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Laying a carpet on the floor can add character, depth and beauty to the room. It also gives comfort for the inhabitants while enhancing the décor of the room by making it feel welcoming.

However, for the health of the family, it is essential to ensure that the carpet is cleaned and maintained properly. While regular vacuuming helps to keep it clean of dust and debris, microbes can only be cleaned by professional cleaners who are experienced.

Usually, it is recommended that professional cleaning should be done at least twice a year. This process, when followed regularly, can be quite advantageous for the family. Some of the main benefits of using professional cleaners are:

Experience and Knowledge

People who are professionally trained have a lot of knowledge for the best methods for cleaning the different type of carpets. They also have the appropriate equipments and cleaning solutions that can ensure that the longevity and the health of the carpet. This is one of the most important benefits since many DIY methods tend to damage the carpets due to lack of experience.

Treating Tough Stains

Most DIY methods are ineffective when it comes to complete removal of stubborn stains. These stains may need tough chemicals that are easily accessible by the professional carpet cleaners. The pros also have the required knowhow and understanding of the precautions that are needed when using these strong chemicals.

Removal of Captured Contaminants

The yarn strands of the carpet tend to capture a lot of dust, soil, dirt and other types of pollutants very easily. These pollutants tend to get deeply imbibed within the strands of the carpet, making it impossible for the vacuum cleaners to get them. These pollutants can be easily extracted with the help of the high-powered and high efficiency equipments used by professional cleaners.

Mould Growth Prevention

A carpet when it is cleaned at home, especially with water, needs to be thoroughly dried. But at home, the conditions present might not be conducive to the complete drying of the carpet. This can give increase the growth of mildew and mould, that can be detrimental for the health of the family. Professional carpet cleaners, however, know how to avoid over-wetting. They are also equipped with industrial strength equipments that are capable of ensuring a thorough cleaning within the least possible time required. 

Improved Air Quality

The presence of allergens and microbes trapped within the strands of the carpet tend to pollute the atmosphere of the room, thereby making it unhealthy to breathe in that air. Seniors or those affected with breathing problems can be in danger of serious infections. This condition can become critical as time passes, when vacuuming is unable to facilitate the complete removal of these allergens and microbes. 

Smells and Odour Removal

In additions to allergens, microbes, dirt, soil and dust particles, carpets also tend to retain smells and odours. This problem gets enhanced in homes that have pets and kids, since both food spills and pet stains will pollute the room with a smell that will get worse with time. While cleaning products available in the markets mask the smell for some time, it tends to come back after the effect of these cleaning products wears off. Professional cleaning services will find a permanent solution to it.

Contributor bio: The contributor, Moe Uran, is a carpet cleaning expert professionally aligned with homefloors.ca. In his articles, he he decodes the most complex problems in simple ways.
Photo credit Jacalyn Beales
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With so many home improvement options available today, you may be wondering where the safest place is to spend your home upgrade dollars. In order to receive the strongest return on investment with your home renovation project, we have comprised a list of our top four “safe bet” home improvement investments. 

(Editor's note: Since every real estate market is different and every home is unique, please check with your local real estate professionals to ensure these solutions will work for your home.)

A Great Kitchen Can Sell

My wife often refers to the kitchen as the room as where “the magic happens.” A great kitchen is the focal point of the home, and with such a vast variety of kitchen remodel options available — from a simple cabinet refacing, to a DIY Ikea kitchen, to a complete outsourced kitchen specialist remodel — the return on investment can be quite impressive.

Efficiency and Reliability

The math is simple. When it comes to investments, choose upgrades that not only contribute to notable ROI on resale but also provide almost immediate savings. For example, with improvements like installing a new Energy Star-rated furnace, you can see payback in as little as 5 years through notable gas and electricity cost reductions. 

Painting -- The Quickest Facelift for Your House

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to improve your home’s value is to freshen it up with a new coat of paint. The safest choice for resale value improvement, according to Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist, is something light.

“Paint walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray, not only make a home feel larger but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space,” she recommends.

So pick your colors wisely and then get ready to cash in on your improvement. 

Update Your Flooring

Upgrading that old retro floor can provide a significant boost to your home's value. When choosing new flooring, it's important to consider that different designs provide better ROIs. According to The Best Flooring for Flipping Houses, modern homes go for a combination of beautiful and durable. This look can be attained with hardwood or porcelain. If you're not looking to spend a lot of cash on your floors, you can still receive a healthy ROI by installing laminate flooring.

Many home upgrades will provide you a respectable ROI. Unfortunately, time and budget constraints don't always allow us to pursue all of the home projects on our list. By at least completing the big four mentioned here, you can expect to get the biggest bang for your buck.  Stick with these tips and enjoy the extra cash they put in your pocket. 

About the Guest Contributor: Aaron Bond is the co-owner of AccuServ Heating and Air Conditioning. He has extensive knowledge in hydronic and forced air systems and loves to share his knowledge and expertise with homeowners. Photo by Daniel von Appen
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Last weekend, I had the opportunity to present at the IAHSP Europe Conference in Rome. It was really inspiring to meet the leaders of European home staging industry and see the results of their hard work. Home staging is growing in Europe and nothing makes me more happy to see the industry grow.

It also feels a bit of a full-circle for my career. Working as a home stager for 12 years has set a strong foundation for my photography and styling career now. Through home staging, it opened a lot of doors for me and I had the opportunities to work in many different creative fields. And now, working as a lifestyle and still life photographer in Paris.  

