Definition of Home Staging: “The act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want.”
How To Stage A Horse Property
I’m not sure what the real estate market is like where you live, but in our area houses are moving fast and many are on the market for a very short time. And if you have a horse property for sale, it can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the multitude of variables. Kind of like any home that’s for sale really. But with a horse property, there are even more opportunities for you to wow potential buyers, and get the most out of your home sale.
And most horse properties aren’t typically in heavily populated areas (sometimes). So when you do have an open house, or get a potential buyer to your property, you want to really have your home make a big impression on them. Hopefully big enough that they will put an offer on your house!
And let’s face it, having a home is a big responsibility. And then if you add in extra property and outbuildings, you have even more to take care of. But when you are getting your home ready to market be sure not to neglect the horse portions of your property.
A few years ago my husband and I were wanting to sell our home. And well, we still want to sell our home, but our replacement home still eludes us. Nevertheless, I have visited a lot of open houses and walked through many homes that are for sale. I really like going to open houses. Even if I’m not ready to commit to buying a new home, I do enjoy looking at what type of improvements others have made to their homes, as well as looking for new ideas that I can add to mine. And with all of the searches and research I have done I wanted to share with you some things that can help to make a horse property even more marketable in any market.
Finding A Realtor
If your home is in a rural, or semi-rural location, you want to find a realtor who is familiar with listing these type of homes. It also helps if they know the benefits of having a home on acreage, so they will know what is important to market especially in the online photos of your property.
It boggles my mind when I am scouring through the available homes and they list it as a horse property, yet they only have one picture of the barn, and it’s usually an outside picture. A realtor who knows what horse people are looking for in a home will be two steps ahead of potential buyers and anticipate what they want to see in the photos to get them out to actually see the house. So look for a realtor with experience in selling horse properties.
First Impressions – The Photos
Did you know that 95% of all people who are looking for a new home start their search online? And it seems that a lot of people are moving from different states. Meaning that someone on Washington could be seeing your home in Wisconsin. So it’s a good idea to have fantastic photos in your online listing.
With how the real estate market is evolving, many realtors are hiring professional photographers for the photos of the listing, which is a good thing! If your realtor isn’t doing this, maybe send some photos for them to look at that YOU have taken, especially if they are great!
Be sure to include photos of the barn, tack room, and arena, if you have one.
And if you have a DSLR camera, practice taking photos of your home. Of course you want inside photos, but don’t forget the outside. You want the photos to convey a lifestyle, and of course you want everything to be spotless in the photos, including your horses.
Most listing sites allow up to 35 photos. If you have a large property on acreage, I promise you that there are over 35 photo opportunities showing what your house has to offer potential buyers. So don’t be stingy, show off what you are offering!
Oh, and just a personal preference of mine, throw in a photo of the garage. No one ever seems to show off the garage in listings, but the garage is soooo important! So clean out the garage, and be sure to include a picture of it! It could make a difference between someone passing on your house, and coming to see it in person.
First Impressions – At The House
If you and your realtor have done a good job with the online photos and description of your home, people will want to see your house. You want the potential buyers first impression of your house to be WOW.
When they drive down a long driveway and come around the corner and their jaw hits the floor when they see the property. This is the response you want from anyone that comes to see your home. And that might seem like an overwhelming task, but it really isn’t. With a little work on your part, you can make this happen for your home.
Here is an example. This is our home before we neatened up the entire property.
It isn’t awful, I actually kind of like it a lot. But there is always room for improvement right?
And here is our house with just a little bit of exterior work. Can you see the difference? And guess how long it took? 1 day. Yep, 1 day to neaten and tidy our property. And while we aren’t planning on going anywhere just yet, by keeping everything tidy and in good working condition now will make it easier to really polish the property when we do find our forever home.
And while it was a lot of trimming, cleaning, scrubbing and pruning, we didn’t spend any money. Now I do have plans to repaint the exterior this summer, (my husband hates the baby puke green as he calls the current paint color) but I wanted to show you what can be accomplished with just a little bit of work, and a power washer. If there was one investment I would encourage you to buy it’s a power washer. It will more than pay for itself, and they are just so awesome to have!
If you are on a tight budget, it’s ok. You don’t have too spend a lot of money to make some big improvements in the curb appeal of your home. By simply power washing the house, washing the windows and getting rid of the clutter you can make a big improvement in how your home looks to potential buyers.
Well worth the time and money investment, especially if we were listing our home for sale.
And when you are considering making some fast improvements to your home, try and keep in mind the care factor. Meaning, how much time is it going to take to care for the non-horse areas of your home. You want it to look easy to care for. So if you plant low maintenance plants, like maiden grass, or little shrubs that look good for a long time and come back year after year. And you can make it easier on yourself by planting things like this even if you don’t have the intention of moving, for now.
Make Your Barn Look It’s Best
You don’t have to spend very much money for this project. You can accomplish this be simply keeping everything neat and tidy. I know, easier said then done in some instances.
But have a trash can to collect the loose strings or trash. And keep everything in it’s place by making sure everything has a home.
