Why you need to hire a home stager, not a decorator when selling your home

It’s time to sell your home. You have a friend that is good at decorating, so you think you’ll have them help you with staging your home. Good idea or bad? First of all there is a difference between staging your home for sale, and decorating your home to live in it.  What does a home stager bring to the table that your friend can’t? Lots! Although we do both at Staged for Upsell, decorating is very different from helping a home owner prepare their home for sale. A home stager is trained to know exactly how much furniture a room should have amply show its space to the fullest. Space is money when selling your home. A home stager also knows how to arrange furniture to optimize flow and functionality in a home. Oftentimes home owners are using their home in the best way that ‘functionally’ suits their personal needs. Unfortunately when selling your home, it’s no longer about you, it’s about the buyers. Therefore, sometimes there is some adjustments that need to be made. A home stager can quickly access a room to determine the level of de-cluttering and exactly what needs to be de-cluttered, grouped, sorted, re-arranged, etc. to show the room at its best. Less is always more when selling your home. Whereas with decorating we’re often adding accessories and filling the space. I’m always telling clients if it’s not adding value to the room, take it away.

A home stager knows what’s important to buyers and what’s crucial to modify. An example? I often find clients using a spare closet in a room outside the kitchen as storage for some of their food. This is a red flag to buyers! They’re immediately thinking “there’s not enough kitchen cupboard space!” and they’re immediately back in the kitchen fretting over this. This could be a deal breaker for many buyers. This is just one example of the value a home stager brings in their training that a friend that is good at decorating doesn’t bring to the table.

Hiring a home stager for a consultation when selling your home isn’t expensive. Most home stagers are charging approximately $150 for a two hour consultation. My clients are always amazed at the difference that the two hour consultation can make.

A home staging consultation is an invaluable step when selling your home. Even if you don’t need ‘full’ staging services consider the consultation. Having your friend help may save you money, but it may cost you a hefty price reduction.  Are you willing to take the chance?

Sold in 14 days after staging

We’ve been staying busy staging homes. But we’ve also been very busy de-staging a lot of home after quick sales! Here’s another example of a happy customer. This property was a gorgeous ocean front property that was sitting on the market for approximately 6 months. The owners had been relocated to the US for work and were not able to successfully sell their home before their relocation date. After they moved it then sat vacant on the market. Vacant homes can be even harder to sell. The US relocation firm for the company worked with the real estate agents to have the property staged as they needed to have it sold asap. It was listed just under $1 million dollars. That’s a hefty mortgage to be sitting on!

does hone staging really work

The living room was exceptionally large and overlooked the ocean. The room also had a double-sided. We created two seating areas in the living room, one focused around the gorgeous fireplace.  We brought in a leather chaise closer to the window to create a lounging or reading area overlooking the ocean view. Imagine your self sipping coffee or reading a book from this spot.

The photos that were on realtor.ca before staging showed the home filled with very eclectic furniture and artwork. It was a bit over the top. That’s fine for living in your home, however, when you’re selling you need to appeal to the masses. With a beautiful view like this a subtle, calm but sophisticated room is what will sell.  We used modern contemporary furniture and décor to compliment the home and show case it at its full potential.

We were excited to hear that they had an accepted offer 14 days after staging the property. We’re asked all the time if house staging really works. The answer “Yes, good home staging works!” Give us a call today!

Staged then sold in less than 24 hours

I love helping home owners sell their homes. Here’s an example I see often – a home owner that has struggled for a long time to sell their property with no luck. In this case the home owners were relocated and living in another province, stuck paying a second mortgage on a home they couldn’t sell. This home in the Spryfield area had been on and off the market for over a year, with two different real estate agents. Marco Di’Qunizio of Press Realty took this listing over and enlisted Staged for Upsell to stage the main rooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bathrooms.

You enter the home in the living room area and it’s a small space, leaving you questioning what furniture you can fit in the room, and wondering if your sofa will even fit. You see, that’s one of the problems with a vacant property – they seem smaller without furniture in them! Too much furniture and they seem small as well, it’s having just enough furniture and the right size furniture that will make the room feel the most spacious.

This property had dark red walls in the living room, and a slightly retro kitchen. The home owners actually asked the realtor, Marco if I could stage the property slightly retro in the spirit of the home when they lived there. The reality was, that’s exactly how I saw the property even in it’s vacant state. Contemporary is the best way to go when selling your home, however, you really have to go with the feeling of the home. Bringing contemporary furniture into a home that feels retro only serves to make the home feel even more out of date. You have to embrace the feeling of the home, or things just feel out of place when it’s staged in a different style…good luck selling it then! Seeing that this home was under $200,000 I also knew we were targeting first time home buyers.

