December 16th, 2011
Word Of The Week: Irony
A goal, but actions that contradict that goal.
Folks wanting results, but not making changes, or really working to make it happen. Seem like a familiar theme?
Sellers: Buyers are out there, and they are buying.
If no one is viewing your property, there is a reason why. Talk to your agent, then talk with me, I will show you how to get your property SOLD!
December 7th, 2011
Last week we all took the Scout oath…. swearing we understood that Staging a property DID NOT involve
- Lingerie, fancy bath salts or a breakfast tray in the Master Suite
- Plug-in air fresheners or fake flowers
- Convoluted, budget-driven DIY projects
- Naked walls, or white/off-white walls
THEN we brought up some of the value a professional Stager could bring to your transaction, here are a few more.
Keep in mind, none of these are absolutes. No 30-day money-back guarantee-not even a set of Ginsu steak knives. Just sharing what I’ve seen, hoping it’ll help someone else start the conversation and find a way to make this Staging thing work for them…and OK, maybe hoping a little harder that some of you live in the refreshed home’s area!
3. Professionally staged properties increase curiosity about, and elevate interest in the listing
Russel Ray, a Home Inspector in San Diego recently wrote about a Less is More approach to marketing.
Observing that humans, just like cats, are naturally curious creatures, Russel’s premise was that in our 24/7 over-stimulated world, if you can catch someone’s attention in a simple and unexpected way, they will be drawn to find out more on their own.
Staging in our area is still this semi-mysterious entity. Word of a professionally Staged property? Buyer (AND agent) nip!!
4. Consulting with a professional Stager could help your short sale property as well
I do a lot of work with one agent on her short sales. NOT the pipes-ripped-out-of-the-wall type of distressed properties, but average house/ house is underwater/deferred maintenance/sellers have to sell type of properties.
She gets the sellers into the right mind frame- the past is past, this is what they need to do if they want to get on with their life. We meet, set a strategy, they get a written plan and do the work themselves/arrange to have it done. At this writing, this agent has put together, and gotten approval on 45 short sale deals this year.
No illusions on my part, I know there is a LOT more involved, but she says the work, and my designation on the paperwork help lenders fast-track the deal…. so I’m just sayin’…
5. THIS Professional Stager works with Buyers, too!
An un-staged property is really just the before of a Staged property. Knowing what needs to be done, or seeing what is possible is one thing, but being able to explain it clearly, and on the fly to buyers is another.
Before launching my business in 2007, I had 25 years of working busy retail floors. Back in the 80′s and 90′s, busy, crazy times, when people couldn’t spend money fast enough.
When the door opened, and it was your turn, you were walking, talking, listening, thinking-figuring out where the customer was coming from, what they needed, and how you could help them to see it. Exactly the same skill set I use to help buyers see potential in a property they are considering.
Prep for listing photos/open houses, referrals to any needed vendors, client support, the list goes on and on. Point being-consider most of what you see on TV as a starting point. What are your needs? Get past de-clutter, de-personalize, yada, yada, yada. Call a professional Stager today, and just start the conversation.
October 7th, 2011
Beat The Odds: Five MORE Tips For A Better-Showing House This Fall
When I worked in retail furniture, I absolutely LOVED working on snowy days, or the day after a snow storm.
When everyone else was out buying bread, picking up videos or whatever, people who came into a furniture store were people who were ready to buy furniture, and who wanted to buy furniture.
Inevitably my close ratio was almost 100%, so I have always been a fan of being ready for buyers out of the normal/expected buying cycle.
We will get to inside stuff in another post, but here’s the follow-up to yesterday’s post …. five more things you can do to show- perhaps beat the odds-even SELL your house this fall.
6. Wash the windows, clean the screens, vacuum out all the ick that has accumulated between the windows and the screens. When the leaves come down, what better way to show how light-filled, and well-maintained your house is!
7. Be aware of odors. Cooler weather has us closing out windows more,eliminating ventilation and trapping odors.
Air out the house in the warmer days to come, but get in the habit of taking stinky garbage out immediately. Also, keep dirty laundry out of bedrooms and bathrooms. Maybe put it in the empty washer, until you are ready for a full load.
