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Karen GP

Renovations Dos and Don’ts

Renovations Dos and Don’ts

Once you have your own place to live, we all eventually do some type of renovation or another. They usually turn out successful and we love the end results, although getting there can sometimes be a struggle.

I came across a post by Martha Stewart that I liked with a list of things you should keep in mind when you take on any project. It has some tips that can really help in the long run.

Remember to be realistic about costs plan on the renovation to end up being 30% more than you planned and to take about 25% longer than you expect.

Your purchases on more expensive items can be overwhelming, but once you see an item and know it s right, go with it, don’t second guess yourself, you will be happier in the long run.

Measure and have an accurate drawing of the floor plan of the room you are working on. Include windows, doors etc.

Be prepared to clean, dust, vacuum, and clean some more. Renovations can be messy but they don’t have to drive you crazy, keeping things neat and organize help.

Do your floors first, last is painting the walls. Don’t forget important details like lighting and window treatments to complete a room.

Once you have it all done, after all the planning and hard work that went into the space relax and enjoy!



The Savvy Agent

The Savvy Agent

Savvy real estate agents realize the importance of staging properties on the market today. Collaborating with a stager will save an agent time and less aggravation.  The stager works with the seller on the areas of the home that will help market the home.  Statistics have shown that staged homes sell faster and for more than those that are not staged. Agents that use professional staging turn their properties faster, increase client satisfaction and gain more referrals. It actually becomes an effective marketing strategy for everyone.

Real estate guru Barbara Corcoran says staging is no longer optional.  Agents that understand the importance of staging include a stager on their team. All properties benefit from some degree of staging, and stagers will work with clients to understand the needs and constraints, enhancing the property to appeal to buyers. Agents that have a professional stager on their team are focused on listing and selling quickly.

I liked Nairn Friemann‘s list of Out vs. In, for real estate agents who incorporate staging, here’s what real estate agents say about staging – Out vs In.



“Staging costs too much” “Staging is a short-term, high yield investment.”
“Staging wastes too much time.” “Staging saves time by reducing days on the market.”
“Staging is fluffing.” “Staging is savvy marketing.”
“My listings always sell… eventually.” “My listings sell higher and faster than the competition.”
“Why would I pay for a consultation?” “Investing in consultations helps me sell listings.”
“I won’t offend my seller by suggesting staging.” “I win listings by having a pro stager on my team.”
“I do my own staging.” “I focus on listing and selling.”
“Staging is just for vacants.” “All properties benefit from some degree of staging.”
“What’s a stager?” “My staging pro is an indispensable member.”

Think of when you are shopping for yourself, what are your considerations before making any purchase? It might be price, or is it a particular need you have, a look you are going for? How is that product presented to you? How is it that you are persuaded to finally purchase that item? It is the culmination of a professional marketing team.  So the question stands, why would anyone put their home on the market without “merchandising” it first? Do they not want their product to be desirable to as many potential buyers as possible, and to appeal over any possible competition?

Savvy agents realize how to market properties, and turn them into sales. Now that is win- win all around.


Why Stage a Vacant Home?

Why Stage a Vacant Home?

Why stage a vacant home? Simple reasons:

  • To make it easier for buyers to envision how they could live in the home
  • Add warmth and personality to a home
  • To create a longed for look vs. a lived in look
  • To arrange an unusual layout flow and bring logic to the spaces

If a property is worth selling then it is worth doing everything you can to appeal to potential buyers in order to sell the property. Vacant staging can be done in a few rooms or the entire home. Hiring a professional that can create the ambiance that needs to be conveyed to the buyer, is important. Having an agent that understands the importance of staging and how it can impact a sale, is also essential. Experience agents that walk into a sellers home and suggest staging, should be listened to. They know their market, they know what buyers want.

This vacant home In Cornwall NY had beautiful bones but it had nothing to “speak to a buyer.” After a few rooms were staged, buyers could then connect, visualizing how they could live within the house.  When a buyer enters a home that has no furnishing and just empty rooms they are welcomed by blank walls- not so intriguing.

