When it comes to real estate, looks matter.
Eighty percent of new home buyers in the U.S. last year surfed the Web while house hunting and said photographs were the most useful tool in their search, according to the National Association of Realtors.
But with the current oversupply of homes on the market, sellers are trying to find ways to differentiate theirs from the crowd. One technique is
staging, in which sellers rearrange their furniture, redecorate or even rent new pieces to enhance the look of the home.
Jacky Teplitzky, an executive vice president with Prudential Douglas Elliman, says giving some rooms in the home a minor face-lift may raise its selling price by as much as 20%.
"Buyers do not have the vision," Teplitzky says. "It's very difficult for a buyer to come into an empty space and figure where they are going to put the sofa, where they are going to put their dining area -- what are they going to do?" For the past two years Teplitzky has been helping her clients stage their homes in New York City, which has experienced a 50% increase in inventory from 2005 to 2006. Buyers may want to consider enlisting a real estate agent for staging tips, as well.
And staging, she adds, is not only beneficial for empty apartments. "Sometimes you have a beautifully furnished apartment but maybe the owner has been living there for 20 years. It's old so it may be overly furnished, and people also cannot visualize themselves living in the apartment," Teplitzky explains.
Her general approach to staging?
For styling, keep it simple yet appealing, she says. Don't cram too much furniture into rooms. "We look for a motif," says Teplitzky. "We look for a certain style we think is going to fit the apartment...The idea is also to decorate it to the extent that it's not too cold. When people come they feel all warm and fuzzy and they can visualize themselves actually living in the space."
Fresh paint, brighter lighting and making any necessary minor repairs may further entice buyers.
To view Farnoosh Torabi's video take of today's segment, click here.
Farnoosh Torabi joined TheStreet.com TV in July 2006 as the site's first official video correspondent. Previously, Farnoosh was a business producer and on-air reporter for NY1 News, Time Warner's 24-hour news channel in New York City. Farnoosh is a regular columnist for AM New York and has written for Money, Time, New York Daily News and Newsday. Farnoosh is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, with a degree in Finance and International Business and holds a M.A. from the Columbia School of Journalism.