Watch what you cook-grill outside if you can-and good time to give the dog a bath, and wash all the dog things as well.
8. Unless a big storm is in the forecast, I recommend leaving the patio furniture out til it frosts, especially if you grill, or have a fire pit.
Keep it clean, and looking good. Toss the burned-out citronella candles, the ratty tablecloth, etc. Make it a desirable space, not a body of evidendce to a season sadly long gone.
Outdoor space does not count on listings as usable square footage in a house-so why not SHOW THOSE BUYERS just how much more value your house has from this bonus living space?
9. Put away any seasonal ornaments. Things like windchimes, figures of bunnies, or gnomes holding daisies. Again, oddly inappropriate after Labor Day.
Instead, think of putting up birdfeeders on the property-by snowfall you will have attracted quite a following, giving something for buyers to delight in when the rest of the area is covered in white.
10. Replace sad and tired linens. SERIOUSLY. Crushed toss pillows, dingy kitchen towels, limp bed sheets. These things have a limited life span.
Hit BBB with a bunch of coupons, or Kohls on a sale day and invest: New towels for the kitchen, big puffy bed pillows and a new set of bath towels and crisp, smooth new sheets. I purchased a king size set of 400 thread count sheets for a client recently; regularly $130.00 at Kohls-on sale and with my extra discount-less than $45.00.
Besides showing better to buyers, you will feel so-o-o-o special, for very little money. BONUS: Local pet shelters-Pets Alive in Elmsford, and SPCA in Briarcliff are my favorites-would be oh so grateful to accept your worn, but washed towels and linens.
September 23rd, 2011
Let’s Get Your House SOLD! Staging For The Average Homeowner
The classic cereal commercial -where two older brothers did not want to try this new breakfast cereal-and instead, gave it to their younger brother, wanting him to go first-reminds me of the reaction I get when it’s time to talk about preparing a house for the market.
Sellers and agents each have their ideas of what it is, and how it works, but it’s still perceived as this dicey territory, and many seem to want to see some buyer interest first….well, if that was working out for you, chances are you wouldn’t be reading this post.
Buyers have a lot to choose from out there. Staging-or preparing your property for the market is a business decision, and a commitment made by people who really want to sell.
Yes, the goal is to make the house look as good as possible, but at the refreshed home, a good solution takes a number of things into consideration: the agents’ pricing and marketing strategy, the local market, and the sellers needs, goals and expectations.
If you have a property you want to -or need to sell-come to the John C. Hart Library on Thursday October 6th, at 7PM. We’ll discuss this mysterious entity known as Staging, learn how to see a property through the eyes of a buyer, and send you home with things you can do to put your property’s best foot forward. Hope to see you there!
August 31st, 2011
SMILE: 10 Basics For Getting Your Westchester House SOLD
While there are no breakthrough ideas here, the video is more light-hearted, ALWAYS an effective way to make the point. Enjoy!!
August 14th, 2011
SCSP seeks UCRw/D
SCSP (smart, creative Staging professional) (that would be me) seeks UCRw/D (upbeat, confident Realtor w/ Designations) (hopefully, that is YOU) OBJECT: cooperative and content clients, more time on your hands, fabulous listing photos, and selling lots of properties quickly, and for the best price
YOU: Positive attitude, reality-based, open-minded, straightforward and direct, good communication skills. Value education and running a customer-service based business. And ohyes, have the desire to sell lots of properties.
ME: All of the above, and passionate about it; kind, adaptable, supportive, quick-witted, able to manage both projects and sellers.
Turn-offs: Cranky, jaded, complacent or rude whiners; hobbyists; over-priced listings
Remote Staging and phone consults do-able. Sense of humor a must, GRI, CBR, or CDPE preferred.
I am Marie Graham, owner of the refreshed home. I can bringing life and light into lives, listings, and living spaces. All you need to do is start the conversation!
July 22nd, 2011
Will Buyers Remember YOUR House??
When preparing a house for sale, some projects involve getting rid of the red flags-the immediate and obvious turn-offs no buyer wants to see.
