Video Bar (click to watch)


Friday, January 28, 2011

Statistics of Staging

In my last two posts I highlighