Premiere Stagers & Realty received a phone call from a condo owner asking about my staging services for her property that had been on the market for 52 days. I viewed the condo with her realtor later that day. The realtor told me he had never used a home stager nor recommended a home stager in the 19 years he was a realtor. My first thought was there had to be client properties that sat longer or had their prices reduced through those years. Statistics show staged properties sell faster and for more money than un-staged properties. Granted, not every property should be staged (foreclosure, family sale, distressed, investment), but are you giving your client the best service by showing a vacant property for almost two months?
An Occupied Property
An occupied property was listed with a different agent who did not recommend a home stager. It has been on the market for over two months. But instead of the realtor advising his clients about the benefits of getting their home ready to sell, sellers (and some realtors) think a prospective buyer can look past their furnishings. When this house was shown, the prospective buyers remarked how dark the paint colors were and how small the rooms looked because of the sellers’ stuff, plus the deer heads!
Clean and Simple
This house was occupied, but the sellers were advised on how to show their house. Even though the paint color is dark, the prospective buyers knew they could lighten it up with their paint choice and new flooring. This house quickly sold within a week.
So what does the condo look like after being staged? The online photos entice a prospective buyer to make an appointment to view it. Staging provides size and scale of the rooms and provides an idea for how furniture may be placed.
The Price of NOT Staging
The price of not staging your property is more than you might think. Not only do you still have a mortgage payment, but also insurance, utilities, property taxes, and maintenance. You may also have monthly HOA fees. The price of staging is always less expensive than your first price reduction. So, please ask your realtor about home staging services in your area. Or, if you hire Premiere Stagers & Realty, the staging is included with any listing. Call 608-345-9396.
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.
While frozen, the snow and ice on the roof are no more trouble than the icicles that hang down. But during the warmer parts of a winter day, water melting off the roof pools behind the ice, then seeps back up under the shingles. Sometimes water can work its way 5 – 10 ft back up under the shingles. Eventually, it drips through the roof into the soffits, walls, and worst of all, onto your ceilings. You’ll first see ice dam rust spots on drywall fasteners, then perhaps peeling paint, sagging drywall and stains around windows and doors. Insurance companies pay millions of dollars to thousands of homeowners annually to repair the damage. But it’s never enough to cover the time and aggravation of getting everything fixed. (Family Handyman https://www.familyhandyman.com/roof/prevent-ice-dams/)
There are four reasons why an ice dam forms only during certain winters:
You have a hot attic: not enough insulation or ventilation in your attic.
Fluctuating temperatures: slightly above freezing during the day and well below freezing during the night.
Radiant heat from the sun: even if temperatures are below freezing both during the day and night, the sun’s radiant heat is enough to melt a portion of the ice, which then refreezes after sundown.
Perfect Temperatures: during temperatures between 30-32 degrees, even with an energy-efficient attic, water melts and then refreezes, which is a “perfect storm” for an ice dam to occur.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
The key to preventing ice dams is simply to keep your attic and roof cold. After a snowfall, a cold roof will have a thick blanket of snow. A warmer roof, however, will soon have clear spots where the snow has melted off, and may well have icicles hanging from the eaves.
Check the depth of your attic insulation. Building codes require about 12 to 14 in. of fiberglass or cellulose. Add more if you have less than 8 in. and have had ice dam problems in the past. Blown-in cellulose and fiberglass are usually better than hand-placed batts because they fill more tightly around rafters, joists and other obstructions, leaving fewer gaps.
A cold roof isn’t always a perfect solution. During winters with heavy snowfall, you may get ice dams anyway. Or ice dams may consistently form at the foot of roof valleys (the junction where two roofs meet at a right angle) because they fill with windblown snow. And some sections of the roof may be impossible to keep cold. That’s when you have to call on secondary strategies and ice dam prevention products to prevent ice dam damage.
Ice and water barrier is a type of self-sealing underlayment that adheres to the roof decking and waterproofs it. You shingle over the top of it. It’s required by the building code in most regions, including Wisconsin.
