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10 Things Your Home Stager Did NOT Learn From HGTV

We get it, you've watched all of the home renovation and home sale shows, read all of the online articles and tips regarding setting up your home to sell, and you have checked off everything on every home selling checklist you could find, so why would you need to hire a Professional Home Stager? We often hear homeowners say, “I don’t need a stager, I watch HGTV all the time, and I know that I need to remove the clutter and the personal items.”

 

These reality shows have really put the home staging industry in the spotlight over the last few years, and have helped homeowners to better understand the importance of preparing their home prior to listing it for sale. But, while these shows provide the basics of what this preparation involves, they don’t provide the full picture of what it really takes to properly style and STAGE your home in order to evoke the emotional connection that your prospective buyers are looking for.


Your home is one of a kind, and it should be treated as such! You want to stand out from the competition, so why would you use the same checklists as everyone else? Would you clean your own teeth, or would you choose to hire a trained professional to do this for you? Your home deserves the right attention with specific recommendations, geared towards your home, from an expert that specializes in doing just that, in order to highlight your home’s greatest features. So what are these articles and lists NOT telling you? As a Home Stager, these are just a few of the things that we have learned, through our professional training and many years of experience:

 

      1.      Where to place YOUR furniture so that the room remains open and inviting, while maintaining function and flow

 

This does not mean simply moving all of your furniture to the edges of the room. This means understanding proper traffic flow, as well as the latest furniture styling trends. We will evaluate what should stay, what should be removed, and where to properly position your furniture to optimize flow, eliminate awkward spaces, and highlight the best features of the room.

 

      2.      Shelf Styling

 

By far one of the trickiest decorating techniques to master, this is the art of filling the shelves to catch your eye, without diverting your attention from the room. This means selecting the right size and style of pieces to compliment the space and the shelving unit, and understanding the balance between too little and too much.

     

      3.     Paint Colour selection

 

Just because a colour is popular or trendy, does not mean that it’s the best one to use for your home. Colours are selected based on lighting, home style, and the colour of the finishes of the home. Sure, we have our favourites, but each colour is selected to best suit the home.

 

      4.     What local trades will provide you with the best services, at the best value prices

 

We have spent a great amount of our time forging valued relationships with highly skilled trades to ensure that you receive quality work, every time. We only work with professionals, and often these professionals will provide special discounts to our clients.

 

      5.     Where to shop for the final touches and accessories that your home needs

 

We spend more time than anyone shopping for home décor items and finding the best deals, and we can provide you with some direction on this to help you to avoid driving all around town looking for the perfect piece. Of course, you would save even more time if you hired us to provide you with the accessories and accent pieces that your home needs.

 

      6.     Which updates/upgrades will most benefit YOUR house in YOUR market, neighbourhood, and price range

 

We not only evaluate what upgrades and repairs would add to the value of your home, but we look at what will help to increase it’s overall sell-ability – upgrades are not worth much if they’re not the right ones to entice your specific buyers. We consulted on a home once that spent a great deal of money replacing their kitchen, but for their target market, their funds would have been better spent doing other repairs to the home and minor updates to the kitchen.

 

      7.     How to make a bed

 

Forget what your mother taught you – making your bed before work, and styling your bed to sell your home are completely different! I can’t tell you how often we see this common mistake in listing photos.

 

      8.     How to utilize a piece of furniture for an alternate purpose

 

This does not mean putting an end table in an office and calling it a desk. It’s about thinking outside of the box when it comes to finding the right piece, often within your home already, to fulfill a purpose for a room and help to clearly define the space.

 

      9.     How to enhance your curb appeal

 

Yes, cut the grass, trim the trees, and mulch the gardens, we know that you have that covered. But there’s likely more that you should be doing. If your buyers are not engaged with the home before they get to the front door, you could potentially lose out on that sale. We are property stylists, and we want to be sure to create an inviting space, inside and out.

 

      10.    How to maintain function and daily life, while living in a staged home
 
      We understand that it’s not easy to maintain a show-ready home, but we have seen it all and are prepared to provide you with easily implementable solutions to help you to get through the day-to-day. Of course the best part is, in a professionally staged home, you won’t have to maintain it for long before it’s SOLD!

 

The checklists and tips you find online are a great step towards preparing your home, but a Professional Home Stager can provide you with the specific recommendations that will help you to bring in the buyers and sell your home.

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Is Furniture Holding you Back?

