July 5, 2015

Styled, Staged & Sold

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Bringing you the latest home and design trends.
Updated: 23 min 42 sec ago

The Most Common Remodeling Mistakes

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 02:00
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Source: Fixr contractors

10 Reasons Why You Should Stage Your Next Listing

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 02:00

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

Sometimes it can be a challenge convincing the home seller to use a certified staging professional so I created some visuals using the latest, 2014-2015 statistics to assist agents in getting the point across to their clients. Professional home staging is not only for homes that are a “mess” but it also makes a huge difference in the selling price for homes that are “typical”.

In fact, statistics show that it doesn’t matter whether the home is vacant, occupied, a fixer or a beauty — when a certified staging professional gets a hold of it, an average 10 percent better sales price can be expected!

Sellers can be nervous that the stager is going to tell them to make expensive improvements to the home, but the reality is that only improvements that will have a BIG IMPACT on buyers and a good return on investment will be recommended. That same home staging survey of over 3,500 homes sold showed an average 1000 percent return on investment when the seller spent a mere 1 percent of the value of their home.

OK, so maybe spending an extra $20 to wash your car before selling it is not worth the $200 more you got in price BUT the $4,000 you spent on staging your $400,000 home is probably worth the $40,000 on average return you will see over your neighbor who did nothing…especially if the $40,000 is tax free!

Staging has always had an impact on the speed of sale, but in this market, I think it’s wise to be the agent known for getting top dollar for your clients, not just a speedy sale. In fact, the savvy seller is wise to the agent who prices low and sells quickly compared to the agent who is pricing right and getting top dollar. In my neighborhood, where everyone is on a “Google group” chatting, the agent who took a bit longer to sell a home (3 weeks) but made the neighbor $85,000 over what the “quick sale” agent got another neighbor, is definitely the agent all my neighbors are going to use! Those poor agents had no idea we were commenting on their performance but I don’t think my neighborhood is all that unusual…do you?

Every agent knows that the moment their buyer is visualizing themselves in the home, the offer comes next.  Why?  Because people buy on emotion and being able to “see” your family living in the space is essential!

What’s the point in hiring a professional photographer if the room is not completely dialed in? The combination of staged room and professional photos really connect with potential buyers online.  In fact, there are many folks “considering” a move but won’t pull the trigger till they see the right home online.  Don’t you want to be the agent to get that first phone call about your listing?

The seller that thinks they can stage their home themselves has no idea of the impossibility of that process. I’ve been staging and training for more than 12 years and still brought in two certified staging professionals before I sold my home. Why? Because I know that staging my own home is like asking me to be objective about my children.  Our homes are filled with the emotions of living there and the items we’ve purchased on emotion, so how can we possibly be objective about merchandising each space?

I have to admit; even this latest 2015 NAR statistic on home staging surprised me!  You mean even if the home is on a busy street, backs up to the dump or has a tiny backyard almost a third of buyers will overlook those faults in favor of staging?  Just kidding but you get the idea! Sometimes there are problems with the property that just can’t be fixed by staging but can be alleviated.

Did you know that “Moving” was listed as a top five most stressful event in a person’s life? In order, “Death of a Loved One”, “Divorce”, “Moving”, “Major Illness”, and “Job Loss” were the biggest, most stressful events in people’s lives.  Even if you were moving up, it’s considered highly stressful!

The whole point to staging is to help the seller get packing early, organized for showing their home on the fly and helping them have the peace of mind of getting the best price.

We are really getting close to No. 1 now!  With No. 2, most experts agree that staging is a critical necessity to selling successfully in the 2015 market.  I know it’s frustrating for agents to convince sellers to use a professional stager.  According to Zillow, staging was listed as the second most critical action item for the seller to do when selling their home, so letting them know this statistic by real estate experts is a good one!

Drum roll please…..

I love this reason because at the end of the day, staging benefits the home seller more than anyone else….not the agent…not the stager.  While the agent and stager are invested in helping the seller get the most money from the sale of their home, if the seller just doesn’t want to listen, then so be it.   The seller doesn’t have to do anything…but there are consequences which are usually doled out in the form of price reductions.  Don’t help to see your competition when all you need to do is hire a professional home stager!

If you’re a real estate agent, feel free to share this, pin the images and send them to your sellers.  I’ve also created a one-minute YouTube Video that you can share or embed on your site to get the point across to your seller.

