Start the Conversation: Turn Your Sellers on to Staging

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Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

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

Staging is no longer optional for sellers who want to get the most value from their home. Many sellers are still reluctant to stage, making it a tough sell for their real estate agent. Several key points can help overcome skepticism and convince sellers to stage first if they want to sell.

1. Explain the difference between decorating and staging.

The saying — “Your Home is Your Castle” — often rings true with today’s sellers. Most believe their home is decorated beautifully, usually with their favorite colors and personal décor. But there is a big difference between decorating and staging to appeal to a large pool of buyers.

Décor choices are personal and most buyers can’t envision how a home may look if the seller doesn’t remove their personality.

Sotheby’s Julia B Fee REALTOR®, Megan Stilwell-Posner, a recent PJ & Co. client, often walks buyers through a property and they’ll comment that they don’t like an area rug or paint color, which even influences their decision on whether to purchase the home. “Explaining how we market your property versus how you decorate your property is very important,” she says.

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Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

2. Talk staging versus a possible price reduction.

Staging sets a home apart from the competition. Updating decor, particularly in key rooms such as kitchens and baths, can mean the difference between selling quickly and for top dollar or facing a price reduction if a home sits on the market for too long.

Busy, cluttered decor or outdated styles will distract buyers who won’t be able to envision living in the home. For many sellers, staging and low-cost renovations preserve valuable equity and can even boost a home’s selling price. For example, after PJ & Co. staged a property for real estate agent Rich Walker with Century 21, he decided to list the property for $20,000 higher than he originally planned. The property sold in 15 days at the asking price.

3. NOT selling a home is stressful.

We’ve all heard it – sellers who want to “test the market before staging” but months later haven’t received an offer.

Selling a home is difficult both emotionally and physically. Each day without an offer is stressful. Ultimately, I believe staging brings offers in quicker and makes the entire process easier.

In controlled tests conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association that compared identical homes, the non-staged houses sold in 102 days, while the professionally staged properties sold in 45 days.

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Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

4. The stager is going to do the dirty work.

Many real estate professionals we talk to are hesitant to discuss staging with their clients, unsure of how to tactfully approach necessary updates without offending their client. Enlisting a professional stager as a third-party expert and part of the selling plan provides tremendous value to both the real estate agent and seller. A professional stager takes the burden off of you, and can make recommendations without treading on the real estate agent/client relationship.

5. Execution will be key.

Hiring a stager who has a full team on standby to manage the entire process and deliver the home ready for market is key.

Some staging companies can be hired to just offer recommendations. For example, one client received a seven- page recommendation from a stager, but shopping for updated décor and managing the updates were up to the seller. It became overwhelming for the couple. They weren’t comfortable choosing the paint colors, picking lighting fixtures, or incorporating the right style trends to make a space vibrant and engaging to today’s younger buyer.

Other staging companies can offer the client one-stop shopping, from selecting the paint colors to coordinating the painter, carpenter, and selecting all of the materials needed to stage the property.
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 www.pjstagingdecorating.com or www.facebook.com/pjandcompanystaginganddecorating

4 Tips for Furniture Arrangement

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You step into a room and you know something is off but you can’t pinpoint it. Could it be the furniture arrangement?

Home design writer Fred Albert with the Houzz editorial staff offers up several tips on proper furniture arrangement. Here are four of his tips, along with some tips from HGTV.com, on finding the right balance when furnishing a space.

1. Pinpoint a focal point: What do you want to highlight in the room? A fireplace or the beautiful view it offers to the outside? Arrange the furniture to highlight the focal point. Have the largest piece of furniture, such as the sofa, pointed toward the room’s focal point.

2. Create balance: You can achieve balance by using symmetrical or even asymmetrical arrangements, depending on the feel you want to create in the room. In formal areas, symmetrical tends to work best, such as two alike sofas across from one another. If you want a room to feel more casual, you might do an asymmetrical arrangement, such as a sectional across from two small arm chairs.

Symmetrical arrangement:

Asymmetrical arrangement:

3. Good flow: Consider how traffic will walk through the room. You’ll want to be sure to keep a path between doorways. Albert recommends allowing 30 to 48 inches of width for major traffic routes and a minimum of 24 inches of width for minor ones.

