Category archive - listing photography

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

Composition of a Good Photo

Composition of a Good Photo

Every agent knows that having high quality photography helps a house look better when it is listed.  If the composition of the photograph is not desirable, no matter how high quality the photo is, it still will not look great. That is why staging before professional photography is so important. The key is to favorably impress buyer’s perceptions. You never get a second chance to make a great first impression, so stage first, photograph second and you will have a winning combination.

What Makes a Good Photo

Here is an example of some of the photo’s I have taken of before and after, but have also included a key photo- how the bedroom looked when the house was first listed and did not sell. The bedroom is nice it shows it is spacious, but it does not give a very luxurious feeling. The seller had me consult with them to see what and how I could enhance the rooms throughout the house. They saw my portfolio and realized the difference staging can have. Although they were a little apprehensive at first as we transformed room after room, and they saw the results they knew it would work.

how people live bedroom not staged

staged bedroom in Orange County NY

The final photo reflects what buyers want, they do not want to see how people live, but the life style they might have when they buy that house. As you can see the first photo the room is filled with furniture, not giving you too much of a warm fuzzy feeling. But then we changed, the composition of the room, also known as professional staging, and took photos, the architectural details of the room shine. The house received a lot of traffic and sold quickly.

So, not only is the photo important, so is the composition of the photo.

Other good reads:

Photography and Staging | The Listing

8 Reason Why Your House is Not Selling

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

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:


A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

9 out of 10 home buyers search internet photo’s when looking for listings. They are doing their research online, gaining their information and comparing homes. So what are those pictures worth for a residential real estate listing? If the images are well done, they can result up to a 3.9% increase in the final sale.

What is a well done image? One that enhances the scene- a photo that tells more of a story. As a stager I review a lot of listings and it still amazes me to see images of rooms that do nothing for the home.

Here are some of my ‘cringes’ and simple suggestion to correct the problems to make your home attractive to buyers

  1. Dead body in the bed- Yes the covering pulled over the pillows. Add two pillows per person that can sleep in the bed. If it is a twin have two, if a King have six. Pillows lend a touch of luxury feeling that buyers love.
  2. Too much furniture, yes you can have too much and it makes the rooms feel like there is none. Open your spaces up, move furniture out and/or re-purpose it to other areas.  LR
  3. Not enough furniture, make the room have a purpose with personality. To add a chair and a vase with flowers in an empty room says what? If you do not have anything to put in the room leave it empty or better yet ask a professional stager to help you out to highlight the key areas in your house to their best ability.
  4. Your ‘stuff’ all over. If I am buying a house I want to see the house, not your papers, collectibles, kids toys, toothbrushes, etc. you get it. Start editing because you want to sell, and you do not want to have so much stuff to pack when the time comes. Clearing out the stuff makes the room appear spacious, neat and clean. clutter kitchen
  5. Controversially don’t go overboard though to be sterile. Similar to the room with not enough furniture you need to still give the spaces some personality but it does not need to be unnecessary clutter.
  6. Buyers feel pets are a turn off. Cute little Fido does not help your listing. Remove pet paraphernalia and evidence of your pets for the photos and when showing.
  7. Cell phone photo’s or photos posted at the wrong angle, that are blurry. As a seller you are paying your agent big bucks to market your home. Are they representing it in the best possible light by posting pictures as mentioned?
    sideways picture on MLS

    yup, this was a photo on the MLS of a house in the position as you see it. I did not rotate the image

  8. Not enough photos. Is your house that big of a mess to list yet? Wait, take care of what needs to be done, then list. Seriously, remember you are in competition with every other house out there. What is the rush? Unless you are being transferred to another state in two weeks. To list a house that is not ready to be marketed is a turn off to buyers, it just creates a listing that becomes old on the market that needs to be marked down $10,000 after three months.

Prepare your house first, if you are unsure where to start get a professional stager in to help you set your priorities. Remember to interview your agent too, to ensure you have one that will be marketing your property correctly.

Details – Speak Loud and Clear

A Picture is Worth- What?

