Staging Tips: Styling for the Photo Shoot

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By Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space

You have worked tirelessly preparing your home for sale. Don’t let all your hard work fall short with the often forgotten, most overlooked step in a great home staging – The Pre-Photo Shoot Styling. Before those photos are taken, your home needs one last interior makeover before making its grand debut on the internet. I often compare it to going to the hair salon before a big event, getting a great color, cut and style, only to go home and wash it. Don’t stop short right before you publicly introduce your home to potential buyers by not making it perfectly groomed for its Internet close-up.

Home Stagers are experts in styling homes for photo shoots. In an hour or two, we can whip and flip a home into a stunner. Your on-line photos are the #1 advertising element of your for sale home. Here are a few of our tips and techniques.

  • Remove all scatter rugs from floors. Have cleared counters and make the space extra inviting with a bowl, vase or pot of something fresh.
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Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

HOME STAGING TIP: Room look bigger and spacious in photos without rugs or counter clutter breaking up the room’s lines or distracting the eye.

  • Set a spectacular bed. Perfectly tucked, primped and pampered – the bed is the trophy of every bedroom.
Photo2_Julea

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

 HOME STAGING TIP: Create added interest on a bed with a colorful accent pillows and textural throws.

  • Every bath needs fresh, clean, fluffy towels, a seat down, glistening surfaces, and not a personal product present.
Photo3_Julea

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

 HOME STAGING TIP: Nothing says fresh and super clean than a stack of fluffy white towels.

  • Light it right. Showcase rooms and the home by making sure the space is lit well by turning on light, opening shades and pulling back drapes.
Photo4_Julea

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

HOME STAGING TIP: Photograph the home at the time of day that allows just the right light in.

This post originally appeared at Julea: Reinventing Space. Copyright Jan. 4, 2015.

 

Learn the True Costs Behind Rehabbing a Fixer Upper

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The average cost of a midrange bathroom remodel is nearly $17,000, according to “Remodeling” magazine’s “Cost v. Value Report.” That may be just the tip of the expense iceberg for buyers considering purchasing a fixer-upper.

Help buyers plan wisely before purchasing a home that needs TLC by branding, printing, and hand-delivering a free article on “How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House” from the REALTOR® Content Resource.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2015 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s just one of five free articles to help clients from the “Start Your 2015 Home Search Smartly” theme that you can brand, print, and hand deliver (or post to Facebook, Twitter, your website, or blog; email; or add to your e-newsletter).

REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

HouseLogic is a comprehensive consumer website — from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® — geared to helping homeowners make smart decisions to enhance, maintain, and protect the value of their home.

Dated Kitchens Get Long Overdue Makeovers

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Dated kitchens are getting a makeover in many homes this year. About a quarter of about 3,500 home owners recently surveyed say they are remodeling kitchens that are more than 30 years old and another 41 percent are updating kitchens that are 16 to 30 years old. Wow, have styles changed in three decades too – when red oak cabinets, laminate countertops, and brass fixtures were “in.”

Here’s an interesting stat: Home owners seem to be more committed to their kitchen than their spouse. Most kitchens last two to four times longer than the typical U.S. marriage – which is 8 years, according to Houzz’s Kitchen Remodeling Survey. That means when home owners remodel a kitchen, they devote a lot of time to making sure it’s just right since they’ll likely stick with it for many years to come.

“We already know that kitchens are the biggest driver of discretionary spending in the remodeling market,” says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “As the economy has improved, many home owners who delayed spending on kitchen updates feel like they now have the means to remodel. We should continue to see an uptick in discretionary spending on home improvements into 2015.”

So, what are home owners’ kitchen renovation plans?

Classic finishes: Home owners mostly are sticking to the classics, with finishes like white cabinets (49 percent) in shaker (37 percent) or raised-panel (22 percent) styles. They’re also staying loyal to granite countertops (45 percent) and stainless steel appliances (83 percent).

Added storage: Ease of storage (65 percent) is a top priority driving remodeling trends. Organization features like a built-in pantry (44 percent), pull-out shelves (62 percent), deep cabinet organizers (38 percent), and built-in pet bowls (6 percent) are popular.

Entertainment spaces: An open-concept layout (52 percent), bar with seating (27 percent), and built-in wine storage (21 percent) are making kitchens a gathering place for family and friends.

Big makeovers with big dollars: When home owners choose to undergo a kitchen remodel, the majority are going big with projects requiring substantial construction (68 percent). As such, home owners are spending big too, with 36 percent planning to spend between $25,000 and $75,000 on updating their kitchens. More than half of home owners budget $25,000 or less for their upcoming remodels.

Complimenting the rest of the house: Home owners want their kitchens stylish and beautiful (59 percent), but they also want to make sure that the remodel integrates with the rest of the home too (55 percent). Other characteristics they say are important is that it is filled with natural light, adds to the resale value of their home, energy-efficient appliances, and pro-style cooking set-up.

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Source: Houzz Kitchen Remodeling Survey, 2014

CES 2015: Why the Light Bulb May One Day be Your Favorite Staging Tool

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine 

Misfit_lightbulb

Photo Credit: Misfit, Bolt Wirelessly Connected Smart Bulb

Just flipping a light switch on your listings may not be showing the home in its best light, per se. Lighting matters greatly in the appearance of a home. Too dark? The space can look dingy and dreary. Too bright? The space can send a harsh, uninviting glare.

Proper lighting can go far in making a home feel warm and welcoming and even sometimes make a space feel larger. The 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, this week in Las Vegas, buzzed about the coming of the “smart home,” but it’s the light bulb – or the “smart” bulb, we should say – that could be one of the most exciting in the smart-home front for real estate and staging professionals.

These bulbs allow you to set a certain mood with the lights, creating lighting presentations, and even possibly adding extra security and some music too.

Misfit bulb

Photo Credit: Misfit, Bolt Wirelessly Connected Smart Bulb

At CES, Misfit, a company co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley, showed off its new Bolt Wirelessly Connected Smart Bulb. With swipes of an app on your iOS or Android-powered smartphone, you instantly can change a home’s lighting, having at your fingertips the potential to create millions of color combinations to make sure the lighting is just right. You can personalize with lightscapes, such as a lighting scenario for a room that mimics sunset at dusk. At $50, the bulb is much pricier than your typical light bulb but it’s an LED bulb with a life of 23 hours and it does mark a much lower price that is coming to the smart bulb arena. It requires no extra wiring to use. You literally just screw it into a lamp or ceiling and connect it to a smartphone to start playing with your lights.

Smart bulbs also may mean you never have to worry about flipping a switch again. You’ll no longer have to worry about arriving at a listing early to make sure all the lights are turned on. Stack Lighting’s Alba LED lights, $60, is a flood light that can be set to come on automatically as you step into the room. The lights also can be set to dim automatically to provide the ideal levels of brightness throughout the day – also helping to save on energy costs compared to standard LED lights. You can also control the lights from your phone, adjusting the color from a warm orange to a cooler blue tone, depending on the setting you want to create.

If you’re going to set the right mood with your lights, you may want to add some soft music to the background too. Your light bulb may be able to one day do that too. Sony showed off a prototype at CES of its “Symphonic Light Speaker,” which is a WiFi-connected light bulb with a built-in speaker. You can stream audio from your smartphone and tablet to several of the speaker-equipped light fixtures. No speaker elements are shown, and you may never guess that the light in the home is the one supplying the music.

Bulb_Sengled Snap Bulb

Photo Credit: Sengled Snap Bulb

The smart light bulb may also offer extra security to your listing. Sengled Snap Bulb, a CES 2015 Innovation award winner, are LED light bulbs that contain speakers, microphone, and a motion sensor, allowing you to stream video to your smartphone. You can see who is standing on the front porch. No extra wiring is needed, and you could easily take it from listing to listing if looking for an extra security feature. Sengled’s Snap Bulb, $199, will be available in the spring of 2015.

4 Ways to Enhance the Lighting in Your Listing

Smart bulbs are still in their infancy and manufacturers are continuing to develop new models. Until then, what can you do you to improve the lighting in your listing with the bulbs you already have? Here are some stagers’ tips:

  • Add mirrors. You can use mirrors to bounce light, help making a home look brighter as well as possibly even making the walls look taller.
  • Watch the wattage of your bulbs. Always use the highest possible wattage in a room (except the bathroom where a 30-watt bulb may help create more welcoming, softer light settings).
  • Don’t just rely on overhead lights. Soften the look with wall sconces and decorative lamps too. Also, remove draperies to allow natural light to flow in.
  • Use clear light bulbs. Clear light bulbs can offer a cleaner look over opaque ones, stagers say. Avoid mismatching your bulb types, wattages, and color temperatures so the room is properly illuminated.

At CES 2015: More Attempts to Dethrone Stainless Steel’s Popularity

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Stainless steel’s popularity has outshined its competition for years in kitchen appliances, but has that shiny, smudge-prone finish finally worn out its welcome?

Appliance manufacturers have long been trying to find a potential successor to stainless steel, but none have yet to find one to top its popularity. But two companies are giving it another chance with showcases at the 2015 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas this week.

Appliance giant Whirlpool and LG are showing off new appliance finishes — with Whirlpool betting on gold and LG debuting a glassy black.

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Photo Credit: Whirlpool

Whirlpool is introducing Sunset Bronze appliances to its lineup — a range of warm, golden hue appliances that can fit into contemporary or existing kitchens. The color is an attempt to capture on the latest popularity of rose gold in interior decors. It’s not a complete verge from the stainless steel look, however. Sunset Bronze is a painted version of traditional stainless steel with a blend of gold, copper, and bronze tones.

LG_Countour Glass

Photo Credit: LG

Meanwhile, LG is showing off a new take on black finishes. At CES this week, LG debuts a glass-front refrigerator finish called Contour Glass. The refrigerator features tempered glass over a black patterned finish that is a chic, yet smudge-proof way, to enhance kitchens. The finish is featured on LG’s new door-in-door refrigerators, which offer hidden compartments for extra storage behind the front door to hold condiments and drinks.

Will these smudge-proof finishes offer a convincing enough, stylish alternative to stainless?

“The kitchen is fast becoming a new canvas when it comes to home design and décor,” says John Hall, senior brand manager at Whirlpool. “More and more, consumers seek ways to customize their spaces with new paint colors, different countertops and backsplashes, mixing and matching cabinetry, and colored small appliances.”

In 2012, Whirlpool had introduced White Ice and Black Ice finishes to its products lineup in its first attempt to to provide an alternative to stainless’ popularity. The color failed to catch on, though. Other manufacturers have tried as well, such as General Electric’s low-gloss slate gray finish. (Read our previous blog post on the topic: Will Stainless Steel’s Popularity Ever be Dethroned?)

What do you think? Do you think stainless steel stands a chance of being outshined in the kitchen any time soon?