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Reluctant to stage your home ? I get it.

You are reluctant to stage your home, I get it. You love it as it is, so why shouldn’t someone else. You took time to pick out that purple/orange/lime green paint for the bathroom. You love the layout in your family room with those 2 comfy sofas you have had forever, where the dog loves to curl up. Your wall of family photos makes you happy and no, you don’t have a bed skirt, they are too much trouble. I get it.

So here lies the problem and might be the reason your home isn’t selling as quickly as you had hoped. How does that purple paint in your bathroom look in your online images. Does it make a small room look even smaller and darker. Does the floral shower curtain look too busy. Does it really show off the good points you are trying to emphasize in that room.  Does the lack of a bed skirt, lumpy, flat pillows and mismatched bedding say “Serene Master Bedroom”

You may think that your home looks perfect and is ready to sell, but remember: not everyone likes green paint in their living room or a floral bedspread in the master bedroom. Both men and woman want to envision themselves in your master bedroom. Show the buyer there’s enough space for both. You’re going to need to stage your home.

When listing a home, especially if you haven’t been involved in the world of real estate for a few years, you make the mistake of assuming that everyone walking in for a showing has the same taste as your family, and it would sell in no time. After two or three months on the market and zero interest, it may be time to switch things up a bit. Despite your reluctance to change the place you called home for 20 years, calling in an expert who does this for a living could be a game changer.

I sometimes have clients who are resistant to staging a home (a realtor may have called me in to be the bearer of bad news) but by the time I have done a staging consult they are starting to “get it”. Even newer homes need staging. One particular client was dead set against staging, but the area and price bracket their home was in, dictated the presentation required to sell. After a few days and a lot of persuading on the part of the realtor and input from my report they finally decided to go ahead.

Result, the home sold in 3 days after I staged.  A similar home, 3 doors down had been on the market for 6 months and had had a price reduction, which was far more than the cost to stage.

Change is hard but sometimes necessary and getting the right advice can make the process so much easier.

 

 

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Using moveable colour in home staging

You hear the word “neutral” all the time when talking about home staging but neutral has many different meanings. Using neutrals on large elements in a home makes sense. Flooring, surfaces, wall treatments etc. are large investments and a homebuyer wants to know these will be elements they can live with for many years. Having said that, if your home has features that date it, there are techniques home stagers can use to enhance the positive features and using “moveable colour” is one way to do that effectively.

 

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Colour moves us. It attracts us and stirs our emotions. I have seen many homes where the homeowners have put some staging techniques in to play by decluttering, depersonalizing and removing every last accessory etc. until they are left with a bland, beige box. Yes, you can go too far when preparing a home for sale, removing focal points, colour and anything that will attract a buyer to those online images.

Movable color in items a seller can take with them can update a home for very little cost. Moveable colors are bedding, towels, area rugs, artwork and accessories. By adding pops of colour to every room you instantly freshen and add interest but they have to be the right colours in the right amounts.

Stagers know how to get this right. We stage to highlight positives, create focal points and showcase a home that will attract your target buyer. If your home is occupied, very often we can use what you have, in a way you may not have thought about. If moveable colour is needed to add the finishing touches, we can make you a list of items needed and recommend where to find the best prices or we can shop for you or rent items from our staging inventory.

 

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With a vacant home a stager will choose the furniture, accessories and moveable items that will best highlight your property and appeal to your buyer.

You only get one chance to impress and cutting corners will only hurt your home sale. A small investment ensures you have your best foot forward from day 1 and saves you time and $$$$ by doing it the right way.

 

A little Prep

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Prepping your home for Winter sale

It’s been a brutal winter so far in my part of the world. Snowbanks are growing higher by the day and it’s hard just to get in and out of the house, let alone starting to think about preparing for selling. But the truth is, now is an ideal time to get a jump start on the competition. While many sellers are waiting for the first well awaited days of spring to list their home, you could be well on your way to sold.

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By using the winter as a time to improve your home’s interior appeal, it’s possible to command a higher price when serious buyers are out and about (and lets face it, you have to be serious about buying a home to slop around in this weather ) Put your snow days to good use and start the dreaded chore of de cluttering. I know, you’re cringing at the thought of mountains of books, movies, unworn clothing and the 27 travel mugs in the kitchen cupboards. We’ve all been there, (myself included having moved recently) You need a plan of action, someone to cheer you on when what you really want to do is to be curled up with the remote and Netflix. A staging consult can be a great motivator to get you started.

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When I first visit for a home consult one of the things I always hear is “I know we have to de clutter” but many times sellers underestimate how much time this really takes. You can’t just sort through 10, 20 or in some cases 50 years or more of belongings in a couple of weeks. Not if you want to minimize stress and wine consumption 🙂 Plus you may be removing some things that could be used as props for staging the home, while other things you think can stay, will not help your sale. Start by doing one closet, one drawer, put everything into a laundry basket and sort while watching t.v. if that helps get you get started. Starting is the hardest part so the sooner the better.

