This is a true and recent story of one of my clients, Lara S. She contacted me, seeking guidance to improve the look of her small condo in downtown Montreal.
Lara knew that she was facing tough competition: her condo was quite small and several other similar units in her building were on the market as well. But she also realized that home staging pays off, and she needed to present her condo at its best.
The first step was a detailed consultation. We went over every room, looking at everything. As I was making my recommendations, Lara took extensive notes and was asking a lot of questions. She wanted to get it absolutely right and was willing to work hard and invest some money to stand out from the competition.
The main issues we identified were:
small size – the apartment is 650 sf
the apartment seemed dark
lack of finishing and decorative touches
Over the next week, Lara worked and shopped for the items we discussed in the consultation.
Mainly, the work required was:
a bit of decluttering and removing extra furniture to make the condo roomier
some minor repairs and paint
repositioning her bed
Buying and installing ceiling light fixtures (she previously had none)
buying some new furniture and accessories (an L-shaped couch, a stand up light, new bedding and two artworks)
The Results revealed
Once the apartment was ready, Lara invited her realtor back in. He was blown away by how different the place looked! He even told her that he didn’t realize that home staging could have such an impact (I am not totally surprised at this, as some realtors are still not aware of the importance of home staging and how it helps THEM sell their listings faster).
This is the email I received from Lara a few weeks ago:
I’ve been meaning to write to you, to thank you for your help in staging my condo. Your advice is part of the reason why I succeeded in selling my condo within one week of listing it, at $ 15,000 higher than the price listed (I never imagined it would sell that high!!). I’m looking forward to working with you again on future projects, as soon as my next purchase.
As I promised in my previous post from July 20, 2018, called Home Staging Mistakes series – Part 1, I had to make a Part 2 :).
In this post, we will look at three more short video clips I produce on a weekly basis. The goal of these clips is to remind all home sellers of the most important potential pitfalls in the property preparation process. Some of them will might seem obvious (cleaning the house, anyone?), but, believe me, a lot of people don’t do what they must do, if they want to sell their property quickly and at a maximum possible price. Details matter!
Ignoring your Curb Appeal (how the house presents itself from the outside) might deter some potential buyers from coming in. I am sure it has happened to you: looking at a house from the outside and forming a negative opinion about it, if the outside looks unkempt, cluttered or outdated. You just want to move on:)
Remember, the Curb Appeal is your chance for an excellent first impression!
Home Staging Mistakes – # 4
Home Staging Mistakes series - # 4 - YouTube
The next one is one of my personal favorites. It is kind of a delicate topic to discuss and, for that reason, many realtors delegate the job to me :). Yes, most houses have their own odor. Chances are the owners don’t notice it, but the buyers will and it is NOT a good thing! On a personal note, I remember walking into a house as a potential buyer and being assaulted by a very strong food smells (fried oil and spices). Well, I don’t remember the house at all, as I just wanted to escape….Too bad, as it might have been a perfectly nice house but the sellers lost my attention because of the unpleasant smell.
Home Staging Mistakes – # 5
Home Staging Mistakes series - # 5 - YouTube
Let’s talk about Depersonalizing your house before you put it on the market. It has happened to me to walk into a client’s home and feel like I am intruding on THEIR OWN, very personal space. It’s fine to live like that, after all it is your house, but it is NOT OK during the sales process :). The goal is for the buyer to be able to see him/her self living in that space.
Home Staging Mistakes – # 6
Home Staging Mistakes series - # 6 - YouTube
And there you have it. Hope you enjoyed these tips and they will come in handy when you put your house on the market. Would love to get your comments below!
In this post, I would like to talk about vacant home staging of high end properties. Ok, we don’t get to stage them every day, but when I receive a request to stage one, I know that it will not be an average home staging.
Why? First of all, high end properties require ‘high end look’, which is not always easy to achieve with the furniture and accessories available for rent. Also, chances are that room sizes are bigger than average and, therefore, require larger furniture and, possibly, more furniture than regular properties. These properties usually take longer to sell, so the furniture and accessories might be staying there for a while….Therefore, I have to manage the client’s and the broker’s expectations in terms of the look and in terms of the appropriate budget for the project.
Maybe you think that a high end property doesn’t require home staging, even if it’s vacant. The location, the view, the large spaces…everything is there. Is it enough to sell it, though?
