FAQs is an on-going series that answers the questions I hear most often. USUALLY in 4oo words or less, but this is really a two-fer, so loosening up on that part. Last post asked why buyers don’t use their imaginations- got me a lot of feedback with my pals on Active Rain, and it’s a great segue to this next question.
That buyers should be able to use their imagination when looking at a unremarkable, or unprepared property is a lose-lose supposition. My first point was that sellers lose out on 95% of their market out of the gate; but let’s talk about the buyers’s perspective here.
Buying and selling a home is not a simple transaction. You are not trading a standardized commodity, there are all sorts of emotional elements-(carbon-based obstacles, in you will!)- that will factor into how it will eventually all end up.
Staging a property helps to remove removes obstacles in the path between FOR SALE and SOLD. Most ballyhooed are the external (shabby, clutter, bad smells, etc) but this Westchester County Home Stager’s specialty is recognizing, understanding and addressing those inner (yes, carbon-based!) obstacles.
Most people believe they ‘should’ be able to see beyond what is in front of them; the reality that 95% of them can’t creates obstacles that translate into inaction, or regrettable decisions and bad feelings about it all: “Why can’t I…I should be able to…Everyone else can…” thinking is NOT productive.
Buyer’s Consults are an antidote to an un-staged, outdated or otherwise un-inspiring home. Years of very busy retail developed my ability to walk a space with a client, while assessing their needs, and weighing it against the confines of the space.
Buyer’s Consults-like Remote Consults-are not for everyone, but best framed as an exploration. When things have gone as far as they can, and buyers are stuck, we walk through, play with some ideas and ask a lot of ‘what ifs’. Casual, fluid, and conceptual, we’re not picking paint colors, and I’m not selling the property, just sharing information and ideas, so buyers ’see’ where they are, and can make their own best decisions.
Where (specifically) the TV goes, what size dining room table will fit, how to lay out the LR or add light to a dark room are typical topics, and, at about an hour, it stays light, fun and helpful. But it’s a process, and often, eliminating options becomes decision-making’s wing-man.
Last year I met with a professional couple with no time and active young children. They were earnestly trying to make a decision between 3 options: an almost-new, move-in ready house they were not emotionally drawn to, and much older house that was oozing charm and character, but needed some big changes-updates and maintenance; or staying in, and expanding/updating their current house that they loved but were outgrowing.
Money vs. hassle vs. having a space they were drawn to and comforted by-they were going round and round in the hamster wheel. Spending time they did not have , and feeling increasingly lousy about the whole thing.
While I don’t think they’ve committed to updating their current house yet, our time together led them to eliminate both the other houses. For what they wanted their home to mean, and to feel like, they decided convenience alone of the new house was not enough. The basement of the older house took that one off the table: low ceilings, and lots of smaller rooms whose stone walls were structural elements-were not possible to re-work it into a non-scary, more open space for the kids to play in.
Bottom line-Home Staging is about removing obstacles, helping people make good plans and wise decisions, so they can get on with their life. If you are stuck: your listing is not moving, or you can’t find what you are looking for-call me today and start the conversation-together, we’ll get you un-stuck. REALLY>
Let’s Get Your House SOLD! Staging For The Average Homeowner
Remember 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? I get a similar reaction when I speak with sellers about how to prepare their property for sale: they want to see someone else make the first move.
“Thanks” to HGTV, most have their own idea of what Staging is, and kind-of how it might work, but it’s still perceived as dicey territory, or of questionable value.
Sellers will protest, their house is fine, they want to see some buyer interest first. Well,sorry, but if that was working for you, chances are you wouldn’t be reading this.
Agents-who are always being accosted to buy things, or sign up for the newest and latest-are understandably wary…they have invested much in establishing a good relationship with the seller,they don’t want anyone mucking things up. They are also very busy. Your agent might not have the time, or the eye to discern what needs to be done…or they might simply not know how to bring it up.
The Refreshed Home suggests considering Staging the proverbial third leg of a stool that supports getting a house sold quickly. It supports the seller who is genuinely willing and ready to do get their house sold, and the agent who prices and markets the property diligently.
Even with recent hopeful signs of recovery, buyers still have a lot of choices…and for many, one of those choices can be continuing to wait.
Staging-or preparing your property for the market is a business decision. It’s a commitment made by people who really want to sell-to attract the attention of, and engage serious buyers.
