There’s an old joke that says the best time to get something in place (I think insurance) is before you need it. Same is true in my field, but HEY I bet you probably saw that coming, right?
BUT- do you know why? It might depend on your vantage point…
If you have decided to have a conversation with a professional Stager-please!-don’t equate it with tidying up before the cleaning service arrives.
General cleaning is fine, and if you are overrun with excess books, photos, or tschokes-ok to start packing…but don’t make major decisions like tossing upholstery or painting any rooms. Let me see all of what I have to work with.
Good Stagers deal with the reality of your situation, and they also work with what you have, as much as possible. You might think pre-consult purge will help you save face-or some money…it’s not illogical, but it’s not wise.
TALK TO ME NOW-because a denuded room is not a Staged room!
A good Home Stager is just like any other home professional you can refer to-you want to know them, and be comfortable in speaking how it fits into your business , and how it works BEFORE you meet that potential client in the grocery line, doctor’s office or friend’s BBQ.
Sellers watch TV, so do buyers. EVERYONE has seen those shows. But not everyone gets how to talk with clients about Staging.
YOU KNOW you are always on the cusp of being auditioned by someone, and yesofcourse everything is under the electron microscope.
In my experience, agents that can comfortably speak about how Staging works are a distinct minority.
TALK WITH ME NOW-let me give you a leg up on your competition!
FRIENDS and RELATIVES of SELLERS:
My consults are complimentary. Your loved ones need to know others (that would be YOU) think this is a good idea. You can save them angst, even help them net a higher price on their house.
I am also 100% A-OK with any of the seller’s loved ones, or otherwise important/influential people being at the inital meeting. This is a big decision, and if they respect you in that way, they are ultimately going to ask your opinion anyway-so go ahead, nudge!
HAVE THEM TALK TO ME NOW-so there will be other things for you to talk about-besides how their house is not getting any offers!
NEIGHBORS of SELLERS:
A rising tide lifts all boats.
Houses in your neighborhood that sell quickly, and sell well are good news for everyone else in that neighborhood.
Go ahead. Nudge.
HAVE THEM TALK WITH ME NOW-even if you’re going to miss them terribly, you’ll thank me after the closing!!
Monday May 30th is Memorial Day: Do You Know The Meaning Of The Table Set For One?
My dad served in the Coast Guard, but my contemporaries were too young for Viet Nam, and too old for subsequent engagements. So while I’m certainly grateful to all those who now serve, or have served, I don’t have any personal exposure or insights.
My husband Doug works with a man named Jim Troiola…Doug manages the Parts Department for an auto dealership, Jim manages the Service Department. Jim actively served in the Navy from 1968 to 1974, and has been very involved in American Legion since 1992. Last year, Jim was elected to a position known as Department Commander.
It’s a statewide-position, and quite the honor. During their year of service, Department Commanders travel the state, visiting the different posts, meeting members as well as all sorts of dignitaries. They also speak to raise awareness of, and promote programs the American Legion supports: homeless vets, the VA budget, VA medical facilities, and adequate protection for those now serving.
Towards the end of one’s term, the Commander is traditionally honored at a dinner, given by his home post, and attended by home post members, as well as other Legion dignitaries, friends and family. It is a big deal. Doug and I were honored to be invited, and we accepted.
The hall was a large and very long room, with the dias on the other side of the room, but directly opposite the entrance.
Walking in, I immediately noticed a single small table, very much like the one pictured here.
It was in front of, and slightly to the left side of the dias. A single place setting, a lone candlestick, a single bud vase, with one perfect red rose in it, all set on a simple white tablecloth.
Not being at all familiar, I thought it was the guest of honor’s spot…perhaps this evening would be like a ‘celebrity roast’ that you see on TV?
The cocktail hour was in full swing, and we met a number of Jim’s friends. When the group was called to order, and the evening’s program started, no one sat at that table. Within moments, we found out why.
For nearly 30 years now, every official Legion meeting is to have the empty chair-or table for one-set up, as a physical symbol of the thousands of American POWs/MIAs still unaccounted for from all the wars and conflicts involving the United States. It’s a powerful image on its own, but this is the preamble that starts each meeting, and it really hits hard:
We call your attention to this small table, which occupies a place of dignity and honor near the head table.
It is set for one, symbolizing the fact that members of our armed forces are missing from our ranks.
They are referred to as POWs and MIAs. We call them comrades.
They are unable to be with their loved ones and families tonight, so we join together to pay our humble tribute to them, and bear witness to their continued absence.
This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.
The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.
