Author archive - Karen GP

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Karen GP

Depersonalizing Goes Beyond Removing Pictures

Depersonalizing Goes Beyond Removing Pictures

Depersonalizing when selling is something that home sellers hear about, but might difficult as to what specifically it really means. I hear from sellers all the time “I started taking down all the family pictures.” Yes, this is part of the depersonalizing that is needed, but it goes beyond the pictures.

editing before you put your house on the market helps your sale

Edit not only your pictures, but many of the personal items that can be considered taste specific

 

It’s Personal, why remove it when selling?

We all know that the pictures are personal because they are of your friends and family members, people you love. When selling a house, you want the house to be the center of attention and not personal items. Memories are in everyone’s home, but now that the decision has been made to sell the house, it’s time to showcase the house.

Beyond the pictures there are typically many objects that have sentimental value, are taste specific and can be distractions to the selling process. Your goal when selling is to showcase the house so when buyers looking at your house, can see themselves living in the house. Now that you have chosen to put the house on the market it is a product that needs to appeal to buyers.

How to showcase a house

To showcase a house, it begins with repairs and cleaning. Repairs such as leaky faucets, caulk around the tub, wood floors that are scratched, doors that squeak etc. should be addressed. Cleaning means every surface in the house. Think of when you sell your car, detailing helps retain the value a little more, correct? Do the same to your house.

Next is the depersonalization. What is personal?

  • Pictures of family and friends – You can still have them up if the face is not the focus of the picture. Think of portraits, wedding pictures, family portraits; you want the buyers concentrating on the house, not on who currently lives in it.
  • Color – the color on your walls is a personal choice. You need to make it neutral. A neutral background showcases the house, not your personal taste. Fresh paint is also bang for the buck and falls into the cleaning of all surfaces. Buyers love fresh, neutral painted walls
  • Furniture – This can be a little hard because to purchase new when selling might feel like an unnecessary expense. I see it is an investment that you can take with you. But keeping your furniture neutral- and fitting to the size of the room allows you to showcase your house better. Working with a stager we can help you with placement and editing, as well as suggestions that will allow buyers to see themselves in the living spaces.
  • Touchakis – These scream personal, editing is essential. They help make your house a home, and will look fabulous in your next house. But now is the time to edit and start packing because it will make it easier to deal with all the showings, and moving.
  • Drapery and curtains – When decorating these are elements that create an ambiance in the room. When selling, your goal is to keep the rooms light and bright. Heavy swags and drapes block the light. Consider removing or at least just having side panels on your windows.

Being objective is hard when you are selling your home. Of course, those personal things are what made it feel like home. Those objects can be used in your next home, but when it is time to sell, your home is a house on the market in competition with many others. You need to optimize your house to sell quickly, get a strong offer. By depersonalizing buyers can see themselves in their next home.

Other Good Reads

Possessions and Stuff

Identifying Clutter | Move On


Recipe To Optimise Selling Your House

Recipe To Optimise Selling Your House

You decided to put your house on the market to sell. To optimize your sale, there are a few things that need attention for the outcome to be as expected.  Here’s a simple recipe for selling:

Repair

Reduce

Refine

Repairs

make those repairs prior to listing

This includes not only the leaky faucet but it also means anything that might not allow you to pass an inspection. Did you add any rooms to your living space that did not get a permit for? Are your systems up to date and working like heating, water etc. When selling these can affect the sale. If I see a few “red flags” during a consult I will suggest getting a pre-inspection so that the seller is aware of what might arise, and can avoid if taken care of prior to selling.

 

Reduce

get rid of things you do not need

This is always hard because we all have a tough time being objective when it comes to our homes. The first thing that needs to be realized is that your home is now a house (product) in a market with a lot of competition. If you want the outcome to be successful with your sale, you need to be objective.

What must be reduced are personal items, possibly furniture, and items that you most likely will not use in your new house. By removing them now, you will save yourself a lot of time when you move. The personal items are probably what made your house feel like home, but they are making it feel like your home, not one that buyers can see themselves in. A buyer needs to view the house, not your things. A professional stager can help you highlight the details that buyers are looking for.

