Friday
January 30, 2015

Styled, Staged & Sold

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Bringing you the latest home and design trends.
Updated: 1 hour 50 min ago

Staging Tips: Styling for the Photo Shoot

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:00

By Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space

You have worked tirelessly preparing your home for sale. Don’t let all your hard work fall short with the often forgotten, most overlooked step in a great home staging – The Pre-Photo Shoot Styling. Before those photos are taken, your home needs one last interior makeover before making its grand debut on the internet. I often compare it to going to the hair salon before a big event, getting a great color, cut and style, only to go home and wash it. Don’t stop short right before you publicly introduce your home to potential buyers by not making it perfectly groomed for its Internet close-up.

Home Stagers are experts in styling homes for photo shoots. In an hour or two, we can whip and flip a home into a stunner. Your on-line photos are the #1 advertising element of your for sale home. Here are a few of our tips and techniques.

  • Remove all scatter rugs from floors. Have cleared counters and make the space extra inviting with a bowl, vase or pot of something fresh.

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

HOME STAGING TIP: Room look bigger and spacious in photos without rugs or counter clutter breaking up the room’s lines or distracting the eye.

  • Set a spectacular bed. Perfectly tucked, primped and pampered – the bed is the trophy of every bedroom.

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

 HOME STAGING TIP: Create added interest on a bed with a colorful accent pillows and textural throws.

  • Every bath needs fresh, clean, fluffy towels, a seat down, glistening surfaces, and not a personal product present.

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

 HOME STAGING TIP: Nothing says fresh and super clean than a stack of fluffy white towels.

  • Light it right. Showcase rooms and the home by making sure the space is lit well by turning on light, opening shades and pulling back drapes.

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

HOME STAGING TIP: Photograph the home at the time of day that allows just the right light in.

This post originally appeared at Julea: Reinventing Space. Copyright Jan. 4, 2015.

 

Learn the True Costs Behind Rehabbing a Fixer Upper

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 08:24

The average cost of a midrange bathroom remodel is nearly $17,000, according to “Remodeling” magazine’s “Cost v. Value Report.” That may be just the tip of the expense iceberg for buyers considering purchasing a fixer-upper.

Help buyers plan wisely before purchasing a home that needs TLC by branding, printing, and hand-delivering a free article on “How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House” from the REALTOR® Content Resource.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2015 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s just one of five free articles to help clients from the “Start Your 2015 Home Search Smartly” theme that you can brand, print, and hand deliver (or post to Facebook, Twitter, your website, or blog; email; or add to your e-newsletter).

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.

HouseLogic is a comprehensive consumer website — from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® — geared to helping homeowners make smart decisions to enhance, maintain, and protect the value of their home.

Dated Kitchens Get Long Overdue Makeovers

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 01:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Dated kitchens are getting a makeover in many homes this year. About a quarter of about 3,500 home owners recently surveyed say they are remodeling kitchens that are more than 30 years old and another 41 percent are updating kitchens that are 16 to 30 years old. Wow, have styles changed in three decades too – when red oak cabinets, laminate countertops, and brass fixtures were “in.”

Here’s an interesting stat: Home owners seem to be more committed to their kitchen than their spouse. Most kitchens last two to four times longer than the typical U.S. marriage – which is 8 years, according to Houzz’s Kitchen Remodeling Survey. That means when home owners remodel a kitchen, they devote a lot of time to making sure it’s just right since they’ll likely stick with it for many years to come.

“We already know that kitchens are the biggest driver of discretionary spending in the remodeling market,” says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “As the economy has improved, many home owners who delayed spending on kitchen updates feel like they now have the means to remodel. We should continue to see an uptick in discretionary spending on home improvements into 2015.”

Transitional Kitchen by Seattle Interior Designers & Decorators Studio 212 Interiors

So, what are home owners’ kitchen renovation plans?

Classic finishes: Home owners mostly are sticking to the classics, with finishes like white cabinets (49 percent) in shaker (37 percent) or raised-panel (22 percent) styles. They’re also staying loyal to granite countertops (45 percent) and stainless steel appliances (83 percent).