I started out about 12 years ago after meeting Barb Schwarz at a real estate conference when I was still working as a real estate buyer's agent. Jennie Norris, now the president of Staged Homes and IAHSP, was my trainer. These two women changed my life forever and I'm forever grateful. It was amazing to be able to share the same stage with them and share my experiences working as a home stager and now a photographer. It was also an absolute pleasure to meet other US and European home staging industry leaders, like Sanja Radovanovic, IAHSP European Director, Edi Keech, US IAHSP West Coast Director and Paula Bullard, Spot on Vastgoedpresentatie in Holland.

If you had missed the presentation, not to worry, here is my re-recorded and slightly more extended version of the presentation:

Interior Photography for Home Stagers

In this online class, I cover:

  1. Shooting the photos yourself v. hiring a professional photographer
  2. What to do if you decided to shoot the photos yourself
  3. Presenting your portfolio online
  4. Working with a photographer

PS. I'm working on a photography course for home stagers that is launching this summer. Do you have any questions or items you'd like me to incorporate into the class? Leave your question below in the comment section.

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I was a first-time homeowner and didn’t know what to expect as my husband and I started the process of buying a house. I knew it would be the biggest financial investment we’ve ever made, and I had an idea of what the process looked like. What I didn’t know was how extensive the paperwork would be or that there’s something called PMI that you can use if you want to buy without putting down 20 percent. 

Keep these lessons in mind as you think about buying your first home. When you’re prepared for the commitment, the long process is more exciting and less stressful.

Organization is the Name of the Game

Banks, lenders, mortgage brokers and real estate agents don’t skimp on data and paperwork. Quite the contrary—they love it. My husband and I were on the phone with these people nearly every single day, not to mention our real estate agents. Each call was for a new form to be filled out, or missing information in one area or another. 

When you’re organized, this potentially-stressful aspect of home buying is less hectic. As you get organized, consider all the financial information you’ll be asked for. Quicken Loans explains:

“To get approved for a home mortgage, expect to share every facet of your finances. You’ll need forms that show your taxable income, assets, rent payments and any other financial statements. Lenders will need your pay stubs and W-2s to verify your income. They’ll also need all bank, investment and tax forms.”

In our case, I didn’t have W2s, because I work on a contract basis as a business owner, so we even needed to create a profit-loss report—something neither of us had done before. 

You Spend A Lot Before Even Buying the House

You may think a down payment is all that’s needed before buying a home, but think again. Before evening signing closing papers, you have to pay for your appraisal (sometimes this is included in the closing costs) and home inspection, not to mention a series of expert inspections that come after that, including roofing, plumbing, electric and foundation, to name a few. 

The lesson is to have your bank account in good shape before submitting any offers. If it goes through, you’ll need to pay a number of fees right away. If you haven’t saved, this would be a challenge.

Your Pre-Approval Isn’t a Green Light

We were approved for a specific amount of money. While it’s exciting to see those numbers on paper, remember: you still need to be able to afford the mortgage, along with everything else that comes with being a homeowner, like unexpected repairs. Before re-thinking your budget, take a step back and do the math to determine how much house you can actually afford. 

Use Nerd Wallet’s Affordability Calculator to figure that out and then stay on that course. Buying more than you can afford leaves you house poor—which means you can’t afford anything but your home.

You Don’t Need to Put Down 20, 10 or even 5%

Most people assume you need to make a 20 percent down payment when buying a home, but that’s no longer the case. You don’t need to put down 20, 10, or even 5 percent—you can put down as low as 2 percent, with just one catch: PMI. My husband and I took advantage of this option when we bought our home just a few months ago.

PMI, which stands for Private Mortgage Insurance, is a fee you pay, along with your mortgage and other monthly home costs. This fee protects the lender that took your reduced down payment. The best part is that the cost is relatively low for most homebuyers, at just $30-$70 monthly per $100,000 borrowed, according to Zillow.

The key is being educated about what a PMI is, what it means for you financially, and whether it’s the right fit for you or not. Check out this thorough PMI guide, which includes a number of valuable resources about how to get rid of your PMI, what to expect, and even some PMI alternatives if it’s not the right fit for you.

Know Before You Buy

Keep these lessons and tips in mind as you begin the home buying process. You’ll be less stressed, more prepared, and much happier as the paperwork piles up along with home buyer fees. In the end, you’ll (hopefully) buy a home you love, and that’s all that matters.

BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a professional freelancer and consultant. She's worked with a variety of financial and real estate clients, and has been featured on Forbes and Market Watch. She’s also written for Sofi, House Hunt Network, Homes.com and more. Follow her on Twitter@Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn.

Image courtesy of Logan Nolin.

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Welcome Back to Season 7 Episode 10!

Hey everyone, welcome back to the last episode of our season 7. On today’s show, it’s a Q&A session. I have received a few questions from our listeners. Before we get started today, I just want to take the time and thank you for your support for this past season. As you may have heard me mention on the show, I’m studying full time for a master in photography this year. So at times, my schedule is very hectic and I have a lot on my plate. So I’m very grateful for your patience and kindness and support. I also want to take the time to thank the guests this season and previous seasons as well. It’s very difficult to take time during the busy season to come on the show, so I am very grateful for them to take time out of their busy days and come on the show.