Rake the snow off your roof after a heavy snowfall. An ice dam prevention products snow rake, which is an aluminum scraper mounted at a right angle on a telescoping aluminum pole, is the simplest solution for occasional heavy snows. If you pull the snow down, it can’t melt and form an ice dam. It’s an effective, if tedious, solution, but only for single-story homes. You can’t reach the second-floor roof. (Never use a snow rake when standing on a ladder!) And you have to take care not to break the shingles, which are brittle in cold weather.
Install heat cables when all else fails. Heat cables are high-resistance wires that you mount on the roof edge in a zigzag pattern and plug into an outdoor GFCI receptacle. They’re ideal in spots where ice dams regularly occur and can’t be stopped any other way. One problem: You have to route the meltwater away. Otherwise, it’ll refreeze in the gutters and along the roof edge. You’ll have to run the heat cable inside a downspout so the downspout doesn’t clog with ice.
Cannot Predict Ice Dams
A homeowner or home inspector cannot predict when and where an ice dam will occur. They can, however, take precautions to avoid ice dams after a particular heavy snow or ice storm, especially when icicles build up on the eaves.
This unfortunate homeowner experienced ice dams in two planes of the roof. The repair process is lengthy and costly.
Your insurance agency will almost certainly cover the damage done to the interior after an ice dam. But typically the removal of the ice dam itself is considered to be the homeowner’s responsibility.
Insurance companies expect you to put fourth an effort to prevent ice dams by making sure you’re your home is adequately insulated, properly ventilated, all attic bypasses are sealed, and that the exterior of your home is water tight and in tiptop shape (i.e., your roof). During winters with epic amounts of snow, they throw something else on your plate that you may or not be aware of. Shoveling and/or raking your roof! Most insurance policies state in some oblique way that roof-raking or shoveling the snow off your roof is part of regular and necessary home “upkeep.”
Regardless of the extent to which you fulfill your “responsibility” to keep your roof snow-free, the insurance company most likely is still not required or obligated to pay one penny for ice dam removal.
Is an Ice Dam a Defect?
Well, yes and no. An ice dam itself is not a defect, but the damage they can cause is.
When buying or selling a house in the winter in the northern states, it is especially important to be aware of issues that can occur, especially if the house is vacant or unattended to.
The after-effects of an ice dam is certainly cause for some remediation during the transaction. However, because no one can adequately predict if, where, or when an ice dam will occur, once the closing is completed there is less chance of remediation.
Call Premiere Stagers & Realty at 608-345-9396 for expert service.
Sometimes it takes time away from the usual to see the unusual. On a recent cruise (Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas), I was struck by the beauty of the ship. American architect Louis Sullivan (1856-1924) coined the phrase form follows function. This means that the purpose of a building (or object) should be the starting point for its design. While the Oasis of the Seas was built to carry over 6,400 passengers and 2,000 crew members, a lot of design elements were added to make cruising more elegant, beautiful, and efficient.
Art can be found in a multitude of places. Even the most mundane or natural items, when looked at differently, can express art. For example, clouds exhibit shapes that can be construed as a familiar figure. Trees bend toward the light at unusual angles. Rock formations erode into bridges, spires, or arches.
Art is Necessary
The purpose of works of art may be to communicate ideas, such as in politically, spiritually, or philosophically motivated art; to create a sense of beauty; to explore the nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions. (Wikipedia)
Art, in any form, can affect people’s emotions by enhancing their mood or influencing their thoughts.
While strolling through the ship, see how art enhances the trip through the seas.
A stroll through the shopping area on the ship.
Many sculptures all abound the ship.
An Artisan is defined as a person skilled in an applied art; a craftsperson; a person or company that makes a high-quality, distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand and using traditional methods.
There was a carnival boardwalk on Deck 5 that showed how an artisan carves a large block of wood into a carousel horse. Note the hands of the artisan with the chisel floating above the horse’s unfinished back. Truly a magnificent example of sculpture.
On a shore excursion to Falmouth, Jamaica, I purchased an artisan’s work that I will hang on my porch this summer to remind me of such a wonderful trip.
The spa’s waiting area is meant to be calming and peaceful. The carpet looks like sand. The art in the ceiling’s center, at first glance, looks like a map of the earth. The tree is illuminated like a tree of hope. The wood panels ground the room and the red inserts exhibit life. I felt relaxed even before my massage.