I brought in a small sectional that fit the space perfectly, and set up a seating area in the adjacent corner. For a coffee table and end table I used pieces that were glass to keep the space open, but slightly retro or mid century modern feeling.  Creating interest in the room also took the buyers eyes away from the slightly rough condition of the room, and allowed the buyer to see how much furniture the space could accommodate and how potentially to decorate it without having to paint it right away.

The other room that was a concern during the staging consult was the dinning room. We even contemplated which room we would use for the dining room. One was very small and lead out to the deck, the other one a room further back off the kitchen. We chose the smaller one, and I used a small glass table that fit the space to make the room feel larger.

After approximately a year on the market, staged and sold in less than 24 hours
After approximately a year on the market, staged and sold in less than 24 hours

The good news is, it went on the market and that night they received an offer! I really do love it when this happens, it’s a great feeling to help sell a property that has become such a burden, financially and emotionally for someone.

I have people ask me is house staging actually works. I have great stories like this all the time!

 

 

Painting your home to sell it

Painting is one of the best improvements when selling your home

Interior or exterior painting is among the lower-priced improvements, and can often afford nearly 100% return on investment. The colours you choose for your home when you’re living in it might be much bolder or daring than what suits the average buyer. When selling think neutrals.

Take a good look around your home

Be conscious of other elements around your home when choosing paint colours – things like cabinets, railings and flooring that you don’t want to change just because of a paint choice. You want to see the big picture and once again, this is where a home stager will prove invaluable.  In more modern homes greys tend to work really well, but in older homes ‘greige’ often works well.  Greige is a colour between beige and grey.  And there’s way more than 50 shades of grey – picking a grey that doesn’t have a mauve or blue tint can be hard for some people.  One of my go to grey colours that I find to be a ‘true’ grey is CIL  Silver cloud and one shade darker is Sutton Place.

Here’s a great example of how a neutral paint colour made a huge impact on the room.  Other small changes were made, such as removing some of the furniture, hanging different drapes, de-cluttering, and brining in a different, more up to date accent colour.

before and after painting

Try it first if you’re not sure

It can be helpful to bring home paint swatches and look at them at different times of the day and under various lighting. Lighting and angles can significantly change the way paint looks on a wall. Most paint suppliers these days offer ‘tester cans’ you can take home and try before committing to large cans of paint or the effort of painting an entire room only to discover you don’t like the result.

Think like a buyer

I often have clients that don’t want to paint, but think about it, you have incentive to paint, and yet some don’t want to do it. How does a buyer feel then? They may just pass up your home for the freshly painted one down the road. Buyers often dread the thought of having to paint as soon as they move in. It may not be a big deal for some of us, myself included, but a lot of people simply can’t see past a paint colour they don’t like.  Don’t take me wrong, I’m not suggesting that every home needs to be painted before it goes on the market. That’s not the case. I realize it’s an added expense, so I only suggest it if I really think the paint is worn looking, or the colours need to be neutralized. I can often work with a paint colour to bring out the best in the room.

Hire a professional

When you’re selling you’re often in a bit of a rush to get your home listed. Hiring a professional painter can alleviate a lot of stress. What can take you a week or more they can accomplish in about two days. And they’re so good at it! Most home owners can’t match the job that a professional painter can do.

….and don’t forget to touch up any trim that’s looking worn!

Home staging consultation – how does it work?

I get asked often how a home staging consultation works. First of all, I’m not going to judge you if your house is messy! 🙂 There’s nothing you have to do beforehand, or anything you need to prepare in advance of the consultation. How we live in our homes is quite different than the state it needs to be in when we’re selling. I’m going to help you by giving you recommendations to get your home in a show ready state.

As a home stager I have a fresh pair of trained eyes that will see things that you may have never noticed, or just fail to see now after living in your home for so long. Ideally the consult will be hands-on and we’ll make some changes during the two hour consult so you’ll begin to see the impact that some small changes can make.

We need to depersonalize the home. Take personal photos for example, they need to come down. There’s a few reasons, one, so buyers can’t identify you, and secondly so they picture themselves living in the house, rather than you living in the home.

