In order for a house to be sold successfully at a good price, a home must be staged and made ready for the big event – much like the makeover that a bride gets in order to look her best for her wedding day! The formality of showing will end faster if the home to be sold is prepared and priced competitively. Additionally, the sooner the sale closes, the sooner property sellers can resume their regular schedules barring of course the little challenge of packing and moving. This article will discuss how we assist our clients as they make changes to their houses that will help them attract the interest of potential purchasers and influence their buying decisions.

Although every house seller has their own personalities and peculiarities, one soon discovers that almost all of them fall into one of five groups when it comes to staging a home for presentation. It won’t take long to tell if you’re working with a Mr. Fix-It, a Gung-ho renovator, a stuck-in-the-’60s lover of the past, a do-nothing couch potato, or a human calculator when you start to advise clients about adjustments and repairs that they must consider before selling the house.

Each of these personality types contributes both positive and negative traits to the work of house staging for sale. Knowing who you’re dealing with from the beginning helps us prepare our agents and our clients. Let us learn more about each of these personality types in the sections that follow. You as a seller may or may not identify with any one of the below stereotypes. But you can definitely learn something by the time you reach the end of this article!

Property Owner Repairing His Home

Mr. Repair-It

This seller is prepared, willing, and even eager to get in and go overboard with finishing tasks before the house is ready for showings to potential buyers.

The Drawback: The problem is that Mr. Fix-It is always prepared to use his arsenal of tools. The issue is that because the repairs might not be performed to industry standards, the home might wind up in worse shape than it was in before.

Our Approach: When we encounter a Mr. Fix-It, we usually like to have a thorough conversation about the adjustments before any work is done. We also talk to Mr. Fix-It about industry standards of excellence when it comes to home renovation. We ask him whether he is aware of what the final result would be if a professional contractor completed the work. We also talk about industry standards for roofing, plumbing, tiling, dry walling, painting, glueing, and other seemingly simple but difficult operations which eventually makes a house look professionally done-up to potential buyers.

Potential buyers can be discouraged from putting an offer on the property if the repairs were poorly done. Or, because the repairs were of poor quality, they can make a lesser offer.

We also try to include the seller’s spouse or a close companion in the discussion. Anyone who shares a home with a Mr. Fix-It knows where the preoccupation with power tools ends and repair skills begin! Together, with a little luck and ability, we end up controlling the seller’s enthusiasm and put the brakes on his grandiose plans which eventually don’t help our mutual aim of selling the house fast.

Couple Renovating Luxury Home Mumbai

The Enthusiastic Renovator

Gung-ho renovators are property owners who go overboard with everything. They almost build a brand-new house before starting the marketing process and much before the time comes to get their house ready for sale. When they’re done, they occasionally think the transformation is so spectacular that they decide to take the house off the market rather than sell it and stay to enjoy the results of their hard work!

The Drawback: The problem is that some property owners cross the boundary between repairs and remodeling without proper advice. They spend significantly more time and money than they can recover when they sell the house in the future. Which kind of defeats the entire purpose of selling a property!

Our Approach: When preparing a house for sale, we like property sellers to be clear and upfront with us about their goals. We then make sure that the owners understand that the goal is to reduce any potential buyer complaints to the home while also economically enhancing its warmth and desirability. The objective is not to attain perfection. We remind them that there will be a point of diminishing return for house staging, repairs, and fix-ups. The gung-ho salesman very easily steps over that line and as astute property consultants we believe its our job to rein in such sellers with prudent and timely advice.

Older Generation Property Owner India

Trapped in the 1960’s

Without further explanation, you are already familiar with how a seller’s house from the previous generation can seem. The entire space is decades out of date, from the furnishings to the artwork to the floor coverings and colour schemes. What’s worse, the owners adore it exactly as it is! We can attest to the fact that such homes languish on the market for too long due to its dated condition and due to the fact that the seller is demanding top price for the interior work as well which includes Burma teak paneling and marbles etc.! Such sellers are usually adamant about preserving the interiors of the house and do not want to sell to buyers who may redo the interiors according to their own modern tastes.