Even the hallway into the casino gets you into the mood for gambling. A red background with slices of glass pieces reminds one of poker chips. Red is an aggressive color, perfect to try your luck.
Take an Adventure
No matter if you travel or stay in your neighborhood, you can find art in the accessories that surround you. These items should bring you joy and thus are important to you. Choosing wall art is personal and should speak to you as to why that particular piece is warranted. If you love a piece of art, you will find a space for it.
Call Premiere Stagers & Realty at 608-345-9396 to help you find joy in the art around you.
I thought I brought the right wall art for this recent vacant staging. But when viewing the room from the front entryway, I noticed it needed something more. I did bring another piece of art to hang, but felt it competed with the larger art over the sofa. The room didn’t feel right, it didn’t feel warm enough to me.
I picked up some sheer drapes for the front and side windows and added a piece of wall art that complemented the other wall art. Now when looking from the entryway, the room feels “just right.”
A good piece of advice is to take a photo of the room and critique the photo. Most times the photo will tell you if something is amiss. Perhaps it is because there are no other distractions when looking at the photo. Whereas when you are in the space, your eye looks at the whole picture, so to speak.
All of my vacant stagings are unique. I do not have pre-arranged groupings that I move from one place to another. I am usually shopping for just that right piece to complete the look I’m after. For this basement space in a 3-bedroom townhouse, I wanted to show this is where the kids would go to play video games or watch TV. I felt it was missing something—like a foosball table. It’s highly unlikely that home stagers have a foosball table in their inventory. Luckily, a Craig’s List posting had just what I needed at the right price.
A kitchen pantry is a “must have” for many cooks. The food and large-size equipment just don’t fit in the kitchen cabinets as well as they do in a pantry. A lot of times people will buy duplicates because they can’t find the food item stuffed in their cabinets.
Don’t ignore cabinets, pantries, or closets when your house is up for sale. If your things are haphazardly arranged, buyers will think there is not enough room for their stuff either. Spring cleaning is a good time to organize your cupboards and closets before the warm weather keeps you outside.
Group like items together…put the spaghetti sauce on the same shelf as the pasta. The baking mixes go with the frosting, chocolate chips, and baking cocoa. Even the canned goods are arranged according to soups, vegetables, or fruits. The baskets are for garbage bags, food wrap, sandwich bags, and water bottles. The large-scale equipment used infrequently, are placed on the top.
The cabinet next to the stove is handy for spices and other cooking items. However, the top shelf is hard to reach. I solved this problem by using a staggered adjustable spice rack on the top shelf. Now I can see what is up there. Using two “lazy susans,” is so helpful to find just the spice that is needed.
While most home closets do not look like this, what they have in common are built-ins to help keep items organized. All of us have more clothes than what we need. Women tend to have clothes in at least two different sizes. Plus we are hesitant to get rid of something we think we may need in the future. One trick is to hang your clothes with the hanger facing backwards and when you wear that item, you turn the hanger around. You will see you tend to wear the same clothes over and over. When it is time to move, you’ll know which clothes should be donated before packing up. Yes, buyers do look in closets, pantries, and built-ins.
Do yourself a favor and take just 30 minutes to declutter a space. There are lots of charities, educational places, and senior centers who will gladly take your extra items. Believe me, it will make you feel better. Call Premiere Stagers & Realty at 608-345-9396.
Here in Madison, WI, a fair amount of snow remains over a layer of ice. It has been bitterly cold, in fact today we broke a record low temperature. This makes buying or selling a house especially difficult. Very few people will venture out looking at homes when the sidewalks aren’t cleared away.
I was asked to stage a house, but delayed it for a week to make sure the freezing sleet and snow had made a reprieve. Even though the calendar says it’s not quite spring, it seems when the calendar turns to March, people decide enough is enough.
Inventory for buyers is still lower than usual, making it a sellers’ market. Sellers who waited to sell their houses since late December are now anxious to unload their carrying costs. This particular house was rented out until the end of the year. The owners then took some time to do the cleaning, small repairs, painting, and refinishing of wood floors. It is always a good idea to get your house ready to make a great first impression.
