Tuesday
March 31, 2015

Styled, Staged & Sold

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Bringing you the latest home and design trends.
Updated: 13 min 58 sec ago

5 Golden Rules to Home Staging on a Budget

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 02:00

 

 Contributed by Moshells.com

How to Update a Kitchen to Attract Buyers

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 02:00

By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

Kitchens are more important than ever when it comes to influencing buyers’ perceptions of a home as well as the perceived value. Some home owners make it a priority to invest in remodeling key rooms to increase the value of their home for when they are ready to sell. However, sellers who are pressed for time and need to get their homes on the market fast can still achieve the look of a remodel by giving their outdated kitchen a modern face lift that will engage buyers without breaking the bank.

The kitchen featured below was designed for a couple that wanted their dream kitchen to enjoy but kept the look classic in the event they decide to sell down the road. The key to managing their budget was to follow the existing blue print and add some modern updates.

Kitchen Remodel: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
This kitchen style was reminiscent of the early 90’s. We transformed it into a modern, stylish space incorporating some of today’s top trends, including a neutral paint color, modern shaker style cabinets, clean subway tiles, industrial pendants, quartz countertops and complementary natural, organic stone tile.

When selling, there are many ways home owners can update key kitchen features while staying within a budget. Painting, new appliances, lighting, and updating cabinet hardware are just some examples of inexpensive fixes worth every penny to attract buyers.

The following are some examples of PJ & Company’s staging projects that feature simple improvements such as painting cabinets, upgrading appliances, and installing new light fixtures that give these kitchens a remodeled appearance like our dream kitchen above.

The kitchen cabinet transformation

Our favorite fix for dated cabinets is paint. Using bright white paint to cover outdated, dark wood cabinets gives this kitchen (pictured below) a modern facelift. Other cosmetic fixes to enhance the look include replacing cabinet hardware with sleek, brushed nickel knobs and handles. Adding a few modern accessories like the small sisal rug provides a relaxed and inviting Pottery Barn-look.

In this kitchen update, PJ & Company painted the cabinets white and the oak island a dark espresso, creating a fresh, modern kitchen attractive to buyers without a major investment.

This Pleasantville, NY kitchen was not only small but dated. PJ & Company painted the cabinets white, and added a countertop table with stools which gave the space a fresh look that buyers loved.

Update fixtures and appliances

The right lighting is a critical part of any space but is most important in the kitchen for functionality. These industrial style pendant lights are a perfect example of a simple update that adds a twist of contemporary style with sophisticated appeal.

As more people are tuning in to watch cooking programs on television these days, they are seeing sleek kitchen appliances and fixtures, which are growing in popularity particularly among young buyers. If your appliances are outdated or in disrepair, consider replacing or servicing them. If you decide to replace, keep in mind that retailers will often give a discount when buying multiple new appliances.

The single lever faucet, the stainless steel stove, and floating hood are another example of an upgrade that completes the state of the art look of the room. There is a range of options available to choose from that will give a high-end look that will appeal to buyers.

Kitchen Remodel: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Invest in countertops

Repair or replace counters that are cracked, stained, or dated. If replacing, consider one of our favorite materials: Quartz (used for the island in our kitchen remodel). Quartz has become a growing alternative to granite and marble. It comes in a variety of colors and styles that provide both a custom appeal along with durability.

Kitchen Remodel: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Kitchen island features quartz countertops

Update flooring

Nothing says dated more than worn carpeting, scuffed hardwood floors, and cracked tile. If your kitchen floor is dull and has lost its luster, first try to clean, use wax linoleum, re-grout, replace missing tiles, and polish hardwoods. If there are too many imperfections, there are a variety of low cost tiles that are both affordable and durable. There are also many synthetic options to choose from that mimic the look of hardwood floors in our kitchen remodel, as well as stone or marble finishes.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home-staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for luxury home builder, Toll Brothers. Stern has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to REALTOR Magazine’s Styled, Staged & Sold blog. To contact, e-mail Patti Stern at patti@pjstagingdecorating.com

The Room Millennials Say Is Essential – and Why You Should Stage It

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Millennials may be willing to sacrifice extra square footage in a home and even features like an outdoor kitchen or two-story foyer. But there’s one thing they say they aren’t willing to sacrifice in a new home: A separate laundry room.