 

Refine

edit and enhance a room with accessories and furnishings that complement

Refining is when you take what you have, and highlight the desirable and play down the non-desirable aspects of a house. Color of the walls can have a huge affect here, as well as placement of furniture, art, and accessories used. The attention to details is extremely important because not only do buyers have a wish list, they are hoping to find a property that fulfills that and more. Refining accentuates the value, positive features of a house, and showcases what a buyer can own. Buyer’s for any product want to consider their purchases as quality with a lot of value. Seller’s need to provide that feeling when selling to get the best offer possible with their house.

Depending on your house, one of these areas may need a little more attention than another but if all three are addressed, the outcome of the sale will result in a strong offer, reducing time on the market.

Other good reads:

Organizing | Systems to Use

Selling, Who to Hire First


Frequently Asked Questions On Staging

Frequently Asked Questions On Staging

It can be hard to decide to invest money into a house when you are about to move away.  I compiled this Frequently Asked Questions by sellers just like you are smart to do, and hopefully this will give you the answers to your concerns regarding this investment.

  • Is my home worth staging?

Every home going on the market is worth styling. Showcasing every property gives it the advantage of impressing buyers. It will encourage buyers to see the value in a property giving the seller quality offers.

  •  Why spend money on my house when I’m selling?

The money you need to spend is an investment in your property. The return is less time on the market saving carrying costs and excessive mark downs. Paying attention to the details, like when selling a car; the interior appears to be of quality, the value is seen, the offer will be strong. The smallest investment can have an impact at sale time.

  •  Buyers can see past my things, right?

Statistics have proven that 90% of buyers can not envision a property differently other than ‘as is’ the way they see it. Therefore, styling your property for your market is essential to create an ambiance that is desirable to buyers. A styled house creates beauty and value in the property, and the buyer sees the ability to move in and start their life. For a minimal investment, buyers will be more inclined to make a strong offer.

  •  All homes sell eventually, right?

Yes, but at what cost to you? You will continue to pay your utilities, taxes, mortgage every month. The presentation from the start impresses buyers. if the house is not styled right from the start, you will incur price reductions, costing more than the cost of staging your house at the beginning. Selling quickly saves you money. Design Solutions KGP are trained to ensure every feature of your property is highlighted to achieve positive outcomes.

  •  Will the improvements increase the value of my Property?

Small inexpensive changes can create a dramatic effect. Design Solutions KGP during a home consultation advise you on what needs to be done while keeping within your budget to create a bang for your buck. Styling a property to your market always creates perceived value.

  •  How much work do I need to do on my property?

It depends, every property is different. Some may need more work than others. A staging consultation will identify any issues that need to be addressed, and help you prioritize what needs to be done to showcase the property. The goal for Design Solutions KGP is to help the seller make the biggest impression on the smallest investment possible.

  •  My Realtor told me what to do, why have a home stager come in?

A Realtor is a professional in their field of negotiating property sales. Design Solutions KGP is trained in color selection, design elements, styling to market a property. It is difficult for a home owner to look at their property objectively because they are tied to the house emotionally. Some personal possessions can distract buyers from seeing the house for what it could offer them. Design Solutions KGP objectively reviews the property to ensure the houses full potential can stand out, allowing the buyers to only see the positive features in the home.

  •  How much will home staging cost me?

Home staging is a service offered to home sellers to capitalize on their biggest investment, their home. By home staging prior to putting your house on the market, it will create value, it is an investment in the sale of the house. It is an essential step in marketing a house, Design Solutions KGP works with buyers to keep within their budgets to optimize the sale of the house. If the home is occupied we try and utilize what you own, the investment is typically less than 1% of the listing price. If the house is vacant the cost will run on average between 1-3% of the listing cost of the house. The money invested will be definately be less than the first markdown you might have to incur.

  •  Will a price reduction help sell my property faster?

If your property is price comparably to other properties in your market there should not be a need to reduce your price. A price reduction might generate interest, but buyers are then looking for faults in their favor to ask for even a lower price point.  Not very favorable for the property owner.

If you decide instead of a price reduction of $10,000, you choose to invest $2000 in styling your property, you are ahead $8000. A property that is showcased is going to create interest in the market, and a stronger offer. Homes that are styled by Design Solutions KGP have averaged on the market less than a month, with an offer based on the original price listed. By putting your best foot forward at the start of the sale will result in a strong offers.