But more and more I am seeing projects in need of green flags.
Whether it’s an HGTV-obsession, sellers trying to save money and pre-stage before they call a real Stager, or over-zealous but well-meaning agents, friends or neighbors- there are lots of neat, clean, sanitized and B-O-R-I-N-G properties out there.
Nothing stands out, nothing engages, nothing inspires. Nothing to cause a buyer to remember a house.
That may see like a contradiction of the ‘de-clutter, de-personalize’ mantra that many chant, but de-personalizing a space does not mean stripping away all personality.
YES-preparing a house for sale means packing away what is unsuitable, distracting, inappropriate. ANYTHING that will otherwise get in the way of the seller getting the most traffic (online, AND foot) and the best price for their property, in the shortest time.
Depending on the market, your goals and expectations, it can also mean making changes, or bringing things in that will make the property shine, and catch a buyer’s eye.
Now that lenders are loosening some of the thumb-screws, and balance has been creeping back into the market- a property buyers WANT will be the property that gets SOLD.
It’s not enough for buyers just to be able to see themselves in it, there needs to be BUYER LUST. They want it, gotta have it, can’t stop thinking about it. There are workable solutions at almost every level of the market, which is why you want to talk to me.
So-so showings, low-ball offers, no online traffic? Your life on hold, waiting for your property to sell? Well, you know what hasn’t worked….
Help buyers remember your house. Now is the time to start the conversation. Better the space, sell your house, and get on with your life.
July 14th, 2011
Are You Tired?
In the last week I’ve met with 4 new potential clients, each with a different agent.
Their houses have been on the market for anywhere from 3 to 5 months.
Each seller had made efforts to prepare the house for the market, and to have it show-ready at all times.
Yet in each case, there were few showings, and no offers.
All parties-sellers and agents-were discouraged, and yes, TIRED. The kind of tired where you’ve been back and forth so many times, you can’t think straight and just want to walk away.
Sellers are tired of being ready, living their life in limbo, and giving it all they had, with no results.
Agents are tired of having no news or bad news for sellers; tired of having neither a vison for change, or the words to even address it.
Given the overall fatigue, and costs both sides have already incurred-agents in marketing the property, sellers in carrying it longer than they anticipated-who knows what will happen.
But this is why they best time to talk to me is before your house goes on the market. Before you spend time, money, or waste that all-important first 30 days of a new listing.
Staging supports all of your efforts, and makes the most of what you ARE able to do to prepare your property.
Whether your property is about to be listed, or is currently on the market-if you haven’t been getting the results you want, dare to look for a way to make changes. Call me, let’s talk about getting your house SOLD.
But first, I know you could use a smile, so enjoy this clip from one of my favorite Mel Brooks movies.
July 6th, 2011
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the refreshed home’s POP QUIZ!!
Sure, it’s summer, and the living is easy, but no excuse to let the grey matter get flabby.
Keep track of your own score, and scroll down for answers below-but no peeking! And stay on your toes, you’ll never know when the next one will show up!
True or False
1. Staging is for the interior of empty houses
2. By law, Interior Decorators are required to have a tiny dog with them at all times.
3. Staging is best suited for higher end properties.
4. Staging will always cost less than your first price reduction.
1. FALSE! Staging is anything done to improve a property’s position in the market, so it will sell more quickly, for the best price.
Co-op or condo, private home or commercial space; vacant or occupied. De-cluttering or painting, closets or decks, lobbies or living rooms.
ANYTHING that improves ANY property’s position in the market.
2. FALSE! The Pomeranian Protest, largely inspired by the Boxer Rebellion, joined forces with the Min-Pin Movement in the late 1980′s, and, after lobbying hard, the law was successfully repealed in 1992.
3. FALSE! Any type of property can benefit, but the more saturated a market is, the more valuable Staging can be.
SIDEBAR: As of late June, Westchester had 1859 co-ops on the market, 996 condos, and 4742 single family homes.
4. TRUE! A conservative price reduction on a house listed at $500K could be 3%, or $15,000.00. Of course every house, seller and situation is different, but 1/3 of that could get A LOT of staging done.
