staged for upsell

Event Furniture and Decor for Networking Event

I had the pleasure of offering event staging services for 100 Men Who give a Damn. 100 Men Who Give a Damn Halifax is an organization that involves close to 250 men within Halifax that come together quarterly to help local charities.

It’s a great concept, four charities have 5 minutes to pitch why their charity should receive the money gathered during the evening. I should go back…each member contributes $100 during each meeting.  Right after the presentations by the charities the men vote and a cheque is presented to the charity that received the most votes. When all members are present the contribution is over $20k! At this last event the Kids Help phone Halifax received over $16K and that amount can go up ad absent members send in their cheques.

One of the main organizers, Neil Stephen, felt that the group would benefit from more networking after the event and that setting up the venue with some lounging areas and cocktail tables would provide a better atmosphere, to compliment the already existing cash bars.

Feedback was great, Neil felt that it was their best networking event, tightened up the space, and that the set up did exactly what he wanted…created a better space and atmosphere for the event.

It was a fun event to stage. My goal was a sophisticated “man cave” networking space. I used grey leather furniture, modern black chairs, Noguchi style occasional tables and décor rental pieces were made from metals and woods to give it a very masculine feel.

Do you need an event design company to create an amazing event space, or need event furniture rental? Contact Staged for Upsell for all your event staging and event design needs.

Event staging - Man cave style
Event staging – Man cave style
Event staging - Man Cave
Event staging – Man Cave

event furniture rental 001

Kings Wharf VIP Event Staging

King’s Wharf was celebrating the Grand Opening of their next condo building, the Killick.   For this VIP event staging project, I received a call from the Event Manager, Menna Riley, who was looking for furniture rental options different from what everyone had seen so many times at events around Halifax.

The venue was amazing, with full length windows overlooking the Halifax Harbour and the downtown area, and concrete floors, walls and columns.  I brought in grey leather sofas, modern black chairs, and benches to make separate conversational areas within the space.  I used white glass occasional tables and for the benches I used white ones, and areas rugs to soften the space slightly and to complete the separate conversational areas.  Having a lot of these white nesting occasional tables I was able to add them in additional areas to create a real cohesive look, while tightening the space to create a more intimate setting.

For the event décor rental for the seating areas I used pieces that were on the industrial side and somewhat gender neutral and embraced the beautiful natural roughness of the concrete environment.  Menna had a bar area, coat check, red carpet area with artwork set up, and lighting to pull the space together beautifully!  It was a great event to work on, the final results were great and Menna was such a treat to work with!

Event Staging Services Halifax
King’s Wharf VIP Event Staging

Event staging services - furniture and decor rental Halifax

The value of a pre-inspection when selling your home

Not so long ago it was strictly buyers who commissioned a home inspection as part of the conditions of an accepted offer. Nowadays the pre-inspection is moving rapidly from trend to essential for placing your home on the market. Here’s why. Placing that pre-inspection topper on your ‘for sale’ sign is an indicator of your own confidence in your product and a powerful marketing device. This doesn’t mean any potential buyers won’t perform an inspection of their own once an offer is hammered out. In fact, I would deem it a necessity. But the pre-inspection has significant value for the seller for a number of reasons.

Knowledge is Power

The ramifications involved in identifying problems beforehand go far beyond the simple knowledge a pre-inspection offers. Buyers are wary creatures. They naturally don’t wish to be saddled with the legendary ‘money pit’ and are constantly on the lookout for ammunition that will afford leverage for forcing down the price. This, of course, is as it should be in a healthy market but part of the seller’s job is to ensure there’s as little ammunition available as possible. Leave the inspection to the buyer and you may find yourself scrambling to remediate an issue within the time frame stipulated in your agreement of purchase and sale.

The period pending finalization of a conditional offer is a delicate one. This is when buyers can, for many reasons (inspection issues, financing, disclosures, etc.), lose interest or get cold feet, demand refund of their deposit and simply walk away. During the time you, as a seller, have accepted the buyer’s offer, your property has an acceptable offer and the conditions are worked off in a timely manner and as outlined in the agreement.  You may receive other and subsequent offers, however they are ‘back up offers’ so to speak and will remain so for the (unlikely) event your first offer falls through due to dissatisfaction of set up conditions. Whatever the circumstances, this is a period fraught with its own particular anxiety and stress. But discover problems beforehand, and it places you the seller in command. You can choose to fix the issues yourself or simply reveal them to any buyers along with valid estimates for their rectification. Choice is your ally.