  • Should I stage my home before I put it on the market?

Staging your home prior to putting it on the market gives it a strong first impression. Having your home staged prior to thinking of listing is beneficial because a Realtor will compare it to other properties that are in good condition, giving you the advantage of preserving your equity. If your property has been on the market with little interest, staging can provide an alternative to a price reduction. Remember, you only get one chance to make a great first impression.

  • If my house was decorated by a professional designer, why would I need a home stager?

While your house maybe beautiful, a designer has decorated with you and your taste and style preferences. A home stager aims to style the property so that the majority of the people looking for a house will see the appeal in the home. The goal of selling is to appeal to the widest range of people so that you get a strong fast offer.

  • Why Design Solutions KGP to stage my home?

Our goal is to make every house resonate with buyers. We work with the seller to ensure the improvements are wise investments that will protect the equity in their house. Homes that we style for sellers typically get a strong offer within the first month of listing. Our background in marketing and decorating help homeowners showcase their homes and realize the full potential their home has to offer.

Have additional questions, contact us!


Animals and Selling | What’s a Seller To Do?

Animals and Selling | What’s a Seller To Do?

The dilemma of animals when selling can be hard. Pets are part of our families. Pets are residents in our homes and we love them. The only problem is not everyone loves them and when it comes to selling; any pet can leave a negative impression on buyers.

I love my pets as any pet owner should. I do try and keep on top of washing their bowls, bedding and areas where they hang with us. My animals have quite a nice life.  I am also pretty sensitive when it comes to smells. You may feel the same, but I do have to say there are lingering odors that we might get use to over the years that can be annoying for others.

animals when selling can be a challenge if you do not have a plan

Those lingering odors that we do not notice can be a huge turn-off when it comes time to sell a house. I do a lot of consults for Realtors; their goal is to help a seller move their property quickly and for the most they can get for it. That’s why they call me in because they know presentation is really important. One thing a Realtor will always comment on are the pets in a house; and ask that I address the smell issue- even if it is faint. It’s the impression a pet leaves, which is not always as positive as we might think.

So what is a seller to do? First make sure every surface in your house is thoroughly cleaned. Walls, ceilings, furniture, flooring, windows etc. Everything. If you cannot remove all the odors then it means replace; typically the floors are the first area to concentrate on. The next are the walls, a fresh coat of paint is worth every penny when you are selling. Having a nice neutral palette throughout your home that complements the finishes in the house helps greatly too.

Next when you have a showing, have a plan of action as to how you are going to “remove” traces of your pet(s). That is inclusive of the bedding, animal cages, crates, litter box, food containers and toys. It’s a lot.  When you are preparing your house and editing for packing, this is a good time to do the same for your pets. Minimize the toys down to a managable tote. The bed, cage, crate can and should be removed from the house, possibly to the garage. The actual pet itself, maybe you have them stay at a relative’s house while you are on the market, or make sure they can hop into the car with you when there is a showing. To some it may seem a little excessive, but I have said it before; you never want to give a buyer a reason why they do not love your home. If it is as easy as having a plan for your animal then do it.

So when selling, even if you know you are pretty “on top” of pet odors, still remove traces of them living in your house. It give a better impression of your property; and less for the buyer’s imagination to wonder and think they “smell” something.

Other Helpful Reads:

Friendly Flooring for Pets

Eight Biggest Selling Offenders


The Advantages of Staging

The Advantages of Staging

Staging gives you the advantage in the market when you are ready to sell. But wait, you are a home owner, creating memories, putting your special touches in rooms, making them feel like “home.” Why would “staging” help you? The focus needs to be how you market your home to gain the biggest return on your largest investment, your house.staing helps market a property to sell

Staging is essential in today’s real estate market to optimize marketing your house. 95% of buyers look online for their house, they are looking for a house that they can aspire to live in. I have to be honest here, they are not looking for a house that looks like yours, and they want a house that will look like theirs. How to achieve that look can be difficult, but can be realized with the help of a Professional Stager.

If you are able to plan out your move a few years away, call in a Professional Stager NOW. They can review your house with you giving you a wealth of ideas to prepare your house for market, but the advantage of doing it now, is that you have time to enjoy the investments yourself. It also will help you reduce the overwhelming feeling that can occur when you wait until the actual day you want to move.