I also have a couple quick announcement to make.

  1. I’ll be speaking in Rome next Saturday for the IAHSP European Conference. I’ll be speaking about photography and portfolio. I will be putting my conference speech online, and a little bit more bonus content, so just be on the look out for the newsletter announcement when that goes live. 
  2. Me and 9 other marketing experts, including Bobbie McGrath, one of our favorite guests on the podcast, in the home staging industry have gotten together and published a new book. It’s going to be available on Amazon.com on Monday, April 9th.  On Monday, April 9th, you will also be able to purchase an electronic copy of the book on Amazon.com for $2.99. The name of the book is Marketing: for the Staging and Design Industry.
  3. For the next season, I am aiming to come back in June. If you have any suggestions on topics and guests, leave a comment on the show notes!
  4. For those of you who are interested in joining the next live, 8-week business incubator, the 6-Figure Floor Plan, our next live class will start the first week of July. We will be opening the Early Bird enrollment in June.
MARKETING: For the staging + design industry By Angela Brooks-Osborne, Audra Slinkey, Rachel Moriarty, Joanne Lenart Weary, Shell Brodnax, Julie Young Debbie Boggs, Marianne Cherico, Tori Toth, Bobbie McGrath, Cindy Lin

So that’s all the announcements so far. I’m going to start with the question asked by our listener Kristen:

Kristen asks:

“What recommendations do you have if you want to get into the staging industry?”

Great question! I get asked a lot about this. I think that if you want to get into the industry, you have to be clear about what you are getting yourself into: what are the financial obligations, costs look like? What will be your services? What will be your business model? How will you make money? What does the day to day look like? What is the goal for your business? How does all of this fit into your life?

Clarity is a very powerful tool. My business shifted completely once I figured out what I want out of the business and how I would like to work. As a new stager, you are in the exploration phase of your business and you are still figuring out how to establish your footing. So you will be doing all kinds of jobs. During this process, take a lot of notes and see what you can do to make the most profits that get you the most return on investment emotionally. Why I say this is that I think it’s important to do work that fulfills you and make you happy. We spend about 1/3 of our lives at work, so make it really good for you. Really figure out why you want to be in this business.

Everyone says they want to be more creative, but you can be creative by doing many different things, as a hobby or as a career. So why home staging? What attracted you to this career? To understand why you want to become a home stager and knowing how you want to work will be crucial in building a successful business. If you are just in it for the money, I don’t recommend starting a home staging business. Buy an existing business or work for someone. You will make more money and less stressed that way.

Michelle Finnamore, one of the amazing guests that have been on the show asked:

“Why do stagers work for wages instead of profits ? How can they plan to expand , buy new inventory? Do they know to add 35% to their job for profit to ensure growth. What if they were ill, how would they earn income and pay someone to do their work?”

I think this is a very important and poignant question: why do stagers work for wages instead of profits? A lot of small business owners, myself included, had or have this obsession with revenue. But they forgot about profits. A girlfriend of mine has a million-dollar business, and what I always remember from her is that she told me when the first year she made a million dollar in revenue, she lost $86,000. That means that while her business made a million dollars that year, the business actually lost money. The business spent $86,000 more than it had earned that year. That’s when I woke up about having revenue goals, instead, I want profit goals.

As a business owner, you should be focusing on making profits in the business, because making profits mean you have more money coming in than going out. That means with profits, you can invest back into the business like expanding your team, expanding your warehouse, expanding your inventory. 

Sara asks 

“Do you have any tips on how to get client to decide to go ahead with the actual stage?”

This is a great question. I think when it comes to proposals or getting the go-ahead, a lot of people think it’s about pricing. Of course, that is a factor, but ultimately people do business with people they trust and they feel that it’s a good deal for them.

I believe the key thing about client communication is that you want to set the right expectations from the get-go and then exceed that expectation, over deliver whenever you can without losing profits or breaking any of your professional policies. You also want to make it less about you and more about the clients. Focus on the client’s pain points and how to deliver on that. A lot of our experts on the show this season had talked about that as well. I also think that most home stagers’ marketing talk about how staged homes sell for more money in less time, every stager is going to say that, so how are you going to do thing differently to stand out in the marketplace? Focus on what the clients will get.

Also, learn how to deal with client objections naturally and professionally without getting emotional over it. It’s business after all and it is human nature to ask about discounts. Clients will ask, so you will want to be prepared to have answers to those questions. 

Danielle asks

“Any tips for storing lampshades to avoid them from getting banged up? Also - how do you organize your warehouse as far as aisles rows etc… just started using the staging assistant and it’s been a game changer! I’m a new regional manager for a staging company and I’m starting the process of organizing our warehouse!”

Hi Danielle, I am very happy to hear that you are using staging assistant! Pam is great and super organized, so you are in great hands. And congrats on your new job as the regional manager for a staging company.

For our warehouse, we put the lampshades on designated shelves by sizes small, medium and large. And below, we store the lamps sorted by sizes that would fit the particular shapes of lampshades above. In the last few years of our business, we only buy lamp shades that will fit a wide variety of lamps we have. This really cuts down time on sorting and trying to figure out what lamp shades fit with what lamps. For transport, we wrap them in plastic trash bags and put them in plastic bins to protect them during the transportation. 