Added storage: Ease of storage (65 percent) is a top priority driving remodeling trends. Organization features like a built-in pantry (44 percent), pull-out shelves (62 percent), deep cabinet organizers (38 percent), and built-in pet bowls (6 percent) are popular.

Entertainment spaces: An open-concept layout (52 percent), bar with seating (27 percent), and built-in wine storage (21 percent) are making kitchens a gathering place for family and friends.

Big makeovers with big dollars: When home owners choose to undergo a kitchen remodel, the majority are going big with projects requiring substantial construction (68 percent). As such, home owners are spending big too, with 36 percent planning to spend between $25,000 and $75,000 on updating their kitchens. More than half of home owners budget $25,000 or less for their upcoming remodels.

Complimenting the rest of the house: Home owners want their kitchens stylish and beautiful (59 percent), but they also want to make sure that the remodel integrates with the rest of the home too (55 percent). Other characteristics they say are important is that it is filled with natural light, adds to the resale value of their home, energy-efficient appliances, and pro-style cooking set-up.

Source: Houzz Kitchen Remodeling Survey, 2014

CES 2015: Why the Light Bulb May One Day be Your Favorite Staging Tool

Fri, 01/09/2015 - 15:23

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine 

Photo Credit: Misfit, Bolt Wirelessly Connected Smart Bulb

Just flipping a light switch on your listings may not be showing the home in its best light, per se. Lighting matters greatly in the appearance of a home. Too dark? The space can look dingy and dreary. Too bright? The space can send a harsh, uninviting glare.

Proper lighting can go far in making a home feel warm and welcoming and even sometimes make a space feel larger. The 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, this week in Las Vegas, buzzed about the coming of the “smart home,” but it’s the light bulb – or the “smart” bulb, we should say – that could be one of the most exciting in the smart-home front for real estate and staging professionals.

These bulbs allow you to set a certain mood with the lights, creating lighting presentations, and even possibly adding extra security and some music too.

Photo Credit: Misfit, Bolt Wirelessly Connected Smart Bulb

At CES, Misfit, a company co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley, showed off its new Bolt Wirelessly Connected Smart Bulb. With swipes of an app on your iOS or Android-powered smartphone, you instantly can change a home’s lighting, having at your fingertips the potential to create millions of color combinations to make sure the lighting is just right. You can personalize with lightscapes, such as a lighting scenario for a room that mimics sunset at dusk. At $50, the bulb is much pricier than your typical light bulb but it’s an LED bulb with a life of 23 hours and it does mark a much lower price that is coming to the smart bulb arena. It requires no extra wiring to use. You literally just screw it into a lamp or ceiling and connect it to a smartphone to start playing with your lights.

Smart bulbs also may mean you never have to worry about flipping a switch again. You’ll no longer have to worry about arriving at a listing early to make sure all the lights are turned on. Stack Lighting’s Alba LED lights, $60, is a flood light that can be set to come on automatically as you step into the room. The lights also can be set to dim automatically to provide the ideal levels of brightness throughout the day – also helping to save on energy costs compared to standard LED lights. You can also control the lights from your phone, adjusting the color from a warm orange to a cooler blue tone, depending on the setting you want to create.

If you’re going to set the right mood with your lights, you may want to add some soft music to the background too. Your light bulb may be able to one day do that too. Sony showed off a prototype at CES of its “Symphonic Light Speaker,” which is a WiFi-connected light bulb with a built-in speaker. You can stream audio from your smartphone and tablet to several of the speaker-equipped light fixtures. No speaker elements are shown, and you may never guess that the light in the home is the one supplying the music.

Photo Credit: Sengled Snap Bulb

The smart light bulb may also offer extra security to your listing. Sengled Snap Bulb, a CES 2015 Innovation award winner, are LED light bulbs that contain speakers, microphone, and a motion sensor, allowing you to stream video to your smartphone. You can see who is standing on the front porch. No extra wiring is needed, and you could easily take it from listing to listing if looking for an extra security feature. Sengled’s Snap Bulb, $199, will be available in the spring of 2015.