If you need to move right away, or in the near future, calling a Professional Stager is a MUST, because they will direct you to how to optimize your home for the quickest sale. After a consult you should have a prioritized list of what needs to be address and the order it should be completed to assist your sale to go as smoothly as possible.

Actually staging is vital in today’s market. It can be difficult to remove yourself and look objectively at your home, but you need to. Keep in mind your goal is to sell your house, not live their indefinitely. The prized collections and cute things that make it your ‘home’ may not be the same for a buyer. Be objective. The small investment of 1 to 3% in staging your home will give you a bigger return of 4 to 7%.

In marketing placement, price, product and promotion are all key factors. As a seller you can take control of the product to make sure it stands out above all other houses in the market, which in turn will generate more showings. More showings, higher chance of getting a quick offer. What a winning combination!

Other Good Reads:

Photography and Staging | The Listing

Are Professional Staging Costs Tax Deductable


5 Decorating Elements to Make a Room Look Fantastic

5 Decorating Elements to Make a Room Look Fantastic

Every designer uses key decorating elements to make a room look fantastic. It’s the little things that take a room from ehh to beautiful. But those details are not always easy to decipher as to what they are. If you consider these five elements when creating your spaces, you will see a considerable change.

First, find a focal point. Every room needs a focal point to build around. It can be as simple as a beautiful fireplace, a fantastic view, or even a piece of furniture or art. But the focal point is where the eye is drawn when you walk into the room. The items and placement of furnishings within the space then complement that focal point. One focal point in a room will make it feel classy. Think of a kitchen. If you are renovating, don’t have your finishes’ competing for attention. Let one finish do the talking, such as the floor tile, or the counter, or the backsplash but not all be the main focal.

Next consider something organic. Plants are fantastic in a room. They not only purify the air they also add beauty to a space. If you don’t consider yourself with a green thumb; then look into investing into some real good silk fake plants. They are carefree while adding beauty, and warmth to your room.

adding plants to a room make it feel warmer

Texture is important also in every room. Texture can be in a rug, a throw, baskets that you have your plants in. Having the different textures allows the eye to look around, having all smooth surfaces can feel cold and hard, adding texture, the room becomes softer and more interesting to look at. By adding layers you can create a textured look also. A blanket on the back of a chair with a complementary pillow makes a chair feel more inviting.

Along with texture though, your eye does need to rest someplace. Having open space, or a surface with little to nothing on it can do the trick. The minimalistic area gives you a place to rest your eye and be able to take in the entire space. Not every inch of a wall needs to have something hanging on it. Not every surface has to be filled with tchotchkes, or furniture. Open spaces in a room are refreshing.

having open space in a room helps the eye rest

Last color, it speaks louder than most people realize. When you are choosing color for the walls of a room consider the impact it has. I hear from a lot of my clients that it is the first component they want to tackle when decorating a room. In reality, it is the last element to tie a room completely together. It’s not to say that if you love green you cannot choose elements with green; but once you get all your green pieces together, then choose a color to complement those items to tie the room together.

Still a little baffled as to how to make your room look fantastic? Consider reaching out to myself or a local decorator. For a small investment it might be worth every penny to get the look you are hoping to achieve.

Other helpful reads:

Your House is The Boss When Choosing Colors

Five Decorating Elements That Can Make a House Look Cheap


Simple Systems for Fall Inspiration In Your Home

Simple Systems for Fall Inspiration In Your Home

Where do you get your Inspiration from? The air becomes crisper, the days shorter, fall is coming, and the best part- kids go back to school!

We get back into our routines, instead of the lazy days of summer. The question always arises how can we make life a simpler, are their better systems, better ways to make these routines easier. Of course the first step to making things easier comes through organization.

Organization in the home is always a tough one because so many live under one roof, with all our possessions and articles we bring in from the outside; it can get out of hand. My fall inspiration to organize starts usually when I am pulling out the warmer clothes. You can consider this flow chart from Buzzfed as to how to organize:

organizing chart

Or make it a lot simpler. To begin organizing an area, I create three piles. Let’s take the clothes closet dilemma which always surfaces when the change of seasons is here. First wash all clothes; when putting them away really ask yourself:

  1. Did I wear this at all this season?
  2. Is it in good condition?
  3. Does it still fit?

From there pull out anything that you know you will probably not use next year and anything that is not in good condition. Donate, sell or throw it out depending on the condition. This is the first pile.

