Home staging defined; part two

In my last post I defined the first two steps of staging a home for sale; determining what needs to be done and then doing the work. Today’s blog is about the third step-creating a home that will appeal to your ideal buyer, the showcasing.

Showcasing a property can only happen once all the agreed-upon recommendations made by your stager have been completed. Using modern selling techniques your stager will help create spaces that allow potential buyers to emotionally connect with the property – and what, you may ask does that mean.

Imagine your favorite movie or TV program for a minute…the set designer will have used furniture, color, lighting and accessories to create a space lets the viewer understand what goes on in that space and who the users most likely are. The set designer will not create a family style kitchen if the script has been written for a single, professional male or female. The set design will be much different if the script is written for a single person living in a high-rise apartment in a major city then it would be if the script is written for a family of four who live in the suburbs.Your stager will use these same design principles to create the look and feel that your ideal buyer is looking for.

Working with your Realtor and local demographics, your stager creates a welcoming environment for the future owner of your property. Life-style selling techniques combined with a strong understanding of scale, proportion and flow help ensure that your property is one that will definitely get put on a potential buyer’s list of great possibilities! In fact, it is not uncommon for a buyer to make an instant connection and a quick offer on a well-staged property.

With the popularity of HGTV design shows the term “home staging” has become much more recognizable and novices often feel, after watching dozens of these addictive programs, that staging is simply about de-cluttering and renting a lot of new furniture. Successful staging is so much more than that and by consulting a professional stager you can avoid costly errors and generate a high return on any investment.

Home staging is still a relatively new profession and is entirely self-regulated. Most professional stagers have taken some sort of training in the design field and usually belong to a trade organization such as the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) where they follow a given code of ethics that helps make sure that a high level of professionalism and accountability are met.


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Home Staging Defined

While everyone with a T.V. has heard of home staging, many people seem to be really confused about what home staging is. Home staging is actually a three-step process that prepares a property to be sold quickly and for the most money possible.

In this first of two articles, I’ll cover “STEP ONE” which is  determining what condition the property is in and what work needs to be done to bring it to move-in condition and “STEP TWO” getting the work done.

Professionals know that today’s home buyer is more demanding and better educated than ever before.  They don’t want to re-paint nasty wall colours, replace any light bulbs, or up-date any lighting or hardware. They don’t want to have to do any work on a property, they just want to move in their furniture, make the beds and start their new life.

Your professional stager will go through your property giving you a detailed summary of what work needs to be accomplished before listing your home. This summary might include minor repairs such as filling holes in the wall, replacing broken tile or windows as well as minor up-dates like paint and new fixtures that will appeal to the target buyer for your home. Your stager is familiar with current trends and what today’s buyer is looking for in a property and will help you make sure that your listing appeals to the greatest number of target buyers.

“STEP TWO” is all about getting the work done. Your stager will be able to recommend trades should you need help and will help you make wise decisions on where to invest your time and money so that you will realize the highest return on your investment. Most of us live with far too much “stuff” in our homes so your stager will likely recommend purging and pre packing a lot of belongings to create more space for potential buyers to see and appreciate the space that your property has to offer. Once all the work has been completed the staging project moves forward to “STEP THREE” the showcasing!

STEP THREE will follow….

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Great Article I decided to Share

If you’re planning to list your home at the start of summer, you now have just 30 to 45 days to tackle all the necessary repairs. Why is it important to check these off your to-do list ahead of time? Money spent on improvements now will be far less than the cost of that first price reduction if your house sits on the market.

Even if your home doesn’t linger for long, you run the risk of a buyer asking for concessions and credits for items you didn’t fix, and the quotes from experts doing the work will almost certainly be higher than your own out-of-pocket cost.

Here are 10 reasons you’ll want to make repairs before you put your house on the market:

  1. Buyers are going to do an inspection, and the inspector will be able to identify all the issues and suggest needed repairs. So, really, there’s no avoiding it. You WILL have to fix any problems, credit money back to the buyer, or drop your price to compensate.
  2. So many of the most common repairs are easy to solve, usually inexpensive, and can be done – by you – in a weekend. They’re likely to be the things that were already on your own list of weekend projects for the past year, and if they bother you, they’ll also bother a buyer. Leaky faucets, ripped window screens, ceiling stains, cracks in the plaster: they may seem like minor issues, and each one by itself is, but when you’ve got a whole house full of problems like this, they add up to one big seller headache.
  3. Eliminating distracting drawbacks will allow buyers to have a positive experience as they tour your home. That means open house visitors will be able to focus on your home’s positive, not negative, features.
  4. Getting your home completely prepped and ready will increase its perceived value because you’re showing buyers that your property is well-maintained.
  5. You won’t have to do a price reduction to reflect the estimated (and often over-inflated) cost of repairs!
  6. Last minute repairs done on a tight timeline are almost always more costly since you don’t have time to shop around for a less expensive estimate. Plus, your time crunch begs for tradesman to charge higher rush fees for squeezing the work into their schedule.
  7. Your actual cost to fix items will always be less than a buyer’s estimate after their inspection.
  8. You’ll avoid credits back to the buyer for problems identified during the inspection and haggling that drags on and on over minor issues, possibly costing you the deal.  (You’d be surprised how ugly things can get when you’re down to the wire negotiating the added cost of repairs the cracks in the chimney.)
  9. Your real estate agent will love showing off an impeccable home and buyer’s agents will be dying to get their clients in the front door. That brings in more potential buyers – which equates to more chances of finding the right one willing to pay your sale price.
  10. You’ll sell faster. And for a higher price. Cha-ching.

