Home Staging Update: The Luxury Market

luxury market

We know that the housing market has been on the rise lately. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Prices of existing homes sold in the U.S. vaulted to a record high in June, topping the mark set in 2006, as sales increased at their strongest pace in more than eight years.” But what about the luxury market? This niche industry doesn’t always follow general housing trends, so it’s important to keep up to date on the latest news.

Don’t worry—we did your research for you. And it turns out that sales of luxury homes have been hitting record highs in recent years. Domestic purchasers, bolstered by decreasing unemployment rates and growing incomes as the economy recovers, are increasingly attracted to real estate, according to top real estate agents: “Buying real estate has grown more attractive, these young buyers say, compared with the stock market, which appears riskier to a generation that entered the workforce during a market correction.”

Moreover, international buyers continue to augment the luxury home market. The United States is relatively inexpensive (hosting only one of the world’s top ten most expensive cities in the world for real estate, according to Forbes), so it makes sense that luxury buyers would seek to get more bang for their buck here in the United States.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly: 23% of luxury homebuyers live in the Northeast. This is great news for Westchester and Fairfield County sellers, since it means that a market already exists in the area. Stage to Move can help you market your home to these buyers when you are ready to sell.

Want to stage your home for YOU, not for a buyer? Here are some of our best tips!

Good news: you’ve hired Stage to Move, you’ve followed all of Kara’s excellent advice, and now your home is stunning and show-ready. You just have one small problem: you love your home’s new interior design so much that you no longer want to move!

Don’t worry—we have the perfect solution for you. Stage your new home! Stage to Move can assist with move-in furniture placement and interior design, helping you get that designer feeling right from the get go. Here are some additional tips for you to stage your home for YOU, not for a buyer:

1. Give every room a role. One stager calls this “minimalism with personality.” Too often, we take unused rooms and use them as storage space, but making these rooms into productive spaces can really make a difference for your home. Keep it simple: transform a small room into a large closet by installing shelves; turn your kids’ former playroom into a basic home gym; make a small bedroom into a home office. The sky is the limit, and by sticking to basics, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the design work involved.

2. Make some much-needed upgrades. You likely remember from your post-college renting days that your apartment never looked so good as the day your lease ended and you handed the keys to the landlord. The prospect of losing hundreds of dollars in security deposits was enough to make you take care of anything that needed fixing—and then some. The same goes for selling your home, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Think your curtains could use a facelift? Invest in some new ones. Furniture looking old and stale? Revamp it, redesign it, or simply remove it and treat yourself to that brand-new sofa you’ve been eyeing for months.

Kara also recommends having a professional organizer arrange your kitchen cabinets and drawers. They have some excellent tricks and skills to help you place things exactly where you need them—without the junk!

3. Work on the first impressions. It’s easy to forget about taking care of the front entrance to your home when you always enter through the back. Walk out into your front yard and take a good, hard look at the front of your house—the door, the mat, the landscape, the paint—and you might be surprised by the little things you hadn’t noticed, such as wood rot or chipped paint. Even if you aren’t selling your home, your guests will likely enter through the front, and you don’t want to neglect the first thing they will see when they arrive at your home.




First Time Buyers: How They Can Help You Sell Your Home

blog post homeownership am dream

There has been a lot of speculation lately about the importance of homeownership to upcoming generations. While homeownership rates have undoubtedly declined since the housing boom of the mid-2000s, there is plenty of cause for optimism about the future.

First, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report revealed that first time homebuyers made up 32% of all sales in the month of May. This marks the highest share since September 2012, up from 27% the same time last year. Comparing the housing market to “Furious 7” for its action-packed season, one realtor noted, “A home plays a central role in every family. And now that the recession is over, we’re seeing more events in the lives of families, including weddings, births, new jobs, promotions, graduations, retirements, separations, and the loss of loved ones. These events are naturally leading to thoughts that it’s time to find a new home.”

Second, plenty of studies have shown that homeownership remains central to the American Dream. In one study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s SCE Housing Survey – 2015, 45.6 percent of renters (of 1,205 households) reported that they would strongly prefer owning. More importantly, 60 percent said it was likely they would own their primary residence at some point in the future; almost 2 of 5 respondents reported a probability of 80 percent or higher.

