January 15th, 2014
Good Cop/Bad Cop is a time-honored cliche, a tool used to shake up the equilibrium, and prod someone into action. The Good Cop is supportive, looking out for you; the Bad Cop says the tough things that need to be said.
Home Stagers often wear many hats during the course of even a consult (figuratively, of course-I hate hats in real life!)- Bad Cop is one of them…but Good Cop is another.
The Refreshed Home functions as the client advocate, only and always. My success depends on your success. If I can smell cigarette smoke, teen age boy or litter boxes; if I see old bed or bath linens and sad wall colors, I will tell you.
On the other hand, I understand the struggles and conflicts that are part of the selling/moving process. There is no judgement…TRUST ME, we ALL have some equivilant of stinky, messy or outdated in our lives or spaces- my job is to help get you, and your property past it all, so buyers will quickly and easily decide your property is worth every penny.
Preparing a property for sale, and keeping it ready to show is a discipline…but like any good cop show, what seems baffling and uncertain early on can also be quickly wrapped up with some focus, and hard work.( Just no real hats!)
If your Westchester County listing is…well, listless, or if you’re getting ready to sell, be sure you’re putting its best foot forward: Have a five minute conversation with me about how The Refreshed Home can help get it noticed, and SOLD!
January 11th, 2014
Westchester County Real Estate in 2013 was a mixed bag. While recovery is still due for some, it certainly brought solid improvement for many.
While I love what I do anyway, 2013 affirmed much of what I believed in, and hoped for when I started The Refreshed Home in 2007.
Every category and number on my radar was up from 2012. Very proud, very very grateful. Thank you, and OHYES, congratulations to the brokers, agents and sellers who believed in me, and with me.
- The Refreshed Home had a hand in $43.6M worth of new residential listings in 2013.
- 28 listings sold for a combined priced of $19,417,550. Nine were at, or over ask.
- Average sold property was $693,484. Six solds were seven-figure properties; two were $160K coops.
- Additionally, 7 more- total listing value of $7.138M are in contract, due to close in the weeks to come.
- 8 new properties are preparing themselves at this moment, due to come on by February 1st.
Again, overwhelmingly, projects were for occupied spaces. Most used what they had/could otherwise procure on their own. Two rented furniture, some others were vacant, but left in good repair, clean and pristine with minor updates.
The Refreshed Home’s specialty is…specialties. Other trends emerged, and specialty services continued to evolve:
- Two projects were single family homes that were rented.
- Three sellers became very surprised buyers when their Staged property sold much more quickly than anticipated (!!). TRH transitioned two downsizing , and one upsizing family into their new spaces
- Live listing photo styling, working with the photographer got more versions of spaces, quicker for several oversize and tricky spaces
- Accessory Rental took off, necessitating taking a warehouse space in the spring to house my inventory of cool art, linens, lighting and tabletop
- Several sellers who liked my take/taste on all of the above decided to work with me and purchase items instead of renting
Staging your Westchester County property to get it noticed and sold is of course about how it looks. But it is also about the people, and the process, the relationships. Effective solutions start with a conversation to determine what will be done, and by whom. The right solutions, combined with the right person will put more money in your pocket faster, and also ease your mind.
The Refreshed Home works with nice people, who want to work with me, and want to get thing done. If this sounds like your style, talk to me today about how we can get your property noticed, and sold.
And no QUINOA BURGERS or beards- that’d be just be weird.
January 11th, 2014
“It’s Only Weird if it Doesn’t Work”. This has been the second NFL season this tag line has been reverberating through millions of homes.
Mis-matched socks, assorted rituals and talismans, and let’s not forget the dreaded QUINOA BURGER. And this summer ”Fear the Beard” was the mantra as the un-shaven Boston Red Sox rolled on to win the 2013 World Series.
Sports superstitions-actions and practices born from back against the wall circumstances, fueled by fervent hope and anecdotal stories of success-makes total sense to the people practicing/believing them, “it’s only weird if it doesn’t work” is the perfect justification of the illogical, to non-believers.
DAMN>why didn’t Home Stagers think of this line first??
Under reasonable circumstances, Real Estate is still a gamble; but the last few years…HA!
When The Refreshed Home first launched in 2007 Home Staging was largely a faraway concept in the Westchester County NY real estate market; more entertainment, on cable. This market was hot, and the romance of fixer-uppers had not totally faded.
The housing bubble burst shortly afterward, and the tide changed swiftly. The learning curve was steep, the naysayers were loud and cranky, and “weird” was one of their nicer characterizations… but it was a great time to listen and learn, meet people and define this new frontier of a business. ‘It’s only weird if it doesn’t work’ certainly was, and still is my attitude, just never put into so many words.
That was seven years ago. There are still skeptics out there…comments to a July 2012 NYT piece, Ruthless Came the Stager pretty much rang the dinner bell. If you hadn’t read the article first, you’d think animal sacrifices under the light of a full moon were one of the recommendations. And OHYES, I still delight in pointing out that not a single solitary dismissive or angry villager shared that they actually had ever worked with a Stager…yet every single commentator who shared they HAD worked with a professional Home Stager had something good to say. HA!