For the warehouse organization, our warehouse has about 18 feet clearance, so we made the decision to build a mezzanine to maximize the storage. The heaviest and hardest to move items are on the ground floor, with the exception of the mattresses. Our movers use the mezzanine balcony and hand down the mattresses. On the ground floor, we have lamps, lamp shades, trees, artwork, heavy furniture like sofas, love seats, coffee table sets and sofa tables. Upstairs, we have all the soft goods, accessories, smaller pieces of furniture like side tables, faux florals, dining chairs, vases, etc.

Today's Sponsor

The Staging Assistant, it's more than an inventory system.  Manage your leads, your proposals, your clients and your staged houses on your desktop, tablet or phone.  With the staging assistant, you will know what you own, where it is and when it's returning quickly and easily.  Create your designs and packing lists from the comfort of your home so you can hit the ground running when you go into your warehouse.  Created by stagers, specifically for stagers it’s the only tool you will need to manage your growing staging business. For more information, visit stagingassistant.com

If you want to help & support the show, there are 3 ways:
  1. Leave a review and ratings in iTunes
  2. Share the show on social media!
  3. Donate to support the hosting costs for the website and the podcast. You can make a donation through the show notes or on the sidebar of our site.
LISTEN TO TODAY'S SHOW

If you want to support the show and keep it going, you can do so by leaving a review and rating on iTunes, that will help other people to find our show. If you find the podcast helpful to your home sale and would like to donate a few bucks to help with the hosting of the show, there’s now a donation button on the blog sidebar to your right, you can donate $5 or more to help with costs associated with the show.

If you enjoy the show, please leave a review & rating on iTunes! <3LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNESSOUNDCLOUD & STITCHER

GOT QS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW OR TALK ABOUT IT IN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNESSOUNDCLOUD & STITCHER
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Welcome Back to Season 7 Episode 9!

On this episode, I'm really happy to interview Denise O'Berry, who is a small business and cash flow expert, on the show. During this episode, she shared many valuable tips about pricing your work, dealing with client objections, cash flow issues in the small businesses and how to make sure your business has a healthy financial. If you are struggling with pricing and managing money for your business, I highly recommend this episode for you.

Next week is Q&A episode, if you have any questions about home staging or running a home staging business, leave your question below in the comment section or send me an email.

Today's Sponsor

The Staging Assistant, it's more than an inventory system.  Manage your leads, your proposals, your clients and your staged houses on your desktop, tablet or phone.  With the staging assistant, you will know what you own, where it is and when it's returning quickly and easily.  Create your designs and packing lists from the comfort of your home so you can hit the ground running when you go into your warehouse.  Created by stagers, specifically for stagers it’s the only tool you will need to manage your growing staging business. For more information, visit stagingassistant.com

About Denise

Small Business Expert Denise O’Berry is the author of “Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success” a book about how to get, manage and keep your cash flow on an even keel and where it belongs — in your business. A small business owner since 1996, Denise has worked with hundreds of small business owners over the years and is inspired by their enthusiasm and ability to overcome huge obstacles. 

Some of the Qs I asked on Today's Show:
  • Hi Denise, thank you so much for coming on the show this week! I am very excited to interview you since you’ve written and published a book about small business cash flow and you are an expert on this. I feel that one of the biggest obstacles I’ve seen with stagers building their businesses is that they don’t understand how money works. So before we can start talking about cash flow, can we talk about how money works in the small business?

  • So what is cash flow?

  • Why is cash flow so important that it should be the number one priority of the business?

  • Why and how small business owners run into issues with cash flow?

  • How do you know if you have a healthy cash flow or not? Are there specific numbers that you look for?

  • One of the biggest contributor to the cash flow is our income. How do you figure out the best pricing to charge our clients?

  • When is the best time to raise your price?

  • How should we raise our prices? Do you do it by a percentage each time?

  • How do you deal with clients who price shop or want to bargain your prices?

  • How do you make your clients love paying you?

  • How can a small business owner improves the lifetime values of a customer?

  • For our type of work, money is not always steady. There are a lot of factors that can influence our income. So what are some of the things us small business owners can do to make sure that we can always generate income and stay black on the books?

  • In your book, you mentioned using the hidden cash resources to grow the business. Can you elaborate on that? How can we find cash in our business? What are some of the hidden cash resources and how can we use them to grow our business?

  • What strategies can we use to make our customers loyal to us no matter what price points we are charging?

  • I know one of the most important structure in our business is finances. How do we find the right CPA or bookkeeper to support us?

  • And what structures, procedures or workflow do you recommend small business owners to set up to make sure they know their financial health at all times?

  • What is the one top tip you will give to stagers when it comes to pricing their projects?

Watch the Interview HereConnect with Denise

Website: https://www.deniseoberry.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/smallbusinesscashflow

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/deniseoberry

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/deniseoberry

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/deniseoberry

Resources Mentioned by Denise On the Show

Hiring the Right Accountant

Cash Flow Budget Worksheet

If you want to help & support the show, there are 3 ways:
  1. Leave a review and ratings in iTunes
  2. Share the show on social media!
  3. Donate to support the hosting costs for the website and the podcast. You can make a donation through the show notes or on the sidebar of our site.
LISTEN TO TODAY'S SHOW

If you want to support the show and keep it going, you can do so by leaving a review and rating on iTunes, that will help other people to find our show. If you find the podcast helpful to your home sale and would like to donate a few bucks to help with the hosting of the show, there’s now a donation button on the blog sidebar to your right, you can donate $5 or more to help with costs associated with the show.