BONUS: Staging costs are a deduction sellers may be able to take against the proceeds of the sale of the house, in the tax year they sell it-your tax professional can confirm.
Listless Listings? Tired decor? Need to sell?
Know something has to be done. but don’t know what, where -or how to start?
the refreshed home is Westchester County’s Home Staging and Interior Decorating Specialist.
We create solutions, and facillitate change, so you can get on with your life. Buying, selling or staying-let the refreshed home be your partner in change
Because when your space works, so many other things fall into place!
June 25th, 2011
CHANGE: Something We Can ALL Get…Behind
Such a powerful word. Immediately it can inspire a plethora of images and emotions.
In world of the refreshed home, I have observed a subtle but solid shifting that is well, REFRESHING, and fills my heart with joy.
I see smart and regular folks from all sides starting to put fear aside and making decisions to get on with their lives. I hear sense and reason returning, even see confidence and happiness making the occasional cameo. Not all sunshine and rainbows, but buyers and sellers who want to move forward, and agents who are confident, adaptive and reality-based is a heck of a start.
Some changes are easier than others…often they impact others, who of course have their own reactions. But I’ve found the reality is that making changes can be a two-fold blessing: besides your end result, there is the confidence gained, and equilibrium to your decision making process gets restored by making the attempt.
May you approach all your changes with an faith, a little humor and your eyes on the…ummm…end result.
June 24th, 2011
Reality Check: Listing Photos Westchester Buyers Are Seeing 6.24.11
Right now there are just under 7600 single residential properties on the market in Westchester County: 4742 single family houses, 1859 coops, and 996 condos.
There are also over 200 planned Open Houses scheduled for this weekend. While the efficacy of Open Houses continues to be a hot topic, listing photos are a constant. Photos that untold pairs of buyers eyes will scour, photos that will be the 24/7 advertisement for your house.
With so much to choose from, potential buyers might give your photos mere seconds before deciding to find out more, or move on.
Being able to see your property through the eyes of a buyer is the first step to successfully preparing your house for the market. SO-as part of a continuing series, let’s look at some of the things Westchester buyers will be seeing this week:
Bubble-gum pink in a Master BR (SERIOUSLY-pastels are out of date, period, and a warmer tone would have softened the contrast of all the wood)…
Leftover nursery color paint in the Master Bath (again, a warm neutral would be more sophisticated, while increasing the perceived value of this bathroom upgrade)
Institutional white in a basement…kiss of death in photos. Seems all that’s missing are some bars on the window. Are you thinking ‘gee, what an inviting bonus living space for the kids!’ ?
More nursery blue. And this is NOT the same house.
Blue is a cool (some would say cold) color. EXTTREMELY bad choice for rooms you want to feel warm and inviting. It is also unappetizing-food does not look good around this non-stop blue.
QUICK-CLOSE YOUR EYES!
OK< now you can look again. Is there anything else you remember about this room? Nope, me neither. That’s a BIG problem, when that’s what you’re trying to sell.
The sellers probably wanted to brighten up a dark space, but they went overboard.
Efffects are hard, garish, and unflattering to most any skin tone. Subconsciously, we stay out of rooms we don’t feel our best in.
It’s always easier to see the mis-steps of someone else’s property, and the spirit of these posts is one of illumination. My job is to help you sell your house, more quickly, and for the best price. Bad, extreme or overly personal choices of paint color not only turn buyers off, they date, and devalue a property.
TO THAT END-I repeat my offer: Claim any of these photos as your own, and I will do up to a half-day of Staging, free of charge. REALLY.
June 19th, 2011
B&A: Updating The Color Palette Got This Property SOLD
In my business seeing is believeing.
Here is a townhouse condo that was on the market I believe for 6 months.
Great location, right on the Hudson River, but few showings, no offers. Had done some work for the seller years earlier as a decorator, but it was her son and his wife-clients for nearly 30 years-who pushed to get me involved.
Everything was neat and the property had been maintained, but it was firmly stuck in the 80′s…pale pink and blue, mirrored walls, verticals, and lighting fixtures with smoked glass and bright yellow brass trim.