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!

How Much Does That House Project Really Cost?

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 02:00

Your home buyers love that home, but if only it had hardwood floors instead of carpet throughout. How much would that cost?

You may field such cost questions from potential buyers, and some new online resources may help you gather quotes for your buyers in a hurry — or at least give you a resource to point them to. For example, HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide can provide visitors with an idea of what they can expect to pay for projects in their area.

At the site, users plug in the project they want to complete, along with their ZIP code. The tool then will list the average cost of the home improvement project or repair in their area based on what others have paid. You can see a breakdown of cost estimates from the low to high end as well as average. The site offers a searchable database to gather estimates for more than 300 types of home projects and repairs, whether your buyer wants to find the average cost of remodeling a bathroom, painting the home’s exterior, installing new windows or countertops, or more.

Another cost estimating site, called Fixr, also offers estimates on various home improvement and remodeling projects — just plug in the project and find estimated costs as well as get access to a list of contractors in your area. The site also features cost guides to give you an overview of the price of tackling projects like kitchen and basement remodels as well as the costs of repairing siding, installing new windows, adding a porch or swimming pool, and more.

This allows home buyers to decide if the repair or renovation is within their budget, if they opt to buy the home. The tools may also come in handy for sellers in deciding whether they should invest in fix ups prior to listing their home for sale.

Master Bathroom Must-Haves

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Supersized master showers reign, according to the 2015 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. Showers are expanding with many of the more than 3,000 home owners recently surveyed saying they plan to upgrade their master showers and increase its size.

Northeast home owners were found to have the biggest love for their master showers and are planning the most upgrades. But many non-master full baths, especially in the West, are also getting supersized shower stalls, the survey found.

Thirty percent of those surveyed by Houzz who say they have plans to upgrade their master shower plan to make it 50 percent or more larger than its current size; 19 percent plan to make it between 25 percent to 50 percent larger.

Transitional Bathroom by Omaha Design-Build Firms Falcone Homes


But the master shower isn’t the only driver to bathroom remodels. The Houzz survey found respondents rated the following functional aspects as important factors in their bathroom remodels:

  • Easy to clean: 55%
  • Easy to store and find: 53%
  • Good lighting: 47%
  • Two-person compatible: 46%
  • Easy to get ready in: 36%
  • Helps me relax: 34%

What’s more, the design of the space is also important. Survey respondents identified the following top design aspects of a master bathroom:

  • Stylish and beautiful: 83%
  • Spa-like atmosphere: 41%
  • Reflects who I am: 38%
  • Filled with natural light: 34%
  • Makes a statement: 23%

Other top characteristics identified by survey respondents for master bathroom remodels are:

  • Ceramic tile, followed by porcelain tile, is the most popular flooring choice.
  • Painted walls are by far the most popular choice, while wallpaper is only used in 3 percent of remodels.
  • Recessed lighting and wall sconces dominate as the most popular lighting choices.
  • Baby boomers are more likely to install grab bars and curbless showers in their master bathroom remodels. But non-slide floors, hand-held shower heads, shower seats or tub seats, and thermostatic mixers are growing in popularity among all generations.

Survey respondents also identified the following specialty features as the most important in luxury master bathroom remodels:

  • Rain shower head
  • Tub for two
  • Spa jets in tubs
  • Radiant heat flooring
  • Shower for two


6 Remodeling Projects That Can Add to Your Resale Value

Mon, 06/01/2015 - 02:00

By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Home remodeling has become more popular than ever to attract buyers, thanks to an improving economy, strong job growth, higher disposable income, more home sales, low interest rates, and a more competitive housing market. Home owners looking to sell their home this year may want to complete a few upgrades and renovations that will help make their home get noticed among the competition.

The following are the remodeling trends recommended by both PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating as well as Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report:

1. Curb appeal. According to Remodeling Magazine’s report, the key improvements with the highest ROI include the front door and garage door replacements, manufactured stone veneer front steps or foundations, vinyl siding, and replacing windows. Each of these upgrades will boost both buyer interest as well as the value of a home.


2. Deck addition. At a fraction of the price of an indoor addition, a new deck both enhances the landscaping of a yard as well as offers additional living space for al fresco dining, relaxing and entertaining. Most people use their decks for at least six months out of the year so it’s a worthwhile investment.