Third, according to Campbell Surveys research director Tom Popik, a change in financing has made loans more affordable to first-time buyers. In late January, the Federal Housing Administration drastically cut its annual mortgage insurance premium rate. This made 3.5 percent down payment loans affordable to buyers with FICO scores and debt-to-income ratios that would hinder them from getting loans elsewhere.

The conclusion is clear: first-time buyers can help you sell your home. According to chief NAR economist Lawrence Yun, “The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign and is the result of multiple factors, including strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low down payment programs. More first-time buyers are expected to enter the market in coming months, but the overall share climbing higher will depend on how fast rates and prices rise.” Take advantage of these buyers in the upcoming months as the market continues to improve.

Home Staging 101: Photo Renderings

By now, you probably know that the most effective aspect of home staging is its ability to allow the buyer to visualize himself or herself in your home. If they can virtually “move in,” they will be more likely to make an offer. But did you know that photo renderings can—in many cases—do the same thing for you and for the buyer?

Photo renderings visually demonstrate how a home will look with specifically requested modifications, and they can be a great tool for you as you sell your home. As a seller, renderings can show you how your home will look once it is staged before you invest in staging. For example, if you are wondering how much value will be added to your home if you redo your kitchen cabinets or fix your landscaping, a photo rendering can get you a visual of the results before you commit to the work and expense. Renderings can also show prospective buyers the full potential of a home tailored to their specific tastes and desires.

Check out this great example of a rendering of a home’s outdoor paint color:







For more information, see our “Renderings” tab.

Home Staging 101: The Art of Choosing Appropriate Artwork

As homeowners, we choose art for our homes for thousands of different reasons. Perhaps we find a particular piece inspirational; perhaps it reminds us of a trip we took, or a place we visited; maybe a child or family member made it, and it consequently evokes sentimental value. But did you know that the art you choose for your personal taste can adversely impact your home sale?

In a 2015 survey of home staging by the National Realtor Association, forty-five percent of realtors on the buying side said a home decorated to a buyer’s tastes positively impacts its value, and 10 percent of said a home decorated against a buyer’s tastes could negatively impact the home’s value.

What does this mean for you, the seller? It means that the art you choose when staging your home must necessarily be different from the art you choose when designing your home. As one stager notes, staging art should complement the overall color and style of the room. For example, if your living room is modern and minimalist, go for art that reflects this. Similarly, if you have a very large bedroom, smaller pieces might get lost—go big and bold here. Choose colors and frames that won’t clash, and don’t overdo it.

Most importantly, use art to your advantage. A beautiful piece of artwork can minimize a room’s flaws and maximize its future living potential. So don’t hesitate to remodel your home’s artwork accordingly. It could mean thousands of dollars in savings—enough to buy more art you personally enjoy for your new home!

An example of using art to your advantage from our “Transformations” tab.

An example of using art to your advantage from our “Transformations” tab.

Foot Traffic and the Real Estate Market

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Good news: the National Association of Realtors recently released a “Foot Traffic Report” that showed that the number of prospective buyers out looking at homes in June was higher than any other time in the last two years. According to NAR, “Foot traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.” Since the market generally declines slightly in June after the spring buying season, this suggests that the housing market will remain strong throughout the summer and into the fall.

Don’t miss out on what could be one of the best years in real estate over the last decade. Contact Stage to Move to help you sell your home at maximum value today!

Homes Are Still Selling At Discounted Rates. Don’t Let Yours Be One of Them.

We know, we know—we just published a blog post about buyer demand exceeding homeowner supply, and how that’s great news for you, the seller. However, that doesn’t mean that everything is peachy for home sellers just yet. Read on to find out why, as the market continues to improve for sellers, it’s even more important to invest in home staging.

Though selling prices are undoubtedly improving, 63 percent of homes still sell at a discount compared to the listing price, according to the May 2015 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey. Generally, the discount ranges from 1 percent to 11 percent.

