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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


Five Decorating Elements That Can Make a House Look Cheap

Five Decorating Elements That Can Make a House Look Cheap

What makes a house look cheap and one that looks classy? What items should you avoid when trying to create a look that will enhance a room, not detract from its beauty? When you are ready to sell, or even living in your house, you want your décor to complement the value of your house. You dont want things that with cheapen its appearance.  I will be the first one though, to say you do not need to spend a ton of money to decorate.

Furniture Sets

I get it, if you know nothing about decorating you go to the store and pick up the whole ensemble for a room at once. The couch, side tables, coffee table and chairs that typically do not enhance the room. First off, my guess is that you did not measure the room, so all the pieces probably do not fit in the room, or the pieces are not the right size for the room. Second the quality is probably not the best and it will not stand up to the test of time, eventually looking shotty. Mixing pieces is a good thing, giving you the ability to still decorate on a budget but with style. I always say get one good quality piece like a sofa, and then build from there.

 furniture  all the same can cheapen the look in a room

Theme Decorating

It’s ok for your child’s room but don’t do it anyplace else in your house. Too much of a good thing is just that – too much, and it will look cheap. Instead look through design magazines, and get inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram. Find a style that you like and incorporate some of the things you collect within that style. I find pigs kind of humorous and have a few in my kitchen, but by no means do I have the plates, placemats, valance with pigs on the windows, pigs on every surface of the counters. Two or three objects is all you need in a room, otherwise it begins to look cheap. Same goes for the “flowers” that are put in a room. Adding too many artificial plants and flowers makes a room look cheap. Consider live plants, or if you don’t have a green thumb maybe air plants.

Color on Walls

This is a tough one for people to understand, because they go to the store, find a color swatch put it on the walls without testing it to see how it really looks.  First the overall colors in the room need to be considered, as well as throughout the house. Just because the builder painted the walls a generic white does not mean that is the best color to complement your room, it can cheapen the look of a space. Similarly using the wrong undertone in a space can make the room look cheap because it does not complement anything in the room. Not sure what color to use, get advice from a professional color consult, it’s worth the cost.

cheap looking room

Art Work

Sorry, but it can look cheap, like posters or mass production art.  Consider either making your own art, there are a ton of ideas and tutorial online for simple ideas or visit sites like Etsy and choose something original. Also the size of art is really important in a room too. Too small of art can cheapen the look of a room as can the framing of the art.

Lighting

The ‘builder lights’ that come with a house are usually very cheap, and can cheapen the look of any décor. Also outdated light fixtures do the same. When looking through design magazines and online notice the lighting and the styles. Then see if you can find similar in nice finishes at either big box stores or online. This can be tough, but the most important take away here is finding lighting that is in style now. The cut glass Tiffany lamps that were popular in the 80’s now look cheap if they are not real Tiffany lamps or in a Victorian styled house. Time to find something more in style with the times to step up the style of your rooms.

Review your rooms, do you have any of these elements that might be making your house look cheap? Remove, replace and update to give everything a fresh new look.

Other good reads:

Lighting a Room In Layers 

Arranging a Room

Lighting Can Help Sell Your House


5 Important Lessons Learned As A Professional Stager

5 Important Lessons Learned As A Professional Stager

I have seen a lot of houses through the years being a professional stager. I have learned a lot in those years too. Not only business wise, but also ways that can help people when they are decorating their houses. One thing to keep in mind is that…

Everyone Sells Eventually

As a professional stager I think I have seen it all, and then I go to a house and say, nope never saw this. So here are a few take-a-ways that can help any homeowner when decorating or updating their house.

Measure your room before you purchase furniture, and go SLOWLY when purchasing items. We tend to over consume here in the USA, thinking we need the entire set of something when shopping in a furniture store. When it is time to sell I hear “I can’t give this stuff away!” So consider the essential piece first, place it in the room, get the feeling for it in the room, then and only then add to the room.

when decorating start with a few key pieces and build the room from there

Hire someone, if you are not trained in finishes and color. I have entered into many half a million on up homes only to see none of the finishes correlate to one another. What a waste of money! You builder is trained in construction NOT finishes. The store clerk can tell you what looks good in the store, but has no idea about the rest of your house, your style, light in rooms etc. Hire a designer or decorator that can assist you with these expensive choices. They should be able to tell you why your pink travertine tile you love does not go with Uba Tuba granite. Why the highly veined marble does not go with the trending retro revival backsplash you have fallen in love with.

