Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If you do nothing else when you put your home up for sale, do this.

CLEAN. Yes I know that may seem obvious to you and me but apparently not to all sellers, because today I got an eyeful of bugs. And yucky toilet stuff. Did I mention spider webs big enough for Hallowe'en decorations? And that was without my glasses on. Ugh.

If you do NOTHING else, have your home professionally cleaned before, during and after you have it on the market for sale. Before you even think of staging your home, before you let the realtor put the sign in the yard, CLEAN.
clean simple room
What does cleaning do for your home's appeal?
  • It makes it smell nice (one of my favorite senses and a HUGE selling plus)
  • It looks move in ready (without the rolling tumbleweeds of dust and bug clusters in the corners)
  • It appears well cared for and maintained (a BIG thumbs up to buyers)
  • It gives it that new home feel (buyers like brand new, especiallyi n the bathrooms)

Cleaning is especially important with vacant homes. Where every little dust rambler is visible to the naked eye. Cleaning makes a vacant home feel cared for, not neglected. SO important to buyer's first impressions.

No matter what your budget, most sellers can afford to hire a cleaner for a half day or full day.

Don't scare your buyers away!
Banishing bugs brings offers. Have you cleaned your home today?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ten Really Good Reasons to Stage Your Home

I was updating my website today and decided to also update the downloadable PDF files I have for sellers and Realtors to click on and read to find out why they should stage their home, as well as Home Gain and RESA staging statistics to show the numbers.
I thought it was worth posting my top ten list of reasons to stage a home. The original list was provided by Home Staging Resource (an excellent training resource, thank you Audra!) and I have updated it. Here we go....

Top 10 Reasons to Professionally stage your home

1. You Will Make More Money
U.S. Housing and Urban Development reports that a staged home will sell, on average, for 17% more than an un-staged home.

2. Your House Will Sell Faster
The New York Village Voice reported that the average number of days a staged home is on the market is 13.9 versus 30.9 days for an un-staged home.

3. The Cost of Staging Doesn’t Cost A Dime
In a 2009 Home Gain Survey of over 2000 Realtors, sellers recouped an average 586% of the cost to stage from the increased resale value of their home.

4. Most Home Sellers Cannot View Their House Objectively
If you can’t see objectively, you can’t “package” effectively.  A staging professional can see your home with “buyers” eyes.

5. Less Guesswork and “Do It Yourself”
A professional home stager can manage your projects from start to finish. Or, they can give you a detailed report based on their extensive knowledge and training to have you “finish it yourself”.

6. Only 10% of Homebuyers Can Visualize the Potential of a Home
That’s why staging a home is critical! You don’t want the advantages of your home overlooked and left up to the buyer’s imagination.

7. The Longer Your Home is for Sale, the Lower the Price Will Be, so STAGE FIRST!
According to a National Association of Realtors survey, homes that sold after 4 weeks on the market sold for 6% less than those selling within the first 4 weeks!  Don’t be in a position where you have to lower your price…have your house staged first.

8. Staging Fees May be Tax Deductible
Your staging costs may be deducted from your sales gain as “advertising” costs.

9. Leaving Your House in “AS IS” Condition Sells the Competition
Right now the number of homes for sale on the market is at a record high. Buyers have very high expectations.  T he key to selling competitively is to stage professionally.
10. You Can Relax
You will have the satisfaction of knowing you have done absolutely everything
 possible to affect a quick sale of your most valuable commodity and for top dollar!
Which home do you think will get the best offer??
for sale sign

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do you REALLY want to sell your home?

If you really want to sell your home then you are going to have to make some changes. Changes to your lifestyle (no more leaving dishes in the sink or an unmade bed), changes to the way you view your home (it'smessy  bed now a commodity on the open market), and the biggest challenge of all is not taking it personally when someone doesn't love your home.

Change can create stressful feelings in most of us. By nature we are creatures of habit. The habits we form help us create order out of our sometimes chaotic world!