The single red rose in the vase signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America.
This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.
The yellow ribbon on the vase represents the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand, with unyielding determination, a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight.
A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate.
The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
The glass is inverted. They cannot toast with us this night.
The chair is empty. They are not here.
The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.
Let us pray to the supreme commander that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.
Let us remember and never forget their sacrifices.
May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families.
If you did not know this story, you are not alone. Please share this with your friends.
Thank a veteran and thank their family. Say a prayer for them all, and support them.
Have been busy, planning our 35th High School reunion…so even though that time of life has been on my mind lately, earlier this week I was rocketed back in a nano-second when I suddenly realized our Senior Prom had been 35 years ago, that night.
Couldn’t tell you why I remembered it all of a sudden, but I did.
Then I had to find THE picture.
Took me a few days…
But finally, wow, there we were.
Those lapels were certainly wide.
But so were our eyes.
And did you ever see such big dreams? We were so worldly then…
Seems like we were in good company…Happy 70th birthday Bob!!
Last moment, last chance, to win big. You’ve run out of options, back against the wall. Nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
It’s dramatic and nervy, a move borne of both confidence and desperation. Once it’s launched, all spectators hold their breath, and time stands still.
It makes for great sports experiences, but when selling a property… not so much.
Considering Staging as a fall-back, or Phase Two kind of plan will cost both agent and seller time and money.
Homes get the most interest/traffic in the first 2 weeks they are on the market, and MLS has rigid guidelines about what constitutes a ‘new’ listing, so taking it off to clean it up, and give it a second chance to make a better first impression is not encouraged.
Whether you are an agent, or a home seller, do yourself a favor and talk with a professional Home Stager early on. There is nothing to be afraid of-in fact, consider these comparisons:
1. Like any other profession, talking with a Stager is not a decision to hire anyone, you are gathering info.
2. Like any other job interview, you both get to ask questions.
3. Like dating, it needs to work for both of you.
4. Like holiday shopping, delaying and last-minute decisions limit your options.
5. LIke any other major destination, there are numerous ways to get there.
Stagers, are, for the most part, nice and regular people, who just want to help get houses sold. Even if you don’t hire a Stager right away, you will be smarter, and make some better decisions.
Was out walking Bella earlier, and ran into a dog and her owners that I have never met.
Living in the middle of White Plains, pet-friendly buildings are few and far between; as a result, most dogs and owners know each other, so this was an exciting morning for Bella-NEW FRIEND!
As dog owners are prone to do, they talk about the dogs first. So we did.
Asked if they just moved in, turns out they lived a few blocks away for a while, we just never met.
When our new friends found out where I lived, they confided they loved the property, would come in and just stroll around to check it out; even looked into buying something. Which I found to be very exciting, from both a real estate, and a shareholderpoint of view.
Then she shared …‘but we just missed the first-time home buyer credit program’.
Those words kind of hung in the air. Thoughts raced thru my head. No matter how you would define ‘just missed’, it’s still been over for the greaterpart of a year.
While I am not a realtor, or otherwise cleared to speak on behalf of neighbors who are selling-it seemed to be a perfect opportunity to make some sort of statement about a field I believe in, and am confident about.
Questions and suggestions battled each other, trying to form a thoughtful and appropriate response: Define ‘just”.Whathappened?What did they do in the year since, and what are they doing now?
Stalling-and me, without a TWIXST bar!!-I observed that in my business as a Professional Stager, I’ve seen a nice uptick in the number of people who were making decisions and getting on with their life.
I am not good at doing math in my head, while people are watching me (old throwback to being at the blackboard!), so I hesitated, the moment was lost, and the subject was changed.
She had mentioned a few moments earlier that some of the units they were checking out were in the low 200′s (which is a GREAT price for this property). If I were the seller, or their buyer agent, seems to me that qualified first-time buyers would be in a position to make an EXCELLENT offer-i.e-fewer conditions, and probably a cleaner set of financials.
An $8,000.00 price reduction on a $220,000.00 listing is a very average 3.7%. My instinct was to suggest they find the unit they liked, and have their realtor (YES OF COURSE I encouraged them to work with one!!) approach the selling agent, making an offer with this in mind.
It’s not a ground-breaking idea, and the math isn’t that hard to figure out…so what was really going on? Certainly there could be other reasons they didn’t want to bring up with a virtual stranger.
Maybe they just had buyer burn-out-overloaded with so much bad and incomplete information, that their filters were clogged, and not knowing who to believe, they just threw in the towel?
