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Four Common Staging Mistakes Every Seller Makes—and How to Avoid Them

Last time, we focused on commonly overlooked home staging tips. This time, we are continuing along those lines with some common mistakes that home sellers routinely make when staging their homes to sell.

When selling your home, it’s easy to make mistakes. Here are a few tips to help you avoid some of the most egregious errors:

1. Overdoing one color/theme. You may have heard that sticking to a theme in each room—particularly when choosing colors or decorations—is important. But equally as important is keeping a balance. You don’t want your buyers to be so distracted by one theme or color that they miss the finer points of your home.

2. Underestimating the power of natural light. No matter how beautiful the home, a dark room is usually not a winner. Remove dark or heavy curtains and try not to obscure windows with large furniture; this will help your buyer visualize your home’s full potential.

3. Failing to maximize space. Buyers love storage space and anything that screams of lots of storage—big closets, built-in bookshelves, etc. Make sure you clean out all of your closets, armoires, shelves, etc. before you show your home, because buyers will likely poke around in them to see how much space you have. One stager recommends investing in a few cute baskets or storage containers to hold small items, if you don’t have time to completely declutter before your first showing.

4. Using poor quality photos in online posting. Many, if not most, buyers start their house hunting with online searching. According to one realtor featured in Realtor Mag, “Most of your selling is online. You’ve got about five seconds to get them to look at the house before they go on to another one. That’s how critical photography is.” If you aren’t using professional assistance, make sure you have a good camera and tripod, and take multiple shots at different exposure settings.

Taylor Henley is an employee of Stage to Move. She collaborates with owner and home staging expert Kara Woods to produce blog posts that reflect the expertise and innovative design strategies of Stage to Move.

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Commonly Overlooked Staging Tips

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Even the most experienced home sellers sometimes forget to do these basic home staging improvements. Check out our list of a few of the most commonly overlooked staging tips:

-Updating the kitchen. The kitchen is the most important room in the house, and neglecting to make some necessary changes can really hinder your selling efforts. Your updates do not have to cost you thousands, however; one stager recommends staining dated cabinets if you don’t want to spend the money to replace them.

-Keeping bedrooms gender neutral. Children’s bedrooms are generally not staged, so it is particularly important to make sure that they appeal to all genders. Don’t assume that buyers can make the mental shift from your teenage boy’s room to their future baby girl’s room.

-Removing unnecessary appliances and other clutter. De-cluttering is the bread and butter of home staging, but did you know that appliances (as well as basic decorative accessories) could be clutter? Too many appliances (i.e. toasters, coffeemakers, etc.) seem like clutter to buyers; opt for a simple bowl of fresh seasonal fruits on your counter instead.

-Making your bathrooms shine. Your bathrooms are your second most important rooms in the house (after your kitchen), so they should be absolutely pristine. Upgrade your cabinets and sink if needed, and paint that bathroom tile that went out of style in the 80s. Consider installing extra closets and drawers if your bathroom is short on storage space. You’ll be glad you did when buyers love your bathrooms!

-Painting and polishing your front doors and shutters. First impressions are critical in the home selling business. Don’t neglect the outside in favor of the inside, or your buyers will walk in to your home with a bad impression—one that even the best indoor décor might not be able to change.

Taylor Henley is an employee of Stage to Move. She collaborates with owner and home staging expert Kara Woods to produce blog posts that reflect the expertise and innovative design strategies of Stage to Move.

What to Do If Your Home is Not Selling

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You’ve done everything you are supposed to do—deep cleaning, decluttering, focusing on curb appeal—but your home still isn’t selling. Below are a few of our top suggestions to turn your home from languishing to outstanding.

First, look for problems by speaking to potential buyers who have declined to make an offer on your home. Do they consistently bring up the same deficiency (or two, or three)? If so, fix the problem[s] and then advertise the changes. Post pictures of the fixed areas on social media and on listing services and home selling websites to alert past (and future) potential buyers that the former deficiency is no longer an issue.

Second, redo your photos. “These days, most people begin their house hunt on the Internet. First impressions are everything when it comes to homebuying, especially online,” says Erin Sartain, marketing and training director for NexTitle, a title and escrow agency, and real estate expert. “The more photos, the better.” Don’t forget to turn on all the lights when taking your photos, and consider enlisting the help of a qualified professional.

Third, bolster your marketing efforts. Real estate agent Elizabeth Weintraub offers the following advice:

  • Print four-color postcards and mail them to surrounding homes and to out-of-area buyers
  • Create four-color flyers containing several photos to distribute to prospects
  • Hire a virtual tour company to shoot and upload videos
  • Massively advertise every weekend
  • Hold Open Houses on Sundays that coincide with other neighborhood open houses, and on the occasional weekdays
  • Consider shooting a video yourself and uploading it to YouTube.com

Last, if your home has been on the market with no success for months, consider taking it off. This can give you both an opportunity to improve your home, and make it easier to sell once you put it back on the market, since buyers are drawn to new listings—not ones that have been languishing on the market for several months.

In the interim, make some changes. Hire Stage to Move to alter the look of the home. Consider investing in home improvement projects, such as redoing outdated bathrooms or kitchens, or replacing a worn-out front door and faded siding. Go “comparison shopping”—check out what other sellers are doing by attending open houses and speaking with buyers to see what they are looking for. And when you are ready, put your home back on the market. You might be surprised at how well you do!

Taylor Henley is an employee of Stage to Move. She collaborates with owner and home staging expert Kara Woods to produce blog posts that reflect the expertise and innovative design strategies of Stage to Move.

Tips for Spring Home Staging

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With warmer weather comes increased competition—more people putting their homes on the market. Make yours stand out today with these home staging tips for spring!

First, utilize nature. Make sure your outdoor flowerbeds are well-kept, and bring in the best flowers to decorate your home for the spring season. Freshly-cut flowers in reflective glass vases also give off a pleasant aroma that will give potential buyers a great first impression of your home.

If your flowers aren’t quite in bloom yet, don’t worry—you can add floral décor such as paintings and accessories to evoke the season. You may also want to consider scented candles and aromatherapy diffusers to get that clean spring scent.

Second, ensure that your entryways are appealing. Remove winter wreaths and replace with a spring-themed welcome mat and an umbrella stand. For the backdoor, consider placing potted bulbs just outside the door to add color to a backyard recovering from winter.

Third, clean your windows. This includes washing your blinds and drapes as well as getting those windowpanes to sparkle. In one stager’s words, “Crisp linens and a spring-time breeze through the windows invite the season inside.”

Fourth, accessorize in pastels. Soft spring-colored pillows, linens, towels and throws brighten up a room in no time.

Taylor Henley is an employee of Stage to Move. She collaborates with owner and home staging expert Kara Woods to produce blog posts that reflect the expertise and innovative design strategies of Stage to Move.

Do Empty Homes Sell? (Hint: They Don’t.)

Are you trying to sell your empty home? If you’re not staging, then you’re doing it wrong!

People buy homes, not houses. Potential buyers have trouble visualizing the potential of empty homes.  Staging creates a feeling in a room that makes a buyer want to enter. If a buyer can mentally “move in,” he or she will be motivated to buy. In a 2015 profile on home staging, the National Association of Realtors found that 81 percent of buyers find it easier to visualize a property as a future home when it is staged, compared to an empty home.

The problem is that empty homes lack a vision of its layout. One stager suggests that sellers spend a weekend going to open houses and paying attention to what draws them in. chances are, they will be drawn to homes that show beautifully, and uninterested in those that don’t. As a seller, “You have to feel like you’re inviting a special guest over and that special guest is a potential buyer.” You can’t do this in an empty home.

Here at Stage To Move, we will evaluate a vacant or model home and prepare a design plan. The plan will detail the furniture, accessories, and design elements that will appeal to the seller’s target market as well as the associated fees. Our exclusive access to multiple showrooms throughout New England translates to the most up-to-date and desired look for your home.

Vacant home staging typically costs $10-$15,000 for a 3 to 6 month rental. However, statistics show that the benefits of selling your home more quickly that come with staging include price sales and carrying costs (i.e. electric, mortgage, etc.). Thus, the return on investment outweighs the initial upfront costs.

Contact Stage to Move today at info@stagetomove.com for an evaluation.

 

Taylor Henley is an employee of Stage to Move. She collaborates with owner and home staging expert Kara Woods to produce blog posts that reflect the expertise and innovative design strategies of Stage to Move.

Trends to Ditch in 2016

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Note: This is part 3 in a four-part series of design trends for 2016. Check out parts 1, 2 and 3 here, here and here.

Our last few posts have focused on what’s in in 2016. This post will focus on the opposite: what’s out, or what to avoid this year in interior designs. We will also give you examples of how to replace or modify these outdated items to keep your home up-to-date.

Avoid:

  1. Rosy metallic (particularly in accessories). This 2015 phase is on its last legs.
  2. Jute and sisal rugs and other similar items, as they have become ubiquitous.
  3. Outdated styles such as “industrial chic” or “oppressive midcentury modernism”—both were overdone in 2015.

Replace:

  1. Kitchen desks with extra counter space. Don’t forget that quartz countertops are on our list of trends to watch in 2016! Consider also replacing tiled counters with quartz slabs.
  1. TV in a child’s room with creative space, such as a cork bulletin board or an area to hang photos. Let’s be honest—our kids could use the break from technology anyways.
  1. Chevron prints with animal hides.
  1. Whirlpool tubs with large showers or soaking bathtubs. We know, we know—that Whirlpool tub looked so darn enticing at the store. But you never use it, am I right?
  1. Over the range microwave with a microwave drawer underneath the countertop. It may take some getting used to, but you won’t have to worry about spilling your soup as you haphazardly lift it over your head to reheat it.
  1. Naked windows with panel drapes, and brass hardware in your kitchen and bathroom with polished nickel hardware.
  1. Faux finishes with a solid coat of paint.

Now that you’ve gotten an in-depth look at what’s hot and what’s not for 2016, keep in mind that interior design trends do not always translate to staging trends. Interior design is about appealing to the client’s personal taste; staging is about selling to the masses through design. So go ahead and use these interior design tips for your own benefit, but if you are selling, you might want to think about appealing to a broader audience with a transitional design approach.

 

Taylor Henley is an employee of Stage to Move. She collaborates with owner and home staging expert Kara Woods to produce blog posts that reflect the expertise and innovative design strategies of Stage to Move.

 

Trends for 2016: Colors

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Note: This is part 3 in a four-part series of design trends for 2016. Check out parts 1 and 2 here and here.

On to the next major category of design trends for 2016: colors.

In general, the top three colors of the year are soft beige pink, navy and indigo blue, and clean modern whites. The 2016 top two Pantone colors of the year are Rose Quartz (soft pink) and Serenity (blue); expect to see these hues pop up in accessories and home décor. Pastels may also play a role, given the soft hues of this year’s Pantone profile:

“Colors this season transcend cultural and gender norms. Vivid brights give way to excitement and optimism, though quiet stability prevails in this season’s palette.”

“Colors this season transcend cultural and gender norms. Vivid brights give way to excitement and optimism, though quiet stability prevails in this season’s palette.”

Clean modern whites are also trending in 2016. Benjamin Moore named “simply white” its color of the year, and Sherwin Williams named “alabaster”:

Benjamin Moore’s 2016 Forecast

Benjamin Moore’s 2016 Forecast

For wall colors, try warm grays this year. Grays pair well with cream and white, and easily accommodates seasonal trends. Gray kitchen cabinets are also a rising trend, according to one source.

