Blog Archives

STAGING – Flaunt Your Best Assets

Highlight and draw attention to elements in the home, such as a great view, architectural details, even repairs, renovations or equipment upgrades. Your kitchen and bathroom are prime selling opportunities, so pay special attention to these areas. For example, keep your kitchen counters clear of any knickknacks and small appliances, and remove any magnets or personal items from your fridge. Remove as many personal items as you can from the bathroom so it looks pristine and that there is lots of counter space available. Replace leaking or worn faucets to give a new look to the room. Make sure to clean under the sinks. Potential homeowners will be checking out all the details. If there are any leaks, fix them. Then clean up the damage using contact paper or paint. Spending a little extra time to fix up the existing items in the home is an inexpensive way to make great changes, therefore increasing the selling value and decreasing the time it will be on the market.

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STAGING – Make It Pretty

Dirt, dust, fingerprints and cobwebs all detract from the appeal of your house. Be sure to clean thoroughly in every nook and cranny, and empty all wastebaskets, for enhanced appeal. You should also consider updating the look of your house by removing dated items.

Replace these with a few well-chosen accessories, fresh flowers or lighter drapes that brighten up your house. By simply changing the hardware on kitchen and bathroom cabinets this cost-effective upgrade will take years off the look of dated cabinets.bright-bedroom-design-ideas-6

STAGING – Context Is Key

People aren’t buying houses, they are buying homes. Most potential home buyers want to see where they can fit in that home. Without being able to see furniture in the rooms, it just looks like a big empty space and potential buyers will find it hard to visualize themselves in the space.

Here are some reasons why you should never try to sell your home empty:

It is hard to tell the size of a room when there is no reference point.  Furniture will allow the buyer to see the scale of the room and sometimes even make it look larger then if it were empty. A small empty bedroom can leave one wondering if a bed even fits. Most potential buyers do not have a sense of size from reading numbers on a promotional sheet. They need some sort of reference point to make the connection to their own stuff.

Potential buyers will focus on negatives in the home rather then looking at the overall picture.  Maybe there is a scratch in the flooring, a light switch in an inconvenient spot or a bar missing from the closet. All of these negatives are easier to spot in an empty room. Instead of looking at the overall flow, the buyer is concentrating on what needs to be fixed or critiquing furnishings like light fixtures, woodwork, countertops.

Marble Hall and Staircase

Empty rooms can distract buyers from the home. They may be focusing more on why the home is empty rather then deciding if it is the right home for them. Did they get a divorce? Have they moved away? Are they trying to sell fast because there are too many problems? These are questions they may be asking because the home is so empty and nothing is catching their eye. They may even be asking themselves maybe they are desperate and I can make a low offer?

So be sure to stage each room with items to help the potential buyers see the purpose and potential layout of the room.  Even if the house is not fully furnished it is important to at least paint the picture of what could go on in each particular room for potential buyers. A vacant house is depressing, show the cheerful side of your house.

STAGING – Let There Be Light

When selling your home, keep it bright.  Dimly lit rooms tend to look smaller and dingy.  Turn on many, if not all lights, even when you are showing your home during day hours.

Create lighting that sets a warm inviting mood. This occurs with multiple lights and not just overhead lights. If there is a small or darker room in your home, put a floor lamp in the room to bounce light off the ceiling and use table lamps to make the remaining space light up.

If the walls seem dreary, repaint them in a nice neutral shade to catch the light.  By creating a lighter feeling in the room, it will appear more relaxed which will allow buyers to visualize themselves in the space.  Make it more welcoming with drapes and blinds open to let in natural light.  Wash the windows in each room on the inside and outside.  Hire a professional window washer if necessary.

By lightening up your home it will help to sell it faster, for more money and that will brighten any seller’s day.

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Deconstructing Holiday Decorations

It’s A Holiday Wrap Up

It’s that time again. The holiday festivities are over and we have to put away all of our seasonal stuff. The excitement of our new gifts often is in vast contrast to the daunting challenge of putting away our seasonal décor. You know you have to do it sooner or later, but sometimes in the end you’re just frantically rushing just to get it done.

To take away holiday stress for next year we want to find the right marriage of saving time, keeping our precious ornaments safe, creating easy access and not taking up extra space. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Audit. What did you like this year and what didn’t you like? Takes photos so you can easily replicate vignettes you create like a fireplace mantle or your Christmas tablescaping. Get rid of anything that was damaged and give away items that don’t fit your tastes. No sense packing and unpacking things you haven’t used in years!

