Fall is my favorite time of year for staging because I can use more of the deep rich colors I love. Deep purples, burnished oranges, elegant burgundy’s, rich teals and blues make beautiful accents for beiges and grays to create an elegant warm fall look that mirror the colors of the turning leaves. The key to helping a buyer fall in love with your home is to create an emotional connection the minute they walk in the door, then continue building on that connection as they tour each room of the home. I love to include cuddly fur throws, where buyers can see themselves lounging with a book enjoying a chilly fall evening with a cup of tea or cider. Crisp sunny fall days fade quickly into dark cold evenings, making lighting even more important than ever. We use more uplights and make sure to keep all lamps on to create a welcoming ambiance. It’s also important to set your heat to at least 65. Buyers won’t want to stay long in a home where they can see their breath! Outdoor staging in the fall offers lot’s of color choices as well. With the cooler damper weather, bright yellow, orange and burgundy mums are fabulous to add warmth and color to flower beds and pots. Coleus and bright cabbage can also be added to pots placed on back decks to add color. We don’t suggest staging patios and decks in the fall unless there’s a view or the area is well covered. For living, most of us store our outdoor furniture or keep it well covered to protect it from the weather. For staging, it’s very similar. With our blustery rainy days, outdoor furniture gets grimy pretty quickly, and when selling, clean is critical. Colorful fall foliage makes a much better statement than dirt smudged outdoor furniture. Make sure to check pots often and remove any dead or decaying leaves to create a fresh and welcoming appeal.Continue Reading... No Comments.
Fall in the Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful times of year and the market is cooking! It seems like we hardly finish staging before we get a call from the Realtor that the home is pending! I just checked our statistics and over 90% of our staged homes are pending within 7 days! We just helped a client who had a condo that had been on the market for over 90 days. The Realtor decided to pull it off the market for two weeks to take care of some minor repairs and during that time we staged the condo. The good news is that once staged with new photos, the condo was pending in 5 days. In a buyer’s market, staging makes the difference between a home that sells in 30 days or less and a home that languishes on the market. In a seller’s market, staging is the key to getting over the asking price and launching bidding wars. Staging is packaging, and according to the latest research on HomeGain.com there’s a 196% return on the investment staging. I wish the stock market did that!Continue Reading... No Comments.
Whether you have an amazing view of the sound or just a back deck ready for entertaining, this is the time of year to stage for outdoor living. We might not always have the best weather, but hey we in the Northwest, don’t let a little rain, or gray sky interfere with our outdoor living. We like to be outside year round, which is what makes creating an outdoor space that is family and weather friendly so important when selling a home. In fact this time of year the right outdoor staging can make the sale. In the fall and winter, I don’t stage decks or patios, as furniture can get dirty and dingy quickly, and some year’s summer doesn’t start until August, but I think this year the weather is co-operating early. When staging the inside of a home, I create a design that will appeal to the type of family I imagine will be living in the home, as well as the style and location of the home. The same concepts apply when choosing an outdoor design. It isn’t necessary to fully stage the deck especially if it’s a large area, but if there’s a view it is important to create a seating vignette that highlights the view. I’ve had more than one client tell me that they wrote the offer for the home while sitting in my Adirondack chairs facing the sound in the sunset. Staging is important but landscaping is even more so. Even a home with a small back yard can be attractive and be a strong selling point. Here are a few ideas that I provided last year for creating an appealing back yard whether it’s large or small: If there isn’t a deck, pave or tile an area for outside dining. You can’t control the neighbors, but you can create a privacy screen. Adding a trellis to screen a sitting area creates a feeling of beauty and privacy even in a tiny back yard. Use curves instead of angles. Every yard your buyers look at will have the traditional back yard with a square or rectangular lawn bordered with bark flower beds. If you are re-landscaping the back yard anyway, create curves instead of angles. It makes the yard stand out from the rest and costs about the same as standard landscaping. Add planter boxes and/or built in benches to decks and patios. Even in winter months you can create attractive planter boxes, using plants such as grasses, flowering Kale and cabbage, small evergreens and ivy that are hardy enough to withstand the weather. While the front of the home may be the first impression, the back yard is where the family will see themselves spending time once they have moved into the home. The curb appeal of the front of the home will get them in the door. Touring the interior that is staged to match their lifestyle will create the all important emotional connection, and the backyard design will seal the deal.Continue Reading... No Comments.
