Staging to Sell: Before & After

Here’s an example of the power of staging!

These homeowners were on the market for the majority of a year. We had a consultation and recommended a paint colour for the main floor, going with a lighter more neutral colour (Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17).

We also suggested that the lower cabinets and island get painted out white like the rest of the cabinets which would also blend better with the counter tops.

When the painting was completed the homeowners moved their stuff out to their new home and we staged the property. They sold in approximately a week after staging!

After:

After

After  After

After

Before:

 

Before  Before

Before  Before  Before

 

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?

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!

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.

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.

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