2. First things first.
Decide the order of how you will store your decor. Think about the timing of what you use. Know what comes out first and make sure you pack it in last. Some décor also works from Thanksgiving right through to the New Year. Make sure that’s the type of items that are in a place to be easily brought out first.

3. Timing.
  Often our holiday decor is in deep storage like cubbies and crawl spaces. It’s better to put up our outside lights when it’s a little warmer and maybe less snow.  And maybe you can get those cards out to the post office early next year if they are the first thing you see. Advent calendars, Elf on a Shelf and other activities and treats for the kids should be stored within easy reach as well so you’re able to quickly pull them out when the holidays arrive.

4. Know how.
Think about how you pack it up. Consider making a list. Maybe packing room by room/area/vignette will work best for you? For example:IMG_0193
– Foyer: garland, greenery
– Den: blankets, pillows
– Dining room: linens, candles
– Bathrooms: special towels, soaps
– Fireplace: stockings, ornaments
No matter how you pack your decorations, label boxes clearly so you can easily find items on the fly. No one wants to spend more time in the basement/crawl space/attic than they have to!

5. Know what it is. Label containers, create lists, use see through storage bins, photos.

6.  Needs assessment. As you pack, make a list of what you will need for next year. Or, if you are a bargain hunter like me, you may want to run out and buy a few items while the sales are at their peak!

7. Separate. Keep your holiday gift wrap with your holiday items and separate from your other wrapping paper and cards.  I always keep a pair of scissors and tape with holiday wrap so I’m good to go in an instant.

IMG_01928. Pack carefully. Take extra time with fragile keepsakes. You don’t want large bins crushing delicate things. Use soft things to keep ornaments safe – a Christmas table cloth, napkins, pillows, Santa hats, and stockings are all good choices. Using these items to buffer ornaments will also save space. This is extremely important in our age of downsizing and condo living when every inch can count in a storage locker or closet.

9. Safety first. Not only do your ornaments need to be safe, you need to be safe too. Don’t pack bins too heavy – especially if you’re maneuvering them from tight places, like the attic. Don’t rush. Enlisting a friend or family member as a spotter to steady you and to hand things over to is never a bad idea. If you used a ladder to put it up, make sure you are just as careful bringing things down.

10. Let it go. Be careful of the kiddies’ homemade ornaments. They may look sweet with all that food and glitter, but food can attract critters of all sorts. Not to mention, most holidays are sparkling enough without transferring all that gold dust getting through all of your décor into yet another year.

This year, just like the jolly man in red, take the time to make your list and pack it twice. The extra care and attention when putting decorations away will remove so much stress when you prepare your home for the holidays next year.

STAGING – Bright, Beautiful, Basements!

People don’t always spend a generous amount of time in their basement and therefore, it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This often carries through when the home is for sale. Research shows us that kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms are main areas of interest to buyers, so when we are selling we focus on making these rooms look great. But, let’s not forget that a simple basement makeover can also help you earn top dollar for your home. It adds that extra living space that home buyers are looking for and gives a feeling that the home is complete.  Here are some ways to achieve a more livable and sellable basement.

Purge It
Before you do anything else, you must clear out your basement.  Basements often become a dumping ground for dingy basementChristmas ornaments, old furniture and out grown toys.  It is common for many homes to have a second fridge in the basement—frequently mostly empty.  These fridges are huge energy wasters and do not add to the feel of room.  If you have a bar area, consider a mini-fridge instead.

Store it
It’s time to get rid of these unused items and store those that are used neatly.  Today’s buyer is looking for space. If you are showing a home with a basement that is crowded to the rafters with stuff, potential buyers question whether or not there is enough room for their belongings. An attractive and functional storage area allows the buyer to see the potential for storage and makes it easier for them to see the real value in the space.

Move It
Maybe you have too much furniture upstairs and you would like to clear some of it out for a cleaner, neater look. Why not find pieces to put in the basement.  You can do the same with choice pieces of artwork, as well.  Sometimes you can create a great room just by rearranging and repurposing pieces that you already own.

Paint It
Touching up old furniture can be an affordable way to add to your basement as well. A new coat of paint on that old table may be just what it needs to look new and modern.

Paint is always an inexpensive, easy way to make a room look updated.  Use neutral colors when painting furniture or walls.  You want the potential buyer’s to focus on the features of the room, not the furniture in it.  They may have a different style than you, and you want them to be able to imagine their things in your house.  Tear down that old paneling and paint a nice neutral color or add a fresh coat of paint to wainscoting. You won’t believe the difference!

