–a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort
–something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary
— an indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction, or ease
Luxury can mean different things to different people, depending on your circumstances. For example, luxury can mean a hot shower, 3 meals a day, or a penthouse condo.
In the case of luxury vacant staging, both the seller and the realtor expect an extra “je ne sais quoi” (literally translated: “I don’t know what”)– meaning, they are not sure until they see it.
Premiere Home Stagers strives to give every vacant staging exactly what is needed, plus a little extra. The furniture and accessories are carefully chosen or purchased with that property in mind–but not exclusively to that property. Some sellers confuse decorating with staging. The seller may not necessarily like a particular style for their property, but the goal is to appeal to the masses.
Luxury realtors may reason since the property is priced high, the staging must reflect that price. They may have issue with the amount of furniture, the quality of the wall art, or even the chosen foliage. Stagers want prospective buyers to walk around the furniture and see the house and envision themselves living there. We evoke an emotional response no matter what the price point is.
For the niche, I chose an open screen for height and attached two black-framed geometric prints to it. The buffet table complements the rest of the dining room furniture. Perhaps a musical instrument would work here as well, e.g., harp, electric piano, or a sound system.
The dining area is quite large and can easily accommodate eight dinner guests.
This flex room is off the living room. It has its own attached bathroom, so it could be used as a guest room, a hobby room, or in this case, a home office.
There is a plug for a TV behind the fireplace picture. You can see the office doorway on the right side of the fireplace. The door to the screen porch is on the left.
The master bedroom ensuite is luxurious. There are three large windows for maximum natural light, plus an attached spa bathroom.
Whether or not your property is considered to be a “luxury listing,” Premiere Home Stagers will stage it with a unique, custom look to evoke an emotional response for your next buyer. Call Premiere Home Stagers at 608-345-9396
Home stagers will perform consultations on your house as to items that need to be removed, items that should be re-positioned elsewhere, and where to place items in each room. The stager will also make recommendations as to repairs, updates and paint colors. They either charge an hourly rate or give a straight fee depending upon the square footage or length of time. No actual staging takes place during these consultations.
After you have done what the consultation recommends, the home stager will return and actually stage your items. This is another charge based upon the rooms to be staged. All items used in the staging are the homeowners. Most stagers will not bring in items from their inventory for an occupied staging because homeowners are still living in the house. There have been many cases whereby stagers’ items are soiled, ruined, broken, or smells bad from pets, cooking odors, or smoking.
A Premiere Consultation
Premiere Home Stagers often melds a consultation into an occupied staging whenever feasible.
This lovely condo was on the market for about 6 months without selling. It was nice, but not staged. The realtor suggested staging might help give it a “fresh look.” When I saw the “before,” it didn’t quite feel right. Sometimes the furniture angle isn’t right, some softness was needed, and some height. This is the “after” photo. It feels just right.
So, instead of telling the seller what to do, it is so much easier and so much more satisfying for the owner to actually move the items and see for herself how much of a difference it makes. There are times when the seller isn’t sure I made the right decision in re-positioning her items because that’s the way it’s always been. However, once items are moved and then staged, the affirmation comes. Usually they say, “I never would have thought of it this way.” The realtor shared that her seller was “thrilled.” After new photos are taken, the online photos are more likely to enhance showings, a win-win for the seller and realtor.
In this house, the seller was in the process of down-sizing. She had removed a lot of her belongings, leaving behind items needed for staging. Luckily, the realtor was also there, so we were able to move items in different rooms, take down lots of wall art, and then stage it.
Before, there were two black chairs facing the sofa, with their backs to the fireplace. Fireplaces are always a focal point. You should orient the furniture in a conversational grouping, while recognizing the importance of the fireplace.
The media (TV and stereo system) are located in this room also.
However, in this house, there are two focal points because this is lake property.
The focal point of this large room (below) is the spectacular views of the lake. The sectional is oriented toward the windows, not in a conversational grouping.
Sitting in front of the pellet-burning fireplace is a nice way to keep warm during cold or rainy times while still enjoying the lake view.
Premiere Home Stagers charges the same whether for a consultation or for an occupied staging—on an hourly basis. The first hour is $125 and any succeeding hour is charged at $80. I can usually get most done within a 2-hour time period. I leave a written report (done while I am there) that lists what else needs to be done—such as clean the windows, take down the draperies, or move heavy items.
