Staging FAQs: What If My Property Becomes a Tear-Down?

March 30th, 2015

Welcome back to The Refreshed Homes’s Staging FAQs where pertinent Demolition of an old house with power shovelquestions of the day are answered in 400 words or less.

“What if my property becomes a tear-down?” has come up a lot lately. My response is, “Ok, what if it does?”.  Annoying, but it gets us to an underlying issue.

Westchester County is a desirable location, and decidedly an upwardly mobile market…yet close to half the single family homes here were built before the late 1950’s.  Today’s reality? Even if a structure is clean, maintained and perfectly functional for the current owners, buyers want what they want.  The location is a given, the structure is not.

Most recent numbers regarding frequency of selling/moving are somewhere in the vicinity of every 7 or 8 years. But as our market recovers, many Westchester County homeowners are downsizing, and approaching the selling pool for the first time in decades. Some are stunned to learn their property is considered worth more than the structure.

Even under “OK” circumstances Staging can seem arbitrary and feel invasive; feelings of loss, even grief are part of many sellers’ process. Thinking something so much a part of your life potentially reduced to rubble, then carted off will do that to a person.

The Refreshed Home defines Home Staging as anything that improves the market position of your property, while easing your mind. Selling quickly and well is goal, but negate the emotional part of the process at your own risk. Getting a house to look its best can easily come undone if the seller is anguished, not genuinely ready or willing to sell.

Being kind, and being direct are not mutually exclusive attributes. So early in the consult we talk about why they’re selling, who their buyer will be (and why), their expected price point and how they see that in their market.

“What if my property becomes a teardown?”  is a welcome question; really, several questions in one.  It’s a vehicle to define the scope of the job, help both of us address their concerns, and clarify/reinforce  their motivation and priorities now, upping the odds for an overall  smoother process.

You never know who the buyer will be, but helping prepare the seller is one way The Refreshed Home brings a thoughtful approach to the creative process. 

Want to sell? Need to sell?  Ready to sell? Talk to me TODAY about getting your listing noticed, and SOLD!

Get it Noticed, and SOLD!! Free Home Staging Workshops in Westchester County

February 20th, 2015

Preparing a property for sale is a very personal experience, there is not one abLet's Get Your House Noticed, and SOLD!solute standard.  It’s a collection of decisions that correlate to, and support your needs, goals, and expectations.

Further complicating things-most everything  you hold dear in this world is on the table: Family, your values and relationships, money and time, your hopes, dreams and fears.  All this considered, critical thinking skills are essential, which is why I started running free Home Staging workshops a few years ago.

Free*, interactive and open to the public, The Refreshed Home is pleased and excited to share the Spring 2015 schedule of upcoming Get Your House Noticed and SOLD! events.

* As part of their Adult Ed program, Bronxville Adult School charges a nominal fee for this class, and space limited to 25.

My presentations are geared to the hands-on home seller: interactive and flexible, combining Q&A, easy ideas most everyone can implement on their own, and a slide presentation-including the perennial crowd favorite-BEFORE and AFTER photos!

While the optimism (and stability) continues to grow in the Westchester County real estate market, that’s no reason to assume buyers will  be taking their house-shopping any less seriously. AND they will have a lot to look at! Preparing a home for sale engages buyers, lets them see the value in the property, and makes it easier for them to say YES.

Properties that are priced right, and have been thoughtfully prepared for market garner the most buzz early on. They also attract the most serious, and best qualified buyers, and bring in the best offers, sooner. Through 3Q 2014  the average Days on Market for single family homes in Westchester County was 126 days. TRH’s Staged properties averaged 30.5 days. And received 99.7% of original list price.

Above links will bring you to each venue’s site.  Mark you calendars, tell your friends, and bring your questions. Hope to see you there!

The Super Bowl and Home Staging: Why Clever and Creative Will Always Trump Costly

January 30th, 2015

explosionCan you imagine being in the room when the idea for Volvo’s Super Bowl Interception Promotion was pitched?

If it was anything like what I felt when I first heard of it today, there was a brief moment of absolute stillness where it seemed the world stopped moving because everyone took a deep, sharp breath; then immediately sped up, powered by the simultaneous explosion of brain cells, accompanied by blinding bright light, and a hallelujah chorus.

OK, I may be exaggerating a bit, but clever and creative things do that to all of us. Smart things that grab our attention, and engage our minds because we’ve never seen them or thought of them before just delight us.  This is why clever and creative will always trump costly.

If you’re reading this before you follow this link, here’s the deal: Instead of buying a 30-second Super Bowl ad at the going price of $4.5M +/-  Volvo will be giving away 5 cars to people nominated by others via Twitter (here’s the brilliant part) while commercials from other car companies are being aired. Cost of these 5 loaded models MAYBE 5% of the ad.  Cost of Twitter? Well, you know.