If you enjoy the show, please leave a review & rating on iTunes! <3LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNESSOUNDCLOUD & STITCHER

GOT QS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW OR TALK ABOUT IT IN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

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Welcome Back to Season 7 Episode 8!

On today's show, Pam Christensen is back to chat with us about the financial side of a home staging business. We talk about profit margins, working with a bookkeeper and CPA, as well as how to price home staging projects. We also chat about hiring as well. Pricing is always a sensitive topic, so I am super grateful for Pam to come back on the show again this week and being so generous with information.

Today's Sponsor

The Staging Assistant, it's more than an inventory system.  Manage your leads, your proposals, your clients and your staged houses on your desktop, tablet or phone.  With the staging assistant, you will know what you own, where it is and when it's returning quickly and easily.  Create your designs and packing lists from the comfort of your home so you can hit the ground running when you go into your warehouse.  Created by stagers, specifically for stagers it’s the only tool you will need to manage your growing staging business. For more information, visit stagingassistant.com

About Pam

Pam started her staging business in 2007, when many of those in the real estate industry were closing due to the state of the market.  Pam leveraged her eye for design, marketing background and real estate investing experience, to help fellow investors sell their properties at top dollar.  Pam has grown her business from a single storage unit and rented truck, to a premier staging company staffed with talented designers that stage over 300 homes a year.  Staging for Charisma's homes are under contract in 7 days or less and for thousands over asking price.  Pam is well known as an expert in the Seattle area staging community; hosting her own radio show for 7 years and as a featured columnist for the local REAPS (Real Estate Professionals of Puget Sound) newsletter.  As a speaker, trainer and mentor to stagers and REALTORS in the Puget Sound area, Pam is committed to the continuing improvement of the home staging industry.

Pam's Certifications

ASPM Accredited Staging Professional Master
RESA Pro
CRI Certified Real Estate Instructor
Alumni AHSCI Advanced Home Staging Certified Instructor for the Academy of Home Staging

Some of the Qs I asked on Today's Show:
  • Pam, thanks so much for coming back on the show this season! On today’s show, I’d like to find out a little bit more about the financial side of your business. How do you approach pricing your projects?

  • And is it different pricing vacant homes vs. occupied homes?

  • How about starter homes vs. luxury homes?

  • How do you price your furniture rental?

  • How do you determine your profit margins for each project?

  • Do you have a minimum price for doing a job, why or why not?

  • How long is your typical contract length and what happens if someone goes over their contract? How do you calculate the rental?

  • What are some of the mistakes you’ve made when it comes to finances for the business? (that are okay for you to share)

  • Do you work on the company financials yourself? Or do you have a bookkeeper and a CPA who help you as well?

  • I have a listener Adrian submitted a question for you: “How much should I charge for staging a 2000 square feet home with 3 bedroom, dining room, 2 bathrooms, small office and living room? This is a flip property”

    • I know this type of question is very difficult to answer for someone who is not in her exact market. Also, it depends on how you approach staging and what type of inventory you bring in, the price can vary. But let’s say if this is your market, how would you go about pricing this job?

  • What is the one top tip you will give to stagers when it comes to pricing their projects?

Watch the Interview HereConnect with Pam

Website: stagingforcharisma.com and stagingassistant.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StagingforCharisma/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pamstages

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pamstages/

If you want to help & support the show, there are 3 ways:
  1. Leave a review and ratings in iTunes
  2. Share the show on social media!
  3. Donate to support the hosting costs for the website and the podcast. You can make a donation through the show notes or on the sidebar of our site.
LISTEN TO TODAY'S SHOW

If you want to support the show and keep it going, you can do so by leaving a review and rating on iTunes, that will help other people to find our show. If you find the podcast helpful to your home sale and would like to donate a few bucks to help with the hosting of the show, there’s now a donation button on the blog sidebar to your right, you can donate $5 or more to help with costs associated with the show.

If you enjoy the show, please leave a review & rating on iTunes! <3LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNESSOUNDCLOUD & STITCHER

GOT QS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW OR TALK ABOUT IT IN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNESSOUNDCLOUD & STITCHER
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Senior-friendly improvement projects support the health and well-being of all tenants and buyers. They can help those sellers who want to sell their homes and target the senior population. The beauty of it is that tweaks and improvements also tend to enhance the value of your property. Therefore, it is a win-win. 

To reap the benefits, first, assess your current environment. Pay close attention to danger zones like stairs and bathrooms. Figure out upgrades that make senior’s life easier and do not blow your budget in the process. Take safety and comfort to the whole new level. 

Accessibility and Ease of Movement

In a nutshell, a thoughtful design should address the specific needs of aging people, such as ease of mobility and fall prevention. 

It would be wise to start with particularly perilous areas. When it comes to stairs, for instance, you can do quite a lot to mitigate the risk. Repair uneven and broken stairs and install handrails on both sides. Add non-slip flooring and contrast strips for better visibility. Note that although building codes prescribe minimum height and depth of the stairs, these dimensions could still hinder movement of the elderly. 

In general, trips and falls account for the bulk of home injuries. Keep an eye on slippery and loose surfaces like carpets and moist floors. Make certain there are no sharp edges, corners, and obstacles that increase the chances of tripping. Deal with clutter and facilitate a free flow of traffic. Likewise, do some rearranging: leave ample space around the furniture and in common areas. These common staging techniques go a long way. 

Pain Points 

Do not make the mistake of overlooking the exterior of the home. It can turn potential buyers away before they even step inside. So, you want to make a good first impression as they approach your home. Barrier-free entryways are a great way to do this and they enable even those in wheelchairs to gain access inside. Along similar lines, see if you need to repave the pathway into the home to render is smooth and even. Bear in mind that non-step entries and thresholds are the preferred solutions.

Next, turn your attention to bathroom designs. These rooms are particularly notorious areas for those with restricted mobility as places where many slips and falls occur. A bathtub is one of the main problems, so see if you can install a walk-in shower instead. For extra safety, mount grab bars on shower walls and add a shower stool or bench. Slip-resistant flooring also helps as people get out of the shower. A complete bathroom remodel is a smart investment, but in case it is not an option, take advantage of these smaller upgrades.  In A New Light 

Adequate lighting is one of the essential elements of a senior-friendly home. 

Motion-sensor lights are an ideal solution as they illuminate the area only when somebody is near. They make things like late bathroom trips much less hazardous. So, install them around the entryway, stairwell, hallway, and exterior of the house. I took advantage of the services of this Sydney electrician to ensure everything was working like a charm at my grandparents' place. After all, amateurs should always be cautious when going DIY with wiring as it bears a significant fire and injury risk. 

Finally, remember that there are many other small and affordable changes that make a big difference for senior citizens. Standard round door knobs are not the easiest to handle, are they?  Well, replace them with door levers or handles that anyone can effortlessly grip and turn. Integrate open shelving design in the kitchen. Implement home automation safety features like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 

And if your target audience is by any chance tech-savvy, you can increase the appeal of the home with app-enabled features like smart locks.  

Friendly by Design

From senior-friendly bathroom fixtures to simple updates and conveniences, there are many ways to attract and delight the older population. Beyond everything else, you have to design your property to accommodate their everyday wants and needs. To get the ball rolling, assemble a list of features that cater to them and focus on those that also boost the value of the property. 

Provide stability and support against falls and illuminate the space. Increase accessibility and eliminate the need for bending, crouching, and other treacherous maneuvers. Following the steps above, you should be able to spark interest, increase asking price, and enable buyers to envision themselves living in your home. 

Contributor bio: Will Sandford is a Sydney based wood architect, blogger and contributor on interior design and ecology blogs. Besides that, he is also interested in home improvement combined with green technology. In his spare time, Will enjoys surfing and rock climbing. He is also a regular contributor to SmoothDecorator. Connect with him on Twitter as @WillSandford1.
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Welcome Back to Season 7 Episode 7!

On today’s show, I’m interviewing Mary Pope-Handy, who has been selling homes full time since 1993. She is based in Los Gatos and sells real estate throughout San Jose, Saratoga, Campbell and all over Santa Clara County in California. She has been a top 5% producer since the early years, have won many awards for production but also for service and her real estate writing. She is a prolific blogger and real estate educator, that’s why I thought it would be amazing to have Mary on the show today.

On the show, we talk about best practices in selling a home, as well as habits of successful real estate professionals. We also dive into blogging for real estate and how to blog successfully for your real estate business.

Next week the podcast will be taking a one-week break. I have been dealing with some personal health issues. I had an old back injury that’s extended to my neck and my hip and it has been difficult for me to move around and do work. So I was not able to record an episode with a guest this week. But the week after, I’ll be interviewing Pam Christiansen again. She was amazing earlier this season with her expertise in workflow management, home staging logistics, and inventory management. She is going to come back to talk to us about profit margins. I’ll be announcing the recording time in our private Facebook group and through the email list. So if you are not yet on our email list, you can sign up on our website on the sidebar of the blog.

Today's Sponsor

The Staging Assistant, it's more than an inventory system.  Manage your leads, your proposals, your clients and your staged houses on your desktop, tablet or phone.  With the staging assistant, you will know what you own, where it is and when it's returning quickly and easily.  Create your designs and packing lists from the comfort of your home so you can hit the ground running when you go into your warehouse.  Created by stagers, specifically for stagers it’s the only tool you will need to manage your growing staging business. For more information, visit stagingassistant.com

About Mary

I am a full-time, second generation REALTOR® since early 1993. I’m in the top 5% or better each year since early in my career.

I’m an area native and my local knowledge is extensive. I sell real estate in all of Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley with an emphasis on Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Almaden Valley, Campbell, and several districts within the City of San Jose, especially Cambrian Park, Almaden Valley and Willow Glen. (The “west valley” is my primary focus.)

Additionally, I have assisted buyers and sellers all over San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley generally (the Vendome area, Japantown, the Rosegarden, Evergreen, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Santa Teresa, South San Jose, Sunnyvale, etc.). I am familiar with the individual cities and towns in Silicon Valley and the districts and neighborhoods in San Jose too. In many cases, I am familiar with the work of local builders as well. though  Once in awhile I do venture farther: I have sold in Scotts Valley, Redwood Shores, Fremont, Livermore, etc. as well.

An education junkie, I have an ongoing and extensive real state education – including 8 college-level courses: finance, appraisal, real estate law, real estate practice, real estate economics, real estate brokerage, real estate principals, and property management. I take non-required coursework to stay on the cutting edge, including courses on marketing, feng shui, negotiation, contracts, and much more. Recently I  completed a negotiation class within the Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate program.