How many rooms should I stage? Should I stage the entire house? What if I only stage the living room? Do I have to stage all the bedrooms? My answer to these questions is as varied as the style and character of the homes on the market. It really depends! In a perfect world I would always stage every room, as The National Association of REALTORS 2015 Profile on Home Staging found that 81% of buyers find it is easier to visualize a property as a future home when it’s Staged. In addition, a virtual tour of a vacant room is well, boring. Do you stop and gaze at the photos of empty living rooms? No, you just click on through. How can you tell one bedroom from the next if they are just room after room of carpet and walls? It always seems a shame to me that many Realtors and sellers invest in professional photography without including staging as part of their marketing plan. Of course on the flip side, I hate to see people invest in staging without including professional photography. However it isn’t always necessary to stage all the rooms in the home, especially if you have over 3 bedrooms. Here are somethings I consider when deciding how many and which rooms to stage. Challenging spaces. Homes with great room spaces are difficult for buyers to imagine how the space will be used. Is it an eating area or a family room. Staging will define the living space and buyers will appreciate how great it will be for the family to be able to cook, watch TV and dine together in an open great room space. Is the room smaller than average? Staging will help the room to feel larger. Small master bedrooms and guest rooms feel larger and usable if they are well staged. Architectural challenges. How are they going to arrange furniture when there is a beam in the middle of the room? Did you remove a supporting wall and need to leave a support beam in the middle of a family room? These are the most challenging rooms to stage. If we find it difficult to imagine after staging hundreds of home, how much harder is it for a buyer to figure out how to use the room? Fireplace off center. The fireplace is usually the focal point of a room, but in some homes the fireplace is off to the side or located in the center cutting the room in half. These spaces are really critical to stage. Functional rooms not well defined. For example, in our world we all need a home office, but not all homes have a room that was specifically designed as an office. In these homes we can add a desk to a bedroom, creating a guestroom/office or add an office space to a large family room. The minimum staging design that I recommend is to stage the Living room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Family Room all bathrooms, and the master bedroom. If there is an eating area in the kitchen as well as a formal dining room, the eating area should also be staged. In larger homes where there is a formal living room, a family room and a bonus room, we sometimes leave off staging the bonus area. However this really depends on the room. In some homes the bonus room is just a space at the opt of the stairs, and not staged the buyer will not appreciate the perfect space for kids or an extra office. In a nutshell staging a few additional rooms may make the difference in a home that sells for asking price, or one that sells for thousands over. If you have a specific question, call me or post it on my Facebook page, and I will feature your question with an answer on my bi-weekly radio show on the Chat with Women Network. Listen in the first and third Wednesday of the month on KKNW 1150 AM radio from 8:00am to 9:00am! PamContinue Reading... No Comments.
Monkey hooks, or some call them Hercules Hooks are the best thing since sliced bread when hanging pictures. These little gems hold up to 200 lbs and they just put this teency weency hole in the wall. I LOVE them. Not only do they hold a ton of weight but they are easy schmeasy to get into the walls. Even I can do it! Basically, you poke the pointy end into the wall and twist to work the hook in. The hook curves around the wall which provides the strength and voila’ you hang the picture. No more Molly bolts! So how high do you hang those pictures? My rule of thumb is to hang them about eye level for someone 5’4″. Now I’m only 5′ so I have to stand on my tippy toes to get the right height. And my main picture hanger, Eamen, is 6’2 so he has to stoop a bit to get them right. As always there’s an exception to every rule. For example art in children’s’ rooms can be hung a bit lower as your appealing to a shorter audience. When you are working with area’s where you have switch plates or low window sills you might want to hang the pictures higher or lower to avoid obstacles or create a more pleasing line. How many are too many? Of course the answer to this question depends on whether you are arranging art to please your eye, or whether you are staging your home to sell. I have a wall in my home that I have hung my collection of dinghy pictures. I have six pieces of various sizes that I hung on a black wall to create a colorful nautical mural. I like it, and it reminds me of all the boating vacations we have taken. Will I leave the wall when I sell? Probably not. Usually I recommend one large piece over several smaller pieces when I am hanging art in home that will be on the market. One large piece will create a color statement or focal point without adding visual clutter. If I want to draw attention to a high ceiling, I might choose 2 or 3 pieces and walk them up the wall to draw the eye up towards the ceiling. I tend to choose abstract art for staging, for the same reason that I don’t recommend too many personal photos. The art is an accessory to the wall to highlight the space. I may create a focal point with art, but not to highlight the artwork, it’s to add pop and color to the room. Next post I’ll focus on some of my favorite places to find great art, and go into some of my favorite tools to make hanging art a breeze!Continue Reading... No Comments.