4 Ways to Enhance the Lighting in Your Listing

Smart bulbs are still in their infancy and manufacturers are continuing to develop new models. Until then, what can you do you to improve the lighting in your listing with the bulbs you already have? Here are some stagers’ tips:

  • Add mirrors. You can use mirrors to bounce light, help making a home look brighter as well as possibly even making the walls look taller.
  • Watch the wattage of your bulbs. Always use the highest possible wattage in a room (except the bathroom where a 30-watt bulb may help create more welcoming, softer light settings).
  • Don’t just rely on overhead lights. Soften the look with wall sconces and decorative lamps too. Also, remove draperies to allow natural light to flow in.
  • Use clear light bulbs. Clear light bulbs can offer a cleaner look over opaque ones, stagers say. Avoid mismatching your bulb types, wattages, and color temperatures so the room is properly illuminated.

At CES 2015: More Attempts to Dethrone Stainless Steel’s Popularity

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 15:51

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Stainless steel’s popularity has outshined its competition for years in kitchen appliances, but has that shiny, smudge-prone finish finally worn out its welcome?

Appliance manufacturers have long been trying to find a potential successor to stainless steel, but none have yet to find one to top its popularity. But two companies are giving it another chance with showcases at the 2015 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas this week.

Appliance giant Whirlpool and LG are showing off new appliance finishes — with Whirlpool betting on gold and LG debuting a glassy black.

Photo Credit: Whirlpool

Whirlpool is introducing Sunset Bronze appliances to its lineup — a range of warm, golden hue appliances that can fit into contemporary or existing kitchens. The color is an attempt to capture on the latest popularity of rose gold in interior decors. It’s not a complete verge from the stainless steel look, however. Sunset Bronze is a painted version of traditional stainless steel with a blend of gold, copper, and bronze tones.

Photo Credit: LG

Meanwhile, LG is showing off a new take on black finishes. At CES this week, LG debuts a glass-front refrigerator finish called Contour Glass. The refrigerator features tempered glass over a black patterned finish that is a chic, yet smudge-proof way, to enhance kitchens. The finish is featured on LG’s new door-in-door refrigerators, which offer hidden compartments for extra storage behind the front door to hold condiments and drinks.

Will these smudge-proof finishes offer a convincing enough, stylish alternative to stainless?

“The kitchen is fast becoming a new canvas when it comes to home design and décor,” says John Hall, senior brand manager at Whirlpool. “More and more, consumers seek ways to customize their spaces with new paint colors, different countertops and backsplashes, mixing and matching cabinetry, and colored small appliances.”

In 2012, Whirlpool had introduced White Ice and Black Ice finishes to its products lineup in its first attempt to to provide an alternative to stainless’ popularity. The color failed to catch on, though. Other manufacturers have tried as well, such as General Electric’s low-gloss slate gray finish. (Read our previous blog post on the topic: Will Stainless Steel’s Popularity Ever be Dethroned?)

What do you think? Do you think stainless steel stands a chance of being outshined in the kitchen any time soon?

Reveal to Your Clients the ‘Ugly Truths’ When Staging

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 01:00

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

Sometimes you have to give clients a big dose of reality, and it isn’t always pretty – particularly when you’re talking about something personal like the condition of their home. But don’t be afraid to utter the “ugly truths” to maximize your sellers’ chances of selling a home and for top dollar.

Here are some of the ugly truths you may need to be prepared to talk about:

Ugly Truth #1: The ugly truth is that anyone who has watched the real estate market over the last few years knows there’s no such thing as a “set price” for a home. The price is determined by what the buyer is willing to pay AND the buyer likely is willing to pay a lot more for a “model home” look.

Ugly Truth #2: Another ugly truth is that when it comes to home staging, you get what you pay for. This means that the more a seller is willing to pay to transform their home (using an expert stager’s advice), the more they stand to get out of the sale.

