Erin Dunavant knows that first impressions can make or break a new-home sale. Her Birmingham, Ala.-based SWAG Home Staging and Design helps building pros create the right look for their model homes. She shared some of her favorite tactics for wowing home buyers at this week’s International Builders’ Show: —Connect model homes to your local city or town by displaying posters, photos, or other items that are particular to your region such as a football team banner, photo of a local landmark, or a cookbook from a local chef. “This brings a real hometown feel into the models and makes people feel welcome,” she said.
—For many buyers, the kitchen is the most important room in the house so make sure it’s outfitted with state-of-the-art appliances and gadgets to entice amateur chefs. Educate realtors or sales associates on how these items work so they can show them off to prospective buyers.
--The kitchen is also seen as the hub of the house and the main spot for family interaction, so personalize it with a place for children’s artwork and family photos. Dunavant says that on many new refrigerators you can play slideshows of photos on built-in LCD screens. —Bring outdoor elements inside. Dunavant has installed gas lanterns in sunrooms or even over the dining table. Brick walls and floors also add an outdoorsy touch.
—Provide spaces for personal moments, especially in smaller homes. A “female cave” can be a quiet retreat for a busy mom such as a window seat or small sitting area in the bedroom.
—Monetize buyers’ love affair with their pets by showcasing upgrades that cater to the furry members of the family. These include pull-out bins for dog food, water bowl stations built into kitchen islands, and even a doghouse built into the staircase.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Birmingham, AL.