Monthly archive - May 2015

Summer Entertaining

Summer Entertaining

With the longer days during the summer what a great time to entertain! To some, having guests might seem like an overwhelming idea, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some ideas and suggestions to keep entertaining as simple and easy as a summer breeze.

A little planning ahead makes entertaining easier. Anything that you can do ahead of the day you are entertaining will give you time to enjoy your guests. Consider foods that can be made ahead, especially small starters, having a drink bar set up with lots of ice allows guest to help themselves too.  Don’t hesitate to engage your guests for a little help either. If your guests feel more relaxed you will too allowing you to enjoy their company.

Make sure you have plenty of seating, movable seating such as light weight chairs encourages mingling and conversations. If you are serving a meal one big table that seats everyone or a bunch of smaller tables can be fun. outdoor seating

Be imaginative when it comes to tablescapes. Depending on what the meal is can direct the table setting. Flowers grown in the garden are always a nice touch to add, but so can be potted herbs and plants. Sometimes working around a theme helps with the planning.

Is the reason you are having guest for a life event or celebration such as a graduation, birthday, or holiday? The food and decorations can be centered on that.

Maybe you want to have a get together base on a region or type of food. Some ideas would be:

Under the Sea, serve Seafood; pick a color theme similar to a tropical ocean use lighting that is soft and relaxing like being at the ocean.

Down on The Farm serve pork, chicken, beef but create the setting using bales of hay for seating, red bandanna for napkins, and checkered paper table cloths.

Sunday afternoon brunch, which can be done elegantly with white table cloths, fancy table setting; or simply serve yourself buffet for a casual feeling.

Texas BBQ– do pulled pork and ribs instead of hot dogs and hamburgers- a little change add lots of sides to go with the whole feeling.

Use your imagination for a theme and then run with it! Let me know how you enjoy your lazy days of summer with outdoor entertaining.

Marketing a Home Well

Marketing a Home Well

If you have ever been involved in selling something for a business, purchased an item from a store, or watched TV and seen commercials, these companies target their market by implementing the 4P’s of marketing Price, Place, Product and Promotion to sell that item. This is pretty basic right? Not always….4 p marketing

Apply this to when a home owner puts their house on the market; they trust their agent is going to do everything to get it sold. This is where the ball can drop.

Let’s say you plan to sell your house, your agent brings you comparable’s of houses that have recently sold. This is a great place to start with the right Price.

Then you look at Place, where your house is situated is it in a neighborhood, desirable town etc. the place can affect the price.

The Product is the house, new, old, has it been updated, what features does your house have that buyers desire in your market. Again, product can reflect back on the Price.

Last is Promotion this not only includes MLS, advertising, open houses it includes the presentation of the home, the packaging of the house so to say. If the presentation does not interest your buyer, you have missed that target market. Think of this, if you had $xxx to spend on anything, where are you going to spend your money? Typically on the product that communicates value – the best item available at the best price.

How can a house speak value to a buyer? Presentation-by making sure that the house is updated, furnishings convey what a buyer desires, emotional points that make that house sing to a buyers mind “I want this one.” Hiring a professional stager will assist you to concentrate on what buyers want to make your house stand out above the competition. If you can implement the promotional part completely and thoroughly, convey the value your house has; you will find a target buyer that can’t wait to buy your home at a desirable price to both of you!


Clutter Prevent it Before it Takes Over

Clutter Prevent it Before it Takes Over

When preparing your home to sell I hear it from clients all the time; “what should I do with all my clutter” Preventing the clutter in the first place would be ideal, but not realistic for many of us with mail, the laundry, items we have through the house, gifts that we don’t know what to do with and then the purchasing of items we don’t necessarily need. Don’t despair there are ways to prevent clutter before it takes over your house and your life. Here are some suggestions.
Have too much clutter in your kitchen, start in one area. If you don’t have enough storage area start there in the cabinets and drawers eliminating utensils and items you don’t use on a regular basis. Keep only the basic essentials that you need or use on a regular basis. Do you really need your holiday serving platters, or roasting pan to be taking up space that could be used for something essential? Remove the clutter off the counters; you will enjoy having the work space when needed. This is always a recommendation to sellers is too, keep counters clear of nonessentials; it will make your kitchen feel like it was intended for, to cook.Model kitchen
Another problem we all encounter is mail- we get too much. Probably a lot of it we do not need or want, so how do you reduce this clutter? Do not provide your personal contact information without asking yourself if it is really necessary. Same goes for your email address. This can be a time consuming task too if your inbox has mail from senders you have no interest in. Think first before giving out the information if you really want to be contacted by that company, this will reduce the garbage in your inbox and time you spend deleting unnecessary correspondence.
Plan before you buy. We usually have a reason why we are going to a store to purchase something but sometimes find that bargain that we can not live without. We bring it home and realize that it was not as great as we thought, but never return it. Plan and think before you buy. Stick to your grocery list, when purchasing furniture and accessories, have a plan as to what will fit in the space, what you really need. If it is not needed or works as you thought, return it or give it away.
Closets are a place where many of us could declutter. Each season BEFORE you go shopping go through the contents of your closet and edit out anything that you did not wear last year. Anything that is worn, or looks not up to your standards, get rid of. Don’t hang onto something that you think “someday I will fit into it” unless you are on a plan to make sure you will be fitting into it, chances are by the time you do, it will be out of style. Pack up and give to the Salvation Army or Goodwill it can be considered tax deduction.organized closet
While on the subject of closets, organize your closet similar to a high end department store. Group similar articles of clothing together pants, then shirts, etc. within those sort by color. Yes sounds a little obsessive but it does help you when picking out clothes to wear and when shopping. You will have a better idea of what you have so you do not duplicate and end up with a cluttered closet. Do the same with your shoes too. This is another area I tell sellers to concentrate on when preparing a house to sell and to give the closet a pulled together appearance use all the same hangers.
Each season is a good time to edit other areas of the house like the attic, basement and garage. These tend to be places that catch all the “stuff” we don’t know what else to do with. Stop that habit now. With spring here this is a great time to go through everything in the garage, if it is broken, hardly working, or you have no idea what it goes to, get rid of it. Do the same with the basement and/or attic. Yes you do need to store something’s, but store only what is useful.
Last if you are tired of your spaces consider re-decorating versus throwing everything out and starting new. Not sure how to even begin the process? A great resource is a Professional Home Stager that specializes in interiors. They re-invent people’s spaces for selling and can create magic in home reducing clutter and getting the spaces balanced with the right amount of furniture and updated style you maybe looking for.
Share with me any simple organizing ideas you have.