But as the saying goes, you never know until you ask…if I was a seller who really wanted to sell, or a Realtor, I would have encouraged that conversation. How would you have reacted?What would you have said?
Although National Teacher Appreciation Day was last week, May 3rd, I won’t be going down ‘the-dog-ate-my-homework’ road here (although if you really want to know, there were conflicting dates onGoogle…).
While I have never been an educator, my very brief stint as an ESL volunteer, and my tenure as a sales manager have left lasting impressions of awe and respect for those who have chosen education as a profession.
While some may have initally chosen this field for the work schedule, I don’t believe either that-or the pay-is the reason most decide to stay. I just know way too many people in this field.
Doug’s parents were both teachers-his dad tought science and then shop, his mom was in special ed, way back when that ‘department’ was a single room in the basement, or next to the janitor’s closet.
Even without having children of our own, can’t help but see what is at stake, or recognize the awesome challenges and responsibilities professional educators face each and every day.
This is a cover from the NYT magazine section, about 2- 1/2 years ago. I saved it because it just hit me as an excellent visual.
The other thing I would like to share is not so quick…but I dare you to view and not be moved.
In the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus, Richard Dreyfus plays an aspiring composer who became a music teacher when life presented him with different circumstances.
The movie takes you through his life-his frustrations and disappointments. This clip is from the last scene, when he is retiring from teaching.
If you have 10 minutes-(longer if you are like me-the weepy kind- and will need to re-apply eye make-up)-RELAX, ENJOY, then tell a teacher you know how much they mean -or have meant-to you.
Chappaqua NY Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast Saturday May 14
Most of us have a passing familiarity with Rotary International…we see the signs, telling us where they meet, we hear stories of events they hold, or projects they do, we may even recognize their motto-Service Above Self….but it all seems rather distant…until you actually meet and talk with some of them.
Through my association with Furniture Sharehouse, I have gotten to know several of the local groups, today I would like to give a shout out to the very fine folks of the Chappaqu Rotary, and ask for your support for their upcoming event.
As an institution, Rotary International was the world’s first service cluborganization. Currently there are 1.2 millon members world-wide, in 33,ooo groups.
They work at all levels-locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally-to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, and promote peace.
Eradicating polio is their #1 project, their united vision for the future.
To that end, all the different groups run various fund-raising projects to support these ventures, and this Saturday, you can help.
Believe it or not, all you have to do is show up and eat.
This Saturday, May 14, from 8am to 1pm, in the Parish Hall of St. Mary the Virgin on Greeley Avenue, the Chappaqua Rotary will be hosting their annual Pancake Breakfast. Tickets will be sold at the door, $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids and seniors.
Funds raised will be used to support projects both near and far; among those in the former category are Westchester’s Interfaith Food Pantry, Food Bank for Westchester, the Northern Westchester Shelter, and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.
To support YET ANOTHER very basic, very local need, they will also be sponsoring a Blood Drive from 8:00 til 1:3o. Interested donors should contact John Erlich 914.602.3410.
Here from last years’ event are at left Joe Sabalia, and current Club President Penny Paderewski, and at right, John Ehrlich.
Friendly faces, right??
Go!! And bring friends!! Please support these people who are so committed to supporting the rest of us.
FINALLY! Spring has enthusiastically, colorfully, and jubilantly arrived! After an interminable winter, we are OH-SO ready to get back outside, and enjoy our friends, family and property.
But is your space ready for all your big plans?
If some updates are in your future, here is the first of 3 parts on what to consider before you even THINK of setting foot in an outdoor living store.
Outdoor space planning utilizes many of the same principles as interiors, but there are a few unique elements that need to be considered.
Ceiling-less spaces with low or non-existent walls can really throw your spatial perception off, so above all, resist the temptation to “wing it”.
Your best first step is to measure the space you have, and to get it on paper. Transfer the measurements onto grid paper, and create a master plan, Make copies of the blank, so you can block out different layouts.
Next, create your wish list-what do you want this space to do for you:
-Is enough seating for those big parties you can finally host a concern?
-Looking for a casual weekend retreat for sunning, reading and napping?
-Perhaps a quiet oasis at the end of the day, where you can put your feet up under the stars, listen to the crickets, and be hypnotized by a fire pit?
Maybe a little of each? That’s ok!!
At this stage, I counsel my clients that there are no wrong answers, being familiar with what is important to them comes first. Then, if space and circumstances dictate, prioritization is easier, as the whats, and whys have already been explored.
Homework done, here are the basic ABC’s to consider when making decisions.