In all cases, the seller understands what a big difference staging has made and then is motivated to finish the job. The realtor is pleased that the house can be listed sooner.
Whether you wish a consult or an occupied staging, call Premiere Home Stagers at 608-345-9396.
A client is working with Haver Design & Construction, Inc. to construct a bedroom/bathroom ensuite addition, with laundry in the master closet. This is no small undertaking. The rooms have been framed, mechanicals are roughed-in, and insulated. After passing inspections, it is now time to drywall. After the drywall is completed, the tile will be installed. Thus, the client needed to choose tile.
It is important to choose tile that is readily available. Some tile comes directly from other countries, so it might take 4-5 weeks to get. Or, even if the tile is readily available, tile installers are not easy to schedule as the good ones are always busy.
So, where do you start?
You start by going over the plans and determining where each type of tile should go.
Every project should start with a plan or a layout, depending upon the scope of the project.
The client needed bathroom and closet flooring, a shower floor, shower walls, and decorative tile on the vanity backsplash.
Make an appointment with an in-house tile designer and bring your plans.
Come with a few ideas in mind, such as color scheme or type of tile you might be interested in.
Start by looking at the various tile vingnettes the store has on display. You’ll quickly realize what you don’t like so you can hone in on what you do like.
Choose tile that goes with the space. For example, in a shower pan, you’ll need small tiles to make the subtle curve needed for the water to drain.
Bathroom floor tile should not be slippery, so choosing a textured tile or a tile with more grout lines will have a little more friction.
Decide whether you would like a feature wall in the shower. You can add accent tiles to make a statement. Put this accent tile inside a soap/shampoo niche and perhaps use this same accent tile as a vanity backsplash to tile the colors together.
Choose how you want the tile to run–stacked, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or in specific patterns. Any deviation from standard tile laying will cost more to install.
It only took an hour to choose the following tile pieces with the help of The Tile Shop’s in-house designer, Debi.
This is tile that has the texture of carpet. It is absolutely perfect in the bathroom as well as the master bedroom closet floor–especially with a washer/dryer in the closet.
The small 2″x 2″ tiles will be the floor of the shower. The vertical tile will be installed in this direction on the shower walls. Both the bathroom floor and the shower walls will be in the same plane–vertically.
The accent tile in strips will be installed inside the niche as well as be the vanity backsplash.
The vanity top sample is on the left and coordinates well with the white cabinetry. This countertop material will also be used inside the shower as a bench seat.
Premiere Home Stagers offers clients consulting and shopping services to help them navigate through their selections. I love choosing tile, flooring, paint colors, plumbing fixtures, lighting, cabinetry or countertops, even furniture and accessories. Help is only a phone call away: 608-345-9396.
Average prices at an Estate Sale:
About 30% plus everything marked with too low a price will be sold.
About 50% will be sold at discounted prices.
About 20% will need to be disposed of or given away.
0% will be sold for more than it is marked.
Average prices at an Estate Auction:
100% of the personal property will be sold at the end of the day.
Some items will sell at unbelievable prices and some items will sell at discounted value
Everything will have sold for its fair market value that day.
By being open to the public, an auction ensures a wide range of bids, and sometimes items at auction can fetch surprisingly high prices. The bidders, in turn, create a free competitive market, determining on an individual basis how much they want to pay for an item, rather than having either under or over prices dictated by the seller.
Some people find themselves in the demanding position as an estate representative for a family member or friend. Usually, such a role is a thankless job and very demanding on your time, patience, and physical limits.
There must be a method to the madness in order to settle the estate. Here is one way to handle the disbursal of personal items:
Have the significant heirs go through each room and tag items of interest to them.
Every item has some value, whether sentimental or monetary. Thus, every item should have a “price”. Research the prices of certain valuable items such as antiques, china, figurines, art, or furniture. Other items could be priced as to what you might pay at a garage sale. You only have to do this for items the heirs are interested in.
Have the heir interested in a valuable item pay 2/3 of the researched price. If another heir is also interested, each can bid until one drops out. For a sentimental item, one offers what they might pay at a yard sale.
Tally up what each significant heir has “spent,” and deduct that amount from the final estate. Thus the heir without choosing items is on par with the heir who does choose items.
The next step is to divide the rest of the belongings as to donate, consign, sell, or dispose of.
Assign a room or a task to each person to make the job go quicker.