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 my next interactive workshop at the Mamaroneck Public Library on Monday evening, July 9th at 6:30.
We’ll discuss this mysterious entity known as Staging, look at lots of before and after pictures, 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!
In the early 1970s a study was conducted ranking the different levels of stress 43 different life events produced, and if the amount, and type of stress induced illness. Back then, a change of living conditions, or change of residence fell in the middle, somewhere between a loss of job and changes in social structure, like school and families.
While I’d bet the ranking would be different today, the events causing stress are the same. Even under the best of circumstances, moving is burdensome. Besides the physical task, there are endless details, as well as emotional and financial issues to consider.
But factor in having lived in a house for decades-there are the new realities of the real estate market, as well a myriad of tax laws and other rules about selling, and structuring any gains. And ohyes family and friends are not always local, able or available to help. In other words, cleaning out the garage is the least of your troubles.
Well, you know the punchline to the old joke, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ It’s the same with downsizing-’One bite at a time’. There’s a lot to know about these different elements; missed opportunities or wrong guesses could cost you, while adding needless stress or family drama.
On Tuesday June 5th, I will be participating in a panel presentation touching on these elements, and would love you to join us. Suitable for anyone contemplating a move, or for those who love, and wants to support someone on the verge of such a change, Easing Transitions: Simplifying Your Next Move will be presented at Atria Briarcliff Manor from 6:30-7:30.
In that hour you’ll meet:
Colin Sandler LCSW and owner of Medicaid Solutions will discuss navigating paperwork, obtaining services, and financing of long-term care needs
Barbara Bodnar SRES, LCSW is an Associate Broker with Coldwell Banker and will speak on practical considerations of selling in today’s market
And MOI-owner of The Refreshed Home, who will explain all the ways this mysterious entity known as “Staging” can work for you by sharing stories, and lots of Before and After photos.
The presentation is free, and open to the public, and refreshments will be served, but seating is limited (and I reallymean that, it’s not just a line). Atria Briarcliff Manor is located at 1025 Pleasantville Road, in Briarcliff, please RSVP to Robin Goldberg 914.923.4400 ext 233, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving is about more than the stuff, it’s about the people, and the process. Ours is a complicated world, having smart and kind people in your corner counts for a lot. Hope to see you there!
A well-chosen word will engage your audience, and allow you to communicate more effectively, and economically. This is an exciting prospect, so every week I pick, and ruminate about a normal, average word that I think is under-appreciated, this week’s word is BELIEF.
BELIEF is an umbrella word: it encompasses opinions, thoughts, hopes, fears, wishes and superstitions. A belief can come from experience, gossip, tradition, information or instinct.
It’s a conviction, an acceptance, a certainty. A belief can be inferred from another’s’ actions, or passed down from another generation. In polite conversation, it’s a way to differentiate another’s opinion from fact.
But at the end of the day, it’s a personal, internal entity that guides external actions.
Some realities may drive a belief, a belief is not necessarily tied to a result, or a reality, in many cases they just exist: Because the NY Giants won the last two Super Bowl matchups with the NE Patriots, one might be led to BELIEVE that Eli Manning is the best QB in football today. Unless one was from Boston, that is. Or Green Bay. Similarly, BELIEVING the health benefits of eating dark chocolate puts it on par with having a salad will not make it so, no matter how fervently I might believe it can.
Respecting the right to an individual’s belief system is part of MY belief system; but in business, remember: I am typically called into a job because someone’s belief is not working out so well: No, buyers will not be impressed by your vintage red flocked wallpaper…maybe lime green is the color to go for in PILLOWS, not the sofa….yes, spend the money to get a LICENSED electrician to install that new lighting….
What if I found out that their mom-who recently passed away-always loved red flocked wallpaper. Or perhaps they didn’t think lime green in pillows would add enough pop. Maybe their son’s friend is ‘handy’, and they don’t know the law, or how to say no?
Knowing, and understanding the ‘whys’ behind these beliefs allows you to understand the their actions, the first step to helping clients find solutions that will work.
FIRST, DO NO HARM: When It’s Personal, And A Stager Isn’t The Answer
Being able to create a pleasing aesthetic is mistakenly thought to be the most vital of tools a Stager can possess. But as a physician evaluates and determines the best treatment option for each patient, an effective Stager does the same: looks at the big picture, and uses their knowledge and experience to evaluate, set a strategy, and even say NO when appropriate.