Best Order to Paint a Room

Best Order to Paint a Room

To some this might be obvious, but to someone never painting a room before painting a room might be intimidating when really it does not need to be. If you follow this simple order you will come out with a professional looking painted room. This method also gives you points to break at, when painting a room, you don’t need to do the room in one day if you do not have the time.

Once you have gathered all your tools that you need to paint, lay down a protective layer on your floor. This will help with accidental splatters or spills.

The suggested order to keep in mind is to work from top to bottom.

Start with the ceiling. Matte or flat paint for ceilings is best for most rooms. It has a velvety appearance and hides imperfection.  If you want to be creative and give your room a lot of style,  consider the ceiling as a fifth wall to decorate. If you have a tall ceiling consider a dark color, it can be very dramatic. In a dining room you could do a metallic look for a more formal feel. Use your imagination.ceiling

Next will be the walls.  If the room is used occasionally a flat finish is great but if you use it more frequently or is considered a “heavy traffic” room, an eggshell or satin paint is gorgeous on walls, it has good durability and can stand up to washing to remove marks and stains.

Use a brush to “draw” a line to edge the wall next to the ceiling. This will give you a clean line between the two. If you do not have a steady hand use painters tape on the ceiling. Also using a brush to get into the corners will make it easier to get continuous coverage there. Do one wall at a time rolling the paint to give you complete coverage.

Walls and Trim

If you are painting your trim, windows and doors these are last. A gloss or semi-gloss alkyd paint is good for this application because it will be very durable and give a rich look to the wood work. With painters tape, tape the walls next to the window trim and door trim. You can also tape the glass with painters tape on the windows for easier clean up. When painting raised panel doors paint the panels first then the flat surfaces.

Following this order helps keep splatters to a minimal and your work will look professional. You will find for the minimal cost of a can of paint and a few supplies you can transform the look of a room easily and quickly.

Additional reading to help you paint:

How to Paint a Room

Paint Basics |Terms What Do They All Mean?

National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profle of Home Staging

National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profle of Home Staging

Does professional staging have an impact on the impression to buyers and their offer they make? Although close to half of the Realtors surveyed did not offer Home Staging as a service to their sellers, it appears that the homes that were staged had a positive impact on buyers. Take a look….

2015 Profile of Home Staging

Should I Put in Stone Counters before Selling?

Should I Put in Stone Counters before Selling?

This question is one of the most frequently asked questions of sellers, updating a house before you sell, or leave as is. Deciding on the stone counters has a few other factors that need to be taken into account first.  Marketing a home well is essential in today’s economy to entice and attract buyers. A seller has to understand the basics of marketing 4P- Product, Price, Place, Promotion; to optimize their biggest investment, their property, when selling it.

Whether you purchased your home and now own it; bought at the peak and realize it will be difficult to recoup what you paid for the home; when selling, it is essential to market your property and not let any of the key elements fall short. Replace those counters? Read on.refurbished kitchen

Considering the four P’s of marketing, obviously you do not have much control of Place; the location of your home, although it is probably one of the key factors of why you purchased it in the first place. It may be in a highly desirable town, well established neighborhood, or it might be in an area that has become not so favorable. Place is one element that will dictate the price that a property will be able to demand. When thinking of selling, ask an experienced Real Estate Agent to show comparable or similar houses that have sold in your area to give you a starting point. The Agent will also be the one to market the property which is the promotion.

Making the property more desirable is where the Product comes into play- the house itself. When selling you want your product to be desirable to the widest range of buyers in your market. How do you do that? Maybe it is putting in the stone counter tops. Have a Professional Stager come and do a consult, they will assess and assist what changes are worth the investment. Keep in mind, buyers do not want to see how you live, they want to see the product as how they will use it. That includes more than just the counter tops though; the colors of the rooms, the placement of the furniture and the condition of the home itself all are factors that need to be considered when selling. A buyer is more knowledgeable than the seller because they know what is currently available on the market because they are currently looking at each and every home comparing. If you are competing against homes that are newer and have upgraded features possibly your home may need to be priced sharply to entice and even the playing field in a buyer’s eye, if not, then the weighing the cost of counter tops versus the pricing of the home has to be considered.

Your agent is the one that can control the price and the promotion of the product. A professional stager is one of your ammunition to get your Product to stand out in the market. If you are considering selling, let me know if you have worked with a professional stager and the direction they gave.