Are you looking for the perfect home to fit your couch, a Persian rug or maybe a dining room table?  Does this make sense to anyone, why are people buying homes for objects and not for those people who are living in the home?  Too many times I’ve seen families turn down the perfect home in the perfect neighbourhood because it won’t fit their bedroom set or their mirrored dresser. 


Don’t let your things rule your life, the people who live in that home now obviously have a bed and it seems to fit, so sell your larger than normal bed and buy one that fits in that perfect house, or trade with a family member if the item is important to the family.  I understand keeping a family heirloom, but if your home budget doesn’t allow you to buy a home with a living room that is 20x20 then maybe Grandma’s rug should go to a family member who has space for it and then you can find a home that is right for you and your family, not a rug that you feel obligated to keep.


Reality is budget is a large deciding factor in what kind of home you end up in and if you are forced to choose the home with the largest dining room to fit a table you never eat at, you may be giving up on other items that you need such as an extra bathroom, a large yard or even a home in a condition that you can move into right away.


The best suggestion I have to avoid being caught in buying a home for your items is to make a list of why you are moving from your current home, these are items that are driving you out of your current place and into a new one.  Once you know what is driving you out of your current home, what is on your list of need to have and nice to have, knowing the difference between need and want can be very difficult but make the process easier.  If you are buying the home with another person, I strongly suggest making this list together, you may find out that your spouse hates that large couch you inherited and buying a home with space for it makes no sense if it’s uncomfortable anyways.


Remember when you are looking for a home why you are moving, I’m sure your bedroom set didn’t wake up one morning and decide to move because it didn’t like your current neighbour, if you have to part with some items to move to where you want to be, I’m sure your happiness in the new home will outweigh the cost to replace an item that is too large for your new home.

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Is your Furniture Holding you Back?

Are you looking for the perfect home to fit your couch, a Persian rug or maybe a dining room table?  Does this make sense to anyone, why are people buying homes for objects and not for those people who are living in the home?  Too many times I’ve seen families turn down the perfect home in the perfect neighbourhood because it won’t fit their bedroom set or their mirrored dresser. 


Don’t let your things rule your life, the people who live in that home now obviously have a bed and it seems to fit, so sell your larger than normal bed and buy one that fits in that perfect house, or trade with a family member if the item is important to the family.  I understand keeping a family heirloom, but if your home budget doesn’t allow you to buy a home with a living room that is 20x20 then maybe Grandma’s rug should go to a family member who has space for it and then you can find a home that is right for you and your family, not a rug that you feel obligated to keep.


Reality is budget is a large deciding factor in what kind of home you end up in and if you are forced to choose the home with the largest dining room to fit a table you never eat at, you may be giving up on other items that you need such as an extra bathroom, a large yard or even a home in a condition that you can move into right away.


The best suggestion I have to avoid being caught in buying a home for your items is to make a list of why you are moving from your current home, these are items that are driving you out of your current place and into a new one.  Once you know what is driving you out of your current home, what is on your list of need to have and nice to have, knowing the difference between need and want can be very difficult but make the process easier.  If you are buying the home with another person, I strongly suggest making this list together, you may find out that your spouse hates that large couch you inherited and buying a home with space for it makes no sense if it’s uncomfortable anyways.


Remember when you are looking for a home why you are moving, I’m sure your bedroom set didn’t wake up one morning and decide to move because it didn’t like your current neighbour, if you have to part with some items to move to where you want to be, I’m sure your happiness in the new home will outweigh the cost to replace an item that is too large for your new home.

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Here's Something That You Should Do at Home!!

Say what?

 

I have just finished the accreditation process for Navigational Conversations from Leadscape Learning.  This is a workshop that introduces strategic coaching skills for leaders who want to take a coach-approach when working with others.

 

Not surprisingly, listening is the key element of the Navigational Conversations program.  For a long time, I've felt that listening is the one skill that most of us should improve.

 

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who is distracted by something else that is going on and doesn't seem to be really paying attention to you?  I know, probably not.  But, it could happen!

 

The folks at Leadscape Learnbullhorning speak about three stages of listening that exist on a continuum of listening skills.  At the low end of the continuum is what they refer to as tracking.  In this stage of listening, we are engaged in a primary activity that supersedes listening.  This is the listening that includes responses such as 'uh-huh, yup, okay, whatever, ...".  Again, maybe you're not familiar with this situation, in which case I apologize for enticing you into this blog via the title.

 

However, for those who understand that the power in a conversation comes from the listening, read on.

