Friday
October 24, 2014

Styled, Staged & Sold

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Bringing you the latest home and design trends.
Updated: 55 min 42 sec ago

3 Photos That Will Make You Want to Stage a Vacant Listing

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 02:00

By Patti Stern, Principal PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

After making a desperate $50,000 price reduction on her parent’s well-maintained home a “Today Show” viewer asked real estate expert, Barbara Corcoran, if she should remove the dated furnishings. Corcoran’s advice: Never list a home without furniture. Stage it!

Vacant homes aren’t memorable and won’t stand out to buyers particularly in online listings where the majority of buyers begin their home search.

These three different vacant properties, pictured below, are a great example of how unfurnished homes can often look the same in the listing photos and get lost in a buyer’s search. Without furnishings, buyers can’t distinguish one home from another. None of the homes stand out or make it onto their “must see” list.

Three different rooms, a master bedroom, living room and dining room, in three different vacant homes will look nearly identical to buyers online. Photo Credit: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Regardless of price point, staging vacant homes is important to initially capture buyer interest and take them from the online listing to the front door. Once there, a well-staged home will help buyers emotionally connect to the property, ultimately taking their interest to the next level with an offer.

Photo credit: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Our team staged this 1930, $2 million plus historic mansion. Our goal was to showcase the incredible architectural detail of the home — from the crown molding, wainscoting, windows and hardwood floors, to the fireplaces, and more.

“This grand home has a beautiful interior with stunning details,” says Joanne and John Hoye of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in West Hartford, Conn., the listing agents for the Hartford home. “However, most of the time buyers don’t have the vision to see what a room can look like. Larger vacant homes in particular can discourage buyers, who may think they don’t have enough pieces to furnish the home. A professional stager knows how to appropriately furnish a home, selecting the right sized pieces, colors and fabrics. Buyers see an inviting home, rather than a large vacant space, and get ideas on how they can arrange their furniture in the home. Ultimately it [staging] makes the home more saleable.”

Still need convincing or help convincing your sellers? Keep these insights in mind.

· It will sell faster. A vacant property can take up to 78 percent more time to sell than comparable furnished homes, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.

· Buyers will see it as their home. Only a few buyers can visualize a vacant room decorated and furnished. The majority of buyers, on the other hand, cannot envision how they will live in the home or use a room.

· They’ll stay longer. During a showing of a vacant home, I’ve found that buyers unable to connect with the space will only stay on average 5 minutes, compared to an average 40 minutes in a furnished home.

· Their furniture will fit. Empty rooms look smaller to buyers, who more often than not will think their favorite sectional or king-sized bed is too big. In larger homes, buyers will question if they have enough furniture. Either way they’ll be calculating the additional cost of new furniture rather than focusing on the home.

· Details stand out. Architectural details and key features can stand out when a home is professionally styled and staged whereas empty rooms put a spotlight on flaws or needed repairs.

See more examples of vacant home staging at www.PJStagingDecorating.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit pjstagingdecorating.com. She can be reached at patti@pjstagingdecorating.com.

Help Sellers Get Their Homes Back in Shape After Halloween

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 11:52

Show sellers how to get their home back in showing shape after the Halloween fun ends: Brand, print, and hand deliver a free article: “Egging, Toilet Papering: How to Clean Up After Halloween Pranks” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Halloween Home Horrors” article package you can email or share on any of your social media accounts today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

See the Green: The Latest Nature-Inspired Hue in Staging

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 02:00
Traditional Living Room by Little Rock Interior Designers & Decorators Tobi Fairley Interior Design

 

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Stealing a note from nature, spring green and yellow-green colors are moving into more home interiors. It’s nature’s neutral color, Houzz contributor Becky Dietrich writes in a recent article at Forbes.com, “The Unexpected Color That Goes With Everything.”

And the bright green hue is perfect for staging because it pretty much goes with any other color, from oranges and yellows to grays and creams to even adding an added punch to that all-white bedroom. It also can spice up any style of home, from traditional to contemporary, by giving a room “depth and vitality” while also introducing “oomph and whimsy,” writes Dietrich.

You needn’t do an entire room in the bright color green either. It can serve as a great color pop — like just a glass bowl filled with bright green apples on the kitchen island or table. Or, try it in small doses like the throw pillows or a blanket draped along a sofa; green-colored lamps for added drama to your tables; or even in the artwork. Some are finding it as the perfect color for an accent wall to steal eyes on, say, that arched doorway.