During the consultation I will provide recommendations for updating certain aspects of the house, if required. Some may cost some money to implement, while others might not cost anything. You can choose what recommendations to implement. I will make recommendations on furniture placement, to allow for good flow and functionality of the home for potential buyers. Buyers want space and having too much furniture in a room can make the space feel smaller than it is, and having rooms vacant also has the same effect. Having just the right amount will maximize the space. If you require some furniture pieces I can help with rental pieces.

Working with what you have

As a professional home stager I’m easily able to access a room and its contents quickly, to see how to re-adjust, and/or de-clutter some of the contents to create a more show ready space. Often times there are pieces in a different room that can be utilized. The goal is always to use what you have in your home to maximize the space aesthetically.

Below is a great example of a transformation that a two hour consult can make.  During the consult we repositioned some of the furniture, and removed other pieces to make the room feel larger.  We also de-cluttered the room a bit, leaving windows clear of shades and trinkets, removing excess artwork that was taking away from the focus being the fireplace in the room. The client happened to have sheers packed away that complimented the room so we put those up. The old drapery was heavy and dark feeling. We found the throw and a couple of the decor pillows in a different room and pulled them into this room.  The client completed the rest of the work themselves, they painted based on a paint colour that was selected for them, and purchased the rug. You can see for yourself what a big transformation it made in this room. Small edits can make a huge impact!

before and after a home staging consult Haifax

Have you de-cluttered too much?

Sometimes clients have little to no décor in their home. De-cluttering is good, but you don’t want it to the point where the space is sparse and has no warmth or interest to it. Recommendations will be made as to what, if anything could be added to create a more cozy space.

Paint colours and wall conditions will be discussed. Neutral colours are best when selling and suggestions will be made for what, if anything requires touch up or complete painting during the consult.

The best thing to do is to have your home stager in early. I’ve had clients that just finished painting, and their choices really weren’t good for selling a home, and sometimes they have to repaint.

I have many clients that take the recommendations made during the consult and they apply the changes themselves. Many want some help, some are too busy, and others just know that it’s going to be much less stressful to have me help them. Should you have a lot of de-cluttering and packing to do, helpers can be sent in to give you a hand with this should you need the extra help.

DIY Home Staging or Hiring a Home Stager

Whether you choose to go the DIY route and make the changes yourself, or hire me to help you, the two hour consult can be invaluable. My passion is to help people prepare their homes for sale in order to get top dollar. I’m here to help…please call me or pass along my name and contact info to a friend or family member that is moving soon!

Finally a storage solution that works for clients!

I had to share this great storage solution with you. The company’s tag line is “A fresh idea in self storage™” and I have to agree!  If you haven’t heard of them, they’re called Saltbox Storage and they’re located in Burnside.

SaltBox_logo

When you’re selling a home it’s really important to show each room with just the right amount of furniture.  Too much furniture in a room will make it feel small and buyers are looking for maximum space. Space = money when you’re selling.  A home stager can give you recommendations on what pieces should be removed from your home to maximize space or create better flow through the home.  A home stager will also help you with furniture placement in each room. Or maybe a room is doubling as two functional (or not so functional) rooms.  I’ve seen office desks in master bedrooms.  If there is no other space in the home to set up the desk (or store it)…it’s important to get it out of the house!

9dollarsmonth-01So…what’s so great about Saltbox?  How about the fact that to store one piece of furniture it’s only $9/month!  Yes, you heard right, they will pick up one item at no charge, store it for $9 a month, and return it to you for $20! Of course, you can send more than one piece, and each additional piece will also be $9/month, with the same return cost.

There are some parameters around this…the furniture piece must be less than 50 lbs, and less than 6 ft long.

Oversized items:

So, what if it’s over 50 lbs or over 6ft?  This is considered an oversized item and will cost more:  $39/month

Saltbox will pick it up for free, store it for $39/month, and return it for $45 to you.  That’s still a pretty sweet deal to me!

 

Vaults:

So, what if you have enough excess furniture that you need your own storage space?  Saltbox also offer ‘vaults’, in two different sizes:

5x5x7  and 7x7x7 ft

Please note that the free pick up and free return is based on a 3 month minimum contract.

When you sign a contract for 3 months Saltbox will provide 1 free return per month for Vault 25 & 49. Nice!

If you don’t want to sign for a minimum of 3 months then there will be a charge of $90 to pick up the items, and a $90 return fee would also apply.  However, keep in mind their movers are also doing all the heavy lifting for you.