Living Room Before
Instead of putting a table in the center of the kitchen, a breakfast bar on wheels fits nicely on the right wall. There is an outlet at counter height to plug in a coffee maker or mixer. A “pub-height” drop-leaf table is put next to the double window to take advantage of the natural light. When both sides of the drop-leaf table are extended, four chairs can be utilized .
The large master bedroom can be entered through the hallway or through the kitchen. The patio door opens to a large deck and a fenced-in backyard. There are two closets, one on either side of the bed.
Three bedroom, 1.5 bathroom ranch style houses with a garage, fenced in yard, and finished basement sell quickly in this area. The homeowner wisely chose to stage this house knowing it would sell quickly. They understood, once they viewed the completed staging, they could increase the listing amount to cover the staging costs. They know they will have done everything possible to get the most value in the shortest amount of time.
Let the staging and selling season begin. Call Premiere Stagers & Realty at 608-345-9396.
I teach a two-session enrichment class called “Home Staging to Sell,” at a local community college (Madison College) three times per year. In just about every class, I get an inquiry about how to become a home stager. I definitely recommend getting certified through Home Staging Resource (HSR).
Choosing paint colors
In the class, I cover the following topics:
The difference between home staging and decorating/interior design
How to position your furniture to enhance each room’s features and be more efficient
What paint colors to use and how to pick them using the color wheel and tones, tints, and shade
Listing photos do’s and don’ts
A class critique of each student’s home challenges
During one class, a student remarked that she wished we could actually stage a house. While that would be logistically impractical, I offer some photos for you, the online reader, to comment on.
As a realtor with eXp Realty, I showed two houses recently. Both were second showings for a couple who were deciding between the two. Both were vacant, making it hard for the couple to visualize where their furniture might be placed.
Lately it seems that even in large homes the formal living room is getting smaller. Many of them are designed so that all four sides of the room have either an entrance, a window, a fireplace or a television making all options poor placement for a sofa. Open floor plans complicate things in that a sofa almost always has its back turned on something important.
If you were consulting on each house, where would you recommend the living room furniture be placed?
A few things to note:
There needs to be a walkway from the front entrance to the hallway, the kitchen, and the bedroom
Note where the electrical outlets are
The upper window blinds cannot be adjusted without a ladder
The fireplace is a focal point
There is no interior design law that requires your living room to contain a sofa. Sometimes mixing it up is just what is needed.
In this house, the fireplace is the focal point also, but it is on an angle. You need to leave a walkway into the kitchen, to access the staircase, and to get to the front door. There is a front living room window, but luckily, the side window is high enough to let in light without being blocked by furniture.
What style and furniture items would you choose?
Being a Home Stager
Being a home stager is more involved than you might think. If you plan to stage vacant houses, you need to have contemporary furniture, accessories and artwork; plus a warehouse; an inventory system; delivery personnel; a trailer; and competitive pricing.
If you plan to consult or stage only occupied homes, you need to visualize each room, then devise a plan to use some of the homeowner’s items in a pleasing manner.
In either case, home staging has to be a passion. I love what I do, especially combined with my realty services of helping people buy or sell their homes.
Call Premiere Stagers & Realty for a consultation on paint colors, a re-design, or how to get your house ready to sell. Or, you can sign up for my next “Home Staging to Sell” class at Madison College West on June 4th and 11th.
Taken From: “5 Immutable Laws of Real Estate,” by Jay Thompson (Inman 2/13/19)
There are various truths among society, e.g., Murphy’s Law, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Law of Supply and Demand. There are also some tenets real estate agents are especially keen to.
First law of real estate: It doesn’t matter what the neighbors’ home sold for in the past.
Home prices are dynamic. They rise and fall, wax and wane, and they can change daily, seemingly on a whim. What a home was worth five years ago, last month, or yesterday has no bearing on what it is worth today. This can be a difficult pill for homeowners to swallow.
It doesn’t matter what the homeowner thinks their home is worth. And it certainly doesn’t matter what the agent or owner wishes the home was worth. What matters is what a buyer thinks it’s worth — and in the case of a financed transaction, whether a lender will approve a loan at that amount.