The Drawback: Buyers have a hard time looking past the aesthetics and visualising what it would be like to remodel and move into the home because the décor is so blatantly outdated.

Our Approach: We need to convince such sellers that in order to attract buyers to their home, the style of the 1960’s (or the 1970’s and 1980’s, for that matter) needs to be toned down, dialed back, or advanced a few decades. Younger purchasers don’t care much for the “good old days,” and many older buyers also don’t care about the style of an older era’s furnishings either.

Lazy Home Owners Mumbai India

The Lazy Seller

Coach potatoes are unwilling to put in any effort to sell their homes but at the same time want the best price!

The Drawback: Homeowners in this category assert that everything about their property is perfect. They don’t want to pick it up, clean it up, or fix it so that the house gets into a condition whereby potential buyers can get interested. They believe that despite the house’s mediocre condition, someone out there is eager to pay top price for it! They merely ask the realtor to find them with the ideal buyer – that’s it!

Our Approach: With such sellers we usually try to reach a compromise. We make a list of needed repairs and persuade the owner to address at least some of them, since any action is preferable to none. After that, we work to modify the owner’s price expectations in light of the conditions of their property. We ask sellers of this category to choose between of either making repairs or lowering their asking price.

Calculating the Price of Luxury Homes

Calculating Device

Human calculators sometimes can be the most challenging sellers of all. Every investment they have ever made in their house can be described in great detail by them. They’ll be pleased to give you receipts if you request them too!

The drawback: These sellers anticipate recovering every rupee they have spent on house improvements. They will anticipate that the selling amount should include at the very least represent a rupee-for-rupee reimbursement of the costs involved if you advise that extra work is required to get the house ready for sale.

Our Approach: We re-frame the sellers’ perspective of the current task at hand viz. getting the house ready for sale. We ask them to put aside a minimum amount that will pay for upgrades which will bring the house back up to current customer expectations and competitive standards. We explain to such  homeowners that they are not staging their property to command a higher sales price, but rather to attract a buyer’s attention and to ensure that they get a good buying offer.

Client Counselling Regarding Home Improvement

We keep in mind these two guidelines before we begin advising homeowners on house improvements:

  1. First and foremost, we never give advice prior to being hired to sell a client’s house. After a client relationship has been established, counselling can then begin. Before being officially retained, attorneys do not provide legal advice. Doctors don’t make diagnoses unless they are guaranteed payment. Its only fair that real estate agents also ought to do the same. We await the signing of the listing agreement. Once it has been signed, we then start advising the owner on how to make the suggested home renovations and use staging suggestions to get a faster sale or a higher price. During listing presentations, real estate agents far too frequently offer their professional advice for free in an effort to convince sellers of their competence and knowledge. We definitely dont indulge in such practices because we are thorough professionals. We also believe that if you give advice before getting a commitment, it could anger the sellers and cost us the listing.
  2. Secondly we always tell the truth, no matter what. We inform the sellers if they need to clean the house or if their pets are creating odour issues or if they smoke and their home smells like cigarettes. Similarly, appearances too can attract or lose a buyer’s attention. We inform property sellers if their house is overly full of clutter and speak out if the pink exterior colour is deterring buyers right from the main door itself. Keeping our mouth shut is not doing our clients any favour. It’s simpler to be completely honest when you first discover the issue (though only after the listing contract has been completed).

This was a tongue-in-cheek style of article based on our vast experience dealing with different types of property sellers and is not meant to offend property sellers but rather shed a light on their habits and eventually help property sellers inculcate good habits and best practices that can help them sell their property faster and move on with their lives!

Real Estate Agent at Gupta & Sen
Chloe is a real estate advisor with Gupta & Sen. With a combined experience of over 15 years in varied industries, she is a vocal and knowledgeable ally for buyers and investors who want to make informed choices when buying a property in India. With superlative communication and marketing skills, Chloe handles our PR, real estate marketing strategy and client management.
Chloe Dodd