Model homes are designed to give buyers the allusion of perfection. Mary Cook, an interior designer with Mary Cook & Associates, has built her business around "merchandising" model homes for builders nationwide, and she says sellers could learn from tricks of model merchandisers in preparing their own home for sale.
Here are a few tips she recently shared with the Chicago Tribune.
1. First impressions count. “I'd put the effort right into what they see when they walk through the door,” Cook says. “If you ‘capture’ them and elevate their mood right away, it will carry the house better than if you had to earn their ‘uplifted emotions’ later on in other rooms of the house.”
2. Make sure scale and proportion fit. Cook says many sellers struggle with high ceilings in McMansions and what to do with those two-story walls. “They say, do I hang pictures at 14 feet? They're hesitant to go out and buy a big, monster piece of art, but if a professional designer would see that you've done that, they'd say it's perfect, and you're done,” Cook says. “If you have a whole bunch of little things, putting them in a group together on the wall can have the same effect, though there's an art to grouping them.”
3. Use color to enhance. Staying in safety neutral color zone, she says, isn’t always going to work, but be careful in the color you choose because it can have a big effect on buyers. “I remember years ago we did a model home where we painted the walls a banana yellow, and it wasn't received well at all,” Cook says. “Older people would catch a glimpse of themselves in the mirror, and it was harsh; they just didn't look good. We changed it to a peachy color, and people seemed to feel better in there. It goes back to elevating the buyer's mood."
4. Stand out. “Presume that the buyer has three houses lined up, and they're all at the right price,” Cook says. “You have to identify all the reasons why somebody would possibly want to live there and what makes your place different.” For example, she’ll often have a basket on the countertop filled with a collection of dining brochures, maps, fitness center brochures, activity calendars from the park district, nearby restaurant menus, local hospital information, and information on the local schools--any information that highlights the benefits of living there.
source: Chicago Tribune