Staging : It’s so much more than cleaning & de cluttering

When I visit a client for a staging consult one of the first things they say to me is “I know I have to de clutter and clean”, but that is only the start in the staging process. Staging is the last step in property prep, after rooms are de cluttered, furniture rearranged or rented, all repairs and upgrades are completed and the house has been deep cleaned, then a stager can begin. It’s the icing on the cake that will entice a buyer when surfing though thousands of online images. You only have a few seconds for your home to wow, so you have to make the most of it and use all resources available.

 

Home Staging
Purchasing or renting furnishings to appeal to your demographic is a worthwhile investment

 

Staging for your buyer demographic is crucial. The average seller has lived in their home for quite a few years and if the property hasn’t been upgraded or décor is stuck in the last decade or three it raises a red flag to a younger buyer. One thing most buyers object to is wallpaper. It’s one of those décor choices that is very personal. Yes, you may love the bold floral pattern, that’s why you choose it, but that’s the problem, you choose it. The time and money a buyer will have to invest in removing it is often enough to put them off buying a home, so remove their objections, do it before selling. Trust me on this I’ve seen it time after time.

 

Most buyers object to the work of removing wallpaper when buying a home
Most buyers object to the work of removing wallpaper when buying a home

 

Fresh paint is money in a can. Certain colours photograph better than others, I always advise to change bold colour choices. Deep colours in certain rooms don’t show off their true potential. I recently consulted with a Realtor on a home that has been lingering on the market for almost a year. The main areas of the home were clean, bright and well presented but the basement was dark with dreary wood paneling and buyers were not impressed. It was letting the rest of the home down. I advised the Realtor i consulted with to repaint the whole basement in a creamy white and it looked fabulous once it was complete. Bright, clean and much more inviting, the difference was amazing. All for a few cans of paint. The listing has since sold. 

 

Colours that dominate a room are bad choices for staging
Colours that dominate a room are bad choices for staging

 

With window treatments, less is more. If in doubt remove it, especially in the Summer months. Bright rooms entice buyers so ban the nets, heavy drapes and valances. Show off those moldings, that view, a beautiful garden, those are your selling features, not the drapes from 1985. Again stage for your buyer demographic, not your tastes. Simple, plain fabrics work best on an updated rod. When I say simple, not a sheet, flag or my personal pet peeve, knotted in the middle (excuse me while I rock in a corner) Show buyers you take pride in your home and don’t distract them with bad decor choices.

 

Where do I start !!!
Where do I start !!!

 

The same principal applies to furniture. Less is more. Often staging requires removing items rather than adding, so if you have an abundance of seating or too many dressers in the bedroom, some has to go. You are selling square footage and buyers want to see it. Furniture layout can be tricky in some homes and this is where your stager can advise the best layout for traffic flow, picture taking and to show buyers the potential use of a room. Often a few simple adjustments to layout will make a world of difference. I’ve seen sofas blocking fireplaces, doorways and windows that have fabulous views, all selling features you want to highlight not hide. The eye needs somewhere to rest. There is no eye resting in the room below, every wall plastered with something and a strange furniture layout makes the room look strange Did you even notice the fireplace in the room ? See what I mean about furniture layout hiding the best features. 

 

Remove some furniture pieces so a layout isn't confusing to buyers
Remove some furniture pieces so a layout isn’t confusing to buyers

 

So, after many other issues are addressed a stager can work their magic. It’s a multi step process and giving yourself lots of time to prepare is key. Investing in at least a Staging Consult can save you time, money and frustration. We deal with all these issues and more every day so we can help make your property stand out and attract a buyer, when the competition is turning them away with lackluster presentation.

Staging just makes sense in this economy.

 

PicMonkey Collage 31

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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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How to :Style a bookcase

A bookcase is usually one of the largest pieces of furniture in your home and often one of the most personal. You can tell alot about a person by the books they own,the momentos they keep and which items they treasure most.

When selling a home this is usually a spot that needs alot of editing.Too many items can distract from beautiful woodwork and workmanship, or in some cases a nearby fireplace. You want buyers to focus on the features of a home versus contents!

When staging a bookcase I like to clear the decks and start with a clean slate. Now is a perfect time to go through all your books and decide   1.Would I read it again.  2.Is a 15 year old, dog eared paperback really worth having in my collection.   3.Is the information in the book outdated.  4.Could the book be of more use to someone else e.g.  A club or group,seniors home, woman’s shelter.

Keeping only the items you truly treasure and mean something to you makes a collection and not just a pile of “stuff”

Your collections could tell a story. An event,special vacation,a fun weekend in the city. By displaying & grouping of  items that relate to an event it also tells your guests a little about you and can be a great ice breaker to start a conversation. Just switch out some items when selling to depersonalize slightly. The picture on the left tells the story of a fabulous weekend of shopping,art galleries and a dress up date. Tickets to a show would be a fun addition too .More books can be added to either side,with bookends (A Statue of Liberty set would be the perfect touch)

 

How you style your bookcase depends on the season and location too.The bookcase on the left I styled for a photoshoot for Wicker Emporium,Halifax. Summer is the season and evident in the colours,items and style of the bookcase.A definite “cottage” theme. Where would you rather kick back for some quiet time.The messy office in the first picture or the tranquil spot with the relaxing feel? Don’t feel you have to have all your wordly goods on display at one time.Rotate collections seasonally or change it up when you have a new memory to add. This also keeps your decor fresh and current.Having the same items on your bookshelf for 5,10,15 years or longer is automatically going to date your space in the eyes of a homebuyer.

 

 

Too many items in a workspace is distracting. Editing is even more important in the place you need concentration.In the office pictured left items are kept to a minimum. Books are facing with pages front to give a uniform look,only showing one colour,the book pages.A great trick if your books are looking worse for wear or you have too many colours clashing on the shelves. The decorative bookends echo the curve of the desk. (Wicker Emporium)

 

Children’s bookcases need to be funtional. When staging I advise homeowners to only keep the minimum of books and toys in child’s room. This cuts down on clean up time at the end of the day and when preparing for showings.Display favourite books and rotate with some different ones every so often to keep the selection fresh,for parents and little ones! Showing maximum sq footage in children’s rooms is especially important as space is usually limited.

 

 

 

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HALIFAX N.S.

 

 

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