an interior designer BEFORE your realtor. Think about it: interior designers are a different breed. They see things differently and can put things together that most couldn’t dream of concepting. But it typically works, and it looks great. So, it seems like an obvious choice to have someone with that eye on your team when selling your home. In fact, in a recent study in the Dallas market, homes that were redesigned by an interior designer sold an average of 80 percent faster, and the listing prices went up a staggering 20 percent more than its pre-designed estimate.
Redesigning is a different take on the old (and some would say tired) staging model. Stagers are in the business of renting their furniture to you. Plain and simple. The staging company furnishes many different styles of homes with the same basic furniture, in the same color scheme. Nothing new and exciting here. In order for the business model to be profitable for the stager, the furniture must be inexpensive and used for years, often well past its time.
Staging is also out of most home sellers’ budgets. And if your home doesn’t sell, you give everything back and take a loss. Staging companies don’t make more if your home sells for more. They actually make more the longer your home sits on the market, which runs counter to your goal – get the best price you can get in the shortest time frame. The problem with relying solely on your realtor to redesign your home is that their typical advice of removing personal effects and decluttering can only go so far.
Redesigning, the art of mixing up the homeowners’ existing furniture with new purchases, is the new wave catching on in markets across the country. With the redesign model, the interior designer sees each home as unique and designs it to highlight the homes features, color schemes, and existing décor. This method is a less expensive alternative to staging AND you get to keep the furniture when the home sells.
The redesign process would vary by designer. But essentially, a designer would view a home, make notes on key adjustments, then go on the hunt within your home for ways to highlight the good and remove the bad. When he or she has exhausted that effort, the next step would be to make key purchases to finish the job. You may not think you have anything that will work together. But a quality designer will amaze you with the finished product. Switching out a dining room fixture for one in the foyer may fit the scale much better and allow for a brighter entry to the home. Or investing in some inexpensive shelving can take all of that extra stuff off your garage floor so your two-car garage actually fits two cars in it. Not to mention having a non-biased third party do the dirty work of letting clients know that their family photos, while adorable, need to go… with the dog beds and kids’ toys.
Think you’re not in the right tax bracket to afford an interior designer? You may be able to cut the costs a bit depending on how your designer charges for services. Based on how the designer, realtor and homeowner want to work together, there are two ways the designer makes money: charge a flat fee and or make a commission on the new purchases. Realtors are also looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition, and one new way is to hire an on-staff interior designer and work the design fee into their home sale costs.
For many realtors, this is well worth the cost because a fast home sale frees up time for the next one, making each sale more profitable than the next, (and the realtors look like Rock Stars in the process).
Bottom line is that designed homes typically sell fast at close to or above the target price. Plus, you may be able to pick up a few designer tips for your new home.
Where can you find an interior designer in your market?
If you decide not to start with an interior designer, at least make it part of your decision process to inquire whether they have designers on staff before selecting a real estate firm.