Marketing a Home Well

Making sense of the 2015 NAR home staging study

Making sense of the 2015 NAR home staging study

NAR- the National Association of Realtors, sent a survey to over 49,000 Realtor’s to see if Home Staging is worth the investment, and to see how many agents actually have their properties staged prior to listing. The findings are interesting and reflect that professional staging does indeed have an impact on buyers decision to make an offer.

About 5% of Realtors® responded, the majority of agents that worked with buyers found that staging allowed 81% buyers to easily visualize the property as a future home. Allowing buyers to view a home as “theirs” instead of viewing the property as “this is how someone else lives” lead to higher offers. Agents representing buyers found staged houses their buyers are willing to offer an increase between 1-5% more than the asking price.

Agents that represented sellers found that staging did secure a higher offering price too.

37% offering 1-5% more

22% offering 6-11% more

The unfortunate statistic was that 66% of sellers agents DO NOT offer home staging services to all their clients. They do (34%) suggest to declutter and fix property faults but do not suggest professional home staging to the clients that they represent, unfortunately leaving the property as is. If staging increases the offering price, and shortens the time a property is on the market, it only seems logical that more sellers agents would have home staging a part of their listing offering.

The findings also discovered that staging positively effects buyers (46%) to be more willing to walk through a home that was staged that they viewed online. With more than 80% of buyers currently looking online for a property, a staged home that has great photos is essential today.bed b4 and after

The seven most important rooms to ensure presentation is essential, in order are:
Living Room
Master Bedroom
Dining Room
Children’s Bedroom
Guest Bedroom

Having a consultation with a professional stager can help identify ways to neutralize and modernize spaces to improve the presentation element of marketing a property.  The cost of staging a property can run from 1-3% of the listing price, it has been found that the investment can give the home seller a return close to 300%.  Considering a home is one of the largest investments you will probably make; when selling to ensure that the presentation is perfect and appealing to the largest range of buyers will only increase your chances of selling for top dollar. Include professional staging as part of your marketing when selling your property.


The Tale of a Property Long on the Market

The Tale of a Property Long on the Market

Recently a Real Estate agent called me in to do a consultation for a seller. The home had been on the market for over a year. The RE Agent let me know that she just convinced the seller to drop the price to comparable properties on the market.  The  property was in a desirable family development, on a corner lot. It needed a little bit of curb appeal improvement but overall the property was appealing from the outside.

As I met the home owner she informed me that “her” taste was “outstanding, everyone loves her home and is only letting me come in because the RE Agent told me that I should have you come and take a look.” We proceeded into the front door and this is what I encountered…

dark entrance way

“Smoked” mirrors, with a dusty wreath attached, faux rocks with black grout and a brass chandelier from the from the 1990’s. Not too bright, open and cheery feeling when entering into the home. When selling a house your goal is try to make it feel as bright and appealing when someone enters in, it is their first impression. Reducing specific taste preference as much as possible helps the buyer feel at home, not intimidated that they are entering into someone else’s home that could never be theirs.

dated living room

As we continued our tour of the house I felt as though I had been teleported to another year. Although the house appeared neat, the stain on the ceiling “isn’t really noticeable, my husband had fixed it” The chandelier that was hanging, was doing just that, it was not plugged into anything nor wired, but “a beautiful addition to the room” the seller told me.

We discussed the possibility of updating lighting, removing some of the lacy curtains to allow the light to come into the room, moving and removing some of the furniture, removing the dated wall paper and giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. She felt the effort and expense would not be worth it because the “buyer can offer $1000 less and they can do the work. We are more than happy to negotiate a bit when an offer comes in”  Wishful thinking on her part, they eventually lost over $60,000 on the original listing, not to mention it took an additional 9 months to sell and the carrying costs that the seller incurred during that time.

As an Agent, bring in your stager at the beginning of the selling process, as a seller ask your Agent to have a professional consultation with a Stager. This Agent knew the importance of staging this property, but unfortunately was the third listing Agent to work with the seller because all the previous agents had not sold the property. Getting a seller on board with understanding the importance of being objective, what a buyer wants today, and how the marketing of selling properties has changed since 1990 is crucial.