BEFORE – Photo credit: Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

AFTER – Photo credit: Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

Ugly Truth #3: Finally, the last ugly truth is that buyers cannot see past a seller’s furnishings to the potential of the home. Look at the before photo …would you be able to imagine it as beautiful as the after photos?

BEFORE – Photo Credit: Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

AFTER – Photo credit: Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

You only need to look at the before-and-after photos of this home to know why they got so much more than they were even asking. This seller’s agent walked them through the “cost of not staging” and let them decide. Do you think they made the right decision?

If you’re a real estate agent who struggles with getting your seller’s onboard and committed to the sales process, you may want to share with them this article … pictures always speak louder than words.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president of the Home Staging Resource, a RESA Accredited home staging training and certification company. Slinkey has personally trained over 3,000 stagers worldwide and is a bestselling author and international speaker. She also serves as president of the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners. Connect with her on Facebook!

3 Ways to Start a Bidding War Through Staging

Mon, 12/29/2014 - 01:00

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

Every real estate professional wants to have the reputation for being “the agent that makes the most money for their sellers.” But how exactly can you do that? First, I’m going to give you a real life example of a home that recently sold for $100,000 over asking price, and then I’m going to provide the three ways this stager and agent got a bidding war started while we view the before-and-after photos from Donna Dazzo of Designed to Appeal.

BEFORE – By Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

1. Assess the home’s market potential

Every real estate agent understands the various factors that come into play to determine the “comparables” for a property, but when a property is upwards of $200,000, there is a larger “staging potential” that comes into play. Recently, 2014 staging statistics show that professionally staged homes on average sell 10 percent higher than non-professionally staged homes. So what is that 10 percent worth to your seller?

For instance, in the above photo the agent would have an idea of the asking price of this home in it’s current “unstaged” condition. But what about in its staged condition…

AFTER – Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

As you can see, the marketing of the home in both staging and photos has a dramatic effect on the outcome of the sales price. I call this the “buyer desirability factor” because the stager pinpoints the type of buyer we want and raises the “desire” for the space.

How can you assess the home’s market potential? First you need to assess the reasonable sales price of the home in its unstaged condition compared to its competition. Next, you need to ask whether you may be able to raise the price of the home at least 10 percent in its staged condition. If that raised sales price is over $10,000 …

BEFORE – Photo credit: Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

AFTER – Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

2. Coax seller “buy-in”

One of the biggest challenges for agents is getting the seller to understand the need for professional staging, as well as committing them to the sales process. Ask the seller, these few questions which will get them thinking about the quality of product they are putting forth and the dollar potential they are leaving on the table in the sale of the home:

Critical Question #1: What percentage of your home has not been remodeled in the last 5 years? Even though not all remodeling projects are equal, this question speaks to the relevance of this home and the design knowledge of the home seller, since interior design styles have changed drastically in the last few years.

BEFORE – Photo credit: Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

AFTER – Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

Critical Question #2: What percentage of your furnishings (particularly artwork) has been purchased in the last 5 years? As you can see from the before photo above (which is typical for most homes), most homes have dated furnishings which lowers the “buyers desirability factor” drastically.

BEFORE – Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

AFTER – Photo credit: Designed to Appeal, designedtoappeal.com

Critical Question #3: If you could make 10 percent more on the sale price of your home through professional staging, can I refer an expert home stager your way? Remember, statistically sellers who have their home professionally staged are making on average 10% more in this market than those who attempt to do it themselves. Sellers rely on their agents to educate them on the sale process and what they need to do to make the best price for their home. In this market, the seller who sells quickly but makes $30,000 less than their neighbor because they didn’t stage will not be happy sellers.

3. Don’t be afraid to tell the “ugly truths.”

The ugly truth is that anyone who has watched the real estate market over the last few years knows there’s no such thing as a “set price” for a home. The price is determined by what the buyer is willing to pay AND the buyer is willing to pay a lot more for a “model home” look. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post for more of the “ugly truth’s” in staging …

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president of the Home Staging Resource, a RESA Accredited home staging training and certification company. Slinkey has personally trained over 3,000 stagers worldwide and is a bestselling author and international speaker. She also serves as president of the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners. Connect with her on Facebook!