Thing is, when color and decor is outdated, it doesn’t feel like a move up, it feels like a move back. Also buyers draw conclusions about a lot of other things besides the seller’s taste. So-with an uncharacteristic minimum of comment, here’s what we did, and how it played out.
Pink walls were painted a more pleasing neutral-Benjamin Moore HC -45, Shaker Beige.
MOST of the wall to wall mirrors came down…
As did all of the verticals-replaced here by stationary navy panels to call attention to the windows (BBB, 5 panels + rods, about $200.00).
Rug in DR, little table and chair and other things that were just filling space were removed, and a chair someone would want to spend time sitting in was moved from upstairs, to in front of the fireplace.
Upstairs Master BR was an assortment of many small pieces of furniture, not enough lighting, and a flowered bedding ensemble.
Ice pink carpet was replaced with a warm pinky-beige, and again HC-45 on the walls. Stuff without a real purpose was removed, bedding was replaced (seller’s son owned this set, but $100.00 at BBB would have been all that was needed).
First day back on the market, at the Open House, a full-price offer was made, property closed about 2 months later.
Afters courtesy of Phyllis Lerner, Realtor/Owner-Broker of William Raveis Legends Group Realty in Sleepy Hollow.
May 27th, 2011
When Is The Right Time To Call A Stager? And Why?
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!!
May 15th, 2011
In Baseball, It’s Called A Suicide-Squeeze…
..in basketball, it’s known as a buzzer-beater, and in football, a Hail Mary Pass.
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.
REMEMBER-your successes are their successes…so deep breath, relax, and just start the conversation!
March 25th, 2011
In this business, seeing is believing, but the #1 corollary is that they have to like you, and trust you, first.
Recently I got a call from a Realtor I met last year-he was the listing agent on a property my Staging clients bought, after they sold their house.
He had a seller whose house needed help…not a new story-it had been on the market, with no success. It was a neat and clean space, no conditional issues. They had done some updating, but more needed to be done to make it competitive in this market.
I was there 2 days later, and sent them my report the next day. This was the email the agent sent me:
Thanks so much for all your time and care of the Smiths. I enjoyed being with you on the presentation – you have a velvet boxing glove, that’s for sure.
I have wanted to say something about the ‘nothing’ colors in the bathrooms and the kitchen, but they were already a little overwhelmed by my suggestions; it was a relief that you felt the same way, and addressed it with them.
I will catch up with them today, but I think they were very impressed with you and even better LIKED you and TRUSTED you. The changes you suggested are not ‘impossible’ and I think they will help set the property for a definite sale!
I will be in the office tomorrow, let’s talk more then.
Realtors: I know you invest months, often years in educating people, nurturing relationships. I totally get all that is on the line when you make the giant leap from listening to me, to actually bringing me into one of your transactions.
Sellers: I also realize all of what you have at stake. When we meet, I will understand and respect your situation, and all you have gone through. I will be your partner, and show you how to get to the other side.
I have made a successful living working in people’s homes for 30 years.
I know nothing to be truer than no matter what, people will always care about their homes. So four years ago I made my own leap and created the refreshed home.
My business model is not the most traditional. I have never ever chased dollars, so goals are not set or evaluated on sales figures.
My business has grown by simply striving to make people smarter and happier by showing how to make their space and stuff work better, so they can get on with their lives.
Solidly connecting with a responsive, professional, knowledgeable and now trusting Realtor was a home run.
Not a home run that is an insurance run, or even wins the game.
Because he can now comfortably speak with his other sellers and fellow agents about how Staging with the right person can work, this is a bases-loaded, bottom of the 12th, walk-off home run. In the playoffs.
Except in this scenario, everyone wins!
If you have a home you need to sell, let a professional Stager help. All you have to do is just start the conversation.
March 22nd, 2011
We’ve all heard that saying…but do you know why?
More importantly, do you want know how it can help sell your house?
There are three parts to the equation, the first being that the eye is drawn to color and light. Always, and immediately.
It is not a conscious decision- it’s a reaction, in our DNA. It’s easier to identify things, and is probably a survival instinct from our earliest days as a species. (You may need to stand back from the screen, but photo above is a shot of an orange, a tomato, and a butternut squash. Hard to tell in B&W, huh?)