A separate laundry room clearly topped the list when the National Association of Home Builders recently surveyed millennials to discover what their “most-wanted” item on their home shopping list was. Fifty-five percent said they wouldn’t buy a new home that didn’t have a separate laundry room. They also ranked storage as important, such as linen closets, a walk-in pantry, and garage storage.

With the laundry room weighing so much on millennials’ buying decisions, you may want to take a closer look at the way you’re presenting the laundry room in your listings. Could it use a freshen up? And if it’s such a selling point, you may want to add a photo of your staged laundry room to your MLS photos.

Take a look at some of these photos from the remodeling site Houzz to get ideas on freshening up your listings’ laundry rooms.

  •  Try a soft paint color — accented with white painted cabinets and trim — to make the space look larger and even cleaner. Enhance with some under-the-cabinet lights that shine on the countertops. (The paint featured in the picture below: Benjamin Moore, Comet)
Traditional Laundry Room by Minneapolis Kitchen & Bath Designers Crystal Kitchen Center
  • Fresh flowers, bright colored curtains, and even wallpaper behind the cabinets may make the space more inviting. 
Transitional Laundry Room by Dallas Interior Designers & Decorators Traci Connell Interiors
  • Wherever there are cubbies, add wicker baskets. Hang a few clothes on wooden hangers to show off the storage options. And if the storage options even include a place for the family’s pet, accent that in a lower cubby too with a stylish pillow cushion. 
Transitional Laundry Room by Atlanta Architects & Building Designers Harrison Design
  • If the laundry room is small, add a wooden block over the washer and dryer to squeeze in a folding station.
Transitional Laundry Room by Frisco General Contractors Andregg Contracting, Inc. – Remodeling Specialists
  • Stack a washer and dryer to maximize space in a small area and to make room for some cubbies and shelves. Keep the shelves neat and staged, such as by folding light-colored towels. Keep the laundry accessories displayed to a minimum.
Contemporary Laundry Room by Vancouver Interior Designers & Decorators i3 design group

Is a Larger Closet Worth More Than a Prime Location? Apparently Yes!

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Home buyers say they’re willing to make some sacrifices on the home’s location in order to get certain must-have amenities in their next home, according to the 2014 PulteGroup Home Index Survey of more than 1,000 adults ages 25 to 65. Indeed, 44 percent of adults surveyed said they’d give up a location near public transportation and 35 percent would give up better schools and proximity to entertainment and shopping for certain upgrades in their next home.

So what features are so important that they are willing to make such big sacrifices as the location of the home? Here are the top items that home owners said they’d be willing to make sacrifices on location in order to have:

Craftsman Kitchen by Bend Architects & Building Designers Christian Gladu Design

 

  • Move-in ready home: 64%
  • At least one bathtub in a home: 54%
  • More space than their current residence: 51%
  • His and her closets: 23%
  • Spa-like master bedroom: 23%
  • Large eat-in kitchen area: 23%
  • Kitchen island: 22%

“In addition to the more common home options, we’re starting to see regional trends emerging among homebuyer preferences,” says Ryan Marshall, executive vice president of homebuilding operations, marketing and sales for PulteGroup. “From outdoor kitchens in Florida, to spice kitchens in California, shoppers are increasingly discerning when it comes to home features that could be the deciding factor in their next move.”

Other popular regional trends the survey identified were accordion-style glass doors in the Southwest; multi-generation floor plans and screened-in porches in the Southeast; balconies off the kitchen and rooftop terraces in the Northeast; and “Jack n’ Jill” bedrooms and coffee bars in the Midwest.

Overall, the most important areas to home buyers when choosing a new home: kitchen (29%), bedroom (22%), and living room (18%).