The truthful answer is ‘It depends’. It is possible that the property’s assets will suffice.
But staging the property will bring out those assets even more. It will be easier to attract potential buyers when the photos show furnished rooms. The visitors will visualize the spaces better as well.
As I previously mentioned, special care has to be taken with the style and size of the furniture appropriate to the property. In a vacant home staging of a high end property, I always recommend to do the main rooms – at the minimum, the entrance, the living room, the dining room, the master bedroom and accessorizing the kitchen and a bathroom.
See all the photos of this magnificent condo, which we staged last week. Less than 24 hours after the listing was active, there are already visits to the condo.
Best home staging colors for this year? A lot of properties I visit need a bit of rejuvenation and a fresh coat of paint can do miracles! But, everyone asks me to help them select the most appropriate color for their home staging project. And I also get asked whether the home staging colors should follow the ‘trend’ of the year.
I thought that now is a perfect time to address this question, as we are starting a new year.
A lot of major Paint companies introduce new TRENDS in interior paint colors several months before the start of the new year. Here are 3 top paint companies in North America and their 2018 selection.
The ‘trends’, by definition, are new, temporary and always changing. What is trendy today, might look completely outdated in 3 years from now.
Do you remember the trendy EARTH colors of 1990s? Terracotta, earthy reds, putty, browns, dark greens, sage were all the rage back then, but how do they look to you now?
There are still many properties out there stuck in the 1990s (or even before) and the best advice I can give is – PAINT in neutral colors!
Neutral colors are always in style, trend or not. The palettes of 2018 colors exhibit some tones of white and grey, which will stand the test of time. And you will be delivering a turn-key property to your buyers.
I like the off whites (but NOT with yellow or red undertones), light greys and greige (which is between grey and beige and is very classy, in my opinion).
I often choose the colors in Benjamin Moore palette, but I tell clients to have them mixed in a cheaper brand (they need the BM color code).
Some suggestions: OC-17 White Dove, OC-38 Acadia White, OC-117 Simply White, OC-55 Paper White, BM 905 – Lily of the Valley, BM 97 – Cloud White
Greys and Greige colors have to be selected carefully, as they can sometime look dirty. Also, remember that the paint on a wall will always look a bit darker than on a sample, so if you are hesitating between 2 tones, I recommend going to a lighter one.
One of my all time favorites is Benjamin Moore CC-80 Grey Mist and it is a perfect blend of grey and beige.
There you go, now you know the best home staging colors for 2018.
This home stager is staging her own house in preparation for sale. Yes, the time has come for us to downsize and to move to a lower duplex apartment, which we are currently extending and renovating completely (but that will be another story).
Having raised my kids in this house, I am emotionally attached to it. But, I must remain objective and critical in order to stage it for sale. I feel your pain!
Let me share with you the process I went through:
I started by reviewing each room in the house for unnecessary stuff, noting whether any minor repairs or a coat of fresh paint was needed. I made a list of things to do for each room. And then the work begun! As this home stager dislikes clutter in her everyday life (convenient for her job), there was not that much stuff to de clutter, but it still took a few days and several garbage bags, as we all accumulate things as years go by.
Main challenges and how this home stager addressed them:
My youngest daughter’s room is quite small and I wanted to make it look bigger. I moved a desk and some bookshelves out of her room and re positioned them in different areas of the house.
One of the bedrooms was converted into a den with a fireplace by a previous owner. It has not been renovated since I bought the house (as I was always hoping it would be out next renovation project:)) and it did NOT look good. It was my office, as I love the view to the garden. As we were not going to renovate it now, the room was repainted in an off white color (including the brick fireplace and the wood paneling) and my office moved to the basement. The room was staged as a den.
Last, but not least, challenge was our basement, which was awful LOL and was never really used as a living space. We needed to do some renovations here. Out came the popcorn ceiling, the wood paneling was replaced by new drywall, new paint applied and new floating floor put down. Wow, what a difference! One final step – the basement was staged (could have been left empty, if your budget doesn’t allow for it, as long as it’s nice an clean).
The work continues slowly but surely. Closets are done, the garage – NOT!
As a home stager, my final word of advice is – prioritize, work room-by-room, don’t get discouraged. Even is the house will not be perfect, any improvements you do are better than none!