Lights, camera, ACTION! That’s what staging is really all about. You’ve created your master production. You’ve taken that sad, out dated, and sometimes stinky house with pink counter tops and cracked linoleum floors and created a beautiful contemporary home with gleaming hard wood floors, designer neutral colors and upgraded stainless steel appliances. Of course we’re going to stage it so a buyer will walk in the door and immediately be smitten by how perfectly this home will fit their life style. The stage is set. Now all that’s left is to hit the lights and … wait a minute, there are no lights! Uh oh. Let’s talk about lighting. In a theatre production, the lighting designer studies the script and creates a lighting design to produce the atmosphere for each scene. When we stage a home, we select the lighting that we bring for each room based on the style of the home, and the emotion we want to create when the buyer walks in the room. That’s why when we stage we leave all the lamps lit and often use up lights behind plants in corners. Soft romantic lighting creates a dreamy mood in the master bedroom. An elegant chandelier in the entry will set the tone for the entire home. And the best part is that for the impact lighting is relatively inexpensive. When selecting lighting, consider the style of the home, current trends and of course the use of the room. I’ve changed a room from a formal dining room to a home office by simply replacing the chandelier with a low profile ceiling light. In today’s work at home world, and the price point of the home, a home office was a stronger selling point than a formal dining room. For under $30 we made a change that combined with staging, sold the home in 4 days! My favorite stores for finding the right lighting at the right price are Lamps Plus, Home Depot or Lowes and Crescent Lighting in Bellevue. Entry and dining room chandeliers can be found for under $100.Continue Reading... No Comments.
Whether you are working to create a more serene living space, or to stage your home to appeal to a picky buyer, it’s important to begin with getting rid of the clutter that we collect as part of our daily lives. Having clutter is natural, it doesn’t mean you’re a slob or lazy. Just look at the ground in any wooded area. Clutter is simply a part of life. But since we can’t count on a good wind storm to blow away the stuff we have collected or no longer need, here’s a few tips to help reduce clutter in your home: 1. Don’t try to do it all at once. Choose an area that is most irritating to you. The top of your desk in your home office, or that junk drawer in the kitchen. 2. Divide things into three piles, one to keep, one to sell or give away, and one that you just aren’t quite ready to part with. Box the third one up to store away. 3. Take the box to sell or give away and do something with it now! That’s why it’s helpful to have an organizer or stager work with you to make sure that clutter just doesn’t move from a drawer to a closet floor! Once you have finished, do something to reward yourself. A half an hour on the couch with a good book, a walk in the sunshine or maybe even a manicure!Continue Reading... No Comments.
This has been a “staged today and sold tomorrow” week! Last Tuesday I staged a lovely Redmond townhouse. We brought in a few (very few) accessories and added a dining room set. Then we “shopped” in the garage for a few accent pieces and artwork. I left the home owner with an EcoJoe (check out my website products page if you aren’t familiar with him). After giving her detailed instructions on how to bury him we were on our way. On Saturday while I was helping my brother move I received the loveliest text! “Pam I sold my condo today! I buried the statue just like you said and the first person to look at it bought it! I love what you did with my home and I’ll refer you to anyone I know who is selling. I really appreciate that you used my things to stage it! Thank you Pam!” That my friends is what happens when you do what you were meant to do in the world and I am so grateful that I gave myself the gift of following my passion!Continue Reading... No Comments.
