What's Wrong With This Picture?

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What’s wrong with this picture? Any guesses?

Stare at it for a few minutes and see if you can find the two real-estate “no-no”s.

If you’ve been thinking of selling your house, you may have already done some research on getting it ready (better yet, you may have already met with me and received a staging list!)—so the problems in this photo might be as obvious to you as they are to me. (No, I’m not going to tell you yet; read on and see…)*

In a spring blog post last year (5-Minute Home Makeover in 4 Easy Steps), I mentioned that buyers aren’t looking at your home as a “house”—they are looking for “hotel living.” Taking this seriously as a seller will make the difference between whether you can list at the high end of your estimated value or at the low end, and that can be a $10K difference at least. 




I don’t recommend actually trusting to your home’s Zestimate, of course (that uses an algorithm to suggest a value based on a very small, specific set of numbers, and setting a home price needs to factor in lots of variables that aren’t all numeric), but if you want to see an example of how wide the range could be, go ahead and type your home address into Zillow. The one I just looked up for a friend’s house shows a $40K range, which isn’t small change, and the Zestimate range for my own address is a whopping $76K.

For more on this, see my comments in How High A Price Can I Ask For My House, or just give me a call and I’ll walk you through pricing considerations.

Suffice to say that even the little details of the staging work you put into your own home sale can add or subtract tremendous value. Everyone wants to walk away from the table with money in their pocket at the end of a transaction, but how?

Author Natalie Burg explains this principle and provides great tips in her article, Weird, But True: Fancy Bath Salts Can Help Sell Your Home. Here's an excerpt:

We get it. You’re pragmatic. You’ll buy that deep cleaning and decluttering your house are important steps in a comprehensive home staging process that could help your home receive higher offers and sell faster. But what’s up with those staging recommendations like making your bathroom feel like a spa and your kitchen smell like Rachael Ray just stopped by? Is that froufrou stuff really worth your time?

It is. Actually, the fact that you’re a pragmatist is the reason you’re going to want to shell out for some luxury staging items. The science is in: You’re not just selling your home, you’re selling a lifestyle, and those fancy final touches make a powerful sales pitch.

That’s right. Although the $11,000 you spent on a sturdy new roof might help seal the deal after the inspection, a gorgeous $30 jar of bath salts could be what prompts the offer in the first place...




Think of your home as the luxury, brand-name product, and all of the other houses on a buyer’s list as the generic version. Those homes might have a new roof as well, but when it comes to falling in love with a house, it’s that fancy label — aka, the chic bath salts or fancy wine decanter on display — that could make all the difference...

When a home appears luxurious, it promises aspirational home buyers the lifestyle they have worked so hard to earn. They deserve to live in a house with fancy wine decanters and an orchid in the bathroom. They’ve earned it.


*So... what is wrong with the picture? It’s the “little things,” of course! This actual MLS home photo (used by the owner's and agent's permission) shows a toothbrush and a disposable plastic soap bottle that cheapen an otherwise cute, nicely-staged guest half-bath. Conversely, adding a few upscale touches like the ones described here could even have boosted this bathroom into the “charming” category.

If you couldn’t find those errors, be sure to read the full article at the link above to see what else you may be missing in your own preparations! I couldn’t have said it any better.

Posted by L. Lathrop for Jim Burns