Category archive - Helpful Solutions

Dress Up Your Living Room

Dress Up Your Living Room

With the holidays here, lots of friends and family coming to visit, this is a great time to refresh your living room. Re-styling a living room does not have to be expensive, and by adding a few new elements to existing can create a whole new feeling.

 

Elements to Consider

Sometimes by just changing your layout you can create a totally different feeling throughout the room. Pairing down some furniture also will give a more elegant feeling. Consider the main focal point in the room, is it a fireplace, maybe a drop-dead view; arrange the furniture to highlight that focal point. No focal point? Maybe create one by wallpapering one feature wall with a great pattern. By arranging the furniture around the focal point or in a friendly conversation arrangement the room can have totally different feeling.

Need a little more than just rearranging and editing furniture? Start with the flooring, as you would first when designing a room. Finding a new rug can change the feeling completely and warm up the space. Consider the dimensions of the room first to ensure you select the right size. Too small and the area will not look anchored, too big you will not be able to show off your wood floors. Trending rugs popular today are with bold or understated geometric pattern, subtle washed out colors, or bohemian style rugs that are playful and romantic at the same time. Similar to Persian style rugs but less traditional.

Next consider texture in your room. Add plump pillows to complement the colors in your rug. Consider various fabrics throughout the room like velvet, wool, tweed, sheepskin. The accessories you add will also contribute to the texture in the room. Style your coffee table and end tables with vases, plants, books or unique objects that complement the look you are achieving. These items are similar to when you get dressed up for a party, you put on your outfit but then add the shoes, tie, jewelry to create a total look; a room is similar. Layer the glamour on, but do it subtly to maintain the elegance you are going for.

styled living room with lots of accessories

Look to the walls. The color in a room can impact the ambiance of the room. A good rule of thumb is to consider a color from an element within the room. Look at your fireplace surround and the stone. What undertone does it have, that could be your starting point, maybe your new rug is a good inspiration point to find a color or the fabulous colors in a printed pillow. Take those clues and base your color from those elements. Maybe you want to go dark rich and bold, keep a balance of neutral throughout the room.

warm color on walls gives the room a cosy feeling

Adding simple drapes can also dress up a room. Consider simple panels that reach the floor on beautiful rods. Hang them closer to the ceiling to give the windows an illusion of being large. Decorative panels will not cover the window when closed but to give a feeling of opulence, consider doing two panels on each side to create the fullness if you are purchasing pre-made panels.

Art and lighting are also additional elements that can add a lavish feeling to your room. The height and size of the lamp can complement the décor to create a renewed feeling. Art can refresh the feeling of a room. Consider moving art around from other rooms to create a gallery wall that can become a focal point that is showy. Transforming and updating your living room does not need to be expensive. With a little cleverness using what you own, or only updating a few pieces, you can create an elegant space to entertain guest!

 

Other Good Reads:

Designing By Numbers

5 Decorating Elements to Make a Room Look Fantastic


White | Always Fresh and Clean

White | Always Fresh and Clean

White in 2016 was picked as the “color of the year” by paint companies. Simply White was Benjamin Moore’s pick, and Alabaster was Sherwin Williams pick. Moving into 2018 they are still popular.  They are popular because they are fresh and clean looking. Currently white kitchen cabinets are renovators number one choice. Subway tile in classic white laid in various patterns for backsplashes and bathrooms continue to trend on Pinterest and Instagram. Can white be a hard color for the average home owner to carry off well in a decorated room?

kitchen done in simply white

Not all whites are the same. The key to white is to choose a white that goes with other element in the room. Some whites are warm, others have a cooler undertone. With popular gray, the cooler whites were a nice complement. Now surfacing are greige tones that are bridging gray and the once popular beige, a warmer white would complement those. A few years back beige was the neutral that everyone was flocking to. Using white to complement either neutral is exquisite, but choosing the right undertone is key.

room done in alabaster white tone on tone

When using white as the main color on the walls, consider bringing in lots of texture. Texture can be from your accessories; think pillows, throws, baskets and rugs, keeping the palette neutral with a monochromatic feel with make for a stunning room. White is also beautiful with pops of bold color. Using colors from a rug, fabric, or painting and repeating throughout the room ties everything together. Using one of those bright colors in a softer tone can create a nice flow between rooms without having everything feel too stark and white.

White and light are an attraction that many buyers appreciate. Studies have proven that light rooms help fight depression and anxiety. A lighter room also has proven to increase productivity. White creates a feeling of spaciousness, but can be considered cold; that is why it is important to add texture to a room to give it a cozier feeling.

white bedroom with fireplace

Not big on the white wall idea; consider using white accessories. A darker room with a pop of white accessories is striking. Using these to balance the darkness in a room is a refreshing contrast. Again you can use these to add texture also to a room which gives it interest.

dark room with a pop of white accessories

Other Good Reads:

Can the Colors of Your House Affect Your Mood?

Best Room Colors to Sell Your House


“The Voice” to Staging a Home | An Analogy

“The Voice” to Staging a Home | An Analogy

Is there an analogy between “The Voice” and Staging a home? Hear me out.