We see something colorful or bright and shiny, it gets our attention, arouses our curiosity, and we look. This is the begining.
There is a (necessary) story to this next part.
Almost 20 years ago, I was recruited by a design client, and for a very brief time, I sold fairly high-end cars. I knew something about cars, so it was not that much of a stretch; the retail grind was getting to me, so I was ready for a change.
Part of the training was a 3 day event at a professional race track in Lime Rock, CT (where Paul Newman used to race), where we drove these high-performance cars.
Professional race instructors were in the car to ensure our safety, but we were definitely encouraged to…push the car to whatever our comfort level was.
I was one of the more fraidy-cat drivers, concerned that on the turns, my steering skills would not keep up with the speed/shorter reaction time.
I will never forget what the instructor told me: “Look ahead, look into the turn. The car will go where you are looking”.
He was right! That’s why no matter how vigilant we are, if we look away from the road as we are driving, the car starts drifting in that same direction.
The same is true of our bodies-they follow where our eyes are looking. That’s why professional sports players practice their shot or swing, to get into that groove.
So we’ve got color (and light) catching buyers’ eyes, and bodies moving toward what they are looking at…here’s the connection, and how it is going to help sell your house:
Color-via paint, artwork, draperies and accessories-and different types of light are used skillfully positioned by a professional Stager, to call attention to the room’s best features, and to draw people into the room.
When buyers are actually IN a room-not just standing in the doorway, peering in-all sorts of good things can happen:
They notice things, and it registers: Mouldings, the view, and in and in this NYC apartment, the charming built-in mini bookcase. Supermarkets know the longer you stay, the more you buy.
They experience the space. They see hosting holiday dinners, then immediately wonder if they have a big enough table…or if their rug will go with that wallpaper.
They compare ideas: Against what they know or own, the-always-knows-what-to-do sister in law’s house, or those shows on TV. Against all those other, sloppy, un-staged houses they have been seeing.
They’ll open closet doors, sit on the sofa, maybe see how the shower works in the bathroom. Touching is one of the clearest buying signals, showing ownership.
In other words, they will bond with the space, and try to see it as their own.
March 16th, 2011
OK, so by now we are good with overly-doting parents, refrigerator clutter, and ‘the party house’; sex, religion and politics-right?
EXCELLENT!! Onward, then!!
QUESTION: What do pets, kids, people who smoke and cooking have in common?
ANSWER: Easy answer is they…ummm emit odors.
QUESTION: How to help a seller come to terms with, and remedy this condition?
A) Elevate the discussion, and focus on the positive first. Acknowledge that at the very core, in the majority of cases, these odor-emitters are also what bring light and love into a home and a life.
B) Separate the sin from the sinner. Understand-while buyers will smell wet dog, nasty sneakers, stale smoke and lingering fish.
Sellers think of the wagging tail that greets them every morning, the pride of their kid making the jump shot at the buzzer, perhaps their beloved spouse who is so struggling to quit, or who very romantically made the grilled salmon or scampi for dinner the night before.
C) Early on, everything is about getting the house sold. Period. It is the motivation, rationale and answer to everything. It allows for kindness, compassion and forthrightness to be present simultaneously.
D) …is for ‘de-personalize’ it. The reality is that today many people have allergies, asthma, or some other sort of respiratory ailment…why shrink the buyer pool unnecessarily?
E) “We are all in this together” My sellers know I am with them, every step of the way. So they truly get that while it may be hard for them to hear of their odoriferous conditions, it is just as hard to tell them.
March 8th, 2011
Why should I spend money to decorate a house I’m just going to sell?
If someone doesn’t like my collection of ____, well, that’s just too bad!!
Can’t buyers just use their imagination?
Sound familiar? I hear these things every day. Home Staging is not a new concept-it’s an idea that has been around since the 70′s, but for various reasons, it’s been slower to gain traction here in the northeast.
TV shows that feature empty trophy houses filled with high-end furniture, or re-dos with unrealistic budgets and timelines has not helped, either.