“Anytime a room feels dreary or lifeless, consider adding green,” writes Dietrich.

See how these designers have added the color to enhance the design of their spaces.

Contemporary Bedroom by Newport Beach General Contractors Prestige Builders Traditional Family Room by Arlington Interior Designers & Decorators Sara Tuttle Interiors Contemporary Living Room by New Hope Interior Designers & Decorators Gacek Design Group, Inc. Transitional Living Room by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Martha O’Hara Interiors Eclectic Living Room by San Francisco General Contractors Barker O’Donoghue Master Builders Contemporary Living Room by Los Angeles Interior Designers & Decorators S.K.I.N. design studio

How-To Tips for Purchasing Exterior Doors

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 15:31

Exterior doors are the window to the home buyer’s soul. OK, we made that up. But they can make a big first impression. E-mail your sellers a free article: “Choosing an Exterior Door” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Cool Weather Prep” article package you can email or share on any of your social media today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

That ‘Special Function Room’ Is Back in Demand

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The special function room – like outdoor living rooms and home offices — had mostly vanished from new-homes and home remodels during the housing downturn. But now they’re reappearing. Also back in demand, special home features – like features that add accessibility – are gaining traction, according to the latest American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey, which reflects architect activity during the second quarter of 2014.

Contemporary Home Office by Dallas Interior Designers & Decorators Traci Connell Interiors

Which special rooms are trending?

  • Outdoor living rooms: The AIA survey showed that nearly two-thirds of architects reported that outdoor living areas and rooms were growing in popularity.
  • Home offices: As more workers telecommute and the number of self-employed workers remains strong, the home office is re-emerging in importance.
  • Mudrooms: More home owners are finding these an attractive option for storage and for organizing outerwear, backpacks, etc.
  • Au pair/in-law suites: “The recent interest in these areas is likely due to the growing employment numbers in our economy, which is increasing the need for in-home childcare,” notes Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist, in the report. “Additionally, as many households become caretakers for aging relatives, separate living suites have become popular alternatives.”
  • Media rooms/home theaters: A core of households are still highly valuing this type of room, the report notes, but many respondents to the survey say that in general they feel the media room is starting to lose favor.

The three special function rooms that architects identified as highest in demand: Outdoor living areas, mudrooms, and home offices, according to the AIA survey.

“Households are responding to the ongoing recovery in the housing market by adding more space and features to their homes,” Baker notes. “Special home features that were often eliminated during the housing downturn are now increasingly returning to home designs. Home automation features, as well as products that promote sustainability, are also showing up with increasing frequency in both new and remodeled homes.”

Many of the “special home features” in demand lately have centered on adding accessibility to a home, such as ramps and elevators, first-floor master bedrooms, and on-grade home entry, according to AIA’s report.

Home automation is also increasing in popularity, such as wireless telecommunications and data systems, long-range electrical controls/smart-home systems, automated lighting controls and central audio/video.

“With consumers generally more comfortable with emerging technologies, and the prices of many falling as production volumes increase, home automation applications should continue to grow in popularity,” notes Baker. “Additionally, systems that promote increased energy efficiency and sustainable home design continue to be popular. Energy management systems, solar panels, electric docking stations for cars, and geothermal heating/cooling heat pumps are all on the list of popular home systems, according to residential architects.”

4 Ways to Makeover a Master Bedroom

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Only 2 percent of more than 1,700 home owners say they have achieved their design vision in their homes, according to a survey by the remodeling website Houzz (2014 Houzz Decorating Trends Survey). And the master bedroom is where many say they still have a lot of work to do.

Here are a few ways home owners are planning to enhance their master bedrooms:

New headboard.

You can really showcase a bed by adding a headboard. A headboard can help dress up a bed and make a bigger statement in the master bedroom. Eighty-eight percent of the more than 1,700 home owners surveyed say they are installing a headboard in their master bedroom. Fifty-one percent of remodeling home owners are opting for a headboard with no footboard; while 37 percent are planning on both a headboard and footboard.

Contemporary Bedroom by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Jodie Rosen Design Traditional Bedroom by Dallas Interior Designers & Decorators CDA Interior Design

New bedding and coverings.

Sometimes all it takes is new bedding to give a master bedroom a completely new look. Nearly 30 percent of remodeling home owners say they’re going to choose floral fabrics for their master bedrooms. Solid fabrics remain the most popular choice.