 

 

Why You Should Pay Attention to the Home’s Furniture Layout

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 02:00

By Charlene Storozuk, guest contributor

One thing that occasionally gets overlooked when preparing a home for sale is furniture layout. I’ve been in many homes where I’ve felt that something wasn’t quite right about a certain room as soon as I entered it. Not anything obvious, but more of an indescribable sense of confusion for lack of a better word.

If you’re planning on selling your home, here are some questions you should ask yourself about your current furniture layout:

• Does the room look off balance?

• Is the flow of the room disrupted?

• Does the layout impede pathways?

• Is the focal point of the room concealed?

• Does the room feel “boxed in” rather than open?

• Is there too much furniture in the room?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might want to take a look at your furniture placement. This is where a professional home stager can help you.

At a recent staging consultation that I carried out, there were some issues with furniture placement. The space in question was an open concept living room/dining room/kitchen. If you take a look at this BEFORE photo, you’ll see that some changes were needed.

Now let’s ask the questions about this space:

Question #1: “Does the room look off balance?” Although you can’t see it from this photo, the dining area was directly behind the sofa. This area was comprised of a small round table and four chairs along with a small dining hutch. The living area was weighted down in comparison with too many pieces of heavy furniture, which made the overall space look off balance.

Question #2: “Is the flow of the room disrupted?” The large sofa split the space between the living and dining areas in half, making the room look smaller and broken up.

Question #3: “Does the layout impede pathways?” The pathway to get from the dining area to the kitchen was tight due to the length of the sofa. As well, the pathway between the sofa and loveseat to reach the seating area was cramped.

Question #4: “Is the focal point of the room concealed?” Absolutely. In this case, the focal point of the room was the fireplace. With the current furniture configuration and the large TV, the fireplace did not take main stage.

Question #5: “Does the room feel ‘boxed in’ rather than open?” Yes, you can see this from the BEFORE photo.

Question #6: “Is there too much furniture in the room?” Yes, from a staging point of view there was too much furniture in the space. While living in a house and not considering selling, you’re obviously going to arrange your space to suit your needs as was the case here. Due to the amount of entertaining the home owners did, they required more seating. However, now that they were going to sell, they needed to make some changes.

So here’s what we did…

We removed the sofa, moved the loveseat over to where the sofa previously was, and brought in a chair that was being used upstairs in the master bedroom suite. Fortunately, this chair matched the loveseat so we were in luck. While we were at it, we removed the TV for good measure in order to also help open up the space and make the fireplace the main attraction.

Once the TV was gone, we brought in a glass console table that was previously in the basement to help ground that area, yet not detract from the fireplace.

Now take a look at the AFTER photo …

Photo Credit: Charlene Storozuk, DEZIGNER DIGZ

In the AFTER photo you’ll see how the space is more open, there’s flow, and the fireplace now takes its place of prominence as it should. This photo was taken before any styling took place. You can see how different the space looks already and that’s without any decorative accessories, an area rug or small glass tables.

The way your furniture is arranged while you are living in your home should be configured to suit your needs and to work with your intended purpose for the room. However, remember that if you’re going to sell anytime soon, you should always ask yourself some important questions about furniture placement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlene Storozuk is the owner of DEZIGNER DIGZ, a professional home staging, interior decorating and redesign firm based in Burlington, Ontario Canada. She is certified as an International Staging Professional, International Design & Decorating Professional, Professional Colour Consultant, and Feng Shui Design Professional. Her work is published in the book “FabJob Guide to Become a Home Stager,” 2009 edition. Storozuk is recognized as a local leader in the home staging industry. She founded the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth Real Estate Staging Association Chapter and served on the association’s Executive Committee for two years as Regional Vice-President, Canada. Storozuk is a past recipient of RESA North American Leadership Awards for Chapter President of the Year (2007) and Regional Vice-President of the Year (2011).

Solve Kids’ Room Messes

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:12

Home owners don’t have to keep kids’ room doors closed 24/7. Provide room storage solutions for kids of every age.