Mother was a quilter who belonged to two different quilting groups. Each group had monthly assignments, which meant homework. Sometimes the group took a field trip to various quilting stores in the area, or to other cities where quilts were on exhibition. Mother never saw a fabric she didn’t like.
Only one person could accomplish clearing out this room because there was no room to move. I volunteered, which meant I could be in one spot for the entire day instead of going up and down stairs. Where does one start? It doesn’t matter where, just start. After five hours, the table top was cleared and two people could actually stand in this room. I think I need another five hours before I’m finished.
Sorting and Packing
Items of interest were tagged and prices settled upon. It wasn’t difficult for people to choose items. Some had just a few small boxes and some had a couple of furniture items. The process was quite smooth, actually.
The next step, shown above, is packaging and labeling items to be donated, consigned, sold, or disposed of. After that, cleaning and minor repairs will be done. Premiere Home Stagers will stage each room and eXp Realty, LLC will list the house. It will be the first time this house will be on the market in over 80 years.
While an auction might be a wonderful way to dispose of Mother’s belongings, there are few items that warrant this method. She was rich in the abundance of friendships and family members rather than anything considered valuable.
There are organizations that help seniors down-size and also conduct your estate sale. They might be your best option.
If you want more information, contact Premiere Home Stagers at 608-345-9396.
I came across the term “Stagent” from my Trade Association a few weeks back, which I thought was quite clever. It is a home stager who is also a real estate agent. Premiere Home Stagers is beginning its 11th year staging houses in the Madison, WI area. However, just recently, I joined an online brokerage firm called eXp Realty, LLC.
My rationale was since I was already in a person’s home getting it ready to sell, I might as well continue that relationship as a listing agent. I had already established a level of trust by going through the owners’ items and re-arranging them to better serve the online photos as well as preserve their home value.
I was not interested in joining just any realty company. I already have a business I love, but wanted to provide extra service to my clients. eXp Realty, LLC is an agent-owned cloud brokerage. This means I am part owner and everything is digitally-based. Most agents talk with home sellers in their homes rather than at an office. However, I do have access to a leased office, should I need it. Documents are generated and signed via Docusign. My state broker approves the documents electronically. The house gets listed on the MLS through the state broker.
So, why do I like this model? Because it saves everyone time and money. Instead of paying a high monthly rent for a brick-and-mortar building, I use these funds to pay for more advertising for you!
Days on the Market
I can now look on the MLS and see how many days on the market “before staging v. after staging” and get an accurate number for my yearly statistics, which is then uploaded to my Trade Association, The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) for national reporting.
Sold or Expired Listing
I love it when I see an accepted offer shortly after staging. I know they will be contacting me to de-stage the property after the inspection and appraisal, but before the closing. I can then arrange my schedule better to accommodate this.
I can also refer a property that I am staging to another agent with better expertise–such as in another MLS area, or a commercial property.
Better to Serve You
My objective is to serve your needs either as a home stager or a realtor. All my listings include my staging expertise at no extra cost. However, should you only need staging, I am happy to provide that and work with your realtor or yourself on a successful, quick sale. Remember, a staged property sells faster than an un-staged property.
We are headed into the spring selling season, especially once the Wisconsin winter gives way to warmer weather. I’m ready to meet your needs. Call Premiere Home Stagers or eXp Realty, LLC at 608-345-9396.
Once again, Premiere Home Stagers received a call to consult on a vacant condo that has been listed for almost 5 months. Since realtor statistics show condos sell slower and staging statistics show staged properties sell faster, I wish I had had the opportunity to stage this a while ago.
I can see why prospective buyers might be confused on furniture layout. First of all, a vacant property rarely shows well because there is nothing to look at except the flooring and the walls. Any minor imperfections really stand out. Secondly, there were three areas that even I had to put my thinking cap on.
The hallways leads to a rounded niche located in a corner of the dining room. It should be considered a focal point, which means something enticing needs to be here.
So let’s brainstorm on what might be placed here. I gleaned through my inventory, then went through photos at Houzz and Craig’s List looking for something interesting. Because the niche has a round wall, wall art is not feasible. I need something both tall and dining related.
Another small niche occurs immediately inside the front door.
This niche could be used as an umbrella stand, a coat tree, or foliage on a stand.
The room to the right of the fireplace is a flex room. It was used as a guest room previously because it has an attached bathroom, as do the other two bedrooms.
Most people would prefer not to see a bed while watching TV in the living room. Since this room has hardwood floors and lots of natural light, it is perfect as an office, a craft studio, hobby room, or playroom.
I hope I get an opportunity to stage this gorgeous property. A stager’s goal is to help both the homeowner and realtor sell their property faster and for more money. Why not do everything you can, even in a seller’s market, to get the most for your property. Staging is ALWAYS less expensive than your first price reduction. Please call Premiere Home Stagers at 608-345-9396
While home stagers love to rearrange furniture and accessories in order to maximize return on investment, sometimes building codes need to be addressed before listing a house for sale. When a house hasn’t been listed for decades, local or state codes might have changed.
A flight of stairs with more than 3 risers shall be provided with at least one handrail for the full length of the flight. Since there are three of these stair groupings, we’ll need to install three handrails.
The 2006 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC) states the following concerning doors that separate garages from living areas: an opening between an attached garage and the residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 1-3/8” (35 mm) in thickness, solid- or honeycomb-core steel doors not less than 1-3/8” (35 mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors.
Egress windows are required inside all basement rooms used for sleeping.
The egress window must have a minimum width of opening equal or greater than 20″.
• The egress window must have a minimum height of opening equal or greater than 24 in.
• There is a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 sq. ft. (5.0 sq. ft. for ground floor). (free space when window is open)
• There is a maximum sill height above the floor of 44 in.
In the two basement rooms, in order to meet code, a step in front of the window that can hold 200 lbs and decrease the height of the window access. The step can be covered over by carpeting.
A realtor cannot list a home as having basement bedrooms unless there are egress windows. That greatly affects the listing price.
Inspectors look for the following items:
Structural elements: Construction of visible foundation, evidence of sagging or bowing of the structure, and window alignment
Safety: Operating fire and carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, condition of stairs, hand and guardrails, and garage door openers.
Grounds: Leaks from septic tank, proper drainage, and condition of the house’s driveways, fences, and sidewalks
Roof: Condition of shingles, any repairs/patches to flat roofs, clear vents, damage to chimneys, and properly working gutters
Exterior surfaces: Correct clearance between ground and siding material, condition of exterior paint or siding, and properly working lights and electrical outlets
Attic: Sufficient insulation, proper ventilation, and any sign of leaking or water damage
Interior plumbing: No damaged or leaking pipes, proper hot water temperature, as well as functioning toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers
Electrical system: Up-to-code condition and type of visible wiring, and proper function of circuit breakers, outlets, light fixtures, and fans
Appliances: Proper function of stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer, and all other appliances
Heating and cooling systems: Condition of furnace, air conditioning (temperature permitting), water heater, chimney, and fireplace
Basement: Solid foundation, walls, and floors, with no signs of water intrusion or damage
Garage: Solid foundation, windows, ceiling, framing, and roof; working garage door opener; up-to-code electrical system; and proper function of outlets
Most people include a home inspection contingency in their offer to purchase. You can renegotiate with the seller to fix certain problems or to lower the price. Or, if the problem is expensive to fix, you can choose to walk away from the deal. Either way, it’s a win-win for the buyer.
Wisconsin winters are cold and dark. So, when realtors show vacant homes during the winter months, the interiors also look cold and dark. Even when the sun is shining, the furnace is usually turned way down, making the house cold.
A vacant traditional house shows dark even during warmer, sunny days because the windows are smaller, the woodwork is darker, and the layout is not open. The natural light doesn’t flow through adjacent rooms.
This room is directly off the living room. Perhaps it was originally an office. You can see the opening from the front door.
The living room is dark because the front windows (opposite) faces north and there is no overhead lighting.
Because it is possible to close this room off from the living room, I decided to make it a music room. I put a guitar, a keyboard, and a simple dulcimer (santoor) with sheet music and a music stand.
I added a floor lamp and a table lamp to reflect the light off the fireplace mirror. Two chairs next to the south-facing window are a cozy place for quiet reading.
The family room is where most of the living takes place. It was added on some years before that allowed for more second-story bedrooms. This room can be configured in many different ways, depending upon what the family’s needs are. It leads out onto a screened-in porch, then out to the private yard.
I decided to include a TV-viewing area, a informal dining space that looks out onto the grounds, plus an office.
Isn’t this a great spot for an office? A person can have something on the stove and yet check their email or keep an eye on the kids playing in the family room. It’s also nice to have an outside view while working.
The kitchen is not huge, but nicely laid-out. There is plenty of storage and shelving for decorative items.