Selling your house is a high-stakes proposition. And today, because more people need to live in their house until they sell it, it’s become even more important to find creative, effective reality-based solutions homeowners can live with.
If you- OR YOUR SELLER- have made the decision to sell your house (and get on with your life!)-please join me at 11am on Saturday March 12th, in the Community Room in the Mt. Kisco Public Library, 100 Main Street.
ALL ARE WELCOME!! Bring an open mind, along with your questions, a pad to write on, even some photos of your spaces, if you’d like. Let me help demystify the process, and help you see your property through the eyes of a buyer, so you can get your house SOLD!
March 3rd, 2011
In most any room, walls- all vertical surfaces, including windows-make up the largest surface area, followed by floors. Depending on the quality of the product and wear it’s received, 8 to 10 years is an expected life span for most broadloom.
WHYOHWHYOHWHY do sellers wring their hands, whine and gnash their teeth when the Realtor and Stager suggest replacing carpet from the last millenium?
Here are ten reasons there is no reason to keep old carpet:
-Old carpet-and old padding-retains odors and allergens from stains long dried, pets long gone, and former smokers.
-It can be so reasonable. Many carpet stores now stock rolls of nice, neutral carpet for just this purpose. This means qui
ck delivery and a better price.
-Old padding breaks down after a while, especially in high traffic spots-which makes that part of carpet wear faster.
-New padding of the the highest quality is a mere pittance (about $3.50 a square yard in our area). It is so luxurious, and provides sound-deadening benefits to the rest of the house.
-Buyers will often over-estimate what it will take to replace icked-out old carpet, which sets the stage to arm-wrestle about an allowance…just what you’re looking for.
-It is the quickest and easiest way to deal with flooring issues-no dust/fumes/drying time…you will also know for sure what condition the wood floors are in.
-The crud that blows out of HVAC vents just does not clean up, no matter what anyone tells you. Really. Trust me.
-If you are decluttering and moving furniture around, traffic patterns, stains and fading become more apparent with less to look at.
-Even if it’s in good shape, outdated colors or styles suggest to buyers that other things in the house are outdated as well…perhaps they need to look harder??
-In New York State, it’s allowed as a cost of selling the home, taken as a deduction against the profit when the house sells.
An 11 x 15 room will need about 20 square yards of carpet, even at a padded/measured/installed reasonable to generous price of $35.00 a yard, it’s less than $750.00 ..one fifth…of one percent…of the price of a $400K house. What part of that does not sound like a great idea??
February 26th, 2011
Fine for everything from toothpaste and cars, electronics, vacation destinations and upscale frozen food. Remember Carol Merrill from Let’s Make A Deal? Lawn mowers never looked better.
Your listing? Snort…giggle…blush…awkward silence…umm, not so much.
Generally, any extreme or over-personalized home décor gets panned by potential buyers, and it distracts buyers from seeing the space.
TV shows tackle the usual scenarios: exuberant color schemes, too much stuff, and funky or outdated themes; but how do you deal sellers’ décor that should require ID, or a parent or guardian?
Or a den that looks like a campaign headquarters? Homes whose cup doth runneth over with religious symbols/icons?
-Don’t over-think it, or get pulled into the emotional aspect
-Ask ‘Could/would/does ______ get in the way of selling this house?’ This desensitizes, and keeps it a business discussion
-Your official* line is anything that makes you think of anything besides buying and living in this house needs to be packed away
-*Corollary: Real Estate is hyper-local. It would be foolish to deny there are accepted differences in different markets
-Start with best-case suggestions. You may have to pick your battles, but you’re on the record, and can always re-visit
-Addressing all concerns with seller clearly and early on, is both kind and efficient Bringing things up after house has been on the market for 6 months is a bad fallback
-If the seller or agent is unsure or uncomfortable with any of this, PLEASE start the conversation with a Professional Stager first
(Good) Professional Stagers work with agents to create solutions that meet the clients needs and expectations, and support the agents’ marketing and pricing strategy. Because they believe in honoring the clients and their possessions, it is always done within a respectful relationship.
NEXT: Sniff, sniff-how many cats did you say you have??