Post to Facebook a free article, “Kids’ Rooms: Storage Solutions for Every Age”, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in January’s “Unleash Your Home’s Storage Potential” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2015 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 Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts in Home Staging

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 02:00

By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

The early spring home selling-season is kicking off. There’s no time like the present to start decluttering and transforming your lived-in home into a show-worthy property to make a positive impression on potential buyers. That means attending to the most important details that will create mass buyer appeal and increase your home’s value.

“A seller has to try to be objective by looking at their home as a product or some other commodity that one would purchase,” says Lisa Gallagher, a real estate professional with William Raveis, Newtown, Conn. “You have only one chance to get it right so present your home in the best possible light.”

Indeed, 95 percent of homes that are staged by professional home stagers sell, on average, in 35 days or less and for near the asking price – versus 140 days for non-staged homes, according to a study by the Accredited Staging Professionals (ASP), a national staging trade organization.

Staged homes also show better in photographs.

“Homes that are prepared for market and look good on the Internet, usually sell the quickest,” Gallagher says. “Time is money and less time on the market means less stress and frustration for the seller.”

While some homes may require more work than others, the following represent our top staging “do’s and don’ts” that are essential in getting your property ready for sale.

PJ & Co.’s Top 5 Do’s in Home Staging

1. Focus on curb appeal. 
Make the best first impression by sprucing up the lawn and landscape.

  • Remove dead or overgrown shrubs.
  • Touch up any peeling paint, and power wash the outside if needed.
  • Repair any cracks in the driveway and walkway and also power wash steps and railings if necessary.
  • Look at the outdoor lighting. Is it time to repair or replace?
  • Add welcoming touches to the front door including seasonal plants and a fresh welcome mat.
  • Ensure that you have a prominent, working doorbell and that the front door is freshly painted.

2. Declutter and neutralize.

Living Room Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Removing the carpet to reveal hardwood floors, adding a coat of neutral paint, and updating lighting, window treatments and accessories gives a fresh, bright and updated look to the room.

Look at each room objectively and start packing.

  • Remove anything that will distract buyers from seeing your property, including personal collections (yes, that sports memorabilia room has to go!), a wall of family photos, newspapers, books and magazines, etc.
  • Consider donating outdated furniture and household accessories to a local nonprofit.

3. Refresh walls, rugs and windows treatments. 
When was the last time your seller painted? Are their imperfections or scratches on the walls? Is the current paint color dated? If so, consider adding a fresh coat of neutral paint. The same applies to area rugs and carpeting. Be sure to have them professionally cleaned and, if dated, consider replacing. If you have hardwood floors under the carpeting, you’ll find it worthwhile to remove and refinish the floors so you can then use the hardwoods as a selling-point. As for window treatments, replace any outdated or specific styles. Or if you have great windows — make sure they stand out by removing all of the window treatments.

4. Brighten and add warmth. 
 


Master Bathroom Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Stagers made this bathroom sparkle from ceiling to floor by adding updated light fixtures with bright, cheerful accessories.

It’s important that the home feels light and bright. Open the curtains wide (or replace as indicated above) and let in as much natural light as possible. Also, replace any light fixtures that are outdated and make sure all existing lights are working.

5. Make it shine. 
Clean, dust, vacuum, and deodorize. Think: aggressive spring cleaning!

We often suggest to our clients that they have a professional service clean the property from top to bottom — including the walls, ceilings, and baseboards. Dirt eats equity. The more your home shines, the better for prospective buyers. Windows and mirrors should be free of fingerprints, and hardwood floors should shine.

Scrub bathrooms and kitchens so they sparkle. Don’t forget to dust lampshades and curtains too.

Top 5 Don’ts in Home Staging

1. Don’t be emotionally attached. 
As soon as your sellers make the commitment to sell, they need to look at their end goal. Are they downsizing, moving to be near family, or a warmer climate? It’s important for them to emotionally detach from selling their home. Any negative remarks you gather as their real estate professional from home buyers, the sellers need to be able to use as constructive criticism and be willing to do what it takes to get their “product” sold timely and for top dollar.