While the numbers are not quite as big in Home Staging, the premise is the same: Simply: surprise, amuse and delight people-you’ll capture their imagination, and direct the conversation.   And in a sea of expected, predictable, and yes, costly-that’s priceless.

New, and different excites, entertains and energizes us. Home buyers have their head full of numbers: price per square foot, taxes, mortgage rates. They are also scared to death of missing the right house, or choosing the wrong house.  Clever and creative changes the conversation, engages the other side of the brain.  They’ll relax, even have some fun. And they will remember your house. Engage their body-all the better.

One of this Westchester County Home Stager’s  favorite tips is to set up a game table with a board game or puzzle in progress. Have you ever tried walking past a puzzle in progress?  You pick up a piece, and try to find where it fits, right?  Touch teaches. When you pick up that puzzle piece, you are learning, remembering and experiencing things kinesthetically.  It immediately stirs up feelings, inspires dreams and imprints this sensation in your memory. Family Game Night!  Cozy nights home! Everyone unplugs and enjoys! All in a fraction of a second, with things you probably already own.

Selling your Westchester property? The Refreshed Home is FULL of clever and creative ideas that’ll engage and delight, getting your house noticed, and SOLD!  Staying and improving? Let’s put some more smiles in your space, and in your days! Talk to me today, it’ll be SUPER, you’ll see!

Marie Graham is an Interior Decorator, an Accredited Home Stager, and owner of The Refreshed Home. She has been bettering spaces-and lives!-since Super Bowl XV. Contact her directly,

Comparing Pre-Juno Frenzy, and the WC Real Estate Market

January 26th, 2015

When something is always available, most people tend not to think much about it.  It’s easy enough to make arrangements to  procure it  when they want to, or need to.


However, when circumstances change, when options lessen, people can panic, and leap into action.

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We’re not usually motivated to think or plan proactively when we are comfortable. But that is precisely what  The Refreshed Home  counsels clients: Planning to sell  their Westchester County property?  Get Ready, Now. 

Buying a home is an emotional decision, any number of things could nudge a prospective buyer off the fence and into the buying pool: an unseasonably warm spell or an uptick in interest rates; continued economic improvement/consumer confidence, renters deciding they want the tax benefits of owning, seeing their friends buy, or noticing houses they like being sold quickly, at escalating prices OR EVEN finding their own next home.

Like the incoming winter storm Juno, these things are out of a sellers’ control, could materialize quickly, and are minimally predictable at best. Sellers need their property to be ready when buyers are ready to buy. Those starting the process of preparing their home for sale sooner rather than later will have more options:

  • They can make decisions at their own pace
  • They can shop around, have more choices for any trade or service providers they might need
  • They will be poised to move quickly when circumstances change-any of the above, or even better, they find the next property they want to live in.

Remember, signing the listing agreement and scheduling photos is the easy part, it can happen in 24- 48 hours. Going through closets, packing/disbursing contents of attics or basements, cleaning and refreshing your space-not so much.

The Refreshed Home is Westchester County’s most complete Home Staging service. Flexible, innovative, accomplished and responsive,   TRH brings a thoughtful approach to the creative process  If you are planning to sell your Westchester County property, be ready for when buyers are ready to buy,  talk to me today about getting your property noticed, and SOLD!




Free Home Staging Workshop: Mt. Kisco Library Sat. Jan 10th

January 4th, 2015

Are you planning to sell your Westchester County house in 2015?

Two things engage buyers: Price and condition. How you price your property is between your and your agent; how you can make it look its best is what we’ll be covering  at the FREE Home Staging Workshop in the Mt. Kisco Library Saturday January 10th 1:30-3:00 PM.









The most beautiful property in town will sit on the market if it’s not priced right; and while an attractive number will generate a lot of interest, buyers will leave just as fast if there are too many problems, too much work to be done.

Maybe you think Home Staging is just fine for strangers’ houses on TV…or that it’s only for vacant trophy houses? SURPRISE!  The Refreshed Home defines Home Staging as whatever you can do to improve the position of your property in the market, so it will sell quickly and well. And experience has shown me over and over again, once pointed in the right direction, homeowners can do a lot more than they think they can.

Living Room Area









A well prepared property will not only attract buyers, but buyers who tend to be serious and better qualified. These properties also attract other agents…who represent buyers ready to make a move.

It’s never too early to start the process, so if you want to sell (and get on with your life!)  come to the Mt. Kisco Library this Saturday, January 10th. Bring your questions, and a pad of paper. Among the topics: the 3 numbers every seller should consider, how to prioritize your efforts and resources, and what makes the best listing photos.











Free, and open to the public, but program is subject to a minimum attendance. Please call the library to register 914.864.0137 (you can call right now and leave them a message!)  Hope to see you there!