 

In the middle of the continuum is a stage of listening where we are now focused on the conversation at hand.  However, while we are listening, we are thinking about what is being said to us.  We might be thinking of the next question that we want to ask, or we might be forming our response.  We might even interrupt the other person by not waiting until he/she has finished speaking, so we can speak.  In this listening mode, we run the risk that we won't pick up on all of the nuances in the conversation.

 

So, if you are bold enough to try something at home, here it is.  Move to the far end of the listening continuum and practice being present.  In this listening mode, we are listening with a quiet mind.  We are intentionally not thinking up our next response.  We are listening and observing.  We are able to discern meaning from body language.  We can pick up the essence of the conversation.  We are simply being present.

 

Being present is a difficult listening mode to achieve and it is also difficult to remain in this mode.  But it is a very rewarding skill to achieve.  The person that is speaking to you will feel very connected and you will realize the power of listening.

 

Why not try it?

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Front Door Fix-Up

Do you use your vacation time for home renovations? I do! Last week, despite some lovely weather, I was hard at work indoors working on the house. One of my quickest, but most impactful projects was updating our front door. 

 

The before colour is what we inherited with the house; a faux brick-tone that I'm pretty sure has been here since 1969. 

 

Door Before

In my mind, the new, darker colour is a HUGE improvement. Much more modern, and a stronger contrast to the surrounding brick. It's just the pop that the front of the house needed.

 

Door After

The white trim still needs a quick clean-up and I'd like to bring in some new hardware, but for now, I'm super pleased. The colour is PARA Melt Down P5205-73.

 

If you're taking a reno-cation this summer, what's on your project to-do list? If you're curious about what else got crossed off my list last week, hop over to our blog for ongoing updates: www.moreofeverything.ca

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Why Neutral Is Best When Selling

Often times when I view a home for the first time during the staging consultation I see rooms painted in bright colours. Accent walls, matching trim, I’ve even seen colourful ceilings! Sometimes the colours work beautifully in the space, highlighting the furniture or artwork that the homeowner has. Other times the colours just aren’t the right hue and don’t work with the fixed elements in the room (cabinetry, built-ins, flooring, etc.)


Regardless if the colour works in the space or not, when it comes to selling your home, neutral colours are best. Bright, bold colours can really take over a room and can be the only thing people take away from that room. They will forget how many windows the room had – “Did it get a lot of natural sunlight?”; How big the room was – “Would our 9 piece dining room set fit in that space?”; Fixtures that will be purchased with the house – “Was there even a chandelier?” Potential buyers will walk away only remembering the bright red walls, and possibly the fact that they hated them. To sum it up, bright colours can be a distraction from what you’re really trying to sell in the space.


When I recommend to a homeowner that walls should be re-painted a neutral colour I often get different responses. A common response is...”But I LOVE this colour! I chose it myself! I get so many compliments from all of my friends!”


Usually the problem isn’t the actual colour itself. I tell them to definitely use that colour in their next home since it’s a fantastic colour. It goes back to the difference between Interior Decorating and Home Staging. What works for Decorating doesn’t always work for Staging. Decorating is about making a room appeal to the homeowner where Staging is about making a room appeal to a broad range of potential buyers who likely have different tastes than the current homeowner. We are also focused on drawing attention to the selling features of each room – size, architectural details and updated finishes. These things can easily get lost when the wall colour in the room takes center stage. Remember – potential buyers coming through your home are on average only spending a minute looking at each room. They will remember what grabbed their attention first, and that’s usually the paint colour if it’s not a neutral colour.


The other response I often get is that it is way too much work to re-paint. That the colour is too dark, it would take primer plus extra coats of paint, that the room is too large, the ceiling is too high and sometimes I hear that they just don’t want to pay for it.


Painting is the most cost-effective investment you can make in your home that will make a huge difference. By painting your walls a neutral colour, you are making your home move-in ready. No matter who buys your house, they will be able to move their furniture in and not have to worry about it clashing with your previously selected paint colours. Today’s buyers want move-in ready homes and are willing to pay extra for them. Purchasing a home today isn’t easy, and many buyers are maxed out financially just buying the property. They have no budget left for updates, including painting. Also, if you think it’s too much work to re-paint – so will the buyer. They will skip over your house to buy one that is already move-in ready.


When it comes to selling your house, it’s best to repaint in neutral colours before listing the property. Save the bold colours for your next home.

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When Should You Stage?

Q: Should I stage my home before or after I list it for sale?