From a buyer’s point of view, the pre-inspection portrays the seller as open and honest. It’s demoralizing to get excited about a home, place an offer and have it accepted and then discover major issues when an inspection occurs. Even the most seemingly pragmatic of buyers brings a degree of emotion to the process. A buyer who has been through this already by investing in their home inspector to find the chosen home is everything but what it seemed, or who has at some point in the past purchased the legendary ‘lemon’ will be gun shy. The enticement of a pre-inspection may be all that’s required to calm their fears enough to facilitate a viewing followed by a satisfactory agreement of purchase.

Uncle Bob

As is the case with sourcing a good realtor, having a top notch home inspector is just as important.  An inspector referred by someone you trust is a good place to start. After that, ask questions. How much experience do they have? Are they graduates of a home inspection program, do they have practical familiarity with the construction trades? Some of the best inspectors have been journeyman tradespeople, often retired from the rigours of their trade, with extensive renovation experience. They may be specialists in a particular aspect of the building trade, and are familiar enough with aspects of all other sub-trades (electrical, plumbing, carpentry and so on) that they’re capable of auditing all of your home’s systems. The cream of the crop will be ‘Peter Parkers’, possessing a kind of spider sense that will alert them to issues intuitively before they even identify the causes.

Having ‘Uncle Bob’ do your inspection is probably not a good idea, assuming Uncle Bob’s not a qualified inspector or tradesperson. Certainly it’s not going to cut it as a valid inspection you can employ as a marketing tool. On the other hand, you will encounter buyers who’re willing to have their Dad, or their Uncle Bob, do their inspection. Also not a good idea as it can open the negotiation process to a host of issues if they don’t have the credentials to back up their findings, whatever their validity. It’s essential that any agreement of purchase and sale stipulate that inspections are to be performed by a licensed professional who can be held responsible for their actions.

Whoever does your inspection note their level of preparedness. If they don’t arrive armed with the right stuff then warning bells should be ringing in your mind. I’m talking about ladders and a good flashlight, moisture and electrical meters, and a thermal camera at the very least. A proper inspection could easily take the better part of a day and will involve every part of the home and should be followed by a consult and a detailed written report of findings. Beware the inspector who breezes through in an hour, fills out a brief checklist and asks to be paid.

Get in the driver’s seat

If your realtor hasn’t already suggested a pre-inspection talk to them about having one completed. Once you’re armed with the results of the inspection you’ll have some decisions to make on whether to fix some issues or just get quotes for the buyer, however, either way you move forward you and your realtor will be in control and closing on your home should be quick and smooth.

For more tips of selling your home download my free-book The Smarter Way to Sell Your Home.

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!

Painting trim, window and door frames for an instant update

Is your home slightly older and sporting unpainted trim and window frames?  This can leave a home looking outdated.  Some people are really timid about making the decision to paint out trim and window frames, or even doors.  But it’s amazing the difference this can make to the overall look and feel of your home.  Painting out these items can make your home look years younger!

In the example below, a fresh coat of paint was applied to the walls. The window frames, and trim as well as baseboards were painted white.  The house has a much more modern feel to it now and the hardwood floor pops against the white.

before and after entry way

In this example, the doors, trim, baseboards and crown moulding were painted white.  The flooring was also changed to a hardwood or laminate, the ballasters on the stairwell were painted white, and the walls were painted a natural tone that compliments the flooring.  This homes entry way goes from old and drabby to new with a wow factor.

hall 1

 

Whether you can choose to roll up your sleeves and paint it out yourself, or hire someone to do the work for you the change will be dramatic!

Listing your home this spring? Beat the rush and get your home ready now!

for sale signsThinking of listing your home in the spring? You may want to beat the rush and get at it sooner. A lot of homeowners that had their homes on the market last fall took them off for the holidays or winter season.  Most of them are planning to relist in spring, or even sooner.  Listing when there is less competition can put you in a better position to sell quickly.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia we experienced another buyers’ market last year, meaning there were more homes for sale than buyers available. 2015 will also be a buyers market in Halifax. Having your home looking great is essential no matter what time of year you list your home, or what the market conditions are – after all you want top dollar no matter when you sell! Having it look great involves de-cluttering, de-personalizing, fixing minor repairs, and sometimes adding more up to date furniture and décor to really make it stand out.  De-cluttering sounds pretty easy, but many home owners struggle with this. After all you live in your home, and you don’t really see what is in your home anymore. Determining what needs to be de-cluttered and de-personalized, how rooms are best set up, how furniture might be arranged differently to make flow from room to room better, or to make your rooms appear bigger and create focal points are all things that a home stager can help you with during a consultation. And of course, furniture and décor can be rented to put the finishing touches on the home. Having your home staged can result in a buyer rushing to make an offer because they don’t want to lose it to another buyer.