Light it
relaxing-room-in-basement-by-candice-olsonBasements tend to have lighting issues so be sure that any windows are unobstructed.  Clean these windows inside and out and use minimal window treatments to allow as much light in as possible.  Don’t let there be a single shadowy corner.  Bring in table lamps and floor lamps to light these areas.  Install fixtures if your basement is lit by bare light bulbs.  Make sure light switch plates are clean and in good repair.  Any lights that have pull cords should have a clean, neat looking cord even in unfinished parts of the basement such as the furnace room.

Air it out
Don’t let the stigma of a basement being a musty place hold true in your house!  Remove carpeting that is worn.  Check for mold and water damage and take care for your own health in fixing these problems.  Use a dehumidifier or air purifier to clear the air.  If the furniture that has been down there retains that musty and dusty smell, get it cleaned or let it go.  To make the basement feel like part of your home, make sure it is well heated and not drafty.  Keep in mind that if you don’t use your heater often, it will have a dusty smell when you turn it on.  So, be sure to turn on the heat on well in advance of potential buyers coming to see the house.

An inviting and functional basement can add a lot of value to your home.  So, make sure you are using the space to its full selling potential.  Don’t let it be “just a basement”, turn it into another room in your home, full of potential for the future home owners.

STAGING – Sparse Space

When selling your home, less means more. Buyers want to picture themselves with their belongings in your home, which they can’t do if it is cluttered or filled with personal items. Remove extra furniture and any collections, family photos, religious or seasonal artifacts. Neutral paint and decor will help increase the appeal of your home, creating a blank slate for buyers to imagine how they will use it. You should also clear clutter and personal items from closets, storage spaces and medicine cabinets. In short, keep only those items you need on a daily basis, and donate or pack the rest.     clean living room

STAGING – Staging Needs Perspective

Often people wanting to sell their homes just don’t know where to begin. They know they have a lot of work to do, but are looking for advice on how to get started.

Because sellers are used to seeing thier clutter and volumes of trinkets and trash on a daily basis, they often just don’t get the need to eliminate these items. I call it the “wallpaper effect” – it’s such a part of their daily lives that they don’t notice it anymore.

I often suggest that sellers take a really good look at each room in the house from the perspective of the doorway of each room. This is the first impression each prospective buyer will get.

Even better, take a photograph. It will speak volumes. It’s a great way to get a new perspective and to see where to begin to get the house ready to sell.

STAGING – Put Some Focus on Your Focal Points

A focal point is the element in the room which the eye is drawn to as soon as you enter the room. Every room must have a focal point because it makes the room complete and creates purpose.

If a room does not have a built-in focal point, for instance a picture window, you can create one yourself. A fireplace, piece of art,focal point furniture or a beautifully dressed bed make a great focal point in your living room, office or bedroom. Stand in the doorway of each room to see the first thing potential buyers will notice.

Once you have your focal point established, you can work your furniture and accessories to complement it. Keep furniture simple and eliminate all the clutter and personal items from the room. Create a single focal point in the often neglected entryway with an attractive table or painting.

The first impression inside the home is established at the entryway, so make sure to have a focal point that encourages interest to go further into the home. With some extra focus on your focal points homes will sell faster and for more money.

STAGING – Getting Your House in Order

If you want to get the best price for the home you’re selling and sell it quickly, making the necessary fix ups and improvements will certainly enhance your property in a prospective buyer’s eyes.

These fix-ups don’t necessarily have to be expensive. But even if you do have to make a minor investment, dollars for smart fix home-renovationups will be recouped in the price you are able to get when you sell. It’s very important that these improvements be made before you put your home on the market. If cash is tight, investigate your loan options for repairs and you can repay on closing.

Walk though your property with a critical eye or better yet have a friend who is savvy about home repairs give your house a once over. And of course you can use professionals like building inspectors and home stagers. You may as well know what the comments may be up front and then you can decide whether it is worth your while to deal with it.
Be sure to finish all those little projects you never got around to. If you have projects that have gone wrong, it might be the time to call in the experts to turn these projects into a selling feature instead of red flag for trouble to potential buyers.
Leaky faucets, squeaky doors, damaged wood, paint, tile or flooring are all detractors. Buyers want to know that the home has been maintained and well cared for. Start early to get these projects complete and reap the rewards with a higher offer.

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