Look at your house as a whole, not just one room. Many times when I consult a homeowner on their house, there is no continuity from room to room. One room might be filled with over stuffed furniture around the TV and the next room has Victorian tiny detailed furniture. Do one or the other look, but don’t try to do everything under one roof.

When updating, or thinking of changes things, keep in mind the value it will lend to the property but also the aesthetics and how it will enhance the overall look of the house. When looking for items and staying on budget consider what will give you the bang for the buck over all.

kitchen with finishes that are a worthy investment

Keep in mind the focal point in a room. Is it the view, is it the fireplace, are there architectural details in the room that should be played up, or do you need to make a focal point. Making a focal point might be adding art, but make sure the art you add is the right size for the space. Too many times I see mini art on a big wall, not enhancing the room or giving a focal point at all.  Don’t ignor this if the focal point is played up, the room can take on a totally different feeling.

I know I said 5, but this one I need to put in. There is always a way to update the furnishings you have, to make them look fresh and current. I have done this so many times when getting a house ready for market, and every time the sellers are amazed. So don’t despair, a professional stager or decorator always have tricks up their sleeves!

Other Good Reads:

How to Make a Room Look Balanced

Designing By Numbers

Hand-Me -Down / Inherited Furniture- What To Do??


Home Improvements Worth the Investment

Home Improvements Worth the Investment

It’s every home owner’s question, if I improve this in my home will I get a return on the investment… What is the bang for the buck, and which home improvements are worth considering?

Being summer time, it is a great time to consider one of the best investments a home owner can make, upgrading their landscaping. What would that entail? Trees, foundation shrubs, flagstone walkway, bright flowers and a fresh mulch. By adding these to your yard the typical return is close to 100% or higher. It is an investment that will continually grow, get it, continually grow…

While we are on the subject of outdoors a patio or deck is worth the investment also. It not only extends your living space, but will allow you to enjoy all that work you did upgrading your landscape.

A new roof is one that will achieve 100% return similar to landscaping. If you have shingles missing, roof covered in moss, or stains on your ceilings and walls it’s time to consider this investment. It will also help you with your energy bill. A new roof is one thing every home inspector looks at, along with buyers when it’s time to sell, so if you need a new one, invest in it and at least enjoy a dry house while you live there. Adding insulation under your roof is not only saving you on heating and cooling cost it will reap you a 95% return.

Another big improvement is Hardwood Floors. They are classic, timeless everyone loves and desires them. So if you have them and are noticing they’re worn, not looking the best, give them some TLC have them refinished and reap the return when you sell. If you don’t have them and want to replace your flooring you currently own, you will gain about 90% return on the cost.open living room space to outdoors with hardwood floors

So for doing one or all five of these improvements, for the money you invest, you will get just about every dollar back in value; now that is a better return on investment then the stock market! Here the National Association of Realtors broke projects down, along with the satisfaction or “Joy Score” of getting the project completed:

home improvement projects that are worth the investment

Other good reads:

2017 Home Trends

10 Home Renovations That Are Worth The Investment


Photography and Staging | The Listing

Photography and Staging | The Listing

Recently I was on a webinar that an agent recommended to me. The host was talking about the importance of photos for all listings. Being high resolution, professional shots. I decided to peruse the MLS and see what Orange County NY listings were looking like.

What makes a great picture?

Some agents are great with the high resolutions shots, but they unfortunately lose out because although the pictures are done by a photographer, the composition obviously is done by the home owner/agent which does not make the shot look professional. Wha, wha, they fall flat. The composition being the way the room is styled. Staging is marketing a house to its fullest potential. It’s not only cleaning, decluttering that is the obvious that should be done before listing. Would you put your used car up for sale without detailing it? Obviously no, and your house is a much larger investment then your car! Staging is making sure the house’s features stand out to attract a wide range of buyers.

dining room staged and photographed to attract buyers

Online Marketing

Today buyers, more than ever before are searching for their next house on line before they even call an agent. If they see that a particular agents listings are represented well with beautiful photographs, and emanating a lifestyle that buyers want, they keep that agent in mind. They keep that house in mind and also request to view it. Smart agents know it is important to stage a house, and offer it as part of their listing services. The Agent/Professional Stager/Professional Photographer are a team that create a marketing setting that will make your house stand out above the competition.

