3 Photos That Will Make You Want to Stage a Vacant Listing

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By Patti Stern, Principal PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

After making a desperate $50,000 price reduction on her parent’s well-maintained home a “Today Show” viewer asked real estate expert, Barbara Corcoran, if she should remove the dated furnishings. Corcoran’s advice: Never list a home without furniture. Stage it!

Vacant homes aren’t memorable and won’t stand out to buyers particularly in online listings where the majority of buyers begin their home search.

These three different vacant properties, pictured below, are a great example of how unfurnished homes can often look the same in the listing photos and get lost in a buyer’s search. Without furnishings, buyers can’t distinguish one home from another. None of the homes stand out or make it onto their “must see” list.

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Three different rooms, a master bedroom, living room and dining room, in three different vacant homes will look nearly identical to buyers online. Photo Credit: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Regardless of price point, staging vacant homes is important to initially capture buyer interest and take them from the online listing to the front door. Once there, a well-staged home will help buyers emotionally connect to the property, ultimately taking their interest to the next level with an offer.

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Photo credit: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Our team staged this 1930, $2 million plus historic mansion. Our goal was to showcase the incredible architectural detail of the home — from the crown molding, wainscoting, windows and hardwood floors, to the fireplaces, and more.

“This grand home has a beautiful interior with stunning details,” says Joanne and John Hoye of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in West Hartford, Conn., the listing agents for the Hartford home. “However, most of the time buyers don’t have the vision to see what a room can look like. Larger vacant homes in particular can discourage buyers, who may think they don’t have enough pieces to furnish the home. A professional stager knows how to appropriately furnish a home, selecting the right sized pieces, colors and fabrics. Buyers see an inviting home, rather than a large vacant space, and get ideas on how they can arrange their furniture in the home. Ultimately it [staging] makes the home more saleable.”

Still need convincing or help convincing your sellers? Keep these insights in mind.

· It will sell faster. A vacant property can take up to 78 percent more time to sell than comparable furnished homes, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.

· Buyers will see it as their home. Only a few buyers can visualize a vacant room decorated and furnished. The majority of buyers, on the other hand, cannot envision how they will live in the home or use a room.

· They’ll stay longer. During a showing of a vacant home, I’ve found that buyers unable to connect with the space will only stay on average 5 minutes, compared to an average 40 minutes in a furnished home.

· Their furniture will fit. Empty rooms look smaller to buyers, who more often than not will think their favorite sectional or king-sized bed is too big. In larger homes, buyers will question if they have enough furniture. Either way they’ll be calculating the additional cost of new furniture rather than focusing on the home.

· Details stand out. Architectural details and key features can stand out when a home is professionally styled and staged whereas empty rooms put a spotlight on flaws or needed repairs.

See more examples of vacant home staging at www.PJStagingDecorating.com.
PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit pjstagingdecorating.com. She can be reached at patti@pjstagingdecorating.com.

Help Sellers Get Their Homes Back in Shape After Halloween

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Show sellers how to get their home back in showing shape after the Halloween fun ends: Brand, print, and hand deliver a free article: “Egging, Toilet Papering: How to Clean Up After Halloween Pranks” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Halloween Home Horrors” article package you can email or share on any of your social media accounts today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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.

See the Green: The Latest Nature-Inspired Hue in Staging

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Stealing a note from nature, spring green and yellow-green colors are moving into more home interiors. It’s nature’s neutral color, Houzz contributor Becky Dietrich writes in a recent article at Forbes.com, “The Unexpected Color That Goes With Everything.”

And the bright green hue is perfect for staging because it pretty much goes with any other color, from oranges and yellows to grays and creams to even adding an added punch to that all-white bedroom. It also can spice up any style of home, from traditional to contemporary, by giving a room “depth and vitality” while also introducing “oomph and whimsy,” writes Dietrich.

You needn’t do an entire room in the bright color green either. It can serve as a great color pop — like just a glass bowl filled with bright green apples on the kitchen island or table. Or, try it in small doses like the throw pillows or a blanket draped along a sofa; green-colored lamps for added drama to your tables; or even in the artwork. Some are finding it as the perfect color for an accent wall to steal eyes on, say, that arched doorway.

“Anytime a room feels dreary or lifeless, consider adding green,” writes Dietrich.

See how these designers have added the color to enhance the design of their spaces.

How-To Tips for Purchasing Exterior Doors

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Exterior doors are the window to the home buyer’s soul. OK, we made that up. But they can make a big first impression. E-mail your sellers a free article: “Choosing an Exterior Door” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Cool Weather Prep” article package you can email or share on any of your social media today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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.

That ‘Special Function Room’ Is Back in Demand

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The special function room – like outdoor living rooms and home offices — which mostly vanished from new-homes and home remodels during the housing downturn are now reappearing. Also back in demand, special home features – like features that add accessibility – are also gaining traction, according to the latest American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey, which reflects architect activity during the second quarter of 2014.

Which special rooms are trending?

  • Outdoor living rooms: The AIA survey showed that nearly two-thirds of architects reported that outdoor living areas and rooms were growing in popularity.
  • Home offices: As more workers telecommute and the number of self-employed workers remains strong, the home office is re-emerging in importance.
  • Mudrooms: More home owners are finding these an attractive option for storage and for organizing outerwear, backpacks, etc.
  • Au pair/in-law suites: “The recent interest in these areas is likely due to the growing employment numbers in our economy, which is increasing the need for in-home childcare,” notes Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist, in the report. “Additionally, as many households become caretakers for aging relatives, separate living suites have become popular alternatives.”
  • Media rooms/home theaters: A core of households are still highly valuing this type of room, the report notes, but many respondents to the survey say that in general they feel the media room is starting to lose favor.

The three special function rooms that architects identified as highest in demand: Outdoor living areas, mudrooms, and home offices, according to the AIA survey.

“Households are responding to the ongoing recovery in the housing market by adding more space and features to their homes,” Baker notes. “Special home features that were often eliminated during the housing downturn are now increasingly returning to home designs. Home automation features, as well as products that promote sustainability, are also showing up with increasing frequency in both new and remodeled homes.”

Many of the “special home features” in demand lately have centered on adding accessibility to a home, such as ramps and elevators, first-floor master bedrooms, and on-grade home entry, according to AIA’s report.

Home automation is also increasing in popularity, such as wireless telecommunications and data systems, long-range electrical controls/smart-home systems, automated lighting controls and central audio/video.

“With consumers generally more comfortable with emerging technologies, and the prices of many falling as production volumes increase, home automation applications should continue to grow in popularity,” notes Baker. “Additionally, systems that promote increased energy efficiency and sustainable home design continue to be popular. Energy management systems, solar panels, electric docking stations for cars, and geothermal heating/cooling heat pumps are all on the list of popular home systems, according to residential architects.”