Storage racks and hooks can be your best friend to make your barn and tack room look neat, even when your barn is full of horses.
If you have an arena, and some jumps put them out! Not every one has jumps, but if you do, set up a little course in your arena. You are basically telling potential buyers what the space is for.
And don’t forget to pick up the manure and groom your arena too, make it look it’s absolute best.
If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know I have a lot of stuff. And I also try to declutter at least once a year, to keep the clutter to a minimum.
Because if you have a lot of stuff everywhere in your barn, potential buyers may not be able to look past the clutter. Instead all they will see is your stuff! So if you are going to be moving anyway. And what you pack up now will make packing up after closing that much easier, right?
This is an excellent opportunity to pack up all the excess. And if you are planning on moving anyway, why not get a jump start on your packing, and get rid of a lot of the excess stuff that you have?
And another thing to keep in mind is staging the tack room. Sure you probably don’t want to advertise to the world you have a collection of CWD saddles, but I also think it’s helpful from a buyers perspective to be able to ‘see’ how the property can be used.
Polish your bridles, and clean out your grooming box. Make your tack room (and feed room for that matter) look like a fun place to be. You want your potential buyers to be able to picture themselves in this tack room, getting their own horse ready for a ride.
It amazes me when I go see a potential ‘new home’ and I walk out to the barn and you can’t see the floors or the walls because of all of the stuff. It’s as if they are using the barn as a storage facility! Just because you may not have horses now, if you stage your barn and tack room right, the next owner will probably have horses, which is why they are looking at horse properties in the first place. So make sure your house and the barn makes a good impression.
And it’s also important to accent all of the good things your horse property has! If you have matted stalls, make sure people can see them. If you have a hitching post, make sure people can see this. Even staging the area if you have the capability to do so can be helpful. Again, you are guiding potential buyers, and showing them what the area is meant to be used for.
If you have water hydrants available in or near your barn, this is most definitely something worth highlighting.
Pretty much everything that you have installed or improved upon is worth highlighting when you have a horse property. So if you have it, flaunt it and make it stand out.
Keeping Everything Spotless
Again, I know this is not easy. But, if you do it right the first time, and someone puts an offer on your home, you shouldn’t ever have to do it again. Keep that in mind when you are considering listing your property for sale in the first place.
If your horses are still living with you, make sure their stalls are cleaned at least one to two times a day. Their water buckets should be shiny clean, and their stalls should be bedded deeply.
I also think it’s a good idea to pressure wash the barn walls inside and out and get all of the cobwebs down. A little bit of effort on your part will go a long way in making your barn look its best.
A product that I have found to really help the process is called Super Clean Degreaser. This stuff works. It helps get the grime gone and makes fast work of cleaning in the barn. It is a wonderful product with soooooo many uses both in the barn, and in your home.
And just like the inside of your home, make your barn smell incredible, please don’t forget your barn. I love to hang up the bug pellent pest repellent hangers (or mix my own concoction of essential oils) for my barn. It makes the barn smell fantastic and keeps the flies away.
And if you have fenced pastures for your horses and you have the opportunity to put your horses out away from the barn before a potential showing, it can be very helpful too. This way potential buyers can walk through the barn, and tack room without you worrying about them coming too close to your horses.
It also gives you the chance to showcase your stalls, and get them picked out and looking great, like they are just waiting to have the horses come inside.
And while we are keeping everything in the barn spotless, what about the horses? Think about it, if you have a back pasture where your horses are able to be while your home is being shown, make sure your horses look good too. I’m not saying braid them up and parade them around like they are going to a show, but spend a little bit of time grooming them, and then maybe put a little Show Sheen or polish on them so their coats glimmer in the sun.
The idea of what you want to convey to potential buyers is how fun it is to live in your home. Show what you have, and make it look easy because of your home.
Don’t Forget The House!
And while the focus of this post has been about the barn and outside of your home, don’t neglect the house itself! They need to know the house is just as awesome as the barn right? Please keep in mind you will live in your home differently than when you are staging it to sell.
So when you see these photos of my home, and property, we aren’t staging to sell (yet). There is a lot of things we would remove if we were actually staging our home. I just want to give you some ideas, in case you are getting ready to stage your own property to sell. And yes, we have a big TV.
So be sure to include photos of this inside of your home as well, so they can see everything your property has to offer.
When you are creating your listing, it’s really a balancing act. Not too many photos of the inside, and not too many photos of the outside. You want the perfect balance of both. And if that means taking a ton of photos, and having several rough drafts before creating the perfect listing, then this is what you should be doing.
You Are Selling A Lifestyle, Not Just A Home
The big thing I think it is important to remember is you aren’t just selling a home, you are selling a lifestyle. You want a potential buyer to drive up to your house and literally say “Wow, I want to live here.”
Yes, getting a property ready for sale is a big undertaking. But if you find yourself getting overwhelmed, or thinking about how awesome your current house is, and you won’t be living in it anymore, that’s ok. Instead of focusing on that, keep your focus to why you are doing this. All of your hard work will be well rewarded in the sale of your current house, so you can get into your new home!