Which Color Combinations Go Well Together In Staging?

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 01:00

By Lindsey Schroeder, Archway Construction

Conventional wisdom says to paint everything white when a home is up for resale — but savvy sellers know color can actually be a smart staging tool.

A well-chosen color scheme in furniture and décor can do more than add appeal to rooms — it can evoke strong emotional responses. Potential buyers may find themselves drawn to a home with restful tones in the bedrooms, for example, and with unified access throughout.

Consider these tips for using color combinations in staging:

1. Keep the colors cohesive: All the rooms don’t have to match, but do try to keep a unified sense of style throughout the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. Paint the largest spaces soft, neutral hues and use accent colors in smaller spaces — with nods to bolder colors throughout. Match all the molding with a bright white color, or use complementary decorating accessories in all the main living areas in order to create an open sense of flow.

2. Use red color schemes to energize, blues to calm: Red is a bold, invigorating color best used in spaces where activity takes place — the kitchen or the dining room, for example. Blues, on the other hand, work well in spaces where buyers will want to find rest, like bedrooms and bathrooms.

3. Think green for trendy impact: Popular today as nature’s neutral, green is hot in staging because it goes with everything from bold yellows to muted grays. Use it in small doses throughout a home — think throw pillows, accent walls or artwork — to enliven drab spaces.

When staging, remember that colors create a sense of style. Choose tones that evoke the responses and feelings you’re going for — and help home buyers fall in love with a property.

How do you use color in staging to draw buyers in?

AUTHOR BIO: Lindsey Schroeder is the voice behind all social media accounts and blogs for Archway Construction, home renovators and remodelers that have served Metro-Chicago for over 27 years. She also loves working with homeowners in ensuring that their color choices compliment the overall look of their homes.

 

The 12 Days of Safety This Holiday Season

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 01:00


Provided by the National Safety Council

Real Christmas Tree vs. Fake: Which Is Really Greener?

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 01:00

In 2012, consumers purchased 24.5 million real and 10.9 million fake Christmas trees, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

Which are more environmentally friendly? Help homeowners answer that question by tweeting a free article, “Real Christmas Trees vs. Fake Christmas Trees: Which are Greener”, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the December “Deck-orate the Halls!” article package. Share all five 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.

 

 

 

 

The 2015 Color of the Year Is …

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 01:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

If the “2014 Color of the Year” – the bright pink-purplish Radiant Orchard – was too bold for your tastes, you may find Pantone’s 2015 color choice a perfect toned down hue: Marsala. The earthy wine red is expected to warm up more interiors in the new year, and it may become your new go-to color in home staging in 2015.

Since the shade isn’t as overpowering as its predecessor, Marsala can be a unifying color element for interior spaces that can add a pop of color without proving to be a distraction.

“Nurturing and fulfilling, Marsala is a natural fit for the kitchen and dining room – making it ideal for tabletop, small appliances, and linens throughout the home,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

In prepping homes for sale, expect to see the rich red tone to show up in more accent pieces and accessories in 2015, from vases and throw pillows to patterned rugs. Pantone says that textured surfaces enhance the color, which will likely make it also a popular choice for rugs and upholstered living room furniture. The color is also expected to be prominent in stripe and floral patterns, such as in printed placemats, dinnerware, bedding, and throws.

Here’s how some designers have been incorporating the hue.

Traditional Living Room by Boston Interior Designers & Decorators Rachel Reider Interiors Farmhouse Living Room by New York Architects & Building Designers Ike Kligerman Barkley Contemporary Living Room by London Architects & Building Designers Francesco Pierazzi Architects Traditional Bedroom by Other Metro Architects & Building Designers BOLD Architecture + Interior Design Modern Living Room by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators jamesthomas, LLC