If you have a vacant home, or you’re moving from your home into another one soon, and taking all your furniture with you inquire about vacant home staging. Vacant homes elicit no emotional connection with a buyer, and buying a home is definitely an emotional purchase. Vacant homes tend to sit on the market for extended periods of time. In vacant homes rooms look much smaller than they actually are, and many buyers struggle to picture how they would arrange their furniture, or worse, question whether or not their furniture would fit in the space. If you’re carrying two mortgages because you’ve moved into your new home and your old home hasn’t sold yet all the more reason to stage your home. Staging a home may be less expensive than you think – and better than a price reduction!

Never go it alone, always use a real estate agent! Start interviewing real estate agents if you don’t already have one that you work with. Find one that you’re comfortable with that you feel will work hard to get your home sold. It’s always important to price your home right when it hits the market. Pricing it too high will just have it sitting on the market longer. Your real estate agent has access to market data to help you price your home right.

Start out strong – with a great realtor, your home looking its best with the help of a home stager, and having it priced right from the beginning. That’s a winning combination!

Let me help you get your home looking its best before you list! Your realtor will thank you for it too – after all it’s much easier to sell a home that looks great and creates an emotional connection and must have for buyers.

Call me at 902-830-3170 or email me at joanna@stagedforupsell.com, I’d love to help you!

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.

Military Relocation? Home staging consultations are covered!

Are you a member of the Canadian military and selling your home due to a military relocation?  If so, you probably don’t have the luxury of time on your side.  You need to sell quickly and you want top dollar for your home!

Selling a home can be a stressful situation for many people. Having a relocation date looming over your head can make it even more stressful!  Having to leave your home behind that is still not sold can be heart breaking and take stressful to another level completely!

Did you know that the National Defense and the Canadian Forces (www.forces.gc.ca) covers home staging consultation fees?  Home staging consultations are a reimbursable expense under section 8.2 “Sale of Principle Residence”, subsection 8.2.11 “Home Staging”.  As well home staging services can be covered as part of your relocation benefits.

What’s involved in a home staging consultation?

Home staging consultations are really beneficial to any home owner that is thinking of selling their home. As a home staging expert I have a trained set of eyes. You live in your home and you don’t even notice things anymore. As a home stager I can give you advice on de-personalizing your home, de-cluttering it, create focal points in your room, identify minor repairs that should be fixed, suggest ways that furniture can be repositioned to flow better or make better use of rooms.

I’ve worked with clients that are very hands on during the consultation and we’re moving furniture and de-cluttering during the consultation.  It’s remarkable the change that can take place in the home before I even walk out of a home two hours later.  They may still have some things to do after I leave, but the change can still be remarkable even at the end of a consultation.

As a home stager, I try to work with what you already have in your home. Sometimes we need to take a bit away – I tell many of my clients less-is-more.  Sometimes we need to add a bit of décor or furniture pieces in to really make the home look amazing.  Rather than you having to buy stuff you may not be able to use in your next home, I can offer furniture and décor rental from my warehouse inventory for rent on a monthly basis.  But the main goal is to use what you currently have!  When needed I suggest minor updates or repairs that are inexpensive but make a big impact, keeping in mind the price point of the home, who your target buyer is and return on investment!

Staging for Vacant Properties

If you’ve already moved due to a relocation and your home is vacant it is crucial that you stage it with furniture and décor.  Rooms without furniture look smaller, and most buyers have trouble envisioning how they would arrange or fit their furniture in the space.  A vacant home also lacks character and charm, and comes off feeling cold and lifeless.  I can stage your home with furniture and décor that will make it inviting and warm, and a must have for buyers.

Call or email today to book your military home staging consultation and ask about my military discount for home staging consultations:

902.830.3170
joanna@stagedforupsell.com

 

Why fall and winter can be the best time to sell

When fall sets in and the days grow colder many home owners that have their homes on the market decide to remove their listing until the spring. While others that were thinking of listing decide to wait until the spring to list their homes. A wise choice? Or are they missing out on a prime opportunity to have their property sell?

Less Competition

There is less competition at this time of year, in fact inventory levels can be about one-third of what is typically on the market. Many other home owners have removed their properties from the market at this time of the year while others also wait until spring. Less inventory on the market means you’re competing against less homes. Drive around or check online yourself to see what listings are still up in your neighbourhood. Or ask a realtor about listings data in your neighbourhood.  They have access to market data and can give you accurate data about your area to make your decision easier.

Motivated Buyers

Buyers that are looking at this time of year are usually very motivated buyers. Perhaps they need to be in their new home by January.  Many buyers have time off during the holidays so they focus on finding a home, particularly first time home owners.

Strengthen your position

Another reason to sell now is that it strengthens your position when you negotiate your next home purchase. Offers that are not conditional on selling your own home are much stronger, and can really tighten up closing dates getting you settled into your new home quicker.

