Styled, Staged & Sold
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Shades of gray, quartz finishes, and energy efficiency are all growing in popularity in kitchens and baths this year, according to a National Kitchen & Bath Association survey of 2013 design trends.
NKBA reports that home owners this year are spending, on average, $47,308 on making over their kitchens, and $18,538 in bathrooms.
Here are the top 10 trends emerging from this year’s report for kitchens and bathrooms:
1. Gray color schemes
2. Quartz finishes for counter surfaces
3. Transitional styles — a blend of traditional and contemporary
4. White painted cabinetry in the kitchen
5. Glass blacksplashes
6. LED lighting
7. Touch-activated faucets
8. Satin-nickel finishes in kitchens
9. Ceramic or porcelain tile flooring
10. Undermount sinks in bathrooms
Calling all real estate and staging professionals: I’m looking for your best photos showing how you staged a front porch or deck of a home! Some of your photos may be used in an upcoming issue of REALTOR(R) Magazine or online (credited to you of course!). Please e-mail your outdoor staging photos to Melissa Tracey at email@example.com. Please include your name, company, and what you did to spruce up the front porch or deck to turn it into a selling point to potential buyers.
By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Home Styling
Fifteen seconds. That’s how long a home for sale has to make a good first impression. And, that’s if you can get today’s sophisticated buyers off their mobile device and to the front door. More than 90 percent of home buyers search for a home online, making it more important than ever for a home’s listing photos alone to capture buyer interest.
Home owners who have finally made a decision to sell their home may not be thinking about updating and remodeling. But staging — coupled with remodeling — are important considerations in a home selling strategy and an investment in getting top dollar for a home.
Even modest updates preserve the equity a family has built in their home. Ultimately, the cost to update something in their home before it goes on the market will be less than the price reduction buyers will expect as compensation for out-of-date rooms.
Older homes, in particular, may require improvements in key rooms such as kitchens or baths to meet today’s buyer demand for a move-in ready home.
We transformed this bathroom …
We painted the walls and vanity and also added a new light fixture and mirror. Updated accessories complete the new, more modern design.
Here are some additional staging and remodeling tips home owners may want to consider to meet buyer’s high demand for move-in condition homes.
- Make necessary repairs and complete unfinished projects.
- Replace and refresh outdated accessories, fixtures, and furnishings.
- Freshen up your color palette with neutral colors.
- Declutter and open up the space.
- Expose or add hardwood floors.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal and interior decorator and accredited home stager with PJ & Co. Home Styling LLC. PJ & Company Home Styling, LLC , offers decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Who doesn’t love a deal? I loved this article at Realty Times, which recently revealed the best time of year to buy certain household items in order to score the biggest bargains, based on research from AARP and LifeHacker.
January: Furniture, new flooring, and bedding and linens
February: Air conditioners and older model televisions that will soon be moving out for newer models
March: Gardening tools, china, and flatware
April: Vacuum cleaners
May: Barbecue equipment, patio furniture, and home office furniture
July: Kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators and ranges
August: Linens and storage containers
September: Grills and lawn mowers
October: Appliances and clearance patio furniture and outdoor items
November: Electronics, appliances, and tools
December: Televisions, electronics, and small appliances like toasters and blenders
By Ryan West, First Texan Realty
Smartphones have become a standard tool for a majority of people. When presenting a home to a potential customer, we must now consider an extra home presentation factor: signal strength.
According to the EPA, “most homes built before 1960 contain heavily leaded paint”. While lead paint was banned in 1977, home owners are encouraged to not remove any lead paint that is in good condition. Lead paint is known to cause electromagnetic interference that will affect signal strength. Walk through different rooms and see if you experience any dramatic loss of signal. If you suspect lead paint may be causing an issue, I suggest hiring a professional to remove it.
If you notice a decrease in cellular signal strength when you enter a home, the materials used in the construction of the home may be the culprits. Older homes tend to have more of an issue with affecting cellular signals. Metal bolts, pipes, tools, and bars can contribute to a loss in cellular signal. While there is not much we can do when presenting a home with this issue, consider either purchasing a signal strength booster or suggesting such a device if the customer addresses the issue.
If you are staging a home and have included: microwaves, cordless phones, baby monitors, bluetooth devices, etc., be aware that these devices can affect signal strength and could possibly deter a customer. Many of these devices operate on a similar wave frequency. Having a large number will interfere with signal strength and Wi-Fi networks.
These are just a few items that may interfere with signal strength. With the popularity and access to smart phones, you may want to consider the signal strength more when presenting a home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ryan West writes about real estate and modern home presentation on behalf of First Texan Realty.
By Ross Donald, LightingSale.com
If you are getting ready to stage your home for selling you’re probably already thinking of ways to maximize the value of your home and make it as appealing as possible to your potential buyers. Making effective use of light fixtures and lighting schemes will help you reach that goal.
The easiest way to use light in your home is to take advantage of natural sunlight. Rooms with big windows and a lot of sun exposure lend themselves to this easiest of all.
The case may be, however, that not every room in your home is easily illuminated with sunlight. If this is the case, then open windows and doors fully to allow sunlight to reach greater depth in your home.
Carefully placed mirrors also can help in redirecting sunlight throughout the home.
When staging your home you want to highlight the best features of your home and your décor while simultaneously downplaying the negative.