Home Staging is anything you can do to better it’s standing in the market, so it will sell quickly, for the best price. Sure, everyone wants a property that looks great-and I love to be the person to do just that-BUT if there are holes in the roof, a basement full of mold, or other signs of neglect show there are bigger problems to deal with, and that’s an obvious NO.
Slightly less obvious NOs: When the goals, time required, costs or the sellers expectations do not match. A owner ambiguous about selling, or unrealistic about the market. Agents who are removed and not encouraging about the process. Sellers who really want to get their decorating ya-yas out. Agents who are are “verybusy”, and have a stable of old, old listings with bad listing photos.
The commitment to first doing no harm requires taking a long and broad view of all the circumstances. Here are two unexpected NOs I have come across, and how I handle them.
When there is a very serious, or terminal illness within the household
The idea of focusing on getting a property ready for sale at this time can be a welcome diversion. Sometimes it’s seen as motivation toward getting better, sometimes a coping mechanism, and others, it’s a race against time.
On paper, honorable intentions all; but all too soon the reality of the situation become paramount. Added stress, expense, and pressure to make decisions is not needed. I have lived this story before, with my own family, and with clients. Buyers can pick up vibes from a house. Incomplete, or haphazard projects tell people more than you may want them to know. So in this case, instead of no, we talk of first things first, postpone til it’s a better time, and I keep in touch.
If there is a messy divorce going on in within the household
If it is civil-to-amicable, and we all feel we can focus on the task at hand, then YES, we can get some things done-but communication is key. But in my experience, rarely does a badly divorcing couple want to wrangle with properly preparing a house for sale. More realistically they want to wrangle with each other, and I’d just be another way to (inadvertently) help them do that-so I’m out.
The Refreshed Home believes in keeps the focus on what CAN be done, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. So I’ve coached REALTORS, using their pre-listing photos or video- we frame out what to say, and what to do. This way the message gets through, but there’s not another person causing distractions, or mucking things up.
TOMORROW: Toile-Fest, and “Retro” bathrooms!
The Refreshed Home~Because Experience Matters, and Kindness Counts
Do The Best You Can: “Secrets” To Get Your Vacant Property NOTICED!
I get a lot of calls from owners of vacant properties, and agents representing them. (Presumed) cost is usually the main reason they are vacant. First I assure them that preparing a property for sale doesn’t always mean bringing a truckload of furniture in.
My position is that there is always something that can be done to better a property. Success is when you can do the best with what you have. It starts with the right attitude; and ideas coalesce after a realistic assessment of abilities, budget and expectations.
While it’s absolutely true that if nothing changes, nothing changes; I see so many shoot themselves in the ….ummm… listing by their assumptions.
I’ve said it before, and will say it again: Preparing a property is not a silver bullet. Nothing else will matter if a property is unrealistically priced, not maintained, badly or ineffectively marketed, or isn’t made readily available to be shown.
Our market does not reward obvious DIY projects, or work done on the cheap. BUT-it does appreciate your genuinely doing the best you can do, with a commensurate price. Happily, there are numerous, thoughtful things that will make a difference.
In order of importance, my favorite ways to inexpensively, effectively elevate a vacant space:
All surfaces clean and in good repair: walls, floor, windows. Vacuum, dust. Wash windows. Run some vinegar and baking soda down drains, through clothes and dish washer cycles for a sweeter smell.
Water in toilets that are not being flushed can evaporate, leaving nasty hard water deposits. Keep toilet bowl swisher/cleaner at the ready.
Fresh color on the walls/ceilings. Color will fill a room really well if there is no money for furniture or art. Also it adds presence and perspective to listing photos.
Take a look at some of the light fixtures. You can get a lot of snazziness for less than $50.00…A 40′s gray bathroom becomes ‘retro’ ; a cool new entry fixture gives buyers something to look at, and a reason to linger.
Consider hanging ready-made window treatments. I know this is WAY counter-intuitive, but take a look at some other listing photos. Windows are one of the hardest things to figure out what to do with. Simple, stationary panels in a standard size framing a window at around $100.00 per window total (rods, hardware and panels) calls attention to the window, the view, adds big value for most buyers, and puts your listing head and shoulders above the rest.
