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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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What is the difference between Home Staging and Interior Decorating?

Home Staging is a highly effective and proven real estate marketing strategy used to aid in selling a home that is listed for sale. Home Staging is about merchandising the product (the home) to appeal to its target market, in order to secure an acceptable offer in the least amount of time. Home Staging is about appealing to the buyer, not the homeowner's personal tastes.

 

Interior Decorating is for the homeowner’s enjoyment, reflecting and appealing to their individual style, taste and needs. It encompasses all, or a combination of, selecting finishes, colour schemes, furniture, fabrics, lighting, artwork and accessories as well as their final placement within the space. Interior Decorating is very personal to the homeowner.

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Your Couch is a Beast!

Is your couch so large that it's affecting the sale of your home?  We all know that we want the largest, softest, most comfy couch when we veg out and watch TV.  Cuddled up with our blankets, popcorn bowls, books, remotes, dogs and kids, the need for a large couch space is apparent, but is your beast of a couch slowing your home sale?

 

Often I find clients trying to fit their furniture in the home for sale and if the furniture in their potential new home is much larger than what they have, they will find it hard to think that their furniture will fit.  Less truly is more, letting people know that there is room for a full couch and a loveseat is great, but they don't need to see your mammoth couch and 2 more matching lazy boys too! 

 

Here are some tips on picking the right couch for the space that you have:

 

If you have high ceilings, choose a couch with a tall back or oversized back cushions to help soften the rooms starkness

 

If you have a small living space, try an apartment sized sofa, or a loveseat paired with 2 chairs to give a conversational space, odds are that people won't notice it's not a full sized couch if it's laid out right

 

If your space is open and you have it broken into 2 room spaces - consider a sectional couch if the space is large, it will help your mind break up the space into 2 different rooms and make it feel more spacious, there is nothing worse than an open concept home with too much furniture

 

If you have a lot of furniture, consider removing it for selling your home, take out that bulky couch and matching chair, they take up too much space and probably look worn anyways - that's why they are so great for relaxing, but that worn in look doesn't sell homes.

 

If you need to rent furniture to make your space work , the small cost for the month that you may need to rent will pay off.  The better your home looks, the quicker it sells and the quicker you can go back to regular life and well, packing!

 

 

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How to renovate and stay married

There’s a reason that your grandmother told you never to wallpaper with your partner. And, that marriage counselors recommend never undertaking any big home-improvement projects in your first year of marriage. Renovations are friggin’ stressful!

 

Even the simplest projects can go off the rails quickly -- with budgets and timelines stretching or the finished product not matching expectations. All of this leads to a lot of confusion, frustration and even anger. Add to these emotions physical chaos, a lot of dirt, sweat, tears and even blood and you start to understand what your grandma was talking about. Intentionally or unintentionally it’s easy to direct the stress of renovations at the person you love the most. So how do couples get through renovations and still want to live together? Here are a few tips to help you maintain sanity (and your marriage), even during the toughest projects.

  1. Take turns taking the lead.
    Most projects don’t work well with two head honchos. Realistically assess your skills and interests and figure out who is going to lead during the various steps in the project. It’s ok to do this on the fly, but it’s important to respect the role AND (in my opinion) for everyone to take a turn. Swapping the lead shows that you respect and recognize each other’s strengths and keeps contrasting opinions from halting the project – when we disagree about how something should be done, the lead gets to make the final call. Because we both lead at various points, we each make concessions and no one feels bulldozed; plus we both have a sense of ownership over the final product. Win-win! 
  2. Take a break.
    When tensions hit a peak, just take a break. If you work when you’re frustrated, the quality of what you’re doing is going to suffer. Truly. During our bathroom renovation, we both had points where we had to say, “I’m frustrated. I’m going to go for a walk.” Getting out of the renovation zone helps clear your head and cool your frustration. For big projects, I think it’s even OK to take a weekend or two off. Don’t let all of your home-time become frustration-inducing renovation time. Do things you enjoy that don’t involve power tools. It’s good for your mental health. That said, I often find that the weight of procrastination is worse than the work itself. Once you’re calm, carry on.
  3. Keep your sense of humor.
    "I’m going out for cigarettes!” This is our running renovation joke as two non-smokers. When things aren’t going our way, one of us usually makes this comment  – the subtext, of course, being that we’re going to start driving and never come back. It’s ok if your sense of humor doesn’t lean that way (I know, we’re weird people), but try to remember to laugh when simple things get messed up. It’s going to happen. Better to shrug, crack a joke, and try something else than blow up in a fit of anger.
  4. Appreciate what you’ve accomplished
    There are going to be points in your project where all you can see if the unfinished mess in front of you. Take some time to remember what you’ve already accomplished and latch on to these thoughts for precious life. This is one of the reasons that taking a lot of photos before, during and after renovations is great -- you get a chance to see precisely how far you’ve come. Way to go, you!