 

A. You want to address the condition of your home and have it staged prior to putting it on the market as you only have one chance to make a great first impression. The first 2 weeks will be the busiest for viewings of your property as Real Estate Agents will be notified about the new listing on the market. The buyers coming through your property during the first 2 weeks are the most serious buyers who will view the home. Waiting to stage your home after it has been listed for awhile causes you to lose out on creating the right impression with the initial buyers who viewed your home. This means your home will be on the market for a longer period of time, losing its appeal, interfering with your life and costing you more money. The longer your home sits on the market, potential buyers question why it hasn’t sold yet and are more likely to offer less money for your home.

 

A study done in 2008 by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) shows that un-staged homes were previously on the market for an average of 57 days and had not sold. Those same homes were taken off the market and staged, then re-listed. Those properties on average sold after 6 days after they were staged, which is 89% less time on the market.

 

Be sure to remember that 2008 was statistically a poor year for real estate sales due to the recession. The study done by RESA shows that staging proved to sell properties at a significantly higher rate than non-staged properties, even in a down market.

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Last will and testament: ensuring your will is executed

A properly prepared will - reviewed periodically to allow for changes in your personal, emotional, and financial situations - is critical to successful estate planning. Without a will, your financial affairs will be in limbo after your death and it will take some time before a provincial court will appoint an administrator. A will gives you the opportunity to put the right person in charge as executor and to designate who will inherit your assets.

 

Your will should be updated as changes in your life occur.

 

These changes may include:

- A death, birth, marriage, divorce of your beneficiaries.
- Your divorce or remarriage.
- A change in your executor/estate liquidator or trustee.
- The deletion or addition of a gift or bequest.
- A change in the value of your property.
- The change of residence to another province or country.
- The acquisition of property in another province or country.
- A major unexpected increase or decrease in your net worth (or net assets).
- The addition of another dependent, such as a child, elderly parent or other relative.
- A major change in your insurance program.
- Changes in tax laws affecting inheritances.


Benefits you will gain by having a current will:

 

- You choose those people who will receive your property and assets.
- Your personal effects, memorabilia, and family heirlooms will go to those you've selected.
- Someone you know and trust will administer your estate. That person will be able to locate your assets and pay your bills.
- Depending on your marital status, you'll be able to name the guardian of any minor children.
- The possibility of costly and lengthy estate litigation is reduced.
- Your executors will be aware of your wishes regarding burial or cremation.
- You will be able to appoint those people who will hold, invest and manage the share of your estate for any minor children or grandchildren.


To avoid difficulties and additional costs of administering your estate, a lawyer or legal advisor can assist you in the preparation of a will.

 

Where will your estate end up?

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Multiple Offers - Seller's Perspective

When you list your home, I know that all sellers dream of having multiple offers, how much better can selling your home get, it sells quickly and you get to choose the best offer of the bunch!  If multiple offers are what you are looking for, here are some tips on how to create multiple offers and some things to watch out for if they come up.
Price your Home Right:  Price is what drives buyers into your home, if they don’t perceive it to be priced right they won’t be willing to look at it quickly.  If a buyer or that buyer’s agent believes that the home is priced below market value, they will be willing to drop everything and look at your home right away, only when you get multiple buyers in your property quickly can you get multiple offers.


Have a great Product: 

Price might bring them in the door, but the quality of your home is what will get them to buy.  Make sure that your home is fully ready for sale before you list it, if items are incomplete or it’s not cleaned, decluttered and staged then your home won’t stand out and make those buyers feel that they had better buy this one before someone else does.


List close to an Open House: 

If you list your home and have an open house planned for a few days later, buyers will feel the pressure to look at the home before the open house and to possibly offer before that open house as well, remember a buyer feels that the less eyes on a property the better the chances they will not have to end up in multiple offers


Make sure your Agent works for multiple offers: 

If you are looking for multiple offers, make sure that your agent is calling all agents who have been through the home that have showed interest or haven’t left any feedback at all.  Your agent should be making sure that they are exploring all options for more offers if that is what you are looking for.  Also, keep in mind

that some buyer’s will shy away from multiple offers, so you do risk losing those buyers if you are too aggressive.


Once you receive the Offers: 

once you have been advised there are multiple offers coming in, you will meet with your agent and all of the offers to choose which one works best for you.  Remember that the buyers have put their best foot forward, so you won’t often be able to send them back for more money.  While price is obviously a very important factor when you look at the offers, other factors to consider can be close date, conditions like financing, inspection and even sale of the buyer’s home.  Make sure that you choose the offer that works best for you and if you have to ask the buyer to make a few tweaks hopefully it can be done.  Be cautious of accepting an offer that has no conditions, in a few cases, buyers can get caught up in offering on a house before they have their financing pre-approved and could end up backing out of the offer, at which point, you would have to go back to the other buyers and hope that they are still interested in buying your home.  Not only can choosing the wrong offer cost you valuable time on the market, but it can also cost you more money if the other buyers are not interested, of have chosen to lower their original offer.