3. Kitchen remodel. Without having to completely gut the kitchen, replacing cabinet doors and drawer fronts, new appliances, countertops and flooring continues to rank as one of the top renovations for the last 10 years.

4. Bathroom remodel. Buyers are looking for a bathroom that doesn’t feel outdated. Even the smallest bathrooms can look more attractive with the right finishing touches. The key features that will sell a bathroom are updated vanities, wall color, tile, sink, faucets, toilet, and lighting fixtures.

5. Reinventing an existing room. Buyers and home owners want as much space as they can get. Remodeling an attic into a master or guest bedroom or converting a basement into a playroom, home theater, or exercise room are popular and profitable ways to add usable space to an older home as opposed to the bigger expense of an addition.

6. Painting and removing outdated wallpaper. Finally, if you don’t have time or money to invest in a remodel, one of the simplest and most affordable solutions is to remove dated wallpaper and add a trendy wall color. Don’t go too bold, though. Painting walls a neutral color will also bring out the home’s best features. This simple update provides a boost with instant universal appeal to buyers who want to envision living in the space.

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 blog, Style, Staged and Sold.


10 Cheap Ways to Increase a Home’s Value

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 02:00

Check out the Cupolas n’ More infographic about 10 cheap ways to increase the value of your home.

Powder Rooms That Make a Statement

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

More home owners are turning to the powder room to make a dramatic statement and packing in a lot of design into these often small spaces, according to the 2015 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, a survey of more than 3,000 home owners about their bathroom remodeling plans.

Nearly two thirds of powder rooms are less than 40 square feet, but home owners are finding they can still make these spaces attention-getting, whether with a trendy sink or flashy wallpaper.

Home owners report that their powder room renovations are mostly driven by the desire to do cosmetic touches, and therefore, home owners are finding affordable, do-it-yourself upgrades to spice up the space.

Most home owners say they want to upgrade their powder room because they want the design to make a bolder statement – a more popular response among home owners than for any other bathroom in the house, the survey finds. The powder room is more likely to have personalized touches in the design, such as eclectic styles, signature sinks, hardwood floor, and wallpaper.

Just how bold are some home owners getting with their powder room? Here are a few examples:
Flashy wallpaper

Traditional Powder Room by Denver Interior Designers & Decorators Andrea Schumacher Interiors Transitional Powder Room by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Chango & Co.


Dramatic tiled walls

Traditional Powder Room by Morganville Window Treatments Marina Klima Goldberg – Klima Design Group


Asian Powder Room by La Jolla Architects & Building Designers m.a.p. interiors inc. / Sylvia Beez

Unusual mirrors and a chandelier

Midcentury Powder Room by Venice Interior Designers & Decorators Shelby Wood Design


 Furniture-like vanities and signature sinks

Mediterranean Powder Room by San Clemente Architects & Building Designers James Glover Residential & Interior Design

Why Empty Homes Don’t Sell

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 02:00

By Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space

Every morning on my Chicago area social media feed, I see acres and acres of empty rooms posted by real estate professionals. So many empty dining rooms, breakfast rooms, kitchens, living and bedrooms. Do I stop and click on the photo, intrigued to have a look at the room, the house, the property? No, I just scroll on by … Do I read the eloquently written description? Do I appreciate the professional photography? No, I just scroll on by … Why? It’s that they all look the same; devoid of any senses, any flavor, any style.


#1. An empty home leaves an empty canvas to paint negative thoughts on. Prospective buyers will find imperfections or they’ll not be interested or overlook features. An empty home amplifies negative thoughts.

#2. Empty homes lack a vision of its layout. What is this room? A staged home shows off how the home flows and how each space can be used.

#3. An empty home is void of imagination and feeling. People buy homes on emotion. An empty property is just a HOUSE, a staged property becomes a HOME. Home staging creates the emotion that your prospective buyers envisioned.

#4. The National Association of REALTORS 2015 Profile on Home Staging found that 81 percent of buyers find it is easier to visualize a property as a future home when it’s staged.

“A staged home may seem like it has furniture that’s fixed in place; but what is going on in the buyer’s mind is a very kinetic process. With a home that is staged, they see a family – celebrating home.” –Julea Joseph

See the difference for yourself: Here are some before and after photos.

Photo credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space,

Photo credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space,

Photo credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space,

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julea Joseph is the owner and lead designer at Reinventing Space in Chicago. Visit her website and blog at