  Believe in the importance of the staging consult and how it will help the seller understand how to improve a house to market it property. Make your Professional Stager your partner to ensure listings are presented in the bet possible light. It can help save everyone money in the long run.

Advantage of Hiring a Professional Stager

Advantage of Hiring a Professional Stager

The goal when selling a home is to sell quickly and of course, close to the asking price. But how does a seller gain the competitive edge over the market?  The seller has received advice from their agent but understanding what needs to be accomplished can get lost in translation. To gain the advantage to have a strong standing in the market, the presentation has to resonate with buyers. A professionally trained stager knows what the market demands, and the best way to present a home for buyers.

Can you prepare a home on your own? Sure. But there are advantages of hiring a professional stager verses someone that is not trained. If the objective is lost in translation it can cause some common mistakes that can cost a lot of money when selling.

Providing decorating advice verses a marketing strategy

Staging is NOT decorating; it is creating a marketing strategy for the property. A professional stager focuses on showcasing the best features of a property. A designer considers your personal likes and creates a look for you- not for buyers.  Our goal is to consider the camera’s eye and the best way to project spacious, useful rooms that buyers can connect to.


Free Consults

The saying “you get what you pay for” reins true here. The first step and critical step to assessing a property to become ready for market is reviewing the entire property through a consult. This is a value-rich assessment of a property giving the seller recommendations to motivate and prioritize what is essential to “package” their home.


Simple check list of assessments do not prioritize recommendations

Analyzing and prioritizing what needs to be done and completed in respect to market trends, buyer’s wish lists and budget issues have to be considered and discussed. The what and why need to be reviewed to help the seller make the best financial decisions that will benefit them. If a seller just has a list of things that should be done, it does not give them directive as to setting priorities and how to accomplish.


Not addressing sensitive topics

Many times Real Estate Agents and untrained stagers do not like to rock the boat by addressing sensitive topics about a property. Handling difficult conversation with home sellers is key skill for professional stagers. We understand how people hold their properties near and dear to themselves, but we also know one strong negative impression can override a list of positive factors and prevent a sale. Sensitive issues like odors, cleanliness, unattractive dated décor, religious items, clutter, provocative art etc. are all difficult to discuss but avoiding the issue is not an excuse and avoiding them can lead to costly mistakes when selling.


Fail to Motivate a Client with an Action Plan

A prepared property presents better and is easier to show to buyers. It is essential to motive the seller to follow through with the recommendations to prepare their home for market. These recommendations may feel overwhelming to accomplish, but a professional stager assists the seller by prioritizing what needs to be accomplished. A trained professional is a serious business owner and an expert in design planning and problem solving allowing the seller to succeed in selling faster and for top dollar.


A professional stager helps the seller understand the recommendations needed to create a solid presentation, seeing the importance and benefit from the direction given. An agent that recommends staging to a client emerges as the professional that sells properties quickly and for top dollar.

Additional Reading:

How to Make Your House Look Great for the MLS 


Marketing your Home In Today’s Market



How Do You Make a House Look Great For The MLS?

How Do You Make a House Look Great For The MLS?

Think about any décor magazine, do you see the counters, coffee tables, or bathroom counters covered with items? Most likely no, there are select items placed with a purpose. When you look at those rooms you think ‘wow, I like this look.’ When selling, your goal should be the same; .

Clean and De-clutter, start packing now:

Once edited pick and choose what you want to have displayed

Kitchen: Do you have a great La Creuset pot? Use it on the stove, and add some fruit or veggies in bowls that match that color on your counters.

Dining room: First get rid of the table cloth, the look does not speak to buyers unless the table is set like a décor magazine, and that is not the easiest to live with. Instead replace with a beautiful serving dish, group of candles, beautiful arrangement of flowers, possibly a simple table setting.dining

Shelves: Clients always ask how to make their shelf space more desirable. One rule of thumb I will suggest is make sure that you have the right amount of empty space, the items on the shelves should be interesting but not overwhelming.