TOMORROW: Making More, Out Of Less: Best Inexpensive Fixes For An Occupied Property
It’s an axiom we’ve all heard countless times, “less is more.” Oft-credited to mid-century modern architect Ludwig Mies van de Rohe, history in fact points to 16th century painter and poet Andrea del Sarto as first to have uttered the phrase (just an interesting factoid).
Anyway, while we can all pretty much agree it’s universally applicable regarding perfume/cologne application, and cranky children on airplanes, it’s a wide open field that’s subject to personal taste on a whole lot of other things.
Except, I might argue-in houses that are for sale. I know, I know, blasphemer! Going against the Mothership (HGTV). And yes, I call myself a Stager (well, sometimes I do…) Just let me pull out my soapbox and explain why it’s true: sometimes, less is…well, just less.
Recent months have shown, both in anecdotal stories and in sales figures that buyers are coming out of the root cellars. They are taking off the tin-foil hats, and they are talking about, looking at, and buying houses. And now that buyers know it’s OK to feel good, they are trending to also wanting nice. Warm. Personality or character. Heart. Life. Energy.
Often our homes are a reflection of what is going on in our life. I can usually tell an owners’ story just by looking at listing photos. And it’s not by special Stager-powers, either-just plain observation.
I think we have heard ‘de-clutter, de-personalize’ for too long. A denuded house is not a prepared house. White walls, little or no decoration, bare windows, dim lighting, a brown lawn, are all sad and uninspiring. It looks like the owner has given up.
Buyers could infer there is a real ‘need’ to sell -i.e. illness, a death, or other hardship in the sellers’ life, inviting low-ball offers. They could also perceive a take-it-or-leave it attitude. And just for the record, picture-perfect, obsessively fuss-ed with, or overly orchestrated spaces can feel intimidating, or fake and brittle.
None of this is appealing to people who are tired of waiting to be happy. Bottom line, buyers might not want to see all your stuff, but they do want to see some stuff. They don’t want to know your story, they want to see what their story could be.
Don’t discount the warm-and-fuzzy side: knowing you cared enough to do their best to make the house about their dreams counts. Don’t believe it? Ask your agent about feedback from showings of under-prepared homes.
Happily, there are lots of easy and reasonable ways you can make the best of your property, whether it’s vacant, or occupied.
In most of my adult life, buying a home had been a positive experience, a step up, a move forward, a choice to feel happy about. Even down-sizing was about lifting a burden of too much house, and freeing up time and funds.
Sellers and REALTORS-you are in a position to fulfill a buyers’ dream. IMO this is a time of great opportunity, and NOW is the time to be in front of this trend. Turn off HGTV, put your misgivings aside, and have this conversation today. Buyers want to be happy, have the house that buyers want.
10 Ways Preparing A Property For Sale Is A Lot Like Yoga
Regular readers will know I started an absolute beginner yoga class in November. Training my body to move in certain, specific ways has been more of a challenge that I thought it would be, but it’s been paying dividends in ways I could not have imagined.
Had been contemplating it for a while, but it was an act of faith I was finally ready for. And by ‘act of faith’ I mean because I was finally really looking to change things up, the analytical brain took a back seat and the sensing, intuitive heart takes over.
Have noticed many of my thoughts as a novice mirror those of people I meet and speak with about preparing their property for sale. Some see its apparent simplicity and equate it with little worth. But even if they-sellers and agents/brokers alike-vaguely sense it could be a good thing, but will derail and frustrate themselves by struggling with what (they think) it takes to get there.
Here are 10 ways I’ve found yoga to be identical in how the refreshed home approaches preparing properties for sale:
You start with an open mind and a willing attitude.
The focus is on what you CAN do…not what you can’t do.
There is trust and respect: You trust the instructor to guide you to the best standard, the instructor respects your limits.
There is no judgement.
You work with what you have, and do the best you can.
It can take you out of your comfort zone.
You use props to help get the best possible results.
There is a commitment to the process, and to doing the best you can.
It can be uncomfortable.
It can free you up from stupid stuff, and you will literally breathe easier.
Preparing a property is a business decision, and a life decision. You are choosing to plan, and make decisions, so you can get on with your life. If your space, stuff, or circumstances are dragging you down, we should talk about how to change that.
Just call, and start the conversation. It’s really that easy.
Over the summer I got a call from someone who found me online from my blogging here, and on ActiveRain. Her empty condo had been languishing on the market, a year with little traffic and no offers, how would this thing called Staging work for her?
We spoke, and agreed to meet and see the space. Unusual space: old hotel converted into condos in recent years. New kitchen/baths, newish neutral carpet. Nice space, good light, but not a standard or expected floor plan. It had also been recently painted linen white, top to bottom.
Paint a color, and bring furniture in to demonstrate how this unusual space could be used was my recommendation.
Getting furniture was not an unexpected suggestion, but PAINT??? That made no sense, it was just painted!
I was ‘stubborn’ and insisted, and in the end we ‘negotiated’ getting the open kitchen/LR/Dining area and Master BR painted.
Used BM Affinity #AF-90, Harmony. It’s a warmer pinky-beige that tonally agreed with the carpet, as well as the background colors of the counter top.
After comparing pricing… and level of hassle, my client actually bought it furniture she wouldn’t mind owning, but wouldn’t mind selling to the new owner, either. I did the floor plan, chose the pieces; we went shopping and she got my trade discount. Here are the new pics.
I knew the house got an AO shortly after in went on the market, but was waiting on my client to be in touch next.
Got this testimonial for my site update along with the good news by email this morning:
The Refreshed Home and Marie Graham helped me sell my condo in 3 weeks. It had been on the market for a year with little activity. Three weeks after it was fully staged I had an accepted offer and we closed 6 weeks later.
Marie was easy and cheerful to work with. She was able to guide me with paint colors, selection, proportion and layout of furniture for a small challenging space.
Her ability to pull several elements of a room together and be thoughtful about my budget was invaluable.
Thank you so much for your creativity and excellent service Marie!
~ Robin O.
WOO-HOO! How neat is that, to be able to go into the holiday season with this behind you, and start the new year fresh??
This is what I do, help properties stand out and get sold. If you have a listless listing, let’s talk soon. Life is too short to just be waiting around for things to happen!
De-clutter, De-personalize, (Yada, Yada, Yada): Five OTHER Good Reasons To Bring In A Professional Stager
We’ve seen B&A’s, and videos of properties properly prepared for sale…but buying/selling/staging is a largely visual entity, media can’t really touch on the intrinsic value, or intangible services that consulting with a professional Stager brings.
While it might not make for good TV, here are the first two of five other good reasons why it makes sense to bring a professional Stager into your house buying or selling experience:
1. Consults with a professional Stager can bring perspective to pricing
While the refreshed home never, ever weighs in, or offers input about suitable pricing on a property, physical condition and general appeal do factor into what it will list, and sell for. So YES, comps and agents’ pricing strategy is part of the conversation, to better understand the market, and design the best solution for this property.
Stagers help sellers see their property-and others’ properties-through the eyes of buyers. While a hoped-for result is getting the best possible price for a property, sometimes the answer is that the sellers just cannot do a single thing. At this point consulting with a professional Stager can be the gut-check that supports the reality of an as-is listing price.
2. Professional Stagers provide service to Brokers, Owners and Agents, too.
YES, this professional Stager subscribes to the teach-a-man-to-fish way of thinking, and interested RE professionals are just as much part of my market as the buying and selling public is.
Knowing what I know does not make me an inherently better person, it just makes me good at what I do. Without sounding all prissy-pants about it, sharing the right verbiage with interested RE professionals so they can confidently make it part of their conversations, and integrate it into their own business makes us all winners.
Brokers who introduce me to their agents have one less thing to deal with, and they elevate their ‘brand. Newer agents can learn hands-on, in-house skills, and experienced agents who might already be doing this on their own will be surprised at the time they have freed up, once they know they have a trusted professional they can depend on. Sure, I love to get “the” job, but when I can help make something meaningful happen for a RE professional, I usually get “the client”.
Since more and more people need to stay in their house until it closes, creating a pleasing visual is the the easy part. Starting the conversation with a professional Stager who has in-house, and hands-on experience in managing the people, the process and the expectations could be the best phone call any agent or seller could make. So call already!!
Welcome to the inaugural post of Word Of The Week !
Every Saturday I’ll be posting a Word Of The Week: a word that is floating my boat that particular week. Could come from any number of sources, but something meaningful and appropriate for what is going on.