 

Additional awesomeness:

What else makes their service amazing?

  • They provide two professional movers to do all the moving.
  • They wrap all your furniture items

It’s a pretty sweet service if you ask me.  Click here to visit their website for full details.

Cleaning your home to sell it

When you get your home ready to list you need to clean like you’ve never cleaned before.  Cleaning your home to sell it can be more intensive than your usual spring cleaning. It needs to be immaculate so be prepared to clean every nook and cranny. This is best tackled after all the de-cluttering has taken place. Walls, baseboards, windows, trim, curtains, appliances such as the refrigerator, oven and range hood and dishwasher, frames on artwork and mirrors, carpets, cupboards…need I continue? Leave no surface untouched. Just like all the clutter and ‘things’ in our home, we often don’t see all the dirt that’s collecting on the baseboard, etc. A home stager can help you identify those areas needing cleaning.

Odours are another big one. Strive to make your home as odour neutral as possible. Strong odours can be a certain turn-off to many buyers, especially if they suffer with allergies, asthma or chronic sinus problems. Some people think adding pleasant smells is a good idea but no scents is not nonsense. Avoid cooking foods with strong smells like fish, garlic, curry or onions while your home is on the market. One of the best measures you can take is to open up all the windows and air out your house every day if possible. Running an air conditioner or dehumidifier is great for mitigating musty odours.

Remember that old adage about familiarity and contempt? You live in your house and may be ‘nose blind’ to possibly offensive smells. Invite a friend or neighbour in to do a sniff test and insist they be brutally honest. Tobacco smoke is another turn off for buyers so if you smoke do it outside during your listing period and make every attempt to eliminate any related residual odours.

Consider calling in a professional cleaning service for a one day blitz at the very least. As a home staging company, Staged for Upsell can provide cleaning services to you to ensure your home is not only picture perfect, but also squeaky clean for those important photos. And remember, the cleaning doesn’t stop after the photos – your home needs to be squeaky clean the entire time it’s listed!

Clutter eats equity

As a home owner when you’re selling your home it’s often hard to detach yourself from your home and really look at it objectively. You’re so use to looking at your home that you don’t even notice how much you’ve gathered, or you can’t imagine how else to place the furniture. As we go through life we tend to collect or purchase things that catch our eye, or we’re handed down things from parents or grandparents, etc. Although we already have plenty, we take something new home and try to find a spot for it.

Some people feel that every wall requires a piece of art or wall decor – not the case. In fact, you’re just over cluttering and taking focus away from key elements of your room. Do you have a beautiful fireplace, but you’ve put so much on the walls and mantle that your eye really doesn’t know where to rest?

As a home stager when I go into a sellers home I’m an objective, fresh pair of eyes. I’m seeing things for the first time, and can almost instantly see how furniture can be re-arranged, what pieces might need to be removed in order to maximize the space and make it feel bigger. Often clients have too much furniture placed in each room. Having too much furniture makes the room look smaller, a vacant room on the other hand looks small. Having just the right amount of furniture makes it look larger. It’s a fine line that a home stager is really good at figuring out.

When I have clients that have several small pieces of artwork randomly placed on a wall I often take some of those pieces down during the consult so they can see the difference, and I’d say 99% don’t object…they can see the difference. Before removing a piece of art a client may be concerned about a nail hole left in a wall. I always explain that buyers won’t really notice the nail hole, they will however notice all the artwork randomly placed and clutter eats equity.

I often tell clients to think of graphic design, where white space is utilized. A good graphic designer leaves white space so it’s not too cluttered or too confusing. It doesn’t mean the space is actually ‘white’, but it’s left blank so there is focus on the key elements. The same goes in your home.

Think of your office desk…are you settled and productive when your desk is a mess? A clean, organized desk creates calmness and a home is no different. A home stager knows how to de-clutter a room and create this calmness. Buyers need to feel calmness and a get a good vibe from your home.

Remember clutter eats equity!! If you struggle with where or how to start, or what should be removed for décor or furniture call a home stager in for a home staging consultation.

New study: Realtors say staging can increase the value of your home up to 6-10%

staged homes-01You’re thinking of selling, and like everyone, you want top dollar. Staging your home can be the ammunition you need to make your home stand out amongst the competition, and result in higher offers.

