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The proven benefits of professional home staging include increasing buyer interest, decreasing the length of time your home is on the market, and boosting your final sales price.  From one-time consultations to full home staging, there are many ways in which you can benefit from the services of a professional stager.

Walk-Through Consultation/Listing Preparation:  This is a great option for sellers who will remain in their homes during the sales process.   If this is you, and you have questions about decluttering your home or furniture space planning prior to listing, consider hiring a home stager for a private consultation.  Expect to walk through your home’s interior with your staging pro, and receive specific, room-by-room feedback.  If you have outdoor entertaining areas, these spaces also will be addressed.  An average walk-through consultation takes 90 minutes, and you can expect to pay $150.  During the process, you’ll take careful notes, and can then decide which of the stager’s recommendations you wish to implement.  This is a very affordable option for home sellers, and gives them full control over the implementation process.

Staging Plan:  This is an extension of the walk-through consultation; however, instead of providing verbal feedback during the walk-through, your staging pro will take extensive photographs of your home’s interior and exterior, and will provide you with a written report that details your recommended staging plan on a room-by-room basis.  These recommendations will maximize the spacious feel of your home, accentuate your home's best features, and utilize furniture you already have, saving you money on furniture rentals. The cost is about double that of a walk-through consult, and is a great option for sellers who like a “check list” from which to work, and still want to retain control of the staging process.  After reviewing their personalized staging plan, sellers have the option of hiring a stager to assist them with all, or part of, their staging needs.

Full Home Staging:  This is the best option for home sellers who have vacated their homes prior to listing, and need their home staged with tasteful, current furnishings and décor prior to taking listing photos, holding an open house and welcoming potential buyers for showings.  A professional stager will consult with you regarding your staging needs, do a walk-through of the residence and create a staging plan for implementation.  Expect to pay from .75 to $1 per square foot for this service.  Pro Tip:  Be wary of stagers who offer to work with you without a contract; a professional will want to ensure that both parties are agreed on services provided, cost and length of contract rental period.

Open House/MLS Photo Preparation:  If you feel confident in your home’s readiness for listing, and would like a professional’s eye for details you may have overlooked, hiring a stager at an hourly rate is a great option.  A professional stager can help you prepare for your open house, especially if you are a “for sale by owner” listing, and can provide helpful tips about how you can best prepare your home for your MLS photos. 

Curb Appeal:  If your home’s interior is in great shape, but your curb appeal is lacking, consider consulting with a professional stager for curb appeal recommendations.  Remember that buyers will often do “drive by” of your home prior to requesting a showing or attending an open house.  Don’t let poor curb appeal turn off potential buyers.  Often, a few simple updates are all it takes to enhance or freshen your curb appeal, and reassure buyers that your home has been well cared for, inside and out!

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If you are selling a home that is 2,000 square feet or larger, remember that “less is more” during the staging process.  While it may be tempting to show off larger spaces by packing in more furniture and décor, beware!  This strategy can backfire, making your large rooms feel crowded and appear smaller.  Strive to stick to a neutral color palette, and furnish and accessorize minimally to emphasize large spaces to their best advantage.  Following the “less is more” staging strategy will help your larger home stand out from the competition.

 

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Think your home is ready for the real estate market?  Before you put up the “For Sale” sign, consider these proven tips for boosting your sales price, and attracting the most buyers--including “Boomers” and the all-important “Millennials,” the generation of buyers who currently make up the largest segment of the market.

Keep it Simple:  Interestingly, booth “Boomers” and “Millennials,” which together represent a huge buyer pool, prefer simplicity and ease-of-care when it comes to their homes.  These groups are looking for stain-resistant, easy-to-maintain countertops in kitchens and baths such as quartz, and low-maintenance flooring throughout the home, such as hardwood.  Adding these features to your home can easily boost your sales price by three-to-five percent.

Techno-Smarts:  When it comes to new technology, both Millennials and Boomers appreciate an efficient home.  However, be careful when considering your technology upgrade options.  According to Consumer Reports, don’t over-invest in new technology that can quickly become obsolete.  Do install practical “smart” devices that add value to your home, including programmable thermostats such as the “Nest.”  Upgraded door locks and security systems that can be linked to smart phones also are good options, and can add three-to-five percent to your home’s sales price.

Go Green:  According to Better Homes and Gardens, Millennial buyers are very concerned about the environment and health hazards within their home that could potentially impact their family.  If you are making upgrades to your home prior to listing, green features such as energy-efficient kitchen appliances and HVAC systems, and low-e windows, are good options.  When making structural upgrades, use environmentally responsible building materials.

Curb Appeal:  When considering how to update your curb appeal, low-maintenance options are of particular appeal to Millennial buyers.  Replacing thirsty lawns with native ground covers and pea gravel not only reduces water and maintenance costs, but also adds visual interest.

Paint:  A fresh coat of paint can greatly enhance your home’s appeal to buyers, especially if your current paint palette is outdated, stained or faded.  Be sure to use neutral colors that will appeal to most buyers, and avoid using multiple shades of paint in different rooms, which can make your home feel smaller.  If you’re willing to tackle the job yourself, painting your home’s interior can add up to two percent to your asking price.

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Is your listing ready for its close-up?  Staging residential real estate and model homes in preparation for photography and virtual tours is our specialty!  Check out our recent work for the River's Landing community model home at http://www.riverslandingfl.com/

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Recently I was prepping for a holiday party and wanted to use a favorite serving dish.  I went right to where I knew I would find it.  About an hour later, after digging through every kitchen cabinet and storage area in my home, I found a lot of things I rarely if ever use--and had pretty much forgotten I owned--and I had created a huge mess that derailed my party prep.  I never did find that dish.  Sound familiar?

If your New Year’s resolutions include creating a more harmonious, organized home, here are my tips for letting go of your clutter and getting a handle on your home’s organization.

Seize the moment.  Sometimes a frustrating search episode gives us just the spark we need to start decluttering.  This is a particularly good time for people who have a hard time letting go of things.  Put that head of steam you’ve worked up to good use, and get busy while you are motivated! 

Chip away at the mountain.  Starting small is key.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if your goal is to organize and declutter your entire home.  Break it down into manageable tasks, and start with a small area such as a bathroom or linen closet.  You’ll get the quick gratification from completing your first project, and accomplishing this goal will motivate you to tackle the next, bigger area.

Opposites attract—except when it comes to organization and storage!  Whenever possible, keep like items together.  Store your candles with your candlesticks, and you’ll easily be able to check your inventory before you find yourself at the store staring at candles wondering if you need to buy them for your dinner party, only to find an entire box on the shelf when you get home.

Maximize visible storage.  Although my home has large closets, the storage space was not being maximized.  I determined that there was room in every closet to add a top-tier row of simple open shelving.  My handyman took care of this for a reasonable price, and also reinforced the existing shelving to ensure I could store heavy items like dishware.  Instead of being boxed up or hidden in a cupboard, everything is visible and easily accessible.  I now use and enjoy these items more often, and don’t ever forget that I have them.

To junk, or not to junk?  I believe every home can use one good “catch all” drawer for random bits.  However, if every drawer in your home feels like a junk drawer, you’re going to spend a lot of time looking for, and not finding, your stuff.  Make a time investment to get your drawers organized once, and keep them that way.

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