CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Those looking to move their homes quickly are urged to throw out some of the old rules of selling a home.
Experts used to urge people to make their homes neutral – a blank canvas that could easily appeal to anyone.
Now they suggest the opposite.
"There's a lot of competition out there, and you want to stand ahead of it. You want your home to be clean – all those basics that you learn on HGTV – but you really want to take it one level more," realtor Lexie Longstreet told WBTV.
Longstreet said that when staging a home, "You really want to look at your target buyer."
Longstreet suggests doing some research to pinpoint the tastes of people likely to bid on the home. The goal is to make potential buyers imagine living in it.
"If I were doing a condo uptown, I would get a stager that had lots of slick, more masculine furniture," she said.
Professional stagers, who can create a specific look and rent furniture, run about $2,000.
"Don't skimp," Longstreet says. "Don't try and save $2,000, because if you spend that $2,000, you will get it sold."
Home sales in the Charlotte area fell in the final month of 2008, according to the latest statistics from realtors.
The number of sold houses fell by more than 47 percent compared with December 2007. The North Mecklenburg area saw a 60 percent drop in sales.
Prices also decreased. Statistics show the average closing priced dropped 8.3 percent.
Prices in South Mecklenburg were down 20 percent over the last year.
In December, houses were found to sit on the market for an average of 147 days – up nearly two weeks from the previous month.