SELLERS: Are you planning on tacking repairs before you sell?

ALL: You can get more information on my books here, follow me on Twitter@1MichaelCorbett and like me on Facebook!

Michael Corbett

Michael Corbett is Trulia’s real estate and lifestyle expert. He hosts NBC’s EXTRA’s Mansions and Millionaires. In additional to his regular segments on ABC’s The View and Fox News, he is a national best selling author with three critically acclaimed real estate books: Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY!

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Four Reasons to hire a home stager.

1. Home staging has absolutely nothing to do with decorating or the seller’s personal taste. Home staging is about preparing a property for sale in a manner that will appeal to the ideal buyer. Your stager and Realtor determine who the most likely buyer for your property is and then your stager creates a look that strongly appeals to that buyer’s needs and lifestyle.

2. ANY property can benefit from some degree of home staging. It is important that sellers remember that they are earning themselves money with the time and energy they invest in their home. Preparing a home for sale and keeping it in top shape while on the market may be a bit of an inconvenience but the reward can be huge!

3. Professional home stagers do not make recommendations that do not have a high return on investment. For example, cleaning and decluttering are usually pretty high on seller’s “to-do” list. According to homegain.com, every $1 spent on cleaning and decluttering can give you a $4.03 return! Now that is wise investing.

4. Home stagers can save you both time and money. Staged home typically sell twice as fast as non-staged homes and that means real savings in typical carrying costs. Your stager works with you and your budget, always keeping the goal of selling quickly and for the most money! 



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Winning Combinations

Realtors and Stagers are a winning combination!

There are huge benefits when Realtors add a professional stager to their team;

  1. Why not ensure that your listings are the best looking ones? When your listings look great, sell fast and for the most money, other agents and future clients will take notice.  Admit it; wouldn’t it be nice to be known as the Realtor whose listings ALWAYS look so great?
  2. Realtors who don’t offer staging as a part of their marketing plan will not stand out as a Realtor who uses every available marketing technique to sell their listing. Future clients may make their listing decision based upon value added services. Staging a property prior to selling used to be optional but times have changed and in today’s market it has become a necessity.
  3. You will spend less time, effort and money per listing and will increase your earnings by turning properties faster and without price reductions. It’s your name on the sign in the yard; wouldn’t you rather have it say “SOLD”?
  4. When you offer to provide a professional staging consultation you are demonstrating that you are willing to go “the extra mile” to successfully market a listing. Increased client satisfaction leads to a greater number of future clients.
  5. Using a professional stager allows you to focus on your business; the listing and negotiating the sale of the property. You may offer de-cluttering and décor suggestions but do you really go into the same detail as a professional stager would? Just as importantly, is that how you should be spending your time when you make your real money getting and turning listings? Your stager will prepare your listing for marketing photos and showings.
  6. A professional stager can have those difficult conversations with clients. You won’t have to risk the positive relationship with clients when it comes to issues like odor, dirt, outdated décor or unfinished projects. You know what a challenge it can be to have a “weak” listing, clients constantly on the phone asking for more open-houses or wanting to ask questions on why their property hasn’t sold yet – you know that no number of open-houses, flyers or adds are going to help the house just doesn’t show well. Let an independent third party have those needed conversations.
  7. A client may not be too happy about the suggestion of a price reduction. A professional stager is able to explain the benefits of staging their property instead of offering a price reduction – staging is always less expensive than the first price reduction.

Remember, just because you are recommending a staging consultation does not mean you have to pay for it. Free consultations often mean less to a homeowner than one that they have had to pay for; they see it as having no value and may just listen and not follow through with suggestions. Most professional stagers can offer you valuable discounts that you can pass on to your clients allowing you to give your clients a value-added service without costing you money.

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Interior Design Trends and Selling Your Home

Selling Your Home; Interior Design Trends

When preparing your home for sale it is important to make sure your home will appeal to your target buyer and that usually means you’ll need to do a little up-dating and refreshing and here are some of my most common recommendations.

FRESH PAINT. Nothing is more attractive to buyers than move-in-ready homes and neutral wall colours with freshly painted trim lets potential buyers see that they can move right in and not have to spend time and money painting. Your professional stager can recommend some great colour choices for you.

CONTEMPORARY DESIGN. I’m not saying that you must go out and buy/rent new furniture but it is important that your property feel more contemporary. Most of us have far too much furniture in our spaces and contemporary designs are very clean and uncluttered so, reduce the amount of furniture in your space and pre-pack most of the small items that clutter-up your space.  When selling your home; less is more.

UPDATE WINDOW COVERINGS. It’s official, gone are the days of heavy draperies and fancy valances. If privacy is not an issue, consider removing window coverings completely. Change out your window treatments to simple and contemporary grommet-top panels and consider using panels to add width and height to your windows. Your stager can recommend the best option for your home and target buyer.

ON-TREND COLOUR.  Adding a few accessories with pops of colour and trendy patterns can quickly and inexpensively up-date the look and feel of your home. When choosing accessories, look for one or two larger pieces rather than several small items, consider vases, cushions, candles or a throw to instantly up-date your space.

REPLACE FIXTURES. Nothing dates a bathroom more than vanity lighting and most can be easily changed out at very reasonable costs. Consider replacing dated ceiling fixtures with more modern looking flush-mounted ones

By investing a little time and money BEFORE listing your property you can save thousands in price reductions and carrying costs. Professional stagers can give you great design advice and recommend where to spend your time and money so that you get the best return on your investment.


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