Category archive - Staging Solutions

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


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:

 


How to Avoid Bad Room Colors When Selling

How to Avoid Bad Room Colors When Selling

When you are selling, the colors on your walls can affect buyer’s. Either buyer’s react by falling in love, or pass up a house based on the wall colors. Yup, bad colors matter. The colors on your walls need consideration when preparing your house to sell. You may not like a more neutral color, but you’re moving, so having freshly painted neutral walls is the biggest bang for your buck because they will leave a more positive impression than crazy colors or worn walls.

Bad Colors

What are the bad colors to have when selling, and what is the best way to prepare your house with color when you put it on the market?

There are bad colors when selling due to multiple reasons. One of the primary reasons are because colors are so very taste specific. While you may be in love with your red dining room, the next person coming into your house might abhor red. When you are selling your house you want to protect your equity. You want to make sure there is not a single reason a buyer would turn away from your house. If you knew it would only cost you the price of a can of paint versus a price reduction in the thousands wouldn’t you opt for the can of paint?Before and After Painting of bad and good colors for selling

What colors are bad when selling besides red? Orange, purple, some yellows and other bold colors. Why? Aside from being taste specific, buyers will find those colored rooms difficult to envision themselves living in them. Many sellers will tell me that’s crazy, a buyer should look over that! A buyer won’t look over the color, they will just move onto the next house. The buyer attention will be focused on the color, not on the size of the room or the attributes of the room. Yes, a professional stager can do wonders to a room when sellers refuse to paint, but once the staging is removed, it is a room with an objectionable color.

Colors that Sell a House

Neutrals are preferred colors when you sell because they highlight the room. Ensure the undertone of the color complements the hard finishes of a room. You could have a beautiful gray color but if the undertones are not complementing the other finishes in a room, it will look off, an off colored room is off-putting.

Color can be used when selling a house, but use it to complement and assist the flow of rooms from one to another. Using color more as an accent, is a better choice then as the primary focus. Buyers are more drawn to a houses features when the colors are neutral, then they will be to someone’s décor. If the two complement one another, not over power, then you have a winning combination.

If you are not sure how to put this all together, or how to find the perfect color for rooms, it is a wise investment to have a professional stager trained in color to come in and review your house prior to selling. A professional stager has an unbiased eye that will help you create your house into one buyers are dreaming of living in.

Other good reads:

Eight Big Selling Offenders

Impressionable Colors for Selling

5 Senses of Selling


Selling Your Kitchen

Selling Your Kitchen

For buyers, kitchens are extremely important and weigh more heavily on the final decision than the other rooms in the house. To ensure your kitchen astounds buyers, prepare your kitchen before selling.

  • Begin by cleaning every single surface- ceiling counters, cabinets, counter tops, walls and floors.
  • Organize your cabinets – you will be thankful you did this when moving day comes. Any outdated foods through out. Group like things together. Edit extra mugs, glasses, pots, utensils etc. Clean out the drawers and shelves and replace shelf paper.
  • Matching appliances is a huge plus, if they are not new, or only one is new, consider replacing the others so they are all the same finish. Make sure the surface of all appliances are clean and spotless.
  • Clean the appliances inside and out, clean stove each and every grill, clean fridge out, and wash the surfaces so they are sparkling clean, and fresh – no old food odors here.
  • Buyers will look inside your dishwasher, make sure there are no funky smells. Yes although we use our dishwasher to clean everything it needs to be cleaned too. Clean your filter first – soak it in warm soapy water to remove all residue on it.  Then run 1 cup of white vinegar through your empty dishwasher on the heavy cycle. Sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher overnight, then run it through again empty.
  • Your sinks are similar to your dishwasher they need to be clean and free of everything. If your faucet leaks or looks worse for the wear, replace it. Using baking soda and vinegar in the drains to deodorize and clean.
  • If you have wall paper – remove and paint. If you have paint and have not painted in the past year, freshen up the walls with a new coat of paint.
  • Lastly add the finishing touches of décor; keep it simple but make it feel like home. Touches that speak home resonate with buyers.