Hopefully, once the project is finished, your relationship will be even stronger than when you started. Or, you actually went out for some cigarettes and are now basking in the Mexican sun with your demolished house (kitchen, bathroom, basement) a distant memory. Feels good doesn’t it?

 

Got tips for renovating with your beau? Send them my way! And, check out everything we've been DIYing (together!) over on our blog moreofeverything.ca

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Your Photos are Distracting

We’ve all heard that your home needs to be devoid of personal photos when your home is for sale, but do you know why?  There are lots of reasons why your personal photos can affect the sale of your property.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen buyers more interested in the family photos on the wall then in the space of your home. I often hear comments such as “oh I think I know them” or “Look at that Mullet! Come here honey and look!”  Not only are they distracting themselves, but their spouse as well and now neither of them is looking at the home.  I can tell you that I’ve been guilty of the exact same thing with funny family photos, but when I ask a client later what they thought of a certain home; they almost always forget what the features were of the homes with the photos.

Your photos may not only be distracting but can give away your motivation for moving, possibly you were just married and there is only one person on title of the home. As a real estate agent/Investigator, I’m able to determine that most likely this home is not the preferred home of the recently married spouse and that he/she is motivated to sell this house to get into a home that belongs to both of them to start their newly married life.  Some family photos can show how many kids you have and how old they are, from that I can tell if a family needs to move since they no longer fit in the home.  Even if they have done a great job de-cluttering to make the home look spacious, the number of people in a home can tell me they are motivated to move for extra space.

A handful of times I have found art to be just as distracting.  In those times, it has been extreme.  For example I was in a home where to artist was the owner and every square inch of the walls was covered in her art and self-portraits, while the art was well done, it was too much and we ended up counting the number of art pieces in the home which totaled over 70 on the walls. 

Another distraction can be the family calendar, some families write very detailed items on their calendars, often very personal details.  I would suggest that all personal items be put away, photos, calendars, artwork and anything else that may distract the buyers or give any insight as to your motivation to move.

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Why do you love your Home?

People move for so many reasons and often it’s a growth in the family, job change or affordability.  Even if it is obvious why they are moving, maybe a baby on the way in an already full house, I always ask why they love their house.  Often those owners think back to the time when they first purchased the house and talk about the yard, the open concept, location and various other great factors about the house.  I want to make sure that when selling the house that those reasons for falling in love with this home in the first place are front a centre when the house is listed.

 


To highlight those areas, often I will ask clients to pack up a large portion of their items and make the house feel like it did when they first saw it. Life can take over and make those features that you originally loved about a house a little lack luster.  If the client is willing I can also advertise the property in a unique way to include a little about the house and it’s history including what it has meant to you and your family.  This often works best in a home that has been owned by a family for quite some time and they have seen some life events in the home, weddings, babies and any other important events that would make a potential buyer feel more connected to the house.  I recently read an article about a realtor that listed a house that the owners called The Mint House due to its mint green exterior; this theme was used throughout the advertising and even the staging in the home.

 


Bring back the shine of your house again when you list it for sale, let your realtor know what makes your home unique and interesting , so those potential buyers can fall in love with your house, just like you did when you first bought it. Who knows you might even get to enjoy that feeling in your last few months in your house too!

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5 Tips for Prioritizing Renovation Projects

Sometimes the scope of work involved in a fixer-upper home becomes a lot clearer once you’ve finally moved in. All of those “easy-fixes” that you noticed during the inspection suddenly become a very long, intimidating list of “to-dos.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed!

 

Our house if caulk-full of projects. Some are big, costly and complicated while others are minor, cheap and cosmetic. It’s precisely this variance that makes prioritizing so tricky. I hate the colour of the kitchen cabinets, the downstairs toilet needs to be replaced, and I’d love to add crown molding to the bedroom. What takes priority?  

 

I’ve noticed over the years that some people jump right in, starting multiple projects in a crazed fit of productivity, but never really end up finishing anything. Others get paralyzed and don’t start any projects, anticipating of a “major overhaul” in the future.