Additionally, I co-authored a book, “How To Get The Best Deal When Selling Your Home In Silicon Valley” (Dec 2004). It has been very well received and is now available in libraries and some stores. It would be my pleasure to give you a copy when we meet for our first appointment.

For Mary's full bio, visit: http://popehandy.com/about-mary-pope-handy/

Some of the Qs I asked on Today's Show:
  • Tell us about how you got started in real estate?
  • Tell us about your business.
  • What is your market like?
  • I know you’ve also co-authored a book on home selling. What are some of your top advices in selling the home?
  • How did you start blogging in real estate?
  • Do you have to be very tech savvy to start a blog?
  • How much do you blog and what do you blog about?
  • How has blogging changed your business?
  • Do you ever get writer's block?
  • What does your online marketing strategy look like? Is blogging the only thing that you do?
  • How about offline marketing? How do you get clients and listings?
  • What are some of the biggest misconceptions about blogging?
  • If someone wants to start blogging about his or hers real estate business, what advices do you have?
  • How do you blog to boost your SEO?
  • How do you write to connect with your potential customers?
  • Do you repurpose and/or refresh your older content for something else?
  • What are some of the trends you are seeing with technology and blogging in real estate?
  • Lastly, if someone can only follow one advice, what is the top one advice you have for real estate professionals who want to start a blog for their business?
  • NAR statistics on how buyers overestimate home renovation costs
  • how to maximize the sales price on your home
  • importance of home inspections
  • key issues with disclosure and the danger of not disclosing
  • the number 1 cause of real estate lawsuits
  • how to cover your vulnerable spots as a home seller
  • disclosures in California
  • how to prepare for a successful home sale
  • how do new real estate agents get started
  • how to start blogging in real estate
Examples of Mary's Blog

Mary crunches a lot of numbers herself on her blog, mostly using the MLS but sometimes using other tools (RPR, or a subscription that she has). Here are some of the image examples:

Here's one blog with the absorption rate for the city of Saratoga by price and high school district (there are 3 in Saratoga, and it makes a difference): http://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/saratoga-ca-real-estate-market-update/

Connect with Mary

Website: http://SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LosGatosRealEstate/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marypopehandy

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marypopehandy/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marypopehandy/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/popehandy/

Blog: http://LiveInLosGatosBlog.com/

 

If you want to help & support the show, there are 3 ways:
  1. Leave a review and ratings in iTunes
  2. Share the show on social media!
  3. Donate to support the hosting costs for the website and the podcast. You can make a donation through the show notes or on the sidebar of our site.
LISTEN TO TODAY'S SHOW

If you want to support the show and keep it going, you can do so by leaving a review and rating on iTunes, that will help other people to find our show. If you find the podcast helpful to your home sale and would like to donate a few bucks to help with the hosting of the show, there’s now a donation button on the blog sidebar to your right, you can donate $5 or more to help with costs associated with the show.

If you enjoy the show, please leave a review & rating on iTunes! <3LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNESSOUNDCLOUD & STITCHER

GOT QS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW OR TALK ABOUT IT IN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNESSOUNDCLOUD & STITCHER
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Welcome Back to Season 7 Episode 6!

On today's show, Bobbie is back to chat with us about how new home stagers can strive in today's market. We talked about the definition of success, pros and cons of starter home market and luxury market and growing the business. We also talked about a review that a listener had left the show. Here is what Frustrated in Brooklyn had said:

"Informative but she's condescending and insulting.

I stumbled upon this podcast and her blog/staging courses while doing research for my new business venture. I really like her blog and the info. And while I do like the interviews and information on her podcast, I find Cindy to be super condescending and insulting to what she calls 'amateurs.' She is rude and must have forgotten that you always have to start somewhere. In the particular episode "home staging can make or break you sale" with Bobbie McGrath (who I adore) she does this often. And repeatedly talks about 'how can a stager not know they need insurance or a contract?' It made me super uncomfortable that she sorta roped Bobbie into speaking this way about newbie stagers and they went on and on towards the end about how home sellers need to vet their stagers and hire one with experience and extensive knowledge. I find it contradictory to the fact that her goal is to TEACH 'amateur' stagers in hope that sellers will give you a chance! So you teach them, take their money and tell your audience to hire someone with experience like her? I mean really. 'Never forget where you came from' is my motto. That amateur or 'hobby stager' may just be stealing your business one day... Also she says 'like' way too much."

I want to start off by saying that I appreciate everyone who leaves a review, whether it's good or bad. Because this is important feedback that I can improve upon on the show. I don't normally address negative reviews, but this one I thought is important. I think there are a few misunderstanding about the content of the show and what I aim to do with the show.

If the whole purpose is to make money and exploit new stagers, I'd be charging people to read my blog or listen to this podcast. To be perfectly clear, it takes money to host a blog and host all the content including the podcast. We do have a sponsor for the show this season, but that doesn't cover all the costs of running a podcast. One single episode costs about $120 just to edit, this does not include my time for researching and writing questions, interviews and the cost of hosting the media files. Unfortunately, money doesn't grow on trees so yes, I do need to keep generating income through the courses. Many guests that have been on the show also are not doing the interviews purely out of the kindness of their hearts, they too have products and services or courses that they are promoting.