Moving is change, there is no getting around it. Whether you have decided to move voluntarily or your move is due to a life transistion or job transfer, it's still change.

But what happens if you commit to the change? What if you decide that the outcome is going to be a positive one? Don't you think committing to your decision, taking action and then believing in the best outcome beats doubt and worry?

By making the decision to move forward you take control.

Selling your home is a commitment. tidy   bedIt's not a long term one (hopefully) but if you want a good outcome you need to make a commitment to the process.

Too often sellers feel that moving in itself is  enough of a a burden. They may resent the idea of having to do more to get their house sold. Whether it's repairs, painting, staging their home or packing ahead of time, it can be overwhelming to think of all they have to do to get their home sold.

You know what? Ask for help. It's out there. Take it a step at a time but get started today. Do one thing. And then feel good about getting that done.
  • Call your local agent and make an appointment to get an idea of market value.
  • Contact a reputable handyman or contractor to take care of any repairs
  • Ask your agent or google "home staging" in your town and find a home stager to help you organize and present your home in it's best light.
  • Start packing
  • Set a date to reward yourself for all your hard work. Each time you accomplish one step give yourself a little treat!

Think of the times you committed to something and followed through. Now remember a time when you didn't decide or didn't make a plan. What happened?

Once you decide, and act and believe in the outcome, results follow.

You can sell your home. Commit to the change and watch what happens!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Does Your Home Need a "Make Under"?

Happened to be home when Oprah was on this afternoon. The topic was Makeunders. Women who needed less not more. But this also applies to homes. Nate Berkus did a room Makeunder and it inspired me! Every home that goes on sale needs a "make under". The less of you, the quicker your home will sell. The bigger and more spacious your home looks the higher it's perceived value. 
This means it's really important to edit your stuff so what's really important greets you (and your buyers) when you walk in the door. You want your homes' features to shine, you want buyers to say aaaah!

The trouble is we tend to keep adding stuff to our homes and don't stop to edit.
I compare it to getting dressed. You've got a great look going but then you keep adding accessories to your outfit. A scarf or two. All of a sudden your great look gets lost. No one will be able to focus on that perfect necklace or pair of shoes because there's too much to look at. The best outfits are the ones with a simple color palette. A nice pair of jeans, a contrasting top and jacket and some great accent jewelry and shoes.

Your home is no different. It's an extension of who you are but it shouldn't be the catchall for everything you've ever wanted to bring home. Layering is wonderful but you have to know when to stop before your look gets lost.

Start with one room. Treat it like an extension of yourself. How would you dress it?

10 Easy Tips to "Make Under" Your Home
1. Keep in simple, Pick one or two main colors for your walls and floor. The fewer colors the more spacious your home will look.

2. Pick a third and fourth (if desired) accent color . Use these colors sparingly.

3. Keep your surfaces consistent.  Walls should be the same material if possible and painted or finished in the same color on all walls. Floors also. Keep flooring consistent throughout the house.

4. Group your family photos on one wall and use similar frames and mats to keep a unified look. Edit your photos first and keep only the ones you love.
Clean simple room
5.  Group your plants also. Your plants will thrive and it reduces watering time. Toss out any that are unhealthy or dying.

6. If a room has more than one use make sure there's a dedicated space for each use. Screens or dividers can help separate living from office or exercise space.

7. Keep your window treatments clean and simple. Heavy window treatments that cut down on light can overpower a room. Invest in some light colored curtain panels instead hung on a simple pole. These look great over inexpensive 2" blinds.

8. Remove area rugs on carpet.  Visually they cut up the floor space and make the room feel smaller.

9. Edit your collections. Keep only pieces you love on display. Again grouping them will create impact and reduce visual busy-ness.

10. Keep it to 5. When in doubt, keep no more than 5 toys or 5 plants or 5 pillows or 5 frames or 5 lamps for example in a room at one time. If you want to add a new piece, take out an old one.

Remember keep it simple. Whether you are getting ready to sell your home or just want to live lighter, a professional home staging consultation can help you with your "makeunder".