Second law of real estate: A home is worth what a ready, willing and able buyer will pay for it.
In today’s market, “able” is usually the limiting factor.
A realtor can’t dictate what a home is worth. A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) certainly cannot tell you what a home is worth. A home appraiser can’t even tell you, although the bank will listen to an appraiser and not loan you more than what they claim the home is worth. However, an agent can provide a general idea of what a home might sell for. Some can get remarkably close; others, not so much.
Third law of real estate: Home improvements will not make a home value increase in an amount equal to or greater than what was paid for the improvements
Money spent on maintaining a home adds nothing to a home’s value. Some improvements, especially kitchen and bathroom improvements, tend to have higher rates of payback than others. But rare is the improvement that adds equal or more value to a home than what it cost.
The fact the water heater, air conditioner and roof are fairly new will likely appeal to some buyers. That just might be what triggers their decision to buy your home versus another one, but it doesn’t make the home more valuable.
If fundamental repairs are needed, the owner is just going to have to fix them and not expect to recoup any of that money — or be prepared to discount the list price to compensate.
Fourth law of real estate: The odds of getting an offer on a listing increase exponentially if the listing agent goes out of town.
Ask any agent what happens to their business when they go to a conference. Or on a vacation — whatever that means. They’ll tell you that business invariably increases when they leave town.
Usually in direct proportion to the level of inconvenience it requires to respond to offers, buyer inquiries, etc. So if you really want to get an offer on a listing, have your seller send you on a trip to Hawaii. It may cost them less than a price reduction, and it’ll work every time.
Fifth law of real estate: The amount of time spent de-cluttering, cleaning,and staging your house positively affects your bottom line.
So, you decided to hire a professional home stager. These are some questions to consider:
Are you accredited
What is your experience; do you have references
What are your statistics – (Days on the Market after staging)
What is the charge for an occupied staging and what is the process
What is the charge for a vacant staging and for how long is the furniture rental
Where can I see examples of your work
Do you have business insurance
Another Home Stager’s Work
I visited a model of a local builder recently. While the house was very well done, I couldn’t help but compare my staging to this person’s choices.
Some changes I would make: Patch the electrical holes; replace lamps with taller ones; choose a colorful bedspread and large colored pillows; eliminate the empty tray and throw. I probably would use a rug to eliminate footprints on the carpet.
This is a perfectly fine bathroom. However, my preference would be to add some color. A simple, yet sophisticated shower curtain and towels in a complementary color–orange, yellow, or green–might be a striking alternative to the brown monochromatic choice.
The scale is off. The desk is much too small for this space. Plus, the first thing one sees is the big black box–the TV–as the focal point. The two chairs are not comfortable enough for TV watching and are not close enough to the desk to have a conversation.
My choice would be to replace the small desk with a much larger one, move the TV to the opposite wall and put the shelving unit beneath the TV. Then orient the chairs for TV viewing plus being able to have a conversation with the person sitting at the desk.
These two secondary bedrooms are just fine. However, I would have chosen a bedspread with some color in it for the double bed and hung larger pieces of wall art for both bedrooms.
Not All Stagers are Alike
When two or more designers, decorators, or stagers are together, you will always have differences of opinion. That doesn’t make one absolutely right or absolutely wrong in most cases. For example, one stager I know usually chooses more saturated paint colors than I do. Or, perhaps one will choose a monochromatic scheme and another a more analogous color scheme for a particular space.
There are some “rules” to follow that all good stagers abide by. For example, one needs to stay true to the architectural style, acknowledge the focal point, and choose the appropriate furniture placement. But which accessories or wall art to use will differ. A stager’s goal is to appeal to the most demographic ( left), whereas a decorator or designer appeals to one demographic (right).
Photo by Mary Cook – Browse living room ideas
Oh Beauty Interiors
The best choice is the stager who partners with your realtor to sell your house quickly and for more money. If you choose Premiere Stagers & Realty, you get both for the same price. It’s a winning combination. 608-345-9396.