 

Whether you end up with multiple offers or just one offer, remember the end result is the same, your home will sell for market value and you’ll be moving onto your next adventure!

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Steps to financial independence

Steps to financial independence

 

Financial success is a journey, not a destination. Are you taking the steps to get you on the road to financial independence and keep you there?

 

Check the items that you have provided for or are in the process of providing for.

 

- I have set reasonable and achievable financial goals and check to ensure I'm on track.
- I have eliminated outstanding loans and do not carry a balance on my credit cards.
- I have established an emergency fund totaling three to six months of expenses.
- If I were to die or become disabled today, my family would have sufficient resources to maintain my family home and care for my children.
- I have sufficient life insurance to cover all my outstanding debts, including mortgage and final expenses (burial costs and probate fees).
- I fully understand all the options available under my employer or association plan.
- I am maximizing my RRSP or spousal RRSP (if applicable) and have diversified my investments to reduce risk and investment vulnerability.
- I consider borrowing money to invest in my RRSP if I can repay it within the year.
- I am saving and will have adequate funds for my children's education.
- I have a mortgage with an amortization schedule and payment frequency that will save interest and pay off the mortgage in the shortest possible time.
- I have a current list of important papers and their location (for example, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, insurance policies, etc.).
- I have credit cards in my own name so that I can maintain a good credit rating independent of my partner.
- I have an up-to-date will that ensures that my beneficiaries will receive their rightful inheritance.
- I have appointed a power of attorney for managing my property as well as my personal care in the event that I am unable to do so myself.
- I have personal coverage to supplement the group life and disability insurance I have through my employer or association.
- I have a plan in place to cover future health care and nursing home costs for my parents.


How is your financial future shaping up?

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Contributors

Jennifer Roth
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February 5, 2015
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Stephanie Catcher
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December 31, 2014
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Gary Brown
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September 7, 2014
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Tia Lougas
7
August 18, 2014
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Liana Carvalho
9
July 22, 2014
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Steve Catcher
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June 9, 2014
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Richard Ventura
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Mark Carruthers
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April 3, 2014
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2015

February
10 Things Your Home St ...

2014

December
Is Furniture Holding y ...
October
Is your Furniture Hold ...
September
Here's Something That ...
August
Front Door Fix-Up
Why Neutral Is Best Wh ...
July
When Should You Stage?
Last will and testamen ...
Multiple Offers - Sell ...
Steps to financial ind ...
How to Score Free Land ...
June
Multiple Offer - Buyer ...
Home Staging in 3 Step ...
Wild Things
What is the difference ...
May
Heritage in a Home
Renewing Your Mortgage ...
Are you Attending Open ...
What Is Home Staging?
Keep your Floors Clean ...
Cleaning Tips For Sell ...
April
Thinking Bungalow
Leadership Advice: How ...
When Should You Call a ...
Understanding market v ...
Curb Appeal
Send Me Your Wish List
Outside your Home Fact ...
Home Staging Curb Appe ...
Keep on top of your ch ...
Laddering investments
Home Based Business
How to choose a furnac ...
Your Couch is a Beast!
March
How to renovate and st ...
8 Reasons Why You Shou ...
Using Your RRSPs To Bu ...
Location, Location, Lo ...
Home renovations & Hom ...
Aim Higher. Be Differ ...
Your Photos are Distra ...
Fixed vs. Variable Rat ...
Why Home Staging Works
Why should you have li ...
Heating With Wood
GOALS 2014
Signs that your Home i ...
February
How to Compromise and ...
(VIDEO) Barbara Corcor ...
2013 RRSP Deadline is ...
Watch Your Steps...
Home Searching for Pet ...
Your smoke alarm may f ...
OLYMPIC LESSONS
Why do you love your H ...
5 Tips for Prioritizin ...
Save Money by Staging ...
Make the best choice f ...
Home Inspectors - Buye ...
Be Our Guest
Using a Mortgage Broke ...
Let's do the Time Warp ...
January
Going away for the Hol ...
Choosing a home inspec ...
Home Staging Myths
Do it for Yourself
3 Tips for Making a Ne ...
Dryer vents could be a ...
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