 

In my experience, striking a balance between needs and wants, acceptance and intolerance can go a long way in making the ownership of a fixer-upper less stressful – I might even go as far as to say enjoyable (especially as projects start to get crossed off the list!).

 

So, here are my top tips for making your project list more digestible (and actionable!):

  1. Function Over Form. Looking over your list, consider what is actually broken vs. what simply doesn’t look good. Fixing a leaking drain pipe should take priority over painting the ugly cabinet that it’s hiding inside. Start with the functionality of the things you use on a day-to-day basis or problems that are causing further damage by not being mended – you don’t want your list getting even longer!
     
  2. High Traffic Areas. If the basic functions of your home are in order, I like to start with projects that fall into high traffic or public facing areas. Consider where you spend most of your time and prioritize projects that improve the functionality and enjoyment of these spaces. A fresh coat of paint in the living room is often an easy place to start.
     
  3. I Hate It! Your home should be a place where you feel at ease. If you walk in everyday loathing one particular thing, bump that project up your list and change it as soon as you can. That said, it’s a fact that there are going to be areas of your home that you’ll have to accept as they are for some time; so don’t play the “I hate it” trump card too early or too often.    
     
  4. Longevity & Resale. Likely resale isn’t the first thing on your mind if you’ve just moved in, but you shouldn’t disregard the ongoing value of your home as you pick your renovation projects. Sinking $15K into a media room is enticing, but tackling a really outdated bathroom first might be smarter in terms of your home’s value. When investing in projects, don’t forget to consider how long the project is intended to last and budget accordingly -- is this a temporary fix or a permanent solution? 
     
  5. Budget & Skill. While it might be nice to tackle our entire to-do list in one foul swoop, in reality it usually takes time to save up and get the work done. Consider which items on your list require more savings and skills (like a kitchen remodel) and start saving now! As you work toward these bigger projects, keep up your motivation and develop new skills by crossing a few of the smaller, less expensive projects (like painting or small repairs) from your list one at a time. Small projects really do add up over time -- trust me!

What’s the first project you tackled or hope to tackle in your new home? What’s the one thing you wish you could change right now?

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Let's do the Time Warp Again

On a recent visit to Graceland I was shocked to see how dated the home was.  I’m honestly not sure what I was expecting, but I thought a home that millions of people flock to would have a bit less shag and a bit more space.  We really did enjoy our time at Graceland and found it very interesting, but it got me thinking about those few homes I show a year that are like walking into a time warp.

 
I’m sure everyone has heard about shag carpet, spindled walls and golden rod tubs but how many people actually keep these things in their homes, Elvis does and a I’m sure there are still a few homes in KW left that are like walking into a time warp.  I often find these homes to be a good time when taking clients through, who doesn’t love to laugh at some purple and green shag on the floor and the walls, how about furniture that has been so well preserved with its plastic covers that it makes the 70’s feel like it was yesterday.  I’m going to do my best this year to take some photos of these hidden gems and share them when our paths cross.


Inevitably these homes sell and find a buyer who is willing to give them some love from this century, but these homes all have a place and a buyer who will love them.  I always remind buyers that not every home that was built comes with walk in closets, ensuite bathrooms, tubs that will allow you to soak in them or main floor laundry.  Just because these homes weren’t built with these features it doesn’t make it defective and I can assure you that people lived then and can still live today without these features.


I leave you with some photos that we were able to sneak of our trip to Graceland and remind you just like I need to be reminded from time to time, that not everyone has a huge home with all the modern conveniences and  that we don’t all need that either.  Join me in doing the time warp again and find that older homes with original décor and features still have charm today.

 

A shot of me across the street from Graceland, while it's hard to see, it's the white house on the hill.

Elvis' Living Room, note the 15 Foot White couch on the right and the large stained glass!  If you'd like a replica of this stained glass, they sell it in the gift shop.

Elvis' TV Room, you can't see it, but these may have been the very first flat screens, he had 3 large TV's stuck in the wall and a monkey statue on the table.

 

This is George listening to the tour and visiting Elvis' Pool Room, a place to hang out with his buddies and play around, the whole room is done in fabric, walls, ceiling and the furniture all match!

 

This is the "Jungle" Room, complete with shag on the floor, and ceiling (see below photo) and a large water feature on that brick wall.

Shag Carpet on the ceiling of the jungle room, believe it or not, this is not the first time I have seen this!

