Monday, December 5, 2011

If every picture tells a story, make it a best seller!

Recently I used for research while working on a project. I was searching all over the country in different price ranges to get a sampling of current listings.

In this market and with the challenges facing sellers today I was frankly shocked at what I found. Listing after listing had either inadequate photos to market the home or the photos did absolutely nothing to sell a potential buyer on the property. allows up to 25 photos to participating agents to market homes. I found million dollar plus homes with only 4 photos. Or million dollar homes with photos clearly not taken by a professional.

Here's some examples of photos on the MLS (mulitple listing service):

All of the homes above are listed for $1.5 million and up. Do these photos portray Million Dollar listings to you?

The homes below are a great example of how not to market your home if you want to sell it.

Can you imagine a buyer getting excited about the home these photos represent?

Here are some ideas to keep in mind when listing your home for sale:

• Hire a real estate agent who has a proven track record of marketing their listings with home staging, professional photography and social networking. If buyers can't find your home or see it's potential you've lost them.
• Work with your real estate agent and home stager to prepare your home before photos are taken. Don't rush to list your home before it's ready. Remember. One chance to make a first impression.
• To buyers, your home is only as appealing as your photos. It's worth spending a little extra to have professional photos taken no matter what price range you're in.
• Once you've listed your home, do some research yourself. Check your home's listing on and make sure the photos are appealing, well lit, adequate to represent both exterior and interior and large enough so buyers can use the slide show feature to preview your home. Use as many photos as needed up to the maximum of 25.
• If your home has been on the market for awhile check and make sure photos online represent your home now. A photo of a winter landscape in the summer tells buyers you've been on the market a long time. Take new photos and update your listing.

A great photo is worth it's weight in gold when selling your home. Especially at today's prices!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


If you're a builder or developer and considering whether or not staging is worth the investment, take a look at these numbers.

Johnson County TX  May 2011 Home Stats from NTREIS

Inventory of Homes for Sale: 875

Months Supply of Inventory: 8

Average Sales Price: -10.11% from 2010

Average days on market: 126

Model home on market BEFORE staging: 365+ days

A local developer contacted us to help get their inventory of 6 model spec homes sold and off their books. These homes had been sitting - unsold -  for over a year.

Hampton Redesign worked within the developers budget by utilizing some existing model home furniture in their storage facility and staging only the main living areas and the master bedroom.

As there were 6 properties to sell before the next phase could be started, we recommended furnishings and accessories be purchased. Although the upfront cost is a little higher than renting, this gives a builder or developer the option to maximize their investment. Once the initially staged property sells, all furnishings can be moved to the next and so on. Since the furnishings become the property of the developer, they can either sell with the property as a value add or re-use to stage other homes.

This model home, once it was staged, sold and closed within 30 days (or less than a quarter of the average days on market in Johnson County).
Dining Room - After Staging
Kitchen - After Staging
Living Room - After Staging
Bedroom - After Staging

Model home on market AFTER staging: 30 days

Buyers are looking for move in ready. Staging a new home helps buyers focus on the NEW and not the HOW of living in an empty space.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Banish those low ball offers and pesky pet odors! Pt.2

Ah what a difference it makes when you decide to present your home as fabulous, not as is!

It may not be the easy route to take, but when you do take the trouble to update your home as needed (master baths and kitchens should be on the top of your list), and make sure it's clean and organized (no giant waterfalls of clutter to greet buyers when they open your closet doors), you will reap the benefits.

Your home will sell in less time and for more money because that's what it takes these days to get a home sold. Buyers are asking for move in ready and they will pass on your home if it's not in great condition.

Don't make the mistake of thinking potential buyers will want to change carpet, paint or make needed repairs. They will just as likely move on to the next home that is updated and ready to move into.

You've worked hard for your home. Don't throw away your investment in time and money. Make sure you don't leave any money or equity on the table.


THEN sell! 

What's the value of pet odors, repairs and dated furniture? Pt 1

 to drive the price of your home downThe best way to throw away money is to sell your house "as is".

"As is" used to be code for a home that had maintenance or repair issues the seller had no intention of repairing or addressing. The "as is" in the home remarks was also a carrot to any investor or buyer looking for a great deal. In exchange for making repairs, the buyer had the opportunity to make money and in turn equity.

Putting a home on the market today without preparing it by making repairs, updating, cleaning, and staging it for sale is like throwing money away.

When buyers walk into your home and they see clutter, dated furniture and smell pet odors they mentally deduct the value off your asking price. Buyers are not only comparing your home to resale properties in their price range but also to new homes. New homes that are shiny and lack the flaws of older homes. New homes that may be staged as model homes without the clutter of owners.

The best way to market your home is to present it as new not as is. Most existing homes have great features that new homes may not. More square footage, better floorplan, more mature landscaping. You get the idea.

A stinky dated home does not get top dollar!  Don't throw your equity (or next down payment) away. Show your home as new, not as is.
Wherever you live, there is a professional near by to help you sell your home. In Fort Worth TX you can contact Hampton Redesign, to help you show your home to it's full potential!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Model Home in Burleson TX, Staged by Hampton Redesign

Hampton Redesign just staged this model home at 1321 Doe Meadow Dr., Fort Worth TX 76028.

