Monday
September 1, 2014

Styled, Staged & Sold

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Bringing you the latest home and design trends.
Updated: 36 min 46 sec ago

Start the Conversation: Turn Your Sellers on to Staging

16 hours 35 min ago

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Busy, cluttered decor or outdated styles will distract buyers who won’t be able to envision living in the home.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 www.pjstagingdecorating.com or www.facebook.com/pjandcompanystaginganddecorating

4 Tips for Furniture Arrangement

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 02:00

You step into a room and you know something is off but you can’t pinpoint it. Could it be the furniture arrangement?

Home design writer Fred Albert with the Houzz editorial staff offers up several tips on proper furniture arrangement. Here are four of his tips, along with some tips from HGTV.com, on finding the right balance when furnishing a space.

1. Pinpoint a focal point: What do you want to highlight in the room? A fireplace or the beautiful view it offers to the outside? Arrange the furniture to highlight the focal point. Have the largest piece of furniture, such as the sofa, pointed toward the room’s focal point.

Contemporary Living Room by New York Architects & Building Designers Kim Depole Design Inc

2. Create balance: You can achieve balance by using symmetrical or even asymmetrical arrangements, depending on the feel you want to create in the room. In formal areas, symmetrical tends to work best, such as two alike sofas across from one another. If you want a room to feel more casual, you might do an asymmetrical arrangement, such as a sectional across from two small arm chairs.

Symmetrical arrangement:

Traditional Living Room 

Asymmetrical arrangement:

Traditional Living Room by Mckinney Interior Designers & Decorators Lori Rourk Interiors Inc.

3. Good flow: Consider how traffic will walk through the room. You’ll want to be sure to keep a path between doorways. Albert recommends allowing 30 to 48 inches of width for major traffic routes and a minimum of 24 inches of width for minor ones.

Traditional Family Room by Other Metro Furniture & Accessories Indese

4. Mix in some contrast: Consider combining straight and curved lines in furnishings. For example, Albert notes that if the furniture is modern and linear, you might consider throwing in a round table for greater contrast. If the furniture is curvy, add in an angular piece.

Traditional Bedroom by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Tom Stringer Design Partners

Free e-Newsletter Info Shows Owners TLC for the Home

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:35

Help home owners make their home the “youngest” on the block. Add to your e-newsletter a free article, “Is Your Home Older Than Its Years?,” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Maintenance Saves Money: Projects for 2014” 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 Chic, New Neutral Color Backdrop

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 02:00

Photo credit: Jeff Kaufmann, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, pjhomestyling.com

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Move over, beige. Shades of whites and grays are becoming the trendy wall color choice nowadays.

For contemporary, sophisticated walls, stagers are reaching for the whites and grays. In some cases, the colors are even merged as a smoky white.

Fifty-eight percent of designers predict gray to be the fastest growing color scheme this year for kitchens and baths – while the popularity of beige and bone colors continues to wane, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2014 trend forecast. The Paint Quality Institute has called gray “the hot new neutral” of 2014.

Gray is a “great neutral color that adds style and also allows buyers to easily envision moving in their own furniture,” says stager Patti Stern with PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating in Cheshire, Conn., whose firm recently chose gray walls when staging a Toll Brothers model home and then used accents in raspberry, yellow, and green for added color.

Stark white walls are also gaining popularity. “Stark white walls create a very clean look that can expand the space and work in any style of home, from traditional and colonial to the very contemporary,” says stager and real estate pro Barb Schwarz, founder of StagedHomes.com and the International Association of Home Staging Professionals.

Photo credit: Laura Arnold, Stagedhomes.com

 

5 Design Trends You May Want to Avoid in Staging

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 02:00

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Stagers are embracing some of the latest home design trends in freshening up homes for-sale (view this “Dressed to Sell” slideshow). But some trends, they’re thinking twice about incorporating.

“If you’re too trendy, you run the risk of not being able to sell a home for the top-dollar you want for it,” warns stager Patti Stern with PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating in Cheshire, Conn. “When you stage a home, you want it to appeal to as many buyers as possible.”

Staging in trendy fabrics, colors, and finishes may offer up buyers a feeling that the home is up-to-date and move-in-ready. But getting too trendy can also backfire, particularly if it’s too personalized, stagers say.

Here are some popular interior design trends that some stagers are staying clear of:

1. Wallpaper: Wallpaper is gaining popularity once again in interior designs, from black and white damask prints to bronzed and antique silver metallics, earthy dimensional weaves and more. Wallpaper can add more personality to a room — but maybe too much for homebuyers envisioning moving in their own belongings. Instead, many stagers are sticking with paint.

2. Bright-colored walls: Not so fast with the Radiant Orchid, the bold purple-pink hue that Pantone has crowned as this year’s color of the year. Using the hottest color trends – like navy and purples — to paint an entire room may be too bold for the majority of buyers. Instead, stagers are using a neutral wall color, such as in soft tones of grays or white, and then bringing in the on-trend colors through small accents, like toss pillows, throws, lamps, and bedding or rugs.