 

 

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Home Staging Myths

Recently I read an article featured in the K-W Review by Linda White titled “Home Staging Myths”. It was a great article that touched on 3 of the most common objections Home Stagers encounter from clients and potential clients. I’m going to share it here with you to shed some light and truth on the most common staging myths out there.

 

Home Staging Myths

 

It’s time to post the For Sale sign on the front lawn, but not before you fork out a ton of money to hire a home stager who will tell you to paint your home a boring shade of beige and remove all family photos.

Not so fast. Those are among the myths associated with home staging — often described as the “art” of preparing a home for sale by making it appear bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer and more welcoming to prospective buyers.

 

Thanks to the proliferation of home staging shows, magazine articles and quickie courses, “everyone is an expert on home staging”, says Luanne Kanerva, owner of katu design in Toronto. She helps bust some common staging myths.

 

Myth: Staging costs too much money

 

Reality: “Staging doesn’t have to cost a lot of money but your home is likely the most valuable asset you own so you want to make the most of it,” Kanerva says. “Depending on the condition of your home and decor, you could spend a little or a lot. A good stager will be able to tell you the most cost-efficient ways to have your home appeal to the broadest range of buyers.”

 

The cost of a consultation is commensurate with the size of the house and typically rangers from $200 to $500, says Christine Rae, president of Canadian Certified Staging Professionals and author of Home Staging for Dummies.

 

Myth: Staging looks fake and turns buyers off

 

Reality: “I hear many horror stories of rose petals strewn across beds and fabrics draped over every surface, but staging a house shouldn’t make it look fake – it should bring out the best features.” so homebuyers can imagine themselves living there, Kanerva says.

 

Myth: I have to paint the entire house a boring shade of beige

 

Reality: Neutral, modern colours don’t have to be beige and for the record, there are many nice shades of beige, Kanerva says. More worrisome are homeowners who don’t see the point of painting because the new owners will want to select their own colour palette, they reason.

 

But it’s in your best interest to paint. “Buyers won’t necessarily notice fresh paint but they will notice tired, scuffed old paint,” Kanerva explains.

___

One of my favourite parts of this article is when Luanne Kanerva says “everyone is an expert on home staging.” Because the industry is not regulated, it is not necessary to have formal training, insurance etc.  Many people do not understand the difference between decorating and staging, so someone who has a great decorating sense may think they can be a Home Stager; however without formal training they may not understand the fundamental principles of Home Staging. When choosing a Home Stager, it is important to hire someone who has had proper training, proper business insurance and someone who can show you their portfolio of past projects.

 

Please check out our portfolio at www.HomeSellingEdge.com/our-portfolio

 

Home Selling Edge is a professional property styling firm dedicated to creating beautiful living spaces. We offer the creative solutions you need whether you are planning to sell and are looking for an edge over the competition, or if you’re planning to stay and want your home to reflect your personal style. We provide our services to homes in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge & surrounding areas.

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Do it for Yourself

Do it for Yourself

 

Packing, Cleaning, Freshening and Staging.  There is a lot of work involved in getting your home ready for sale.  I often have clients tell me after they’ve gone through the list of work to be done for their home that they are so much happier in the home they are looking to sell.  Instead of rushing around last minute to do all the work to give your home to someone else, do those items ahead of time and for yourself to enjoy! 


Everyone knows what needs to be done to their home and any homeowner can name a list as long as their arm of things in their home that bother them.  If those small items bother you, it will bother the buyer of your home as well.  So do those small jobs now, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel about your home and how quick it was to do it.  Doing these small jobs as you go along also save you some time when you are actually ready to list your property, you can focus more on the staging and less on the little jobs that you know should have been done months or even years earlier.


Some examples of small jobs include:  painting scuffed baseboards, caulking countertops and tubs, painting the ceiling, cleaning eavesthrophs both inside and out, straightening kitchen cupboards, replacing taps, laundry hoses, updating lighting, replacing or cleaning older and stained carpet , updating bathroom and kitchen flooring,  and anything else that you notice on a daily basis that needs updating or repair. 


Take the time to show your home the love it deserves and the love that you had for it originally by maintaining it well now so when you are ready to list your property you can focus on the cleanup and staging and less on the small jobs, and you’ll be able to enjoy your home more when the list isn’t getting longer and longer until it becomes a burden. Complete those items for you and your family to enjoy now instead of working hard in the month before you sell your home to let someone else enjoy all your work.

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Jennifer Roth
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February 5, 2015
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Your Couch is a Beast!
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