“The Voice”, if you are not familiar, is a reality competition show where vocalists compete for the top spot as a professional performer. They are singing against other equally talented singers.  These performers prepare extensively to achieve the coveted spot, luckily for them they receive coaching from superstar singers. Even if they do not accomplish gaining the top spot they are recognized for their talent.  Selling a home is not a reality show, but staging a home prior to putting it on the market with a professional home stager prepares the house to go on stage. The coaching and execution of staging gives the house a strong edge, to stand out as the best house the market.

Analogy between The Voice and Staging a house

Think of listing a house for market on the MLS; there are a lot for buyers looking at it along with every other house. A buyer will review pictures of listings at lightning speed; 6 seconds or less, until they see something that attracts them or draws them in.

What is it that will make a house stand out? What will make a buyer stop, look, and consider one house over another? The presentation; which is where staging comes in. A buyer wants to see value, they want to see a house in good repair, not something that needs paint, repairs, fixing up. Would the judges on “The Voice” select a singer that’s voice was out of tune? Probably not, they are selecting along with America the best voice.

When it is time to put your house on the market, how will you make your house stand out, and resound? Professional pictures are not enough. Taking the extra step to ensure everything is in good repair, rooms are merchandised properly, and the value/quality revealed, this is what peaks a buyers interest. Professional staging helps a house become noticeable over the competition. Careful consideration is made to make the house appealing to the market it is selling in. It is merchandised, perfecting the house to be desirable to buyers. This essential step is necessary to get a buyer to stop, look, and take the next step which is see the house.

before staging and after staging

Be on the top, above all the others, by using a professional stager. They will give you the edge to stand out in the sea of houses. One that buyers feel is of value, wanting to give a strong offer for.

Other Good Reads:

The Advantages of Staging

What, Why, When | Home Staging

Benefits of Staging Your Property


Decorating for The Fall Season

Decorating for The Fall Season

Halloween; merchadise sales are second to Christmas. Who doesn’t love to decorate for the holidays?!

How can you get a longer run out of decorating for holidays? Decorate for the season, and add a couple of pieces in for the holiday that will create a festive felling.

Fall it’s a great time to bring the outdoors into your decor with gourds, pumpkins, leaves and other elements that create the festive feeling. These elements are sustainable through Thanksgiving, so you can gain longivity from these simple arrangements.

I pulled together some images that are also on my Pinterest board to give you some inspiration. It amazes me the talent that people have to create simple but unique arrangements. You do not have to be a master in flower arranging, but have a good eye and ablity to create similar fall arrangements using the elements here. Use these ideas on entrance tables, coffee tables, counter tops, table tops; your imagination is your limit! Enjoy decorating!

Orange pumpkins, flowers and berries

fall decor orange floweres and berries

The color of the flowers and adding small gourds are beautiful. Doing multiple vases along a table would be stunning!

sunflowers and berriesgourds and berries on a tray

Simple gourd and berry motif for an autumn table

orange roses and birch bark vases

Love the color of the roses with these natural vases

White Gourds

white gourds on wood tray

white pumpkin fall center pieceThe use of grasses and dry flowers in the gourd make for such a beautiful fall arrangement.

white gourds and succulants

This one I can even see working into the winter months.

Grasses and feathers

feathers in a white vase

 

Need more inspiration visit my Pinterst board

 

Other great reads:

Fall Tabletop Decorations


How to Sell Quickly

How to Sell Quickly

How to sell quickly! Here is a great example of how to sell qucikly. This house that sat on the market for six months with no offers, the seller was ready for a new strategy.

Why does one house sell and the other will sit on the market for months?

Case Study:

The house had been on the market for six months. The price was reasonable in the market, but the refinement through the house was not completely there. The seller wanted it sold; but wasn’t receiving honest feed back as to why it was not selling.

The house came off the market, then was relisted with a new agent. This agent includes a professional staging consult for their listings. The agent knows that if the presentation is not where it needs to be, the money invested in pictures is worthless. The seller saw the difference that staging could make when we reviewed my portfolio of occupied staged homes. She said “I want my house to look like that!” So we got to work.

Yes she had a list of objectives that she needed to complete before Design Solutions KGP was to “work our magic.” She set a budget that she wanted to stay within, we discussed which items she had that we would use in the staging, and then the “magic” happened.

Here are some of the before and after’s of the house that lead to an offer allowing it to sell qucikly within 10 days of listing.

Living Room

living room before staging

living room staged to attract buyers in Orange County NY

To give it the feeling of entertaining we added accessories and furniture that complemented her entertaining unit that was staying in the house.

 

Family Room off kitchen

family room before it was staged

family room staged

This great room with a fireplace needed to show off it’s cozier side. We showcased it to allow buyers to envision how to relax in the house.

 

Master bedroom

before staging the master

staged master bedroom

The furniture, out of proportion to the space available, need to be downsized a bit. By putting in a bed and dresser better suited for the space, buyers were able to dream about the potential of this master suite. If you would like to see more pictures of this beautifully staged house, follow me on instagram @kgpdesignsolutions.

The seller invested about 2% of the listing price of the home in showcasing it to sell. She also saved herself from paying another 6 months of carrying cost (mortgage, taxes, electric, heat, etc) because the house sold in 10 days and received a strong offer.

Sometimes you need to spend money to make money…

Other Good Reads:

Photography and Staging | The Listing

Stage or Not to Stage

5 Reasons to Stage Your Home


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