To be honest I believe the agent thought the webinar was about general marketing. But marketing is all about location, promotion, price and product- the house. If the product is not desirable it will not sell. Staging can take a not so beautiful house and turn it around that will sing to buyers “come live here!” So if you are considering selling now, or in the future, professional staging and photography should be included in the entire process to ensure you have a desirable product for the market you are selling in.

If you would like more information please feel free to connect with us via our newsletter, or through social media we have lots of tip to share!

Additional good reads:

Minimal Interior Design | Why Staging Works

What, Why, When | Home Staging


Selling, Who to Hire First

Selling, Who to Hire First

You’ve made the choice to sell your house, now what? Who should be the first person you connect with?

A Professional Stager

What did you say? Shouldn’t they come after the real estate agent? No, and let me explain why.

  • A Professional stager will look objectively at your house
  • Help you distinguish what features are best to emphasize
  • Explain why and what sprucing should be done to make you house resonate with buyers
  • Suggest improvements that will give you a return on your investment
  • Help you protect the equity in your house by assisting you to insure that the presentation is better, if not comparable to other houses with similar features

The Lived in House

I recently did a consult on a house that was lived in, and I mean lived in. The walls were marked up with nicks from living in the rooms. The floors although wood, were dirty with scratches and marks. The wood work around the doors and doors had pieces nicked off. The windows were hard to see through. The kitchen appliances probably had not been cleaned in a week or so, you get the idea right? The house was lived in. They were not happy with the selling price estamate their realtor had given them. They felt other houses were selling at a higher price for the same rooms, bathrooms and they had put a bit of work in the house over the years. The problem was the house did not present well. If they had a consult first from a professional stager they would have understood what needs to be attended to. Some small improvements with minimal investment can help any seller gain higher profits.

They were lucky to find an agent that knows how important staging a house prior to marketing is. The agent pays for the consult for their sellers because they know the presentation will attract the buyers to take interest.

staging makes a difference when you sell

Protecting Your Equity

A stager has an unbiased eye. We help home owners with all types of houses. Keeping with the style of the house, and the market in mind we give suggestions that will appeal to buyers. Our goal is to get you the biggest bang for any money you invest in the house. Our suggestions are to not only to appeal to buyers, but also consider how to make the rooms appear brighter, and larger. Buyers want to find a house that goes a little above their expectations. Staging helps a seller do that. So before listing, look for a professional stager in your area that can help you prepare your house before it goes on the market, or before you get that estimate from your realtor.

Other good reads:

7 Simple Steps to Staging

What, Why, When | Home Staging

Should a Seller Waste their Time and Money on Staging


Value of A Good Picture

Value of A Good Picture

Many Real Estate Agents are proud to offer professional photography to their clients for their listings. They absolutely should, since the pictures are what get buyers attention. Pictures speak a thousand words right? If a house is merchandised correctly it will stand out in the market. If the picture resonates with buyers looking on line they will want to see the house.

Creating the Image

Imagine you are getting your picture taken. Either a wedding picture, family portrait, corporate portrait, graduation, any big event that you might want a professional photographer to capture the perfect image. You put on a nice shirt, comb your hair, do your makeup; in other words try and look your best?   Selling your house is no different. Would you want every family member, coworker, stranger looking at your house and the way you live every day? Or would you want them to see how your house looks when you know you are having important guest over, clean, spiffed up and beautiful.

staging a house helps the photo's stand out

 

Professional Staging and Merchandising

If you have a real good Real Estate Agent representing your house for sale, they will not only offer professional photography, they will offer professional staging consult. The professional staging consult will help you get your house in tip-top company ready shape for the pictures. Think about it, are the buyers not coming through your house just that, company? Professional staging is the “makeup” for your house. Staging will make your house desirable to the widest range of buyers. The pictures will resonate with buyer, making them to want and see your house.

