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Real Estate Matters:
Helping Seniors Stage for the
By John E. Baer, SRES, SRS
The calendar says March. The spring buying season has started. If you or your senior relatives have decided it’s the season to downsize and move, start preparing your home.
Declutter and organize and seriously consider staging the property before it goes on the market. It’s a very smart investment.
Stagers look at a space to refresh it and lay out furniture and accessories to deliver an aesthetic that will appeal to the broadest buying audience and showcase a home’s best assets and minimize its flaws.
But staging the home of a senior can present extra challenges. For one, you have to work through a lifetime of furniture and collections. You also have to be sensitive to seniors’ emotions.
If you’re helping a senior relative sell a longtime home, look for a professional stager who covers the essentials sensitively.
Here are six staging tips and ways to get your downsizing message across with kindness and diplomacy.
1. Picture this. Consider that seniors haven’t been in the market for a new home for decades and may not be up on the latest design trends. Society has changed and buyers want ‘new’ and ‘modern. A good stager will try to update the accessories of the home to look as if it has been done within the last 10 years.
2. Trouble spots. Among the challenges that longtime homeowners bring are too much furniture, clutter, and an old-fashioned vibe. Stagers frequently move out existing furniture and bring in their own or rented furniture and accessories that best complement the home.
3. Depersonalize. Seniors often ask, “Don’t people want to see that a home has been lived in and see its history?”
A real estate agent with a SRES designation can provide a sketch of today’s buying audience and what is on their wish-list. It doesn’t include someone else’s personal style.
4. Edit collections. Stagers say that one or two decorative objects on a shelf are better than 30, and a few well-chosen pieces of furniture will make a strong first impression.
5. Mirror your grandkid’s taste. The home must grab the attention of someone who is probably the age of the grandchildren.
Framing the argument that way makes it an easier sell when it’s time to suggest contemporary light fixtures, a flat screen TV, and fresh decor.
6. Protecting personal information. Hide medicine bottles and other items or papers that display personal information. For one, the strategy protects your relative’s privacy. In addition, buyers want to see the sleek bathroom fixtures, rather than wondering about the illnesses behind that stash of pill bottles.
John E. Baer, SRES, SRS is a NYS licensed real estate salesperson associated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Westchester Properties of Scarsdale and Larchmont. He can be reached for questions at 914/600-6086 or at 914/844-2059. His website is www.WestchesterHomes.info.