Next those items that you say “hmmm, I really didn’t have an occasion to wear this but I will hang onto in case…those items cast to another pile.

The last pile is the clothes, shoes, accessories you know you will use again next year. Store those neatly- by style (all tee shirts together, short together, bathing suits – you get the idea) by doing so if you win a trip to a southern destination this winter you are ready to go in a flash, seriously though, it will make finding things easier for the next season.

That second pile…go back to it now take your time and be honest, if you really think you might use, store by its classification/style, if not let someone else enjoy.

This sorting principle can be applied to any room in the house. Think bathroom with towels, toiletries, medicines. Things you need frequently put in am easy to reach storage area. “A place for everything and everything in its place” as my father always say. Move to your kitchen, do the same. In the pantry, group like products together, discard anything past expiration shelf date. This will allow you to easily take stock of what you have, and what you need. Making shopping that much easier, if not enjoyable; or am I going too far with that?

organized kitchen is inspirational

 

Feel inspired by the progress you have made. I find after I do a though cleaning; the house almost feels new again. It inspires me then to think, hmm maybe I should update this room with a new color, move a few things around to get a new look, or just add something I found sitting in storage I had forgotten that I even had. Get your inspiration, organize and see how it feels.

Other Good Reads

Can the Colors of Your House Affect Your Mood?

Things Your Home Does Not Need

Home Improvement Projects | Inexpensive Updates


Selling | Call in Professional Help To Sell Quickly

Selling | Call in Professional Help To Sell Quickly

When selling a house you need to know what will help you sell quickly, and for the most money. Where do you get that help and information and when should you get it?

The most difficult part of selling is realizing your house may not be worth what you think it is. How do you protect your equity along with all the time and effort you have put into your structure you now call home?

First things First

When selling today, you need to realize that at least 95% of buyers are looking online first before even considering to enter into your home. What makes you look online to buy anything? What makes you go forward to buy? Typically need and value. When you stage, you create value for your property. Your goal is to entice those buyers surfing the web to take the next step to set up an appointment to look at your house in person. Remember it’s better to be looked at, then to be overlooked.

when selling make sure your house is looked at, not overlookedConsider the Following

  1. You need to stand out above your competition. You need to make sure that your house is one that buyers aspire to not only for their wish list; 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, big yard etc., you also need to make those rooms appealing.
  2. Making rooms appear appealing is one of the biggest challenges I see on the MLS. Let’s face it, for some; having all the professionals taking a cut of the profits from the sale of the house can be troublesome. To have your realtor tell you to clean and declutter is an obvious step to getting your house ready for the market. Wouldn’t you detail your car if you were trying to sell it?? But the important next step is how do you move onto makeing the rooms appealing?
  3. A realtor that includes a staging consult when you list with them is a great advantage; or make a small investment to have a staging consult before you sell, is essential. Why? A professional stager knows what buyers are looking for, and can evaluate what you have, explaining the best way to present your house to stand out on the market. They take your house to the next level.
  4. Do not take the consult personally but to heart. What? That’s confusing right? To heart, what I mean is listen, ask questions if you do not understand why the changes are needed.  And paramount; react, act, and put your heart and soul into getting your house ready. Step back and really look at your house; this is one of the best steps to getting it sold.
  5. Ask questionsis it worth your time and money to update a bathroom, resurface a floor, paint your red dining room, or rent furniture. A professional stager will answer you honestly, give you reasons why it is or is not worth those updates. Again take those answers and suggestions to heart, they will give you the return back. Most of all…
  6. Think objectively. It will cost you 1% to 3% of the listing price to get your house ready for the market. Statistics have proven, that investment gives you a return from 6% to 10%! There you go, you are protecting your equity.

When selling, accept the offers of help if you do not do this as a profession. Your Realtor is a pro and knows the market and how to price your property. A Professional Stager knows how to transform your property to one that will resonate with buyers. The help is for you to have a successful, quick sale. Isn’t that what every seller wants?