Contemporary Bedroom by Oakville Interior Designers & Decorators Chic Decor & Design, Margarida Oliveira Traditional Bedroom by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Martha O’Hara Interiors

Add a seating area.

Create more of a serene setting by adding seating to the master bedroom, even if it’s just one upholstered chair in the corner with a throw pillow. Nearly two-thirds of remodeling home owners say they’re creating living rooms in their master bedrooms with seating (such as chairs, loveseat or chaise lounge); a fireplace; or even a mini fridge (8%).

Transitional Bedroom by Louisville Architects & Building Designers KGA Studio Architects Transitional Bedroom by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Michael Abrams Limited

Accent wall.

Paint can make a big difference. Stark white walls can make a room look sophisticated and modern. But some home owners are still preferring the accent wall, in which one wall is painted a more vibrant color. About 52 percent of remodeling home owners say they plan to add an accent wall to their master bedroom. It’s a way to get a pop of color without too much commitment.

Rustic Bedroom by Frisco Interior Designers & Decorators Stephanie Kratz Interiors

 

3 Ways to Spruce Up the Garage

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 02:00
Traditional Garage And Shed by Whittier General Contractors Garage Envy

 

Garages are an often overlooked part of the home, despite the fact that home owners spend a frequent amount of time there. In fact, for most home owners, the garage door is the main access point for entry and exit. It’s also a place for hobbies and storage.

The garage needs to be functional and attractive. Here are three ways to do it:  

Traditional Garage And Shed by Cincinnati Closet & Home Storage Designers Organized Living

1. Organization: Having an organized garage can help provide a home owner peace of mind while even possibly adding value to the space. As the garage often serves as a family’s storage center for everything from footballs to lawn mowers, shelves and cabinets can help make better use of the space. Sites like Pinterest can assist in photographic inspiration and provide ideas that will work for each unique space. At a minimum, set aside time to clear the clutter, categorize objects into groups (frequently used, rarely used, and hazardous materials), and then contain and store those objects to reflect the categories.  Both mounted racks and standing cabinets are options that can be purchased a big-box hardware store.

Photo credit: LiftMaster

2. Check your garage door: As a garage door is the heaviest moving object in the home, it’s important to ensure the home owner’s garage door and door openers are up to date with the latest safety features.  Don’t know if it is? A 90-second 3-step safety check (available here) will determine if the door has the safety features a home inspector will look for a flag for a potential buyer.

3. Install the latest garage technology: New smart technologies may also be an added selling point to a home owner’s garage.  Atop the list are technologies to connect to and control your garage door opener or home lights to any Android or iOS compatible device, allowing home owners to check their garage door, and open or close it from anywhere in the world. Another technology to explore is a battery backup system, a feature that will keep a garage door running for weeks in the event of a blackout, as well as a motion detector light inside the garage so home owners don’t have to always remember to switch off the lights.

5 Remodeling Projects with the Lowest Paybacks at Resale

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

If you want to get the biggest bang for your remodeling buck, replace the entry door to steel, according to the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine in conjunction with REALTOR® Magazine. The entry door may cost about $1,162 but home owners could potentially recoup 96.6 percent of that at resale, according to the report.

However, not all remodeling projects offer big paybacks at resale. Remodeling Magazine evaluated 35 of the most popular remodeling projects and the potential payback throughout 101 U.S. cities. Check out our prior blog post to view the projects that topped the list: 5 Mid-Range Remodeling Projects That Offer the Biggest Returns. But how about the projects that came in at the bottom of that list of 35 remodeling projects?

While all of these remodeling projects may be nice to have, home owners may not want to expect as big as of returns from their remodeling dollars with the following:

1. Home office remodel

Estimated job cost: $28,000

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 48.9%

2. Sunroom addition

Estimated job cost: $73,546

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 51.7%

3. Bathroom addition

Estimated job cost: $38,186

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 60.1%

4. Backup power generator

Estimated job cost: $11,742

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%

5. Master suite addition

Estimated job cost: $103,844

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%

Stylish Staging That Has Comfort in Mind

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 02:00
Transitional Dining Room by Dallas Home Builders Ellen Grasso & Sons, LLC

 

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Nearly 70 percent of about 6,000 home owners surveyed by the remodeling website Houzz said they’re happiest in rooms that are comfortable. If you’re trying to hook a buyer, you may want to make sure your listings not only are stylish, but also show off some comfort too.