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Winter is also an excellent time to get a hold of trades, to do any repairs or renovations that will maximize selling appeal. During a consult a stager can recommend where to spend $$$ for best bang for your buck and where to save, by not doing renovations that will not bring a solid ROI. I read a report today that indicated both male and female buyers rate master baths and walk in closets as top of their wish list when purchasing a home, so upgrades in these areas are sure to be a worthwhile investment. Come Springtime when all the other sellers are scrambling to find a painter, plumber etc. you are already ahead of the pack.

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Selling a house requires you to make a potential buyer think that the home is already their own. Nothing gets in the way of this feeling more than another person’s clutter. Often, the things that buyers interpret as clutter are a homeowner’s prized heirlooms. Rather than purging your house of personal photos and accessories all at once, it can be less jarring to pack up your personal items slowly and move them into storage. These few weeks left of winter represent a perfect opportunity to start this process.

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What Homebuyers Don’t Want

6 Things that turn Homebuyers off

#1

Dated Décor

If the last time you updated was in 1985, you need to remedy that, stat! That dusty rose and forest green floral border is a red flag to a buyer. They are thinking, if you neglected to ditch the décor what else has not been maintained in the home. Same goes for shag carpets, swag lighting, shabby worktops and avocado appliances. These things will scream at a buyer in online images and you won’t even get them in the door, except for the ones looking for a rock bottom deal. Yes, you may like it or not want to invest the time and effort to change things but you have to put a buyer’s wants before yours when marketing a house. If not, be prepared for a no sale or lowball offers, it’s that simple

#2

Colour

Colour is a very personal choice. Colour, well being and emotions are very are closely linked. It not only affects how a room looks but how it feels. Colours can also play eye deceiving tricks, making a large room seem smaller and cozier and a small room more spacious. You can also use colour to draw attention to good features in a home and disguise less attractive ones. When a home stager makes a recommendation to change a colour in a room there is always a reason why. If the response is “But I love my bright pink kitchen” (not with oak cabinets, sorry)/ “Navy blue, tiny sitting room” (dark, dingy rooms with no direct light turn buyers off) / “Canary yellow living room” (lets try a calmer colour, buyers are stressed enough as it is)  Remember, once on the market it’s not your home any more and some colours just photograph better than others. That internet thing again!

#3

Lighting

Lighting, like colour creates mood and atmosphere. Sunlight instantly raises our spirits and makes us feel good. When buyers have to strain to see features in a room or the exact colour of the walls, they are not happy campers. One little dangling 40 watt bulb in a room, however well presented, is just sad. Time to pump up the volume with the highest wattage light bulbs a fixture can take, well placed table lamps and light fixtures that appeal to young buyers. You don’t have to spend big dollars these days to switch out dated fixtures. Ditch the shiny brass and go for simple, stylish designs. Less is more, even a simple drum shade is better than a fixture that would have looked at home in “Southfork” (the old series, not that new one, they could never replicate those shoulder pads and big hair) RIP Larry Hagman.

#4

Clutter

Oh clutter, where do I begin!!! Ok here’s the deal. You are selling square footage to a buyer. You are not selling, 20 years worth of National Geographics, a doll/ Star Wars/ cat figurine collection /every pair of shoes you ever bought since 1972. Need I go on? Pack it up, sell it, put it in storage or send it to your Mother in Law’s house. Clutter will eat up your equity. When buyers see clutter they are thinking “This home doesn’t have enough storage”, This Home isn’t well maintained” , “This home doesn’t meet my need’s” and online images of a cluttered home are the worst. It makes it hard to focus on the features of the home when all you can see is other peoples “stuff” Yes, it’s a pain to get rid of but you have to pack anyway so get a head start. If you need a plan of action that’s what stagers are for. A 2hr consult will be money well spent if you need a nudge in the right direction.

#5

Smells

I can usually instantly smell if a house has mould, smokers, are into cooking or if pets live there. Scent is one of the biggest turn offs for a buyer. Like clutter it’s something that you get used to everyday and becomes a non issue but to a buyer it can make or break a sale. The sense of smell is controlled by a primitive part of the brain, which is closely connected to the area that also controls mood and emotion. Some smells linger longer than others, on heavy drapes, furniture and rugs. A deep cleaning by experts is often the only way to remedy this and fresh paint works wonders in a room that has been smoked in or for cooking odours. Don’t go too heavy on the Glade plugins  either, it just looks like you are trying to cover something up. A small pot of water boiled with citrus peels added will help get rid of cooking smells.

#6

Unusable spaces

Any time you put a home on the market without defining what each room is used for you are leaving money on the table. If a bedroom, sitting room or dining room is used as a catchall for clutter, the ironing, unused toys or the dust collecting treadmill you have wasted a golden opportunity. Never use an unused room to stack boxes in. Not only does it look bad, it doesn’t give a buyer a clear idea what the heck they could use that room for. (Ever looked at a listing online and wondered what that room with all the boxes was for?) So many possibilities. Office, craft room, play room, nursery, extra bedroom. You have to market to your target buyers. A young family might need a playroom or nursery. Stage to sell, borrow items if need be, ask your stager if they rent inventory or search online or at yard sales. An older couple may wish for a small sitting room where they can relax when not entertaining or a craft room. If you are not sure where to start this is where a stager can answer all your questions and give suggestions to make sure you are marketing your property for maximum impact.

 

 

 

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