Moreover, the longer a home stays on the market, the more likely it is to be sold at a discount. According to monthly surveys of realtors from 2012 to May 2015, 84 percent of properties that sold after 12 months were sold at a discount, while less than half of properties that were sold within a month were sold at a discount. Similarly, 24 percent of those homes that sold within a month were sold at a premium, while only six percent of properties sold after 12 months did so.

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According to a recent study by the Real Estate Staging Association, sellers that stage their home before putting it on the market sell 87% faster than those who put their home on the market and then staged. Contact us today for more information.

The Market Speaks: Time To Sell Your Home!

Good news, home sellers: buyer demand is exceeding housing supply! What does this mean for you?

In short, it means more sales. As one realtor puts it, “With 3 million jobs created and close to 1.5 million new households formed in the past 12 months, many more people want a new home of their own, and they want it bad. Their patience will be tested with tight supply—indeed, the No. 1 impediment of active shoppers in April was not being able to find a home that meets their needs.”

The Northeast is in particular is faring well in the recent upturn. For example, existing-home sales in the Northeast during the month of May jumped 11.3 percent to an annual rate of 690,000. The median price in the Northeast was $269,000, a 4.8 percent increase from exactly one year earlier.

In other words, it’s a great time to be a seller. Check out this graphic from Keeping Current Matters, a great source of real estate news:

blog post the market speaks

Happy selling!

It’s the Little Things: How to Stage Your Bathrooms to Sell Your Home


Is your master bathroom a little on the small side compared to the rest of your home? Are you worried that the size of one or more of your bathrooms might turn off potential buyers from purchasing an otherwise beautiful and luxurious home? If you answered yes to either of these questions, don’t worry—we have some tried-and-true solutions for you that will have potential buyers swooning in no time.

First, maximize your bathroom’s potential by making it look larger than it is. Use bright light fixtures to visually increase the size of the room. Lighting is particularly important—nothing is worse than a dark, cramped bathroom! If needed, switch to a high-wattage bulb to provide additional light.

Second, keep it simple. Don’t over-decorate and clutter a crowded area, and keep bathroom furniture small. Consider moving larger bathroom furniture such as storage shelves to corners to utilize all potential space.

Third, consider painting ideas or wall tiles to visually raise the ceiling and widen the walls. Vertical lines and decoration patterns (think stripes and zigzags) can do the trick for adding height, as can horizontal tile patterns for width.

Fourth, clean, clean, clean! Make sure every surface is gleaming. Cleanliness is always attractive, and remember, it’s the little things that can make or break a sale!


Home Staging 101: Decorating vs. Home Staging

When you think of your home, you probably think of the memories it reflects. Your favorite comfy chair, your kids’ graduation photos, the quaint teapot you picked up from your local flea market—all of these items make a house a home. Accordingly, you’ve likely decorated your home according to your personal style. While personalized decorating is essential to falling in love with your home, it’s exactly what needs to go when you try to sell it.

Home staging is, at its core, depersonalization. It’s allowing the buyer to mentally “move in” to your home. This is why home staging tends towards neutral colors and universal appeal. Here at Stage to Move, we position furniture and redecorate homes to maximize a home’s architectural attributes and showcase its best features in an organized, stylish, and polished way.

Another way of understanding this difference is to consider who is the intended audience of the change in appearance. Decorating a home is, obviously, done for the sole purpose of pleasing the home’s owners. Home staging, on the other hand, is intended to please an audience of potential buyers.

Also note that the audience is different. Home staging clients trust their home stagers to decorate their home to sell, not to live in. This gives stagers more creativity and freedom to do what they think is best. Decorating is intended to suit the needs and preferences of the owner for his or her own personal use. Thus, it is inherently more practical and more dependent on the specific tastes of the owner than on the creativity of the designer.

We understand that this can be difficult for many homeowners to grasp. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you are selling a product that happens to be your home. You want to make that product be the most appealing to the buyer, and sometimes that means depersonalization. And don’t forget that when you move into your new home, you can personalize as your heart desires—using all of that extra cash home staging will generate!

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