Looking Good

Once you are professionally staged, your house it will resonate in the market. It will appeal to buyers because they will see beautiful pictures of the spaces that they could have if they buy your house. Professional staging reduces the time a house is on the market because the pictures stand out online. Many people may feel that they can do it themselves, but the fine details are typically not paid attention to as an unbiased professional stager would do. They see your house as a product that needs to be merchandised to be desirable to buyers. Ensure your professional pictures are done correctly with professional staging done before listing, so your house resonates with buyers.

Other Important Reads:

 


Color, The Backdrop Of  A Great Room

Color, The Backdrop Of A Great Room

Color is the backdrop of a great room

Color has such an impact in a room. If the color is not right, the room does not look right. Color does make a room harmonious and beautiful.

For some it can be difficult to choose, for others they just pick a color because they are frustrated and just make a choice because there are so many available. How do you narrow it down to make the color work?

Finding the right color

It can be hard to find the right color. But when you do find it the room looks fantastic. Think of images that you love on Pinterest, or pictures you drool over on Instagram. Those rooms resonate with you because the color is done correctly. It is balanced well, and makes you feel something, whether relaxed, excited, or falling in love with the way it is presented. The color is probably working well in that space.

soft blue color in a bedroom

To start, look at the fixed elements in a room. Those are the things that you cannot change. Think flooring, cabinets, tile, and counters. Each and every one of those has color in it. Those items will not change in your design, unless you are starting from scratch or redesigning a room. Fixed elements will dictate what colors will work well in the space. Mixing too many of these elements can make a room not feel cohesive. You need to pick one main element and coordinate the color with it throughout the room. Due to fixed elements being expensive and difficult to change, serious consideration in the choices need to be made.

For instance, you chose travertine flooring. Identify the color family first.  On the walls the color needs to complement those fixed features that are not changing. Your whites should be on the warmer scale also to complement the browns. The reason neutral colors work so well in spaces is that it allows the elements of the room stand out, not the color. Every neutral has an undertone and can coordinate with your finishes. It can be difficult to see these subtle colors but once identified, the room will come together and feel harmonious. The accent colors that you pick up and use can vary in saturation that will give the mood to the room that you are trying to achieve.

Choosing color can be challenging for some. That’s when I suggest having someone come in and assist you. They should be able to narrow the array of colors and assist you in finding the perfect shade for your space.

Other Good Reads:

Meaning of Colors

Choosing Colors for a New House

Color How They Work Together


Take Your House Out of Hibernation

Take Your House Out of Hibernation

Spring is a great time to consider ways to take your house out of hibernation. Here are four easy, inexpensive easy ways to give you a fresh new look.

Start at the Entrancepainting can greatly improve the look of your house

Your front door is not only the ‘mouth’ of your house, but also the first impression to visitors. Consider the condition of the door and possibly the color. A new color can completely change the look of your house giving it a fresh new look. Consider a new set of lights, or clean the glass on your lights. New door mat, maybe a pretty container of flowers.

Make it Brightbrighten up your decor

Maybe remove some of the warmer colors you used in your décor and add lighter shades, and brighter shades to give more life to your room. If you look at a color wheel and choose a color opposite the primary color you have in the room. If you have a blue room consider adding yellow to give you a new look and a little warmth. Just be careful of the saturation of the colors you are choosing to complement each other. Add lights and fresh flowers too.

Clean the Cobwebsclean everything so the light can brigten spaces

This may be obvious to some, but opening the shades, dusting them off, removing cobwebs, dust from all surfaces will make a room feel good and refreshed and in your mind it will also. That cleaning will make the rooms resonate fresher.

Use your Sense of Smell

Not only clean the windows, open them and let the fresh air flow throughout the house. Consider adding scented potted geraniums or a vase of eucalyptus in your house to give it a fresh smell. House plants are great air purifiers and add to the décor of any room. Don’t have a green thumb? Consider easy to care for plants that require little care.

Other Great Reads:

Hand-Me -Down / Inherited Furniture- What To Do??

10 Inexpensive Ways to Increase Your Curb Appeal

Designing Rooms that People and Pets Love