4. Mix in some contrast: Consider combining straight and curved lines in furnishings. For example, Albert notes that if the furniture is modern and linear, you might consider throwing in a round table for greater contrast. If the furniture is curvy, add in an angular piece.

Free e-Newsletter Info Shows Owners TLC for the Home

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Help home owners make their home the “youngest” on the block. Add to your e-newsletter a free article, “Is Your Home Older Than Its Years?,” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Maintenance Saves Money: Projects for 2014” article package. Share all five 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.

The Chic, New Neutral Color Backdrop

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Photo credit: Jeff Kaufmann, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, pjhomestyling.com

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Move over, beige. Shades of whites and grays are becoming the trendy wall color choice nowadays.

For contemporary, sophisticated walls, stagers are reaching for the whites and grays. In some cases, the colors are even merged as a smoky white.

Fifty-eight percent of designers predict gray to be the fastest growing color scheme this year for kitchens and baths – while the popularity of beige and bone colors continues to wane, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2014 trend forecast. The Paint Quality Institute has called gray “the hot new neutral” of 2014.

Gray is a “great neutral color that adds style and also allows buyers to easily envision moving in their own furniture,” says stager Patti Stern with PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating in Cheshire, Conn., whose firm recently chose gray walls when staging a Toll Brothers model home and then used accents in raspberry, yellow, and green for added color.

Stark white walls are also gaining popularity. “Stark white walls create a very clean look that can expand the space and work in any style of home, from traditional and colonial to the very contemporary,” says stager and real estate pro Barb Schwarz, founder of StagedHomes.com and the International Association of Home Staging Professionals.

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Photo credit: Laura Arnold, Stagedhomes.com

 

5 Design Trends You May Want to Avoid in Staging

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Stagers are embracing some of the latest home design trends in freshening up homes for-sale (view this “Dressed to Sell” slideshow). But some trends, they’re thinking twice about incorporating.

“If you’re too trendy, you run the risk of not being able to sell a home for the top-dollar you want for it,” warns stager Patti Stern with PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating in Cheshire, Conn. “When you stage a home, you want it to appeal to as many buyers as possible.”

Staging in trendy fabrics, colors, and finishes may offer up buyers a feeling that the home is up-to-date and move-in-ready. But getting too trendy can also backfire, particularly if it’s too personalized, stagers say.

Here are some popular interior design trends that some stagers are staying clear of:

1. Wallpaper: Wallpaper is gaining popularity once again in interior designs, from black and white damask prints to bronzed and antique silver metallics, earthy dimensional weaves and more. Wallpaper can add more personality to a room — but maybe too much for homebuyers envisioning moving in their own belongings. Instead, many stagers are sticking with paint.

2. Bright-colored walls: Not so fast with the Radiant Orchid, the bold purple-pink hue that Pantone has crowned as this year’s color of the year. Using the hottest color trends – like navy and purples — to paint an entire room may be too bold for the majority of buyers. Instead, stagers are using a neutral wall color, such as in soft tones of grays or white, and then bringing in the on-trend colors through small accents, like toss pillows, throws, lamps, and bedding or rugs.

3. Brass fixtures: Brass is back, but tread cautiously — at least for now. Most stagers aren’t ready to swap out the fixtures for brass, which had its last heyday in the ’80s. But stagers are starting to welcome back brass in small doses, such as a gold-vintage mirror, lamp, or accent table.

4. Doorless cabinets: Open shelving is a big trend in interior design. Designer magazines are showing off simpler kitchens without doors on the cabinets. The look puts perfectly organized dishes on display. While it can offer a sleek look, some stagers don’t want to field questions from buyers: “Where are the doors?”

5. Tuscan-themed: The Tuscan design style – featuring browns and earthtones – has been a popular interior trend, but it may be showing signs of waning in popularity. The National Kitchen and Bath Association noted the highly ornamented Tuscan – as well as French Provincial – styles are decreasing in popularity, as well as country and rustic styles. Instead, more remodelers are showing a preference for contemporary designs, featuring clean, simple lines, less clutter, and less ornamentation, according to NKBA. Transitional styles – a mix of traditional and contemporary – remain the most popular, NKBA notes. But NKBA notes that contemporary styles may soon overtake the popularity of transitional.