In a recent study by the National Association of Realtors® 2015 Profile of Home Staging, 49% of surveyed realtors who work with buyers believe that staging usually has an effect on the buyer’s view of the home. Realtors on the buyers side that took part in the study believe that staging makes an impact in several ways:

  • 81% said staging helps buyers visualize the property as a future home
  • 46% said it makes prospective buyers more willing to walk through a home they saw online
  • 45% said a home decorated to a buyer’s tastes positively impacts its value
  • 10% said a home decorated against a buyer’s taste could negatively impact the home’s value.

Top producing realtors understand the importance of a home looking great in order to market it more effectively and to bring in offers quickly. Many realtors that I work with provide a home staging consultation for every listing, as well as suggesting staging to their clients. In the study the majority of realtors that work with sellers were found to utilize staging as a marketing tool in at least some of the instances, with 34% utilizing staging on all homes.

In addition to attracting potential buyers more quickly, staging can increase the value of your home and bring in offers above asking price.  In the study two realtors groups within the study believe that buyers offer above asking price for staged homes as follows:

  • Offer a 1 – 5% increase on the value of a staged home
  • While another group believed it to be closer to a 6 to 10% increase on the value

Every location and market is different, however, no matter what the market, it’s clear that staging your home for sale can be a factor in selling your home more quickly, and possibly for more. To read more about the study click here.

What exactly is staging? Well, it’s more than just decluttering, and cleaning. Staging includes ensuring that each room in your home is being used in a way that is ideal for selling conditions, that furniture layout is optimal for great flow throughout your home, as well as prepping or lightly decorating your home to show well and create a must have.

If your home is vacant it’s even more important to stage your home. Vacant homes can be very difficult to sell. When you’re home is vacant, its void of character, rooms look smaller, the home feels “cold”, and I don’t mean temperature wise. There’s also nothing to focus on, so buyers focus on all the imperfections. Even if you’re still living in your home your goal should be to have buyers focusing on the beautiful décor – not the flaws.

To view a portfolio of my staging click here.

Call me at 902-830-3170, or email me at joanna@stagedforupsell.com today for a consultation to stage your home for sale. I’d love to help you sell quickly and for top dollar!

Why less is more when selling your home

less is more when selling your home
Less is more is a phrase I use often when doing a home staging consultation. When a home is completely vacant besides buyers having a hard time visualizing the true size of the space, or how they would fit their furniture, they also see every flaw. There’s nothing else for them to look at or to distract their eye so they hone in on all the little flaws! On the other hand, if there’s too much clutter or a home is over decorated they don’t know where to look and can’t see past the clutter. If there is too much furniture the space will actually appear smaller.

Decorating to live is much different than staging to sell. When your home is on the market it’s important that potential buyers can see themselves living in the house – not you and your family living in the house. That means removing personal items, family photos, collectibles, trophies, etc.

Home owners tend to not notice their own homes any more. They’ve looked at everything so long they don’t see what other people see. A home stager can look at your home with a fresh pair of eyes and they’re trained to notice everything.

Storage areas and closets are important to buyers so make sure you purge these areas as well. Buyers are going to look everywhere in your house so don’t kid yourself that you don’t need to clean and de-clutter your closets. You also need to clean and de-clutter garages and sheds. Every inch of space is valuable when selling your home!

If you’re not listing your home for a few months use the time to start de-cluttering and sorting through those closets now rather than waiting until the last minute. You’ll be really glad you did! It will also give you time to sell any unwanted items, that’s always a great bonus.

On average a home owner should pack away approximately 30% of their belongings. Using a storage container such as PODS is a great solution for removing excess furniture, personal items and storage from your property. If you do use one make sure you have PODS store it for you off your property while your home is for sale. You don’t want to advertise to potential buyers that you don’t have sufficient storage or space in your home! The other benefit of using a POD container is that you’ve already got some of your packing done for when you move to your new home. You can have PODS deliver the POD container to your new home.

All this said, there is a fine line when it comes to staging a home for sale – you want to remove all the clutter, but you also need to add or keep a little bit of decor. For example, I hate when I see a kitchen table without something on it. Add floral or a beautiful decor piece that will accentuate the space, and add decor to a coffee table. Décor also adds softness to a room, a stark room is uninviting and cold. Adding the right décor and artwork to a fireplace mantle and arranging furniture the right way can create a beautiful focal point in the room. It’s knowing what to take away and what to add or leave that makes a space amazing and keeping in mind that less is more.