For accessories, consider items with texture and dramatic color, such as faux fur and sophisticated florals. High contrast is key; bright accents can lighten the area around a dark wall, and black and white palettes in kitchens can really make your home stand out in 2016.

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Check back soon for our fourth and final post of the 2016 style series: trends to ditch in 2016!

 

Taylor Henley is an employee of Stage to Move. She collaborates with owner and home staging expert Kara Woods to produce blog posts that reflect the expertise and innovative design strategies of Stage to Move.

 

Tips for Winter Home Staging

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It’s the middle of winter, and you just found out that your company is relocating you to Jupiter, Florida. That’s great for your frozen bones—but what about your home? Use these tips to help sell your home ASAP—even in winter.

First, focus on the curb appeal. In winter, it’s easy to neglect the outside of your home, but it’s crucial that your potential buyers’ first impressions be good ones. Clear the driveway, paths, and decks, and add some salt to protect against slipping on ice. Turn on the porch lights, and consider adding some urns and planters to your front stoop if it looks a bit empty. Add a winter-themed welcome mat to complete the job.

Second, keep your entryways clean. As one stager observes, “During winter it is especially important to remove mucky boots outside and keep family gear hidden in a closet or trunk, where potential buyers won’t trip over them.” The last thing you want your potential buyer to see is your muddy footprints all over the foyer.

Third, emphasize visual (and physical) warmth. Make sure every light is on—things can get dark in winter! And crank that heat. Seal your windows and holes, and move furniture away from the vents to ensure proper air circulation. Nobody wants to buy a home where they are too distracted by the cold to pay attention to its amenities. Add some throws, pillows, and richly textured materials in warm colors to create an image of warmth and coziness.

Fourth, highlight features of your home that are particularly useful in winter, such as fireplaces, basement playrooms for kids, and indoor fitness centers. Consider accentuating your home’s entertaining possibilities as well, as winter is a popular time for indoor dinner parties.

Keep these tips in mind as you are getting ready to sell your home, and you will be off to sunny Florida in no time!

 

 

Trends for 2016: Style

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Note: This is part 2 in a four-part series of design trends for 2016. Check out part 1 here.

Part 2 of the “Trends for 2016” series features accessories and designs that are predicted to be popular this year. If you are planning on selling your home this year, consider investing in a few of these:

  1. Quartz composite countertops. Along with natural stone, quartz countertops (rather than granite) come out on top for 2016. Quartz provides unique patterns and colors and requires little maintenance. Caesarstone recently introduced a line of six neutral colors for its durable quartz countertops. Consider also mixing countertop materials in 2016. Granite, wood, and marble combinations all work well together, for example.

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  1. Porcelain floors. Porcelain is less expensive than hardwood and wears better than real wood. According to one stager, “Porcelain can be found in traditional small tiles or long, linear planks. It is available in a variety of colors and textures, including the popular one-color combos with slight variations for a hint of differentiation.”

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  1. Fireplaces. Fireplaces universally signal warmth and even romance, according to one source. Technology is making this amenity even more accessible—look for fireplaces in more than the traditional living spaces (including outdoor spaces!) in 2016.

 

  1. Ceilings as 5th walls. This year, use ceilings as a way to add style to your home. Check out the room below as an example:

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  1. Black metals. According to the Wall Street Journal, this “decidedly unflashy material is appearing as simple hardware, bathroom fixtures and even flatware.” Designers blend it with wood and glass, or even create entire pieces of matte black metal.
  1. Old world ornamentation. In the past few years, interior design has gone from overdone drapery to naked windows to, finally, back to some softness. “Fringe, cording, and tassels soften the austerity of modern upholstery.”
  1. Rounded furniture and accessories. Smooth, rounded pieces of marble, and softer, rounder pieces of furniture are on the rise in 2016.

Check back soon for part 3: colors of 2016!

 

Taylor Henley is an employee of Stage to Move. She collaborates with owner and home staging expert Kara Woods to produce blog posts that reflect the expertise and innovative design strategies of Stage to Move.