DSC_0024Vacant entrance






After staging, the empty rooms become warmer giving the buyer the ability to easily see how they can make this house their home.

staged entrance in Cornwall on the Hudson staged living room in Cornwall NY






By adding furniture to the rooms, creating warmth and ambiance is what helps sell a home. This house had been on the market for over a year and no one purchased it. After it being staged it received an offer in the first month. By allowing buyers to see how rooms can be utilized, and furnished with items that create value for the space the vacant home becomes more appealing. Do you think it makes a difference?

Let me know your thoughts……

Setting the Table

Setting the Table

This is the time of year we gather around the table to spend time with our close family and friends. Why not have fun with your table, here are some ideas to get you started:

Make sure the dishes you pick are a great match for your style and budget. You can find items at discount stores such as Wal-Mart, Kohl’s or Home Goods, websites,  shop sales at department stores or home good stores like West Elm and Crate and Barrel. Sometimes you can find great deals at flea markets or garage sales also. Look for unique items to complement your dishes, like great stemware, different napkin rings, or linens.

Can’t find a complete set of something that tickles your fancy, why not try mix and matching two different sets? Doing this will allow you also to change the style of your table when you feel like it without having to purchase a whole new set.

To make it all work concentrate on unifying theme-such as  color, style, shape. Personally I like to start with a classic white dinner plate and add different salad plates, bowls and glasses  to give a pop to the table. Have fun and don’t be afraid to try something different, even a new set of candle holders or fun linens can make a table look completely different.

To get some idea’s flowing take a look at these sites, if your Thanksgiving table was eye inspiring I would love to see!

Have a great Thanksgiving, enjoy your family and friends!

Fall Clean Up

Fall Clean Up

The growing season is coming to a close but it does not mean that you have to give up interest in the garden when cleaning up.

Take a look at this article from ehow home, it has some excellent pointers and great ideas to keep color in your landscape.

How to Make a Room Look Balanced

How to Make a Room Look Balanced

When you approach an empty room to decorate, or even have a partially decorated room, the challenge can be trying to figure out how much furniture and where to place furniture. The first and most important thing before you go shopping is to take measurements so you know the size of a room.

I had a client recently that needed a new dining room table. The room was a long space that would serve as a living room/ dining room area. The first thing I recommended to them was to measure the space where they would like the table to go. They did not, bought a table that they “loved” the style but when placed in the space appeared to be the size of an elephant- a costly mistake. This not only applies to a dining room but any room. Make sure the furniture is in proportion to the size of the room not overwhelming the room.


Proportion of furniture is also very important for the space. If the room has tall ceilings the size of the furniture is also important as to if it looks right in the room or not. The type of furniture that you place in a room with 8 foot ceilings might look dwarfed in a room that has taller ceilings, so proportion of the furniture within a room should be a consideration. Notice that although this room has a tall ceiling the placement of the bed does not work, making all the other furniture look like doll furniture in the bedroom.

scale of furniture to a room

If the furniture is sized properly for the space, the placement must also be balanced. Too many pieces of furniture placed on one side of a room can make it feel lop-sided.  Place a large couch for instance across from two chairs to balance the look and feel of the space.


Balanced furniture is more pleasing to the eye. It allows you to look from one area to the next without having something that is jarring in your mind. It can be a challenge for some though to envision an empty space. That is why there is help with decorators that enjoy those challenges to make everything fall into place.

Take a look around your home; can you move a few things to get your rooms’ just right?

 If you’re still stuck send me a picture, I will take a look and see what we can work out.

Update Tired Walls with a New Look

Update Tired Walls with a New Look

Seeking a new look for your rooms and want a little pizzazz, read on:

Wall Street Journal:  Wallpaper Stands Out

Why Home Stage

Why Home Stage

CBS did a piece on the advantage of home staging when your home is on the market to sell. I like the point Real Estate Agent Ian Swartz makes, that when he shows a home, he wants it to be decorated in a style that is appealing to the masses. Therefore he will not list a property unless it has been staged. Makes money sense to me