Allow enough space:Chairs around a table need at least 18” (24” is better!) to pull out, and get in, and out of; that doubles the needed space for a 48” table up to 8’ diameter!
Include door swings. Make a clear path from the house to the grill, but keep it far enough from the house that a breezy day won’t fill your house with smoke-or worse!
Do you need to include a children’s table? Be sure to plan for generous space around the grill, fire pit and any umbrellas.
Be ‘special’: Special elements like free-standing bars, tall bistro tables/stools or oversizesun beds au deux create a buzz, break up a space, visually adding interest, and are a great way to encourage mingling.
If a great sound system, dramatic outdoor lighting, or an outdoor TV would make you little piece of paradise complete, talk to a professional installer first, so placement and quantity of furniture enhances placement of speakers/equipment.
Create groupings:As in interior spaces, large communal sitting areas only work if you are playing trivial pursuit, or watching TV, where everyone is in on the same purpose, or conversation. Once a group hits 5 or 6, secondary conversations and sub-groups develop,
Even if 10+ is your typical entertaining style, instead of one huge table, consider 2 or 3 smaller tables. You can place/move them around more, and it allows for genuine conversation from all at each table.
Think lots of individual chairs: flexible by themselves, when at either end of an anchoring sofa or loveseat, they form more intimate groupings.
It’s an accepted moire that even under reasonable conditions, many small businesses do not make it.
The reasons, even the statistics themselves can vary, but the last few years have presented even greater challenges to the small business owner.
Local small businesses give our local economies a pulse, reason alone to support them.
When they persevere, and become part of the community they add heart.
When they perform a quality service, offer real value and are nice people to boot, well, you tell your friends.
Let me introduce Albina and Sungil Kim, owners of Sage Cleaners in White Plains. Their address is One Hall Place, and even if you lived nearby, you probably won’t recognize that street name.
A few years back, a legnthy construction project started to widen and strengthen the 287 overpass on Lake Street, and created this nub of a road,off Lake Street, just east of the Kensico Avenue intersection.
They are the only building on this street, between the Getty Station, and I-287.
It was during the latter stage of this project that Albina and Sungil first opened their doors, just about a year ago.
They had closed the first family-owned dry cleaning business they started in Boston 15 years ago, and moved back to NY to be closer to family. The name, “Sage” came from an honors program that their son Noel was in.
We were just looking for a convienently located place that had reasonable prices for Doug’s dress shirts, that didn’t need $___ of additional cleaning.
Albina knew my name the third time I was there, which I found to be very impressive.
Since then, they have rescued a forgotten credit card from an inside pocket in Doug’s blazer, returned a shirt, not cleaned, when they knew there was no hope for it, and most notably-Albina protects her clients from the parking enforcement nazi who lurks nearby.
Sage Cleaners is a full-service company, they do tailoring (hems/etc) and alterations; clean leather and suade, as well as drapes and bedspreads; and offer box storage.
Please stop by and check them out, you won’t be disappointed. Just watch out for the parking nazi!
We are learning more today about the Navy SEAL dogs that have been trained just as intensely as their human counterparts, even participating in the mission this past weekend.
And yes, these are German Shepard dogs in these training photos; one parachuting in tandem, in the arms of its handler, others being lowered from a helicopter.
While it’s unclear at this writing if the dog was actually in the complex in Pakistan, or waiting in the helicopter as a backup, it is ohso clear how smart, brave, devoted to duty, and trusting of their human pack they are.
Bella Blue is my 8 -1/2 year old Shepard mix.
She came from the Elmsford shelter. The litter had been abandoned, she was a singular shiny black and tan puppy, in a litter of blonde fluffy retrievers.
3 years after losing my beloved Maggie Mae, Doug decided he was ready to commit again, and for our anniversary he decided to give a thumbs up to a new dog….so officially she is mine, but Doug has been smitten since Day 1.
Even as a puppy, there was this unwavering focus on-awareness of -and concern for the world around her, and every day we see her love and dedication.
My friend Phil Faranda writes about Max his wonder dog, who was also a rescue, and is a true shepard-in more ways than one.
We don’t have children, but here are 2 recent shots of Bella. Below, left, is Doug being goofy, while we are on vacation on the Cape: we are watching the sunset at Race Point, she would not be distracted from keeping an eye on the kids on the beach.
At right on the grounds of the White Plains Presbyterian Church, about 2 blocks from where we live.
It’s a corner property, and she sits on the wall, or on the hill, in the grass behind it, and can see everything.
Just out of camera view, around the corner, is the entrance to their nursery school. Ever vigilant, she knows her duty.