Other Helpful Reads:

Photography and Staging | The Listing

Preparing to Sell, Elating or Overwhelming?


I’m Looking for a Great Realtor

I’m Looking for a Great Realtor

“I’m looking for a great realtor” the home owner says to me. This seller was savvy, they knew that the first person to call was a professional stager. They chose to have their house detailed so it would look great online. I suggested some key questions to ask the realtor when they began their search for an agent. Since they last purchased in 2002 I explained promoting a house in today’s market is different than ten years ago.

Looking back

Ten years ago realtors took a listing and used the three “P’s” to market:

  1. Put up a sign
  2. Put the listing on the MLS
  3. Prayed for buyers

Sign Home for Sale with a sold sign in front of a house

Unfortunately some realtors still do market this way. But in today’s market we have what everyone uses; the internet. Buyers are very smart, they know what is available, what price is reasonable for the value they are looking for. Smart realtors know too, they are professionals that understand market conditions and the best way to price the house or product. The difference is, the realtor that markets the new way will give you the advantage to sell faster and for more money.

New Way

A realtor that takes a listing today should be using current three “P’s” to market:

  1. Prep the house, get it ready by staging and detailing the house so it shines
  2. Pricing the house so that it is comparable to others in the market
  3. Promotion getting the house not only on the MLS but also social media, even more so then print media

facebook social media

This is the new way realtors assist a seller for a successful sale in today’s market. Things have changed a lot, of course technology has aided in those changes too. A savvy realtor knows how to currently promote a property online by ensuring the product that is being sold resonates with buyers. The presentation is important to obtain fantastic professional photos to promote on line, and on various social platforms.

So if you are thinking of selling, consider what the agents you are interviewing are telling you. How will they support you through the entire sale? The first and foremost step should be the presentation, then fantastic photography, a sharp price and once those are in place, promote everywhere the internet allows. Once those are in place the showings will go smoothly and quickly, your professional agent will obtain an optimal price, because you ensured the property was presented in the best light.

Other Good Reads

8 Reason Why Your House is Not Selling

Sterile or Styled | Makes a Difference When Selling

 


Update Your Room for FREE!

Update Your Room for FREE!

Update your room for free! Simply look around your house and see if there are items you can move to give your room a new look.

It’s hard for some; once you get your house decorated items stay in the same spot for YEARS! That doesn’t mean that’s bad, but change can be good. What is the best way to begin an update? Start first by removing anything in the room that is broken, or does not serve a purpose. This could be an old TV, books or magazines that are no longer read, any decorations that have more dust than appeal.

Clear the space

By clearing the space or room, it is important to keep in mind what is the room used for? Do you just add a bunch of stuff into the room because you no longer use it? By clearing it out, it will give it an updated feeling alone without spending a dime. If anything, maybe you can make money by selling some of the items you no longer use.

clearing clutter alone can make a room look completely different

Size Matters

Yes it does, even in a room! If you have a room with too much furniture, it will feel cramped, and small. Just by removing some of the items, it will open up the room, giving it a refreshed new look, but when doing so, keep the integrity of the room. By this I mean, if it is a family room, keep the TV, and key pieces of furniture for viewing the TV, but not every piece you have currently. Measure the room and furniture, draw it out on a piece of paper and see what is reasonable to fit into the space, then if you feel you can, add one or two pieces if the room allows. Too much furniture can be too much, edit open the room up.

Move It, Move It

Think about moving some of your furniture around or into other rooms. Here is an example; this house had an open family room with a fabulous fireplace. Unfortunately the position of the furniture was not taking advantage of the features in the room. The owner was not happy with the room at all.

misplaced furniture

By using furnishings and accessories in other rooms, and moving the furniture, we were able to take advantage of all the features in the room. We created a better seating arrangement, flow, and updated the room without spending any money. The owner loved the space after! Who wouldn’t we gave it a new look, at no cost. Win, win!

rearranged furniture to utilize entire space

With a little thought, a lot of effort- throwing things away that are no longer useful, and rearranging furniture, art and accessories you can have a completely different looking room, for FREE in a weekend!

Other Good Reads

No Brainer De-Cluttering

Home Organization and Decorating Go Hand in Hand