2. Don’t be afraid to team up. Selling a home can be overwhelming. Just packing and decluttering is a monumental task and that is why using a professional home stager is an investment in getting your property sold. A professional stager (not a decorator) is an expert who can look at the home objectively and provide proven methods to help enhance your clients’ home showings.

3. Don’t leave anything broken. 
Everything should function properly and be in working order. Sellers need to make sure they repair leaky faucets, cracked windows, loose doorknobs, broken tile, as well as replace any light bulbs that don’t work.

4. Don’t invest in major renovations.

Kitchen Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Updated dark wood cabinets with white paint is a simple solution to giving a kitchen a more modern appeal.

Now is not the time to gut the kitchen with a complete makeover. Keep it to the essentials in giving the home a basic cosmetic fix. Painting goes a long way in providing a modern “facelift” to a home, from the kitchen cabinets to the bathroom vanities. Update a home by adding new flooring, if needed, a new bathroom vanity and light fixture, and making any necessary repairs — those projects can be worth the investment to get the house sold.

5. Don’t buy all new furniture. 
Rearrange and put away excessive pieces to simplify and make the room appear larger. Update or hide imperfections in the sellers’  furniture with new throws and pillows. However, if your sellers are already planning to purchase updated furniture for their new home, they may want to consider buying sooner for selling purposes too.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home-staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for luxury home builder, Toll Brothers. Stern has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to REALTOR Magazine’s Styled, Staged & Sold blog. To contact, e-mail Patti Stern at patti@pjstagingdecorating.com

Deduct Energy-Efficiency Upgrades: Here Are Free Tax Tips to Add to Your Website

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 08:56

Can home owners deduct the cost of their energy-efficiency upgrades on their taxes?

Answer that and other home ownership tax questions by posting to your website a free article, “Don’t Miss These Home Tax Deductions,” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Get Your Tax-Filing Party Started!” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2015 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 5 Latest ‘Must-Have’ Amenities of Home Shoppers

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 02:00
Traditional Closet by New York Closet & Home Storage Designers Bella Systems

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Besides an upscale kitchen and plenty of space, what are new-home buyers’ looking for when house hunting? Surveys by the National Association of Home Builders and homebuilder PulteGroup shed some light on a few of the latest in-demand amenities.

1. Walk-in closets: Large closets, particularly in the master bedroom, is among one of home shoppers’ top priorities, according to the NAHB survey of builders and remodelers. Indeed, 31 percent of 1,000 home owners recently surveyed by PulteGroup said they’d sacrifice another household feature in order to have his-and-hers closets in the master bedroom.

2. Luxurious laundry rooms: Buyers are looking for more than just a place to stick their washer and dryer. They want upgraded laundry rooms – complete with skylights, built-in ironing boards, space for folding clothes, extra storage, and upgraded appliances, according to the NAHB survey.

3. Energy efficiency: Home buyers are looking to cut utility costs, and energy efficiency appliances and products can be one way to do that. Low e-windows, Energy Star appliances, and programmable thermostats are more in demand among home shoppers.

4. Great rooms: These large open spaces that often merge dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchens continue to be in high-demand among home shoppers, according to NAHB’s poll of builders. “Great rooms are wonderful places where everyone in the family can sit around, or where the kids can do their homework while you get dinner ready,” Stephen Melman of NAHB told MainStreet. “Today’s great rooms are large, bright and just make you feel good being there.”

5. Taller first-floor ceilings: More home buyers want the first floor to stretch beyond the typical eight-foot ceiling. They’re asking builders for nine-foot ceiling heights. The taller ceilings can open up living rooms, dining rooms, and other spaces on the first floor. But home shoppers say they can do without the cathedral ceiling in the family room, which can be too costly to heat and cool. Also, they aren’t preferring the higher ceilings on the second floor, which many home buyers say they want to feel more cozy, Melman says.