This weeks’ word is ANTICIPATION. And no, you don’t hear Carly Simon singing in the background.
In the last few weeks have been getting this very powerful, recurring vibe…and image.
Buyers and sellers are tired of being unhappy, tired of waiting. They want to be happy, and get on with their lives.
Like Olympic athletes-shoulder to shoulder, tightly coiled, waiting for that CRACK! of the starters’ pistol. They are quivering, straining not to jump too early. But they ARE ready. And they WILL be jumping.
Via the conversations, the new inquiries, the attitudes, the buzz in stores-it’s that frozen moment of time, when you know you are on the threshold of something happening, a nano-second away from action. Determination mixed with nervous excitement, it’selectric, and palatable.
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 buyfurniture.
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.
Beat The Odds: Five Easy Tips For A Better-Showing House This Fall
Many people think the housing market shuts down Thanksgiving til December 31st.
The reality of school schedules, and the pressures of these falls holidays are the most common reasons behind the mindset. While activity levels might have a steep drop off, I do not belive people stop thinking about it, or that buyers stop looking, either. In our market, different cultures abound: not everyone has kids, or observes the Hallmark holidays.
There are several advantages to being ready to show in the fall. There are not as many properties on the market, so motivated sellers who have their house on the market-clean and ready to show will have the full attention of agents, and motivated buyers. I like the sound of that, don’t you?
Mortgage rates are still low, and the atmosphere is a little less super-charged. Again, this could bode well on many levels. But you have to be ready.
Staging should never be considered a silver bullet. There are too many things beyond a stagers’ control that would factor into getting your house sold (pricing, marketing, pricing, qualifying buyers, pricing, maintaining a showable house), but your house being ready counts for a lot.
While we still have some nice days in front of us, here are five quick, simple, easy and inexpensive things you can do now so your house will show well this fall:
1. Buy a simple, classic new welcome mat. Nothing cute, or overly personal. WELCOME works fine. Also-paint the front door. In this area, deep barn red is very popular. I may be prejudiced (I love purple) but I think it goes great in this photo-fresh and contemporary. ALWAYS work with what goes with the house. Look around your neighborhood, and when in doubt go classic.
2. New bulbs in fixtures. Especially outdoor. Up the wattage, make sure they are new, of matching wattage, and of the same type of light -i.e. just because you have them in the house, don’t have a mix of soft white and bright white.
3. Add seasonal color. Even the most amazing bunch of impatience is oddly inappropriate after Labor Day. Clear them out-brightly colored mums and ornamental cabbage is the way to go.
4. Keep yard maintained. Just because prime growing season is over, don’t slack off. Keep walkway clear, lawn mowed, beds edged and leaves raked. Have the house with the lush, emerald green lawn showing.
5. Remove all the detrius of summer: Cobwebs, sticks on the roof, things growing out of gutters. Make sure gutters are attached to roof securely, and clear.
Fall can turn into winter quickly in this area. Clogged, and badly attached gutters become heavy with wet leaves, then frozen solid when the temperature drops. “BEST” case they can pull away from the house, “WORST” case they can lead to the formation of ice dams, and cause internal leaks/damage. Either way, you do not want to mess with this in November.
TOMORROW: The other 5 things you can do…next weekend!
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!
If your space, or your stuff isn’t working out the way you want, let the refreshed home help get you going in the right direction.
*Not sure what to do on your bare windows?
*Walls covered with sample paint dots or paper squares?
*Not sure where- or how to place your art in a new space?
*Have family moving in-or out-need to re-think, re-calibrate?
*Ready for a change, just don’t know where to start?
No matter if you are looking to down-size or upgrade; if you are staying or selling; need help in knowing how to buy a sofa, where to place it in the room, or just update what you’ve got- the refreshed home has got you covered.
Here’s how it works:
1. Gather relevant info: Send me link to your current listing, take digital photos of what you don’t like-or are considering, scan floor plans or blueprints, that sort of thing.
Detail is important, but so is context, so be sure to include shots of the whole space, even adjacent spaces/issues. Up to 3 links can be considered.
2. Send it to me:email@example.comInclude your phone contact info, along with a brief synopsis of your situation, use code THR53.
3. I will contact you: Your preference, one-to-one by appointment on the phone, or an emailed report-we’ll walk through some solutions together
Life is too short not to have a space that makes you happy!