Fireplace: If you have a fireplace, light it for the pictures in the fall/winter seasons it gives the room a warm serene feeling. In the summer make sure it is cleaned out and that the surrounding area is clean of soot. You can create a nice display with candles in the warmer months. For gas fireplaces make sure the glass screens sparkle.balance

 Bathrooms: Think twinkling clean. A fresh coat of paint here does wonders, make sure your counters are clean; put toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues and liquid soap bottle away. Get all the stuff out of your shower the shampoo, razors and other stuff. Items on counter can be flowers, rolled towels or a little touch that makes the bathroom feel more luxurious.

Bedrooms: Are special place of the house to get away from the craziness of the day’s activities. Fresh linens in relaxing colors, new fluffy pillows do wonders. These are items you can move with you so why not invest in something you really will enjoy!

Other Ideas:

Furniture; sometimes you need to play with the furniture and composition to make the room feel welcoming and charming. Don’t hesitate to move things around to convey a welcoming feel.

Flowers in any room always add color and some dramatic effect especially if the palette in the room is minimal.

Symmetry and balance relays calmness. When people see things that are symmetrical it makes the image easier on the eye and therefore calming.

If you cannot envision your house any differently, or cannot be objective realizing the positives and negatives that will distinguish your property as favorable to buyers contact us, we love to help sellers accomplish their goal of selling quickly and for top dollar. 

Check out:

How to Pick an Agent When Selling Your House

How to Pick an Agent When Selling Your House

Wow, this is a big decision but did you know that 66% of home sellers just hire the first Agent they talk to?  Your house is one of the biggest investments you’ve probably ever made, no one should judge you for being more than a little choosy about whom you hire to help sell, or buy a house. The most important thing to remember is that you will be working with this Agent for a few months and talking to them quite frequently so make sure you find an agent whose philosophy and methods align with your preferences.

So where do you begin?

First interview at least two or three agents and ask them questions that will help you determine if they are the right fit to accomplish your goals in selling your home.

Ask them for references of previous clients and call them to find out about their experiences with that agent. It always surprises me that sellers and buyers do not do this basic step. Get to know who your agent is and how they work. Ask past clients if they were pleased with the work he did? Was he easy to get in touch with? Did he keep them well informed? Would they recommend him to others?

What is their history of list price to selling price ratio? You will want an agent who has a number as close to 100% as possible. You are hoping that they are selling as close to listing price, and in a reasonable amount of time.

Next your agent should give you comparable of other homes that have sold in your area that are similar. They will give you a comparative market analysis (CMA).  This will give you a good starting point to know how your home measures up to others that are selling in the neighborhood and, most importantly, at what price you should list your house. You should also do your homework and see what is currently listed in the price range give too.

When they evaluate your house are they being honest giving you legitimate feedback as to what drawbacks that might hinder selling your property? Do they have a professional stager on their team to assist you in creating a home that will appeal to the broadest range of buyers? Being objective, evaluating the advice and following through will give you the advantage in the market place.

Does your agent work as a team or solo?

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The team approach you may not be always working with the individual you hired, but a team could mean you get more attention and personalized service.

If they work solo ask about their current workload, you want to make sure they are available when you need them.

How will they market your home beyond the MLS? Will the reach out to buyers that are not in the immediate area, how will they do this, what are their marketing goals? Will they be able to take professional photographs that make your home look beautiful and desirable to buyers?

How does their fee work? Do they get the typical 6% which the seller pays, are you willing to pay this or is this negotiable? Are if anything concerning their contract negotiable? If you find a home on your own without your agent do they still get their fee?

How do they plan on keeping you in the loop during the selling process? What will the update you and how frequently will they communicate this information to you? Will your listing agent let you know about every interested buyer, no matter how serious?

Although many times we get recommendations from friends and family which are an excellent source, make sure you feel comfortable with the agent you select. Insure you feel they are a good fit and are confident they have your best interest in their hands at all times. Your home was/is a huge investment; you do not want to lose on one of your biggest investments.

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