Money aside, I am in a full-time master course at the moment. So I already have a full plate. On days where I am in photo studio shooting projects, working on my feet for 8 hours straight, and I have interviews to record, I go home and record podcast interviews sometimes until 11 o'clock at night. I keep at it (even though it's freaking hard at times) because I enjoy interviewing people who are passionate about what they do. And it is important to me to keep pushing for education in the industry. So I choose to keep doing podcasts because it makes me happy. It makes me feel that it's worthwhile to do. 

The reason why I am very upset about new stagers not knowing about insurance or contract is that if you go to a home staging training school, fork over thousands of dollars, this is something the school should've covered. You should know this. And you shouldn't have to ask about if you need one on a Facebook group. I'm pissed at the training schools and how they didn't properly support their students, and that's why I started my own courses. I also think that many courses have not been updated since they were written, some could be more than 10 years. So that's why I started my own courses because I firmly believe that if you don't like something, you do something to change it.

This is not to say that new stagers shouldn't be hired. The whole point of having blog posts and podcasts discussing these topics is that I hope that if you are a new stager, you will avoid and not make those mistakes those of us have made early on in our careers. And yes, if you are an unethical stager who is undercutting the market and not know how to protect your own business and your clients, and you are not doing anything to change it, you don't deserve to be in business. 

I know I can come off very harsh, but I am very passionate about helping stagers growing businesses that are sustainable and fulfills their lifestyles. Because if you are happy running your business, it fulfills you and gives you purpose. Even if you are so exhausted, that means you are doing a great thing. And during that process, you will make your clients very happy.

So that's why on the show today, Bobbie and I started with the question: "What is the difference between newbie stager v. amateur stager v. seasoned stager?" 

And I also think the listener Frustrated in Brooklyn gave Bobbie too little credit. Bobbie McGrath is one of the most amazing human beings I know. She is smart, articulate and a strong, independent woman. If she feels that she is being roped into something, she will speak up about it. 

I'd love to hear about your thoughts about the show and about the review. As always, you can leave a comment on our show notes. 

Today's Sponsor

The Staging Assistant, it's more than an inventory system.  Manage your leads, your proposals, your clients and your staged houses on your desktop, tablet or phone.  With the staging assistant, you will know what you own, where it is and when it's returning quickly and easily.  Create your designs and packing lists from the comfort of your home so you can hit the ground running when you go into your warehouse.  Created by stagers, specifically for stagers it’s the only tool you will need to manage your growing staging business. For more information, visit stagingassistant.com

About Bobbie

Bobbie McGrath is an international award winning home stager, trainer, speaker and co-author of the best selling book, “Home Staging: The Power That Sells Real Estate”. She has been named Technical Staging Editor for the new online publication, “Aspired Home Magazine” dedicated to showcasing and educating the public about the difference between home staging and interior design. Bobbie created a North Carolina CE Course for Realtors focusing on how to utilize Staging to build a powerhouse real estate business. Focusing on educating the public, Realtors and fellow stagers, Bobbie is introducing a series of online training courses, which take a deep dive into the “why” of home staging as well as one-to-one coaching sessions. In addition to the online training course she developed for Australian Realtors and home stagers Bobbie will be traveling to Australia later this year to teach her course “live” along with Australia’s own Tracey McLeod and Staged4More’s own Cindy Lin! International in scope, Bobbie looks forward to spreading the word about home staging. Stay tuned for more!

Voted by her international peers as one of RESA's (Real Estate Staging Association) Top Ten Occupied Home Stagers in America in both 2015 and 2016 Bobbie has been recognized as “Best of HOUZZ” for customer service and design in 2015, 2016, and again in 2017.  Known for her positive and empowering approach to life she has a gift for finding just the right words in often-difficult situations. Homeowners and Realtors alike use words such as “positive”, “professional”, “effective” and “great communicator” when describing her. 

Whether you are a Realtor, homeowner or fellow stager Bobbie’s goal is always to provide a positive and empowering experience!
 

Some of the Qs I asked on Today's Show:
  • What is the difference between newbie stager v. amateur stager v. seasoned stager? 

  • What are some of the pros and cons of both starter homes and luxury homes markets?

  • How should stagers approach the market? How do they go about finding new clients?

  • What is your definition of being a “success” in this industry?

  • A last, 2-part question for you: What is the one top tip you will give to stagers when it comes to starting out in the staging industry?

  • How about someone who started for awhile, like couple years in and is growing the business? 

Watch the Interview HereConnect with Bobbie

Website: www.SuccessfulStaging.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bobbiemcgrath

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bobbiemcgrath

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/successfulstaging/

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/successfulstaging/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/bobbiemcgrath/

If you want to help & support the show, there are 3 ways:
  1. Leave a review and ratings in iTunes
  2. Share the show on social media!
  3. Donate to support the hosting costs for the website and the podcast. You can make a donation through the show notes or on the sidebar of our site.
LISTEN TO TODAY'S SHOW

If you want to support the show and keep it going, you can do so by leaving a review and rating on iTunes, that will help other people to find our show. If you find the podcast helpful to your home sale and would like to donate a few bucks to help with the hosting of the show, there’s now a donation button on the blog sidebar to your right, you can donate $5 or more to help with costs associated with the show.

If you enjoy the show, please leave a review & rating on iTunes! <3LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNESSOUNDCLOUD & STITCHER

GOT QS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW OR TALK ABOUT IT IN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNESSOUNDCLOUD & STITCHER
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