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!

Sold in 13 days after staging

Another happy client! We received a call from a homeowner that had a second property that he desperately wanted to sell. After almost 6 months on the market I could sense his frustration. In fact, he told me how frustrated he was! He was now turning to us for help in getting this property sold quickly. He hadn’t heard of home staging, and unfortunately his agent hadn’t told him about it.
It was sitting vacant and vacant properties are very hard to sell. It really doesn’t matter how nice the property is, a vacant property has no warmth, character or wow factor.

We staged the main rooms, the living room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bathrooms. The client received an offer very quickly but turned it down as it wasn’t high enough. We were really excited when we got word from the client that they had another offer which they had accepted. Sold in 13 days our client was so relieved and we’re so happy to have been able to help!

Sold 13 days after staging

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.

Staging an up-scale condo

There are thousands of condos on the market in most cities. Standing out amongst the competition is important and condo staging is a must!  When a condo is vacant there’s a few problems with that.  First of all, the condo will appear smaller than it is, there’s nothing in the room to give proper depth perception.  Buyers struggle to know if their furniture will fit in the space, or how to arrange it.  Buyers also struggle to make an emotional connection.

Having too much furniture in a room is also a mistake some sellers make, it will make a room appear smaller. It’s really important to have just the right amount of furniture and to allow for good flow from room to room, and to create conversational areas that are intimate.

Using white furniture in this up-scale condo still allowed the view to take center stage and created a beautiful, soft contrast that really made the water pop out in the photos.  Incorporating natural wood elements in the room, such as the live edge coffee table brings warmth to the condo. I often find that some condos that are staged are quite masculine and sometimes feel a bit cold.  This live edge table is always a hit with the men as well – even the rough and tough tradesmen!

Using a glass dining table kept the space feeling open, and doesn’t constrict the space…it feels quite large in the photos and in person. The base of the table is chrome adding to the modern feel. Industrial stools were used at the island, and small touches in the kitchen were added. Less is always more when staging – you want clean and uncluttered.

I love how this condo turned out, after I staged it I really didn’t want to leave!

staigng a upscale condo-01

Photography by Chris J. Dickson, Halifax DIGITAL Imaging

 

Staged homes spend less time on the market

Homes that are staged before listing spend considerably less time on the market before garnering a sale, no matter what the price range. Consider these statistics from the Real Estate Staging Association study conducted in the U.S.A. in 2013:

HOMES IN EXCESS OF $1 MILLION

  • Of a total of 82 homes in this category 62 were staged prior to entering the market and sold on average within 38 days.
  • The remaining 13 homes, not staged, sat on the market an average of 97 days.

HOMES PRICED BETWEEN $500,000 and $999,999

  • 139 staged homes in this group sold within 21 days on average.
  • 24 non-staged homes took an average of 140 days to sell.

HOMES PRICED BETWEEN $300,000 and $499,999

  • 170 staged homes took an average of 22 days to sell.
  • 25 homes not staged sold, on average, at 125 days.

HOMES PRICED BETWEEN $100,000 and $299,999

  • 137 staged homes sold within an average of 19 days.
  • 20 homes not staged took an average of 127 days to sell.

These are extraordinary statistics. Equally dramatic examples from my own staging experience include a home that sold in 5 days for $10,100 above the asking price, and a home that had an accepted offer in less than a day. I sold my own home through my realtor of trust of course, a modest split entry, during an all-time low in the Halifax, Nova Scotia housing market of 2013, in two days. At the time there were numerous others for sale nearby including a larger two storey with garage on the street behind me. It sat on the market for several months, finally going for just a couple of thousand dollars more than my own. I have no doubt that, if properly staged, it would have sold much quicker and at a price closer to its true value, which was certainly much more than mine.

Obviously there is much more to property sales than simply staging, nonetheless, home staging or the lack thereof, is a common denominator in all of them. They merely serve to highlight the power and importance of professional home staging. Home staging isn’t an expense, it’s an investment, especially when compared with the loss in profit as a result of a price reduction, excessive time on the market or the necessity of holding a second mortgage if you’ve already made the move to your new home before selling your previous one.

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!

Lighting when selling or updating

Lighting updates are a reasonably inexpensive improvements that can create an amazing difference in the overall appearance of your home. As a home stager I’m always looking at existing lighting fixtures to see if new fixtures should be considered to update the home for sale. When I’m wearing my interior decorating hat this is almost always an area that requires updating to bring a fresh new look and style to a home.

Local hardware stores are terrific sources for great lighting options that won’t break the bank. Consider updating pendant lighting over an island or the dining table overhead fixture. Under cabinet lighting in the kitchen is a dramatic possibility that costs very little to achieve. A home stager can help you pick out lighting, and some can even coordinate the installation with an electrician.

Here’s an example of a great light that was chosen for a client with an older home in the south end of Halifax. It really fit the style of the home adding elegance.

photo 3

And here is a photo from a vacant staging project where all the lighting was updated by the client shortly before listing.  Wow…love the lighting!

home staging halifax dining room

Need some help – contact me for a home staging consultation or decorating consultation. I’m here to help!