Using a targeted lighting scheme is a perfect way to highlight your favorite décor accents. Track lighting is ideal for this task as they can easily be directed to focus their light on a particular part of your room.
If your budget allows for it, consider updating the lighting designs in some of your house’s rooms, such as in your kitchen.
Recessed lighting installed under-cabinet is a popular trend in contemporary kitchen design. The installation is fairly simple and gives a sleek and professional look to your kitchen.
In your living room and dining room consider changing out an old hanging lamp and replacing it with an elegant looking chandelier. Remember to choose one that helps to accent your room and doesn’t overpower it.
When preparing your home, don’t overlook the simple advantages that light can bring to your home. Accent the positive with lights and downplay the negative by taking the focus away from it. Show off what made you fall in love with your home and you’ll hopefully help a buyer find that same attachment.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
A favorite real estate tip: When prepping a home for a showing, whip up some chocolate chip cookies to fill the home with that rich, inviting, tasty smell. Who wouldn’t want to sit back and stay awhile?
Well, you may want to put down the mixing bowl and turn off the oven. Research now says that chocolate chip cookies are one of the worst scents to have in a real estate open house.Researchers used a sample size of 402 people in a home decor store in Switzerland to find out which scents were the most pleasing to customers. The researchers say the findings could provide some insights into the most pleasing smells during open houses too.
One of the author’s of the study, Eric Spangenberg, dean of the college of business at Washington State University, recently told The Wall Street Journal that baked goods are a complex scent that can distract potential home buyers, even if the scent is pleasant. Buyers will subconsciously devote time to trying to figure out the scent, instead of devoting the time to determining if this is a place they really want to live. (Or maybe it’s really that they devote time and energy to finding where in the world you stashed all those cookies!)
Other distracting complex smells that researchers also suggest could distract customers: Potpourri, gourmet foods, and baked goods.
So if you want an inviting smell to fill a home for your open house, what home scents should you reach for? Simple scents — like pine, lemon, cedar, and vanilla — all which can be easier for buyers to process and less distracting, Spangenberg says.
For example, Chris McDonnell, a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties in Vail, Colo., told The Wall Street Journal he’ll prep a home for an open house by cutting fresh pine branches or picking fresh lavender and mint from his herb garden — scents that mimic the outdoor lifestyle he’s also trying to sell.
By Charlene Storozuk, Dezigner Digz
Spring is in the air in some parts of Canada and the U.S., although it hasn’t quite reached my little corner of the world yet. This is the time of year when thoughts turn to spring cleaning; whether or not you’re selling your home. Of course, if you are listing anytime soon, you’ll want to be even more meticulous.
The busy spring market will be upon us before you know it, so here are some tips for getting the exterior of your home shipshape:
1. Remove glass from light fixtures and take out any little critters that may have found a home over the winter. Be sure to use glass cleaner on the panes before replacing them in your fixtures.
2. Clean your mailbox. If it hasn’t weathered well over the winter, it’s probably time to replace it.
3. Clean and polish, if necessary, your front door’s hardware. Replace it as well if necessary.
4. Check your house numbers. Are they still in good shape and visible from the street? If not, replace them.
5. Wash down your front door and garage door. If you find that the previous summer’s sun has faded the paint, consider repainting. (Your garage door should be painted a color that blends in with the brick or vinyl siding on your home.) Before painting, check with the paint manufacturer to see what the optimal outdoor temperature should be. You don’t want to paint when it’s still too cold outside.
6. Wash the windows. If this isn’t your strong suit, hire a professional.
7. Hose down the porch and driveway to remove any excess salt left over from de-icing.
8. Sweep the porch, driveway and patio to get rid of any rogue leaves etc. left over from the fall.
9. Check your porch, driveway, and patio for any cracking or lifting of patio stones that may have taken place during a deep freeze.
10. Check your roof to make sure no shingles are missing or were damaged during the winter.
11. Remove debris from your gutters and drain spouts.
12. Rake the lawn. However, before doing that it’s very important to check with your local garden center first to be sure it’s not too early. If raked too soon before the ground thoroughly dries, you could potentially damage your lawn.
13. Remove winter displays from your urns. For a burst of color, plant spring flowers as soon as weather permits.
14. Tidy up your gardens in preparation for planting season.
15. Organize the garage. Put away shovels, snow blowers, toboggans, and any other items that made their way into your garage over the winter.
16. If you don’t use your barbeque year round, it’s time to bring it out. If it’s a built-in unit that will be staying with the house, be sure to clean the grills and wash down the lid. If you have a cover for it, replace it if it’s worn.
17. Remove the cover from your swimming pool and clean your pool as soon as your pool service company advises that it’s OK to do so.
18. Bring out your patio furniture and set it up. Although it may be too cold to sit outside just yet, you want potential buyers to see your outdoor living space’s potential.
These are some suggestions to get your started. What else am I missing? Feel free to add to the list!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Charlene Storozuk is the owner of Dezigner Digz, a professional home staging and interior decorating company based in Burlington, Ontario. Her work is featured in the book FabJob Guide To Become A Home Stager, 2009 edition. Sheserves as regional vice-president, Canada for the Real Estate Staging Association and is a past recipient of the North American Leadership Award for her work as founder and president of the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth RESA Chapter.