3. Brass fixtures: Brass is back, but tread cautiously — at least for now. Most stagers aren’t ready to swap out the fixtures for brass, which had its last heyday in the ’80s. But stagers are starting to welcome back brass in small doses, such as a gold-vintage mirror, lamp, or accent table.

4. Doorless cabinets: Open shelving is a big trend in interior design. Designer magazines are showing off simpler kitchens without doors on the cabinets. The look puts perfectly organized dishes on display. While it can offer a sleek look, some stagers don’t want to field questions from buyers: “Where are the doors?”

5. Tuscan-themed: The Tuscan design style – featuring browns and earthtones – has been a popular interior trend, but it may be showing signs of waning in popularity. The National Kitchen and Bath Association noted the highly ornamented Tuscan – as well as French Provincial – styles are decreasing in popularity, as well as country and rustic styles. Instead, more remodelers are showing a preference for contemporary designs, featuring clean, simple lines, less clutter, and less ornamentation, according to NKBA. Transitional styles – a mix of traditional and contemporary – remain the most popular, NKBA notes. But NKBA notes that contemporary styles may soon overtake the popularity of transitional.

Fixer-Upper Sellers Unrealistic on Price?

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 04:30

Sure, the sellers know potential buyers must be willing to invest much-needed TLC in their home after the purchase. The tough part is getting them to price properly based on the true cost of necessary fixes.

Help them be realistic about repair costs by branding, printing, and hand-delivering a free article, How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Position Yourself to Be a Better Buyer” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

The 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.

Mow in the Know: 5 Common Mowing Mistakes to Avoid

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 02:00

Contributed by John Deere

Photo Credit: John Deere

 1. Cutting too short. Each time you mow, only remove about one-third of the grass blade. Shorter clippings break down more easily, allowing some of the natural nitrogen to return to the soil. If you cut too much at one time, the long clippings can cause stress on the grass, inhibiting healthy growth. Removing only a small amount of the blade each time you mow is a good practice and will give you the best quality turf.

 2. Mowing pattern monotony. We all have our habits, but mowing your lawn in the same pattern all year is one you need to break. Mowing grass in the same direction all the time can mat down the turf and inhibit growth. By varying the pattern in which you mow your grass, you will avoid missing or double mowing areas and reduce wear on the turf. This will encourage a healthier, more beautiful lawn.

3. Bagging it. Though bagging clippings is a common practice, mulching is much more beneficial to your lawn. Mulching returns essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, back to the soil. As noted above, removing only a small amount of the grass blade each time you mow produces shorter clippings that can decompose more quickly and discourages the development of fungus diseases. Many mowers, like the John Deere 100 Series, have mulching capabilities built in. If you do decide to bag, be sure to compost your clippings and reuse on site.

4. Ignoring the roots. A common lawn care mistake is only managing the parts of the lawn you can see. Caring for the grass roots and soil is one of the most important things you can do now to ensure healthy growth year round. Consider taking a soil sample and having a local university extension program or your local landscape supplier provide a soil analysis. The results will give a measure of fertility based on nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels, and can help determine the best type of fertilizer to use throughout the year.

5. Blunt mower blades. A dull mower blade will shred grass blades creating entryways for disease. Sharpen the mower blade to a thickness of about 1/64 of an inch to keep the blade strong and not too razor sharp. Be sure the blade is balanced to warrant a clean cut and avoid damage to the mower.

 

Give Buyers the Bedroom They Always Dreamed Of

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 02:00

By Candy Wright, Guest Contributor

Bedrooms are a vital area to stage in a property that potential buyers can make an instant connection with. A good first impression could help encourage them to purchase the property and make this bedroom of their dreams a reality.

There is so much that you can do with the existing space and resources. Attention to detail will help your potential buyers make a quick decision when viewing that beautiful property you have.

Whether you are a DIY person who likes getting their hands dirty or if you prefer leaving the painting and decorating work to a professional, there are many ways to make a house or apartment look more inviting. Here are four distinct ways to creating that perfect bedroom:

Choose the best bedding

Photo credit: justbedding.com/au

One of the most essential tools of creating the perfect bedroom is choosing premium bedding. However, the choice for blankets, sheets, and pillows entirely depends on you. Some people prefer satin, while some will prefer cotton or flannel. In order to create a bedroom like the one below you will need to start with a blank canvas. Clear everything and start fresh. Perhaps paint the room completely white, while adding a feature wall, including some monochrome features like white walls with a black wall feature.

When it comes to choosing the bedding, select something luxury, perhaps with the monochrome theme. You might want to add some girly sequin cushions to complete the look of the luxury bedroom. Remember that buyers pay attention to detail, especially females, and they will find these details and features crucial when making their decision.

Add Artwork

Paintings, drawing, and pictures have the power to change the atmosphere of the whole room. Art has the ability to transform and provoke, even more it can stimulate a variety of feelings and moods. Therefore, it’s not a huge leap that art also has a definitive healing power. The perfect bedroom should be a place of comfort and nurturing. Choose wall art that will positively boost and soothe the people walking into the bedroom. Why not try and go for motivational pictures of beautiful locations, such as Eiffel tower in Paris?