I will admit to owning Lucky Socks (literally, they say ‘My Lucky Socks’-how could I resist?) but everything I do (say, suggest, warn, or nudge someone on) is rooted in training, instinct, and experience; but most importantly, from seeing what works, what has put money in other sellers’ and agents’ pockets.
If you are thinking about selling your Westchester County house in 2014…or have had mixed or bad results with a listing already on the market, turn off HGTV, and let’s talk about what you can do to better the market position of your property. I promise you, no Quinoa burgers!
NEXT: The Refreshed Home: Numbers, and Reflections from 2013
January 8th, 2014
One of the reality checks I do every so often is troll through the older, and price-reduced listings. After the initial bum-out, I’m energized, convinced I have been gifted with a fresh new way to preach an old message. So resolved, it’s 2014, and time to swear off the 80s.
The 80s was a good time for me personally, but for the most part not a terrific decade for design, or IMHO, good taste. Paralleling what shaped the look we know as “Victorian”-where one’s income grew faster than experience of putting things together well, it was a time of just way too many things.
More primitive country was edging the clunkier dark pine and large, loud plaids out, while country french in painted and pickled finishes provided some relief from the overly-curly, blue and ivory provinciality from the 70′s; but contemporary/Asian and very fussy English were clamoring loudly for their share of the market too.
“Ecclectic” was an appealing, intellectual exercise; a counterculture-like flouting of the matchiness doctrine most of us grew up with. Yet without much practical experience of, or confidence with mixing things up, the results were, well, mixed.
Maybe another decade (or two) will have us fondly reminiscing, but decor from the 80s is not old enough to be considered vintage, not defined enough to be cool/retro… but it’s too old, and hurting you if you are looking to sell and get top dollar.
Here are my own list of top offenders and some suggestions. The Refreshed Home recommends mitigating what you can, and price accordingly.
- Frothy pastels: Peach, mauve, and teal-ish were emblem colors for 2 popular looks of that decade, Southwest and South Beach. Now they say down-sizing Nana who probably has to move.
- Complicated draperies: If the draperies are from the 80s, what about more important things like the roof…boiler…etc. Swap them out for simpler stationary panels of a contrasting color, and if privacy is an issue, shades underneath. Roll up solar shades and adjustable fabric shades like Hunter Douglas’ Silhouettes lets light in, lets you see out, but keeps it private too.
- Verticals: See above
- Shiny brass bath fixtures and shower enclosures: VERY sad to say these are attempting a comeback in some circles-don’t succumb. They were gauche then, and no one needs to see them ever again. If you can replace, it’ll breathe new life into your bathrooms.
- Smoked/bronzed glass lighting fixtures: Never been a time where more clever and fun fixtures are so affordable. Go shopping.
- Mirror’d walls: Unless it’s in a ballet or yoga studio, lose them.
- Wide grout lines: Grout lines as an architectural element-wide, often on the diagonal, and usually in a contrasting color will date your kitchen soundly. White tiles and cabinets, often black counter tops seal the deal. Paint the walls a strong color like a deep red, a warm mellow yellow, or a brigh granny-apple green to help
distract…ummm, I mean balance it out.
- Flowered wallpaper: Wallpaper is your personality, glued to the wall. Fine if you’re decorating, but rarely a good idea at all when you’re selling. Flowered wallpaper is like a bad tattoo, a vivid snapshot of a very different time. Take it down and paint. Period.
January 3rd, 2014
Real Estate fascinates me, and the state of Real Estate in Westchester County is certainly an engaging, and challenging topic.
But an even better, more telling question would be what is the state of the market at this very instant, in XXXXX ZIP code?
The Refreshed Home does not try to be all things to all people: I seek, and work with solid people who want to work with me, and want to get things done. This philosophy takes me into all different markets and price points in Westchester, lower Putnam and Fairfield counties.
FAQs gives specific answers to important questions, but until this morning-when a straightforward and generous reader contacted me-had kind of forgotten exactly how uber-uber local and timely the best Real Estate Q&As really are.
The shortest answer to Buyers or Seller Market?-is —IT DEPENDS.
And the follow up point is THIS is why we both need to work with knowledgeable and experienced Realtors.
At issue was a post I wrote last year ‘Why Bother Staging in a Seller’s Market?’. A question I was hearing from a lot of markets…at the time. And even though the post was written last June, truth is a number of markets have been desperate for inventory for much of 2013. But others, not so much.
Staging a property is much more than a visual. Think of the Venn diagrams from our schooling: each of us brings something to the party. The best solutions consider the Sellers’ needs, goals and expectations, maximizes their *resources, while supporting the pricing and marketing strategy of the Realtor.
Whether your Westchester/Putnam/Fairfield county house is in a Buyers Market or Sellers Market depends on where you are, who, and when you ask. A smart and experienced Realtor will know, and the market will confirm it. But bottom line, this Westchester County Home Stager knows that being truly market ready, and putting forth your own best effort will always-always-always give you the most, and best options, no matter your time, the market, or other circumstances.
If you are thinking about selling your property in 2014, let’s speak soon. Be ready, because things like signing papers, scheduling photos and ohyes, rising interest rates can all happen pretty quickly.