5 Secrets of Extraordinary Sellers

On January 31st I had a staging consultation with a client who was getting ready to put her home on the market. Her husband had been transferred and she was ready to hear what it would take to get her home sold ... fast.

We met for a 2 hour staging consultation where I walked through their home and gave her advice not only on furniture but updates to walls, floors and bathrooms. A few weeks later she contacted me to help her through the design choices to completely update the home. We chose new carpet, all new paint, new countertops, bath fixtures and lighting fixtures. All wallpaper was removed as were drapes and wow what a difference!

Then we started buying furniture to "stage" the home. All the furniture had to be able to work in her new home which of course she hadn't bought yet!  A challenge, but we bought pieces that would work in the current home and that they loved.

The end result is a completely updated home. It was listed last week and I have no doubt they will be getting an offer soon.

Here's a view of the living room before (dining room furniture was piled in while they were painting) Sorry for the blur - taken on my phone.
Living room before 1
Living Room Before Staging

Living Room After
Living Room After Staging

Living room before 2
Living Room Before Staging - From Kitchen

Living Room After 2
Living Room After Staging - From Kitchen

This seller went above and beyond to transform her home to sell. How can you be an extraordinary seller too?

1. Act on advice. When you hire a staging consultant take their advice and run with it. Second guessing doesn't sell a home, action does.

2. Be open to change. That's the big one. This family home looks completely different. It required willingness to change.

3. Get help. This owner relied on our help every step of the way. When you create a great partnership, good things happen.

4. Communicate. Communicate with everyone on a regular basis. Your stager/designer, your spouse, your kids, your realtor. Keep everyone in the loop. Communication is the cornerstone of coordinating any move.

5. Have fun. Make it fun whenever possible. Keeping your sense of humor when selling a house is priceless!

UPDATE: This home was under contract within 10 days of listing!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I've staged my home... now what do I do?

Okay your home stager just left and your house looks great.

You've done everything on your list.

The house looks better than it ever has before. Everything that could be donated or sold has been (you're already plugging the tax deduction into your 2011 taxes). All that extra furniture has been put in storage and all the extra "stuff" has been boxed up and packed away too.

The kitchen counter has been cleared off and the kitchen and bathrooms are spotless! Fluffy white towels are hanging in the master bath, the closets are organized (wow who knew color coordinating your hanging clothes would make such a difference) and the floors are gleaming and freshly vacuumed.

Once everything was clean and organized, you and your stager pulled all the furniture and accessories together to give each room purpose and a focal point. Your home looks HUGE!

The "after" staged photos are off to your realtor.

Your home is now in MLS and whew here we go. You're listed!

Now what?

Now comes the challenging part. Yes your home looks great, but how do you keep it looking great while you're living in it?

Typically  you have a minimum one hour notice for a showing. If you work during the day or are going to be gone for any length of time, you need to have a routine. Get your home set up so that you can prep it for a showing quickly. Then just before you leave....

BATHClean   bath
- Put most of your bathroom counter top necessities in a plastic bin and make room so you can pop it out of sight quickly
- Keep those white fluffy towels neatly folded on towel bars and keep your every day towel neatly folded over the shower door, bathmat too. 

- Hide all personal jewelry in a faux book box or something similar so that it's out of sight but accessible to you
- Keep your bedding simple but make sure it's made up every day!
- Toss your robe, jammies etc in your laundry basket(with lid) kitchen

- if you use a dish drainer, put it under the sink along with any cleaning supplies, so your sink(s) are clear and clean
- Make sure all dishes are in the dishwasher along with sponges etc
- Wipe down counter tops with a quick all-purpose spray cleaner and paper towel
- Burn a candle (pineapple/cilantro is a favorite) to soften any kitchen cooking smells if needed

- Make sure your new throw pillows are plumped and your throw is folded just so
- Keep a large flat basket on a table to corral your magazines and tuck remotes in

Make sure carpets are freshly vacuumed after every showing if possible and keep blinds and curtains open to let in the maximum light!

15 minutes is all this should take before you leave the house. It's that little bit of extra effort that will pay off in great showing feedback and help your beautifully staged home stand out from the rest!

Monday, January 17, 2011

How long do you think it took this $780K Fort Worth home to sell?

Four days.
It was listed the day after Thanksgiving and had a contract 4 days later!
4301 Woodwick
Previously it had been on the market - empty - for over a year. Hampton Redesign was contacted by the new listing agent, Debbie Washuleski of Keller Williams. She did not want to put this home on the market without getting it professionally staged first. 

After we staged this wonderful Colonial style home, we sent Debbie these photos and more to show buyers how they could live, entertain and enjoy it! The first week listed, there were multiple showings. Staging this Fort Worth home for sale definitely helped showcase this premium property.

Here's the before and afters.
Formal Dining before
Formal dining
Formal dining after - I decided not to stage with holiday decorations. Just a simple tableau.
Formal dining
Formal Living before
Formal living
Formal living - I managed to overcome the mustard color on the wall by going neutral with furniture!
Formal living
Family room before
Family room
Family room after
Family room

So you see it's not that hard to sell a premium property in this market. Even in what is considered one of the slowest selling periods of the year, this home got an offer and is SOLD!