Popular furnishings today are modern with straight lines, which don’t always project the look of comfort. Luckily, it’s also trendy to be eclectic in mixing an oversized, statement piece — which can look comfortable.

That statement piece can add visual interest to the room too. It can be anything from a nail-trimmed, wingback chair to patterned club chair, says Audra Slinkey of Home Staging Resource, a national staging and redesign training company. Slinkey singled out the oversized statement piece as one of the top 10 staging trends for this year.

Photo credit: Kristine Ginsberg, Elite Staging and Redesign LLC, elitestagingandredesignmorriscountynewjersey.com

No room for an oversized chair? Go for an overall chic, comfort “Pottery Barn”-inspired look by using white slipcovers over the owner’s dated furnishings — a quick, budget-friendly transformation, Slinkey suggests.

Traditional Family Room by Covington Interior Designers & Decorators The French Mix Interior Design

Accepting the Best Offer: What’s Important to You?

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 00:15

Choosing the best home offer is a cinch for sellers who know what terms are their deal-breakers. Planning ahead can get your clients the most out of their home sale.

Help sellers have a seamless sale by sharing “6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer for Your Home,” a free article from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five articles now available in the “Sell Before Snow Hits” article package.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

Start the Conversation: Turn Your Sellers on to Staging

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 02:00

Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

By Patti Stern, Principal PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Staging is no longer optional for sellers who want to get the most value from their home. Many sellers are still reluctant to stage, making it a tough sell for their real estate agent. Several key points can help overcome skepticism and convince sellers to stage first if they want to sell.

1. Explain the difference between decorating and staging.

The saying — “Your Home is Your Castle” — often rings true with today’s sellers. Most believe their home is decorated beautifully, usually with their favorite colors and personal décor. But there is a big difference between decorating and staging to appeal to a large pool of buyers.

Décor choices are personal and most buyers can’t envision how a home may look if the seller doesn’t remove their personality.

Sotheby’s Julia B Fee REALTOR®, Megan Stilwell-Posner, a recent PJ & Co. client, often walks buyers through a property and they’ll comment that they don’t like an area rug or paint color, which even influences their decision on whether to purchase the home. “Explaining how we market your property versus how you decorate your property is very important,” she says.

Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

2. Talk staging versus a possible price reduction.

Staging sets a home apart from the competition. Updating decor, particularly in key rooms such as kitchens and baths, can mean the difference between selling quickly and for top dollar or facing a price reduction if a home sits on the market for too long.

Busy, cluttered decor or outdated styles will distract buyers who won’t be able to envision living in the home. For many sellers, staging and low-cost renovations preserve valuable equity and can even boost a home’s selling price. For example, after PJ & Co. staged a property for real estate agent Rich Walker with Century 21, he decided to list the property for $20,000 higher than he originally planned. The property sold in 15 days at the asking price.

3. NOT selling a home is stressful.

We’ve all heard it – sellers who want to “test the market before staging” but months later haven’t received an offer.

Selling a home is difficult both emotionally and physically. Each day without an offer is stressful. Ultimately, I believe staging brings offers in quicker and makes the entire process easier.

In controlled tests conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association that compared identical homes, the non-staged houses sold in 102 days, while the professionally staged properties sold in 45 days.

Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

4. The stager is going to do the dirty work.

Many real estate professionals we talk to are hesitant to discuss staging with their clients, unsure of how to tactfully approach necessary updates without offending their client. Enlisting a professional stager as a third-party expert and part of the selling plan provides tremendous value to both the real estate agent and seller. A professional stager takes the burden off of you, and can make recommendations without treading on the real estate agent/client relationship.

5. Execution will be key.

Hiring a stager who has a full team on standby to manage the entire process and deliver the home ready for market is key.

Some staging companies can be hired to just offer recommendations. For example, one client received a seven- page recommendation from a stager, but shopping for updated décor and managing the updates were up to the seller. It became overwhelming for the couple. They weren’t comfortable choosing the paint colors, picking lighting fixtures, or incorporating the right style trends to make a space vibrant and engaging to today’s younger buyer.

Other staging companies can offer the client one-stop shopping, from selecting the paint colors to coordinating the painter, carpenter, and selecting all of the materials needed to stage the property.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit pjstagingdecorating.com.