Extra hints:

  • Remove trash prior to showings and make sure your garbage can is not highly visible, try and tuck under a cabinet if possible.
  • If you have pets, have a plan when you show your house where you will be putting all the pet “equipment” not every buyer likes pets.
  • Kids? Yup same idea, have a plan as to where you will be stashing the papers, toys etc. so that the clutter is not visible when showing.

Other good reads:

Paint Terms – What They Mean

Key Kitchen Improvements That Will Reap You Profit

The Hub of The House | The Kitchen


This House Sold for $50,000 Over Asking

This House Sold for $50,000 Over Asking

This house sold for $50,000 over asking price! How, you may ask in this market?

Let’s look at a little history.
The client asked if I could come to her home for a consult when she found out I was a professional stager. As we walked throughout the house and I gave her suggestions on every room; the repeated comment from her was “are you sure?”

Based on the direction I gave, she took it upon herself to hire the painters, do a yard sale to remove clutter, moved furniture, updated bathrooms, had the curb appeal taken care of, and worked diligently completing the extensive list. I was insistent not to list the house until it was ‘market ready’. Two months later she called and asked that I help her with the finishing touches, which we did. She wondered if she could ask her agent to pay for the staging she had me complete. My suggestion… ask, all they can say is “no.”

Much to the agent’s dismay, she hesitantly agreed. She did not feel any money paid for staging was worth it. I politely begged to differ. The house was photographed and listed. Then to the seller and agents surprise, the house went into a bidding war catching $50,000 over asking!

The beauty for the agent, although they felt their investment was “way too much” was that they did not have to get involved with the nitty-gritty of preparing the property. It was staged properly allowing all buyers to see the value.Which in turn reaped the agent a 500% return on her investment, and preserved the sellers equity! Yippee for them. Is investing money to get a 100% or higher return, too much money to invest when selling? I ask you.

Moral of the story… staging does pay, literally! Having a professional stager help prepare your properties is smart business.


Possessions and Stuff

Possessions and Stuff

With the New Year we create resolutions, and one I know for many is to remove some of the clutter from our lives. The question that arises when you encounter some of the stuff is “I might need this…” How do you decide if the stuff is a valuable possession or just clutter?

 

My mother in law is in a position where she needs to downsize from her house to a smaller one. To give you and idea, she is a lover of “things” as I call it. She would rather take the last $5 in her wallet and spend it on items she has no use for at a yard sale, then to fill up her car with the needed gas to get home. Hey, everyone has their priorities.

But now when we talk about her about selling her home, she is in complete denial that any of her “possessions” need to be edited, or given away, or sold, because she might “need them where ever she ends up.” This brings me to how we view our “stuff.” Possibly this will help you identify what is necessary to keep, and what is clutter.

First you need to identify what the stuff really is and why you have it. We in the United States tend to navigate toward the material possessions, although studies keep popping up stating that the trend is going towards a life that is more simplified for everyone. If you are not there those changes are a big step.

In May I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal titled ‘Possessions.’ It comprised of small interviews with famous people about their possessions. Some of the points they made were …” A person’s character is much more important than the stuff they own. Still, it’s natural for people to collect the things that reflect their character.” And …” my favorite possession isn’t as tangible as a pair of heels or a purse—it’s imagination and my ability to inspire.” Although we own objects, the important thing to take away is to understand the importance of the possessions we own. If they will continue to contribute to our lives in a positive, meaningful way then they are worth keeping. If not, it is something that can be removed to give you more space in your life for significant possessions.

Let me know if you have decided to review your possessions; which did you keep, which did you edit?

Other good reads:

Being Organized Do I Have to Be OCD?

Organizing | Out With The Old

No Brainer De-Cluttering


5 Reasons to Hire a Home Stager Before Listing Your Home

5 Reasons to Hire a Home Stager Before Listing Your Home

Property Sellers sometimes are on the fence if they should invest any money into staging their house, or leave it “as is.” I have heard the argument that “I have loved my property, as my friends and neighbors, so will everyone else.” What you lose with that view point is that you are not necessarily creating a product that the market wants, or desires, because it speaks of your taste, thus narrowing the market that you could possibly attract and sell to. Here are five reason to hire a professional stager when listing your house.

5. Staging creates a vision for buyers in each room, it allows the buyer to picture themselves in a house, aspiring them to live that lifestyle. If you leave your home with all your decor and personal items, it will not feel like a home a buyer can relate to or see themselves living in. In fact only 10% of buyers can see the potential of a home.

