4 Critical Questions to Ask to Successfully Stage Your House for the Right Buyers + a Free Cheatsheet
Yesterday I interviewed Lisa Colalillo, realtor and host of HGTV Canada’s Critical Listing, on the Home Staging Show podcast. We chatted a lot about her experiences as a realtor and a host on the show, about why houses sell and don’t sell, and how to stage to attract the right buyers. The biggest takeaway for me was the four questions Lisa had come up with to successfully target potential buyers for her listings.
The Four Questions
Who is the buyer? Who’s buying in the neighborhood?
What’s their lifestyle? What does their work life, personal life, daily life look like?
What are the features that are most important to them and will make their lives easy at home?
What features can you add to your home to provide that for the buyers?
Here are My Three Tips on Finding the As to Your Four Qs
If you live in the neighborhood, this’s something you can observe since you can physically see and chat up the newcomers in the neighborhood. You can find out: who are moving into the neighborhood? Are these people younger? Older? Do they have kids, do they not have kids? Here, you are basically asking the demographic types of questions: their age, sex, marital status, education, work, etc.
When figuring out their lifestyle, you can also find that out through observation. Here, you are asking questions about their psychographics: What’s their lifestyle like? What are their daily lives like? Habits? Hobbies? What kind of values and opinions do these people have?
Psychographics v Demographics
When you are studying buyer’s demographics, it’s about who the buyers are. Psychographics explains why they buy. This is why you would look at their daily routines, the type of products they buy, the stores they shop at and gauge their lifestyle choices.
For example, you may notice your new neighbor shops a lot at Wholefoods. What does this mean? This can mean that your new neighbor is very health conscious, buys organic food and buys locally sourced products. This type of audience also tends to be more socially conscious. They may be more sensitive about environmental issues, which means that they probably would prefer energy efficient appliances. They also can afford to pay more, since organic produce usually is more expensive, which means that they may care more about having more quality materials and finishes in the home. And so on.
The internet is amazing because it basically levels the playing field. You can find out SO MUCH by Googling nowadays, it’s pretty astonishing and insane. Before I go see a new potential staging project, I would virtually “drive” down the street and “visit” the neighborhood.
First, I Google the address, see if there are public records that I can find. Sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, etc. can give you an idea if this house has recently been on the market, or is it already on market? Are there listing photos? Can I take a look and see why it hasn’t sold?
Then I go on Google Street View and check out the neighborhood: What restaurants are nearby? What are some of the popular shops? For example, if there’s a Lululemon or an Apple store in the neighborhood, that gives me a pretty good idea what the population in the neighborhood may be like. What type of restaurants are popular in the neighborhood? From there, I can guess how diverse the neighborhood is.
Lastly, I check out some of the listings that already are on the market: what type of homes are them? Are they staged? If they are staged, how’s the staging? What can I learn from the staging? What kind of target buyers are they staging these houses for?
Why am I doing this? Because your buyers are seeing EXACTLY the same thing. If you are selling the house, you should know what your listing is up against!
3. Ask Questions
There’s a reason you were born with a mouth, use it wisely. Ask your Realtor. An experienced Realtor who specializes in a neighborhood is generally the best kind to hire (at least in my experience). Because when they specialize in a neighborhood, they know and study that neighborhood like the back of their hand.
Have you ever watched Million Dollar Listings New York and are amazed by how quickly Ryan or Fredrick can immediately spit out the $ per square feet in that particular neighborhood or even in that particular building? That’s not a fluke, top producing agents know their stuff. This is their livelihood.