While I have done color consultations for many years, I just got certified in being a Color Expert Consultant with Home Staging Resource (HSR)
Color is emotional and evokes a particular feeling. When the color combination is “right,” it feels right. And when the color combination is not right, you know something is amiss but don’t know how to fix it. As a professional home stager, I immediately know when a room just doesn’t feel right. But now I can use the appropriate terms to explain what the problem is before giving alternatives.
Is there a perfect color?
There are no bad colors, just not the right application for a particular color. Colors look different depending upon the lightness of a room, what other items are in the room, and what the undertone of that particular color conveys.
Photo by Turan Designs, Inc. – Search kitchen design ideas
For example, this gray wall color is Sherwin-Williams Sensous Gray. It has a purplish undertone. One needs to be cognizant of the undertone so it doesn’t clash with the rest of the finishes.
What is an undertone?
Adding gray to a pure hue gives an undertone of what that hue originally was. So, adding gray to red, gives a pinkish/purplish undertone.
All paints contain a mineral called Titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is the most widely used white pigment because of its brightness and very high refractive index, optimizing the maximum reflection of visible light. This mineral reflects natural light toward the blue spectrum, so our eyes tend to see pure whites as ever-so-slightly blue.
Four Types of Whites
Take a piece of copy paper and use it as a back-drop when choosing whites. You will then notice the very slight undertones of each white.
Every home should use a type of white whether it be in the ceiling to reflect the natural light, the windows, mouldings, built-ins, or cabinetry. Choose wisely depending upon what the other finishes are. For example, use creams if you have brown finishes; use white if you have bright colors or blacks/grays.
Cream paint with cream cabinets and brown accessories Photo by Robert Thomas Homes – Search kitchen design ideas
There is no such thing as a pure neutral. All neutrals have undertones of the initial color.
There are two neutral categories: beiges and grays (whites and blacks are secondary neutrals).
Not all colors “play nice” with each other. You need to look at the color wheel to determine which colors work well. For example, colors across from the wheel, complement each other, i.e., red and green. Colors in a triangle on the color wheel (triad), are pleasing-to-the eye combinations.
Instead of being concerned about undertones, you should look at the saturation of the color. Highly saturated colors are bold and bright and should be used sparingly. A whole room painted in highly saturated colors feels claustrophobic to me.
Yes, you should have a home inspected by a licensed inspector after your Offer to Purchase has been accepted. It is the buyers’ responsibility to hire the inspector because they are paying for it. The Offer or Addendum should contain a contingency for an inspection. And, depending on where you live, you should consider a radon test, especially if there is a living area in the basement.
What to Expect
During a home inspection, the inspector should thoroughly evaluate the physical structure of the home as well as critical internal systems. A home inspector not only goes through the house to look for any issues, concerns, or defects, he or she is also willing to educate the new homeowner on how to maintain the house, such as how to replace the furnace filters, how to re-set the circuit breakers, how to turn off the water heater, how to operate the electric fireplace, etc.
While an inspection will give you an idea of a house’s overall condition, it might not uncover hidden problems such as pests, mold or asbestos. It also won’t turn up flaws in areas that are below ground or otherwise inaccessible to the inspector, like wells and septic tanks. To identify those types of problems, you’re going to need additional inspections.
Once the inspector completes the inspection, you will receive a report with the inspector’s findings. Home inspections are detailed, so reports can often include many concerns, most of which are relatively small. The concern is if the inspector finds “defects,” which are defined as a condition that would have a significant adverse effect on the value of the property, that would significantly impair the health or safety of future occupants, or that if not repaired, removed, or replaced, would significantly shorten or adversely affect the expected normal life of the premises.
If the inspection finds more problems than you’re comfortable dealing with, and if your Offer or Addendum includes an inspection contingency with no right to cure, you can choose to back out of the sale. If the Offer or Addendum allows for the Seller to have a right to cure, the Seller may choose to make the repairs or lower the price to proceed with the sale.
Know What you are Buying
More than 30 states require a separate pest inspection before a home loan can close. Wisconsin is not one of them. But even if you live in a state where it’s optional, it can be an additional safeguard.
The goal of every home inspector is to educate the buyer about what they are buying. Every home has issues, but the buyer should know what those issues are.
New Homeowner with the Home Inspector
Call Premiere Stagers and Realty to help with your home inspection. 608-345-9396.