Show your home at its best

As with any other time of the year, make sure your home is looking its best by de-cluttering, de-personalizing your home, removing excess storage items, and excess furniture. Consider having it staged to show its best.  Keep driveways and walkways cleared and salted for potential buyers. Also clear off decks and walk ways in the back – you want to make sure that buyers see these additional features of your home.

You can take advantage of Holiday Décor

Christmas decorations can add real ambience to your home and emotions play a big part in a home buyer’s decision making process. The key thing is to not go overboard, you want to add just the right amount of decor. Just like the interior, I tell my clients less-is-more.

holiday_decoratingFor the exterior no snow globes and giant blow up Santas in your yard!  Use soft white Christmas lights to frame and show off architectural details of your home. Note that white lights are the best choice when selling your home, they are a much more sophisticated choice. Use white flood lights used strategically to emphasize your shrubbery and the front façade of your home. Incorporate tasteful holiday wreaths and winter arrangements. All of these things will go a long way to add to your curb appeal.

For the interior, again less-is-more, and subtleness is key. Use holiday décor that complements the colour palette in your home and overall enhances your space, rather than distracting from it. Play up a fireplace mantle for example. If your home has blue tones adding red and green décor is not the way to go. Using white and silver décor would complement the space much better.  If you have earthy tones throughout your home using rich reds, greens and gold will work well.  Remember less-is-more, if you’re adding décor make sure you’re taking away some of your regular décor. Accentuate a bay window for example, but don’t go overboard and add décor everywhere – it becomes cluttered and distracting for a viewer. If possible use a tree that isn’t too big as you don’t want it taking over the space and making the room look small.  Once the holidays are over make sure you remove the decorations right away!

Think about hiring a home stager to assist in making your home look it’s best for those motivated buyers that are still out there looking.

Talk to a realtor before de-listing your home because this might be the prime time to sell in your particular market area, or if you were thinking of waiting until spring reach out to a realtor to get their advice on listing now.

 

Add space and transform a room with mirrors

One of the challenges in interior design is to make your space look bigger. This is especially relevant for small apartments or for homes that have small rooms and cramped spaces. Almost everyone has at least one corner that they wish could look roomier. Creating the appearance of spaciousness is especially important if you are trying to sell your house. Home buyers are looking to get the most space possible for their budget, and rooms that look spacious and full of light will be the most appealing.

Of course, cathedral ceilings and large windows will help your home to look spacious, but you can’t do much to change whether you have those. Mirrors are the next best thing. Well placed mirrors will reflect extra light, break up cluttered space, and make rooms look larger. It’s important to place mirrors strategically. If done well though, mirrors can greatly enhance your space. Read on for tips on where to place mirrors around your home and how to use them to the greatest effect.

Mirrors amplify a room’s light
Mirrors do a great job of adding brightness to a room. Placing a mirror behind or next to a light source will reflect that light back into the room, making it appear brighter and more spacious. The darker your room looks, the more it appears to close in from the corners. Light opens the room up. This trick works around both windows and artificial lights. Across from windows, mirrors have the added benefit of doubling the room’s views. In the example below, a large mirror reflects light from the doorway back into the room, filling the entire space with natural light.

mirror

Photo via www.thebrooklynhomecompany.com

Mirrors can brighten up corners
Especially when paired with a window or lamp, mirrors are a great way to brighten up boring corners. Corners can often be the gloomiest and most neglected part of a room. A mirror can stop them from looking cramped and reflect light back into the room. Check out the before and after pictures below of a home staging project by Staged for Upsell, and you’ll notice how mirrors add interest and charm to a previously dull corner. They also brighten up what might otherwise be a dark space by reflecting light from the two windows.

bedroom 4 before and afterPhoto: Staged for Upsell home staging project

Mirrors enhance entryways
Entryways can be a difficult space to decorate. There’s often not a lot of space to work with, and a lone table can look unintentional by itself. A mirror in the entryway creates a sense of light and spaciousness as soon as you or your guests walk into your home. Behind a piece of furniture, it adds a sense of purpose and prominence. They’re also very convenient to allow for one last look-over as you walk out the door.

entry mirror

Photo via Haybert.com

Large mirrors double your space
You’ve likely walked into a restaurant and only realized after sitting down that a wall of mirrors made you think it was twice its actual size. The same principle can work well in your home. A large mirror along a wall creates an illusion of space and can appear to double your space. These can work especially well in small dining areas. Placed opposite a dining table, they create balance and greatly enhance the appearance of spaciousness.

diningroom mirror

Photo via Decoist.com

Home buyers want the most space they can get for their money, so when selling your home look at ways to add mirrors to create the appearance of a bigger space.

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