Sunday, March 1, 2015

Life, Style, and Your Buyer (Week 9)

What do buyers look for in a new home? That is the ultimate question for anyone selling a home. The answer lies within the lifestage of both the {potential} buyer and the seller.

There are basically 4 types of buyers and you can read plenty about their motivations on the web. But how do these motivations affect our staging strategies and how do we tap into their lifestyle, especially when we are in a different stage of life than that of our potential buyer?

Here is a little style profiling of what we find works in the staging arena with the 4 buyer types:

  • First Time Buyer : These buyers will connect with a more eclectic vibe since they are coming into the new home with a hodgepodge of collected hand-me downs. They're not yet looking for fancy "things", they're looking for their own place to put their stamp on. 
via Pinterest

DO:  Play up entertainment and work spaces. Keep it simple, neat and casual. Scale of furniture can be smaller. (Ikea, Target)
DON'T: Use decor that reminds them of their parent's house. No lace, family photos or collections.


  • Move Up Buyer: These buyers are making more babies and more money. They're looking for more space and they want to show off their successful "moving up" status. They are bombarded with shelter magazines and they want the whole package. 
Pottery Barn

DO: Use current furniture with pops of trendy accessories. Scale of furniture becomes more important. They want the look of Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Ballard Designs, Serena & Lily. You can find knock offs of this look but proper scale is key!

DON'T: Use decor that tired and too lived in. They're looking for a fresh new look and some wow factors to impress their friends.

< In between these 2 buyers is the 2nd Move-Up Buyer. This buyer is even more particular with scale and quality in the home. They are shopping at Mitchell Gold, Ethan Allen, Lillian August and Restoration Hardware. They have expensive rugs and fine art. They too are looking for a step up in lifestyle. Brand name appliances are important. Outdoor spaces are essential.>

Ethan Allen

  • Move Down Buyer: This buyer can appreciate a more lived in look. Family photos, color and layered elements connect with this buyer. They're looking for function and smart design.
DO: Make sure there is plenty of floor space. Keep corners and closets free of clutter. 
DON'T: Look like you are busting at the seams for more space. Demonstrate how the whole family will fit on holidays and when having overnight visitors.



  • Empty Nesters: These buyers are not as concerned with formal spaces. They want to relax, enjoy and entertain themselves.
via Blackband Designs

DO: Keep it casual and fun. Color and personality are a good way to capture interest.
DON'T: Be careful about defining the "guest" space. Keep it neutral and be mindful of the community appeal. (ie: Beachy lifestyle) Demonstrate leisure activities over accommodating kids.



The goal in staging is to (as best you can) demonstrate the lifestyle your BUYER is looking to achieve. For example, if your laundry room is disorganized because you have no place to fold clothes, do you think a "move up" buyer is going to recognize that? Probably yes, since they are looking for more space. So, you better find a solution and make it look like the most inviting and functional laundry room possible. Got shoes piled high at the end of your basement stairs? Find a solution.


We'll talk more about specific staging strategies in the following weeks but start thinking about what lifestyle you are demonstrating to your potential buyer. Keep in mind, just because you and your buyer are in different stages of life, you can make simple changes to relate to their preferences.

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