4. Objectivity is necessary to stage a house. A seller may feel that they have done a great job “clearing and de-clutter” per the advice of their Real Estate agent but the problem is a home seller cannot objectively look at their HOME and envision it as a HOUSE that needs to appeal to the masses of buyers. A house on the market is now a commodity that needs to stand out to sell.

3. Expertise in design, is necessary to stage a house. Many homeowners love their “things, decor and color choices ” and believe they are experts. Unfortunately those “things” do not allow the buyer to see the house, they might see the sellers “things” but not be able to look beyond, hence not making an offer on the house. Hiring a professional home stager helps the seller highlight important selling features buyers desire.

2. A home that has been staged first sells about 30% faster than a home that has not been staged. The cost of staging a home on the average results in a 299% ROI (return on investment) for the home owner. The typical cost to stage is usually less than 2% of the listing price of the house. For every month a home continues to stay on the market the sale price will fall around 1% a month, to add to that, the seller has their caring costs (electric, taxes… etc.) which add up month after month.  Simple solution – stage first, and sell faster.

1. Not staging a home only helps sell your competition. If you want to sell your home quickly and for top dollar, common sense, call a home stager to help you merchandise your home to market it properly the first time! Their objectivity, creativity and expertise will pay off with a faster sale.

Other good reads:

What, Why, When | Home Staging

Should I Stage My Home

 


5 Good Habits for Home Sellers

5 Good Habits for Home Sellers

Selling a house today is something totally different than ten years ago. The presentation of the home really impacts the desirability to buyers. Of course we typically think “who wouldn’t love my house, everyone says they do!” But living in a home, and selling a house are two totally different things. Here are five simple habits to maintain before selling, and will ease your life when selling.

First:

Home buyers are looking, looking on line, looking as they drive by, looking all the time. This is why it is essential to make sure your curb appeal is up to par. Regularly maintained yards are attractive, keep the lawn mowed and cleared of debris. Maintain the shrubs and trees around your yard by trimming when needed. Any repairs that need to be done, do them because when it’s time to sell, you do not want to be investing $10,000 or more on a new roof, for the new owners.

Second:

Control the clutter. I know it’s difficult, but work one room at a time. Rid your house of unnecessary clutter. I tell my clients pick it up once, decide if it is essential, if not, get rid of it by donating, selling or throwing out. Look at your furniture, do you have too much, maybe somethings can be moved around in your house to different rooms. It might just give your house a completely new look without spending a dime! Set up systems to keep organized and clutter free. Baskets are great organizing tools. Items you use less go up high or packed out of the way. Things you use regularly keep in easy access.

Third:

Neutralize your wall color: OK I get it, you love dark rich colors, maybe you’re a big fan of pink, but when selling, the color on the walls can literally make or break a sale of a house! I have had sellers say “that’s too much work to paint over that red wall.” You don’t think a buyer is thinking the exact same thing?? This is the time that if you are thinking of selling in the next five years, consider a neutral color but enjoy bold colors from art and accessories in your room to still make it feel home. You never want to give a buyer a reason to turn away if it was simply painting a room.

Forth:

Keep all things in good repair. These means if your rugs are too worn to clean and need to be replaced, do so. Try and keep surfaces clean. Regularly- even if it is every other week give each room a good cleaning. Note anything that needs repair- like caulk around a bathtub or sink, hardware that might be falling off, doors that squeak, stains on counters… take care of these things as you see them, this way the tasks will not become excessive

Fifth:

Sit back and look at design magazines and other resources at least once a year. Yes, take a look at what is the style now. There are so many clients homes that I will consult in to find the last time they updated their house was when they moved in. Look at the style of your furniture, rugs, accessories, lighting fixtures, and the colors throughout your house, maybe it’s time for an update.  Yes, just like the avocado appliances, they were so popular at one time, now a turn off. If you are not sure call a decorator in for a consult, they have an objective eye and can set you in the right direction.

Consider doing the simple five steps and you will find, when the time comes to sell you will feel it’s not that over whelming to prepare your house for buyers.

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Additional Good Reads

No Brainer De-Cluttering

Updating Ceiling Lighting