Free 15 Minute Personal Online Consult available for a limited time only, so don’t delay-start the conversation now!
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!
The DIfference Between Staging, and Preparing A House For Sale
Am very big on quotes lately, another one of my favorites is from Mark Twain:
“The difference between the right word, and the almost right word is the difference between lightning, and a lightning bug.”
In reality, there is no difference between Staging, and preparing a house for sale. Perception is another story.
Bless those folks at HGTV. YES they have elevated our collective recognition of the “S” word. YES most of us know the ‘de-clutter, de-personalize’ mantra.
Yet for many “Staging” is on par with Olympic Curling…we are fascinated! We watch as we try to figure it out, but we can’t…so we just watch some more.
Staging, and preparing a house for sale both look at what needs to be done, what can be done to find and demonstrate value for buyers.
Whether you say you are Staging, or preparing a house for sale, you are putting the property’s best foot forward, so that you can sell it in the shortest time, at the best price, so you can get on with your life.
Staging, and preparing your house for sale are not just about pretty visuals. Done properly, Staging-or preparing a house for sale first asks and understands more about the local market, and the agents pricing and marketing strategy. Seller needs, goals and expectations are given equal consideration.
One other thing Staging and preparing a house for sale have in common: each property, seller and agent combine to have their own unique solution.
No matter what you want to call it, look to your results. Have a property that needs to be sold? Start the conversation, and get on with your life.
Welcome back to another edition of the refreshed home’s own bit of fun, POP QUIZ!!
Keep track of your own score, and scroll down for answers-but no peeking!! And stay on your toes, you’ll never know when the next one will show up.
Multiple Choice-Select all that apply.
1. If you Stage your house-that is, properly prepare your house for sale-who will be among the beneficiaries?
____Seller ____Buyer ____Agents ___ Neighbors ___ The local pizzeria ___ RE Industry as a whole ___Local and National Economies
2. I recommend a pre-sale inspection to Sellers because:
___I have a good friend who does house inspections
___It’s a reality check for both work to do and determining list price
___It prevents surprises that the buyer’s inspector could find
___It makes sellers more confident about all their other decisions
3. Which, if any, of the following would you NOT ever find in a Staging Report from the refreshed home?
___ Recommendations for Paint Colors ___ Recommendations for local pizzeria ___Referral for professional services ___Discussion of Exterior ___Floor plans ___Shopping list
4. Which of these properties are NOT good candidates for Staging?
___Cooperatives ___ Rental properties ____ Professional offices ___Model trophy houses ___ The local pizzeria ___REOS ___ short sale/pre-foreclosure ___Decks and patios
5. What element(s) help make a staging project successful?
___A big bank balance ___A lot of time ___Friends and family who can help ___Friends and families with opinions ___Having an open mind ___A good local pizzeria
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > 1. The sale of a professionally prepared property floats most everyones’ boats. Sure, Seller and Agents, but Buyer now knows how to make the best of a space, and a good price will help local comps, as well as the industry and economy as a whole.
The only loser here is the local pizzeria…instead of ordering in to keep the kitchen clean for showings, Stagesd properties gets sold quicker, so less pizza orders.
2. Mostly all of the above. Just switch the first one around a bit: a good house inspector will be your very good friend.
3. I don’t recommend pizzerias…unless it’s Nicky’s in White Plains, or Fernando’s in Armonk…or Napoli’s in Mohegan Lake… or Classic Grill in Mystic, CT.
4. If you are selling ANYTHING: a product, a service-whatever you can do to better the visual image in the market is a good thing.
I consider preparing outside space double-bonus, because while it’s not considered in MLS square footage, the more purpose you can demonstrate, the more value you create.
In commercial and professional properties, it’s a great platform to showcase and reinforce your brand. Everything in proportion, of course, but bottom line, attractive and updated spaces attract more attention.
SIGH Even Nickys/Fernandos/Napolis/Classic Grille.
5. Again, all of the above, but not in the order you might expect.
Remember, Staging a property is not just about creating a snazzy visual. Successful projects create a solution that matches up with the market, the needs/goals/expectations of the owner, and the pricing strategy.
Friends and family with opinions is a good start, it shows they care. Friends and family who can help is better, but all that helping works up an appetite…so a good pizzeria is very handy indeed!
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!
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.