Days are getting shorter, leaves are turning, and there is a definite chill in the morning air. Sundays are now dedicated to football, and chili and stews are replacing hamburgers on the grill. Sweaters and jeans are in, shorts and tanks are out! Why not add a little fall color and spice to your home? Fall colors are fabulous! Rich oranges, brilliant yellows and luxurious burgundy’s abound in nature, bringing them into your home will make it warm, cozy and inviting, and best of all it’s easy and inexpensive! In the living room, add a rich burgundy throw casually tossed on a sofa or comfortable chair. Simply add a cup of tea and a good book and voila’ a rich and warm fall retreat. Replace the centerpiece on the coffee table with a vase filled with greenery and fall leaves. Add some heavy candle sticks with spice scented candles and not only will your room feel rich it will be filled with the comforting aroma of cinnamon or pumpkin spice. In the dining room, simply adding a rich brown, orange or golden-yellow runner, and a bowl or basket filled with deep olive faux pears. Your grocery store is filled with sqaush, pumpkins and colorful fall corn create an arrangement from veggies’ or again simply take a walk and collect leafs and branches that delight your eye. Arrange them in a vase add candle sticks and your stage is set for intimate dinners of rich soups and stews. And don’t forget the bedroom! Replace the light summer quilt with a rich down comforter, or simply add a fun faux fur throw to the end of the bed! A vase filled with rich yellow or orange mums either fresh or silk add a pop of fall color to your night stand that will delight you when you cuddle up in your blanky during crisp fall evenings. I think the most important thing is to let your home change with the seasons, and follow natures with flare!Continue Reading... No Comments.
Staging is not just pulling grandma’s couch out of the basement and putting it in the living room so the room isn’t empty. “Of course, I know that” you say, but it’s surprising how many times I have been called to look at a home that has been on the market for 30 days or more and amazingly enough there is grandma’s couch! Okay so it isn’t really grandma’s but you get the picture. Furniture placement is critical and can make or break the appearance and feel of a room. Selecting the right furniture, artwork and accessories is the beginning of creating a design that will showcase the home it’s best advantage. The next and most critical step is the process of arranging the furniture so the room flows well. Anyone who watches me stage will see me stand at the door way and study the room. I’ll then arrange the furniture, walk back to the door way and study the room again. In a difficult floor plan I’ll do this sometimes 3 or 4 times before I find the arrangement that shows the room to its best advantage. With the right furnishings and the right arrangement a small room can be made to feel larger, and a large room can go from a cavernous bowling alley to a spacious and elegant living room. When creating a look that will sell a home there are several factors to consider: 1. The features to high light or de-emphasize . What is the focal point of the room? What is there about the room that they buyer might find challenging or unappealing? 2. The flow of the room. Don’t block pathways and doorways. Arrange furnishings so they create a flow that leads the buyer through the room. 3. The eye of the camera. What will the camera see? The internet is the first impression of the home, if it doesn’t show well in the picture, the buyer won’t waste their time and gas to come in to the home. The formal living room is often the first room the buyers will see when they walk in the door, and the last room they see as they leave. In this example the large book-case on the far wall made the room feel heavy and created the “titanic” effect. Replacing the heavy book-case with a sofa, and facing the sofa towards the door created a look that said, “come in and sit down” . Bedrooms left vacant appear smaller than they really are. If the bedroom is small, the worst thing that you can do is to leave it vacant, the second worse thing is to put only one thing in the room. It is important to put the right size bed, in the right place in the room with the right accessories to show how really spacious and functional the bedroom actually is. A common mistake is to angle the bed in a small bedroom. Occasionally this is the right place for the bed, but most of the time it will create the illusion in the buyer’s mind that there isn’t enough space for a dresser even in a large room! This tiny bedroom looked no bigger than a closet when it was vacant. Once staged it was clearly large enough for a kids room. By not filling the room the buyer is left with the impression that they could easily add their dresser to the room and move right in. Selecting the right furniture is only half the battle, to create a look that captures the buyers heart and makes a sale the furnishings have to be arranged to truly showcase the home.Continue Reading... No Comments.