Photo is not a sample of Hampton Redesign staging but was chosen to represent how a simplified color palette can "Make Under a room.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Renovating and Staging a Ridgmar Fort Worth TX 76116 Home

One of the things I enjoy most about home staging here in Fort Worth is having the opportunity to transform a home that had previously been un-loved and just about un-inhabitable into a gorgeous fresh new space for someone to love and come home to. It's really gratifying to see how a house can be made new again. These older neighborhoods on the west side of Fort Worth, this one is called Ridgmar, have great homes that are gradually being turned over from one generation to the next!
So... here's the befores.

This home needed everything. I mean everything. From top to bottom inside and out. Hampton Redesign works with an investor who buys these distressed properties to renovate and flip. I come up with a master plan, floorplan, kitchen, bathrooms, finishes, cabinets, granite, colors, floors and overall look and feel. In this case I recommended knocking out the wall between the kitchen and great room as well as opening up the galley kitchen wall to the living area.

BEFORE: Here you are looking into the old kitchen with the living area on the left. 

AFTER: Two walls between the kitchen and living room were removed to open up the space.
BEFORE: This is another view looking from the kitchen out to the dining area.
AFTER: The sliding doors on the left were replaced with French doors

BEFORE: Another view of the living room. This is looking from the dining area to the front door.

AFTER: The wall to the right of the door opening is now gone and it's an open living space.

Keeping the floors all wood created a seamless flow between the living and dining areas.  White cabinets were chosen to keep the eye moving up and to open the ceiling height up visually. The dark wood floors ground the space.

I really enjoy working on these types of projects - and of course once all the construction is done I get to put the icing on the cake. Staging it! Staging this home in Fort Worth's Ridgmar neighborhood is the key to helping prospective buyers visualize where the furniture will go and how they can make the most of this open floor plan!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So How Much Time DOES It Take to Stage a Vacant Home?

Recently I gave some thought to exactly what happens once I get a request to stage a vacant home.

If there is any doubt as to time and effort involved, whether the expense is justified or what exactly is involved in staging a vacant property, this may be enlightening!

Here's my breakdown of what I do from start to finish for my clients.

1. Visit the vacant property to discuss rooms and possible solutions to awkward layouts. Take preliminary "before" photos to create staging design. 1-2 hours

2. Design and research furniture rental and prepare list for lease, includes revising and redoing plan several times based on what's available at time of staging 1-2 hours

3. Source and shop for additional furniture, accessories including bedding, plants, lamps, soft furnishings, kitchen and bath accents, door mats, and any unique accessories for the property. Includes travel time. 4-8 hours

4. Coordinate with furniture rental partner for delivery, lease and application paperwork and any unusual circumstances including meeting to review furniture selections. 1-2 hours

5. Day before staging - select and pack all accessories for delivery. 2-3 hours

6. Day of staging - pack any remaining items, drive to staging location to meet with furniture rental delivery, accept furniture and direct placement. Unload and unpack all additional furniture and accessories. Once furniture is in place, complete staging with accessories and add finishing touches. Sweep and make sure all staged surfaces are clean. Take photography of staged rooms and download. Crop and size in Photoshop and upload to web and send link to Realtor and owner. 4-6 hours

7. Return to check on staging every couple of weeks or more. Attend Broker or buyer open house to assist listing Realtor. 2-5 hours

8. Stay in contact with Owner and Realtor throughout staging via email or phone. If needed adjust staging. 1 hour+

9. Once home is sold, schedule furniture pickup. Arrive at staged home day before furniture pickup to pack and load all accessories and additional furniture. On scheduled day , meet to supervise furniture pickup. Clean and sweep once home is empty. 2-4 hours

10. Unload and unpack all accessories and re-inventory. 2-3 hours

I'm sure I've left out something but that's a total of 20-36 hours from start to finish! When you decide to hire someone to stage your home or if your Realtor suggests it, keep in mind the time and effort involved. It's a lot of work, but it works. Staging does sell houses!