Go with the Good Flow

Photo credit: justbedding.com/au

Did you know that the way you position the furniture can have an impact on how people feel. Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese principal of achieving proper balance, is also a popular concept when it comes to interior design. Literally translated as wind and water, feng shui can purportedly promote harmony in your immediate surroundings.

As the bedroom is such a fundamental space, it is a common go-to spot for feng shui treatment. According to feng shui, beds should be positioned opposite of doorways and bedrooms should be kept clear of work related materials. Feng shui is all about increasing positive flow and wellbeing, why not start with the bedroom and make your customers feel welcomed.

Build a Retreat

Photo credit: justbedding.com/au

You’ll want to create a blissful retreat for buyers. Bedrooms are epicenters of privacy and solitude, shielding you from external stress and allowing you the recuperative space to address the world on your terms. Doesn’t it just make sense to reinforce its protective qualities? Choose a wall color that will delight the senses of your customers. Find lighting that enhances the mood and perhaps consider installing a sound system that is filled with relaxing and inspiring music. Make your buyers feel like this is the perfect house or apartment for them to escape from their daily problems. A dream bedroom should be a perennial comfort zone for your customers. If you design it well, your potential buyers will look at the room as their daily vocation, where they can hide from all the everyday stresses, serving as their own personal paradise.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Candy Wright is a lifestyle blogger who writes for justbedding.com/au.

 

 

Quick Ways to Create Shade

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 17:12

Help sellers create a cool outdoor living space buyers will want to relax in during showings — and come back to after they’ve bought the place. Post to Facebook a free article from the REALTOR® Content Resource with smart ideas to create shade in the yard: “Quick Ways to Make Some Shade, but Don’t Forget Trees are Best,” It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Stay Cool for Less This Summer” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

The 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.

Pillow Talk: How to Use Pillows in Staging

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 02:00

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

I gotta say it, I LOVE pillows! I’ve seen so many spaces transformed with the simple addition of pillows that I had to share some of my favorite photos of pillow inspired spaces, as well as my top six tips to styling and staging with pillows!

My friend HSR Certified Gregg Churchill, an amazingly talented Australian Home Stager and Designer knows the art of pillow placement, so I’m using some of my favorite photos of his work exclusively to give you my top tips and to conclude with some of my favorite places to buy pillows …

Tip #1 – You Can NEVER Have Enough Pillows, so Go Big!

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design, mrhomestaging.com

Can you imagine if this furniture were not dialed in with pillows? This is a perfect example of how the right placement and selection of pillows can transform couches.

Tip #2 – Don’t Get “Matchy Matchy.” Mix It Up!

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design, mrhomestaging.com

As a designer, there are things you want to “match” to add calm and symmetry to a space (like the tables and lamps above). BUT when it comes to pillows, have fun and get a little crazy! I love how Gregg completely breaks the rules here with his color and pattern choices to make this otherwise boring, white space…POP!

Tip #3 – Use Pillows to Guide the Eye in Staging

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design, mrhomestaging.com

Okay, imagine this room without the pillows. Again, Gregg breaks some rules beautifully by drawing the eye up and away from the dated terra cotta tiled floors to the colorful, selection of pillows contrasted against the white couches. Not only does he distract but he connects the floors with the space through the choice of two similarly colored pillows….love it!

Tip #4 – A Square for Every Chair

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design, mrhomestaging.com

I have to say, I love the on-trend, coral pillows on the end chairs of this dining room as a way to connect the art with the space. By using a clean, bright, color palette of similar tones it all just flows well together, so add those pillow squares to the chairs when it works like this.

Tip #5 – Add Drama and Go “Colorless”

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design, mrhomestaging.com

This is probably my favorite photo because Gregg removes all the color from the space for dramatic effect, so the buyers walk in and go…whoah! The reason this works so well is because he cleverly inserts plenty of textures and pattern (fuzzy rug, platinum lamps, geometric throw and pillows). Gregg deleted the color from the space, which allows a buyer to notice the architectural elements they are buying that are special in this room, i.e. the wainscoting and hardwood floors.

Tip #6 – Pillows Make Spaces Happy!

Photo credit: Gregg Churchill, Mr. Home Staging & Design, mrhomestaging.com

This room without the pillows? You would have zapped all the “happy” out of the space.

Okay, I admit it…I’m a pillow junkie! This is why I like to buy pillow covers at www.etsy.com (search for “pillow covers” and look for good reviews), which means I can store them better. I also look for pillows with zipper enclosures for easy washing and storing.

I shop at HomeGoods, Pier1, BurkeDecor, WayFair, BallardDesign, and PotteryBarn (most of which I get my “To the Trade” Discount).

What are some other pillow tips you want to add?

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!

5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 17:37

Give sellers everything they need to transform their deck into that one feature of their home buyers can’t walk away from — without spending a fortune. Email a free article from the REALTOR® Content Resource: “5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300.” It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Livin’ Large in the Outdoors” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

The 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.