The traditional dining room is perfect for formal dinners or a quiet romantic dinner for two. The built-in buffet holds the china and crystal. Lingering after dessert while watching the view out the front and side windows is the perfect ending.
Premiere Home Stagers enjoyed staging this traditional beauty in one of Madison’s (WI) sought-after neighborhoods. By bringing in some color, texture, and interest, the online photos are sure to evoke an emotional response. This house surely went from dreary to cheery.
My recommendation is to stage a vacant house before winter sets in. There are plenty of prospective buyers that look for a house during the winter season, even in Wisconsin. Call Premiere Home Stagers to stage your vacant house. 608-345-9396.
1910 was the year of the first recorded “Open for Inspection.” A realtor would be on-site from 9am until 9pm until the house sold.
In 1925, a broker in Indiana had a “brand new sales” idea to show homes that were furnished—the first staged houses.
During the 1950’s, Terminology changed from “open to inspection” to “Open House,” and Sunday became the standard open-house day. It is speculated that because “blue laws” prohibited business transactions on Sundays, people felt no pressure to come out and take a look.
In 1952, a Dallas realtor began using incentives to sell a model home in a new subdivision. He offered free soft drinks to visitors and a Cadillac to the lucky buyer. 30,000 people visited.
Present Day: According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2014 Profile of Home Buyer & Sellers, only 9% of buyers purchased a home that they first saw at an open house, while 5% met their agent at an Open House. However, 44% of buyers used open houses as a source of information during the home search process.
Open House Tips
Bathrooms and Kitchens need to be pristine. No odors, no dirty sponges or towels, no toiletries on counters, toilet seats down, no fingerprints on appliances. If in doubt, use a professional cleaner, then ask a trusted person for their honest opinion.
2. Curb appeal! Trim bushes and trees, add some flowers, if in season, or keep the snow and ice off the walkway if in winter.
3. Remove your pets during showings or an Open House. The pets will scare the people and the people will scare the pets.
4. Store anything valuable such as prescription drugs, money, high-end jewelry, and priceless collections. Realtors cannot possibly be in every room at every moment. Buyers will indeed open built-in cabinets, closets doors, and appliances. They should not be opening personal furniture items. However, sometimes that cute ornate jewelry box may be tempting, especially to children.
A successful Open House
Sometimes the realtor will hold all showings until a specific date to give everyone the same opportunity. It’s similar to waiting until the store opens on the day after Thanksgiving–a “mad rush.” If your house is priced right and looks right, people are more likely to offer an amount over-asking.
Call Premiere Home Stagers at 608-345-9396 to help you get ready for your Open House.
Condo sold 3 weeks after staging. (Was on the market 6 months before staging.)
Sherwin Williams does a great job keeping abreast of color trends each year. They graciously host regional presentations for design professionals to network and learn about their design tools. Check out their website for color ideas and tools for your use. For example, you can take a photo and upload it, then choose a wall color online using ColorSnap to see how your room might look without ever purchasing a can of paint.
There are three groupings of colors that various color institutes believe are trending throughout the world in fashion, art, world events such as the Olympics, and retail orders.
This first grouping is called “Sincerity.” The premise is “less is more.” As people are more transient, they want colors that can go with any decor. Thus, “blending in is the new standing out.” Don’t you love the advertising lingo?
Some colors in this group are named: Rojo Dust (SW9006), Sashay Sand (SW6051), and Acacia Haze (SW9132)
The second grouping is called “Unity.” Darker, richer colors are in this group. The influence is nationalism and globalism. We are part of our local community while being connected to our ethnicity and old world heritage. Folklore fabrics and crafts are part of this palette.
Color names include: Exuberant Pink (SW6840), Heartthrob (SW6866), and Borscht (SW7578).
The third grouping is called “Connectivity.” The younger generation is so attached to technology that most decisions they make involve using apps, search engines, or social media. “Techies are the new hippies, full of breakthrough ideas.”
This high-tech palette includes a more modern vibe such as: Organic Green (SW6732), Grape Harvest (SW6285), and Overjoy (SW6689).
Premiere Home Stagers provides color consultations in case you are stuck as to which paint color’s tones and hues are right for your rooms. You need to take in account the trim color, the floor color, and built-in items (i.e., fireplace, bookshelves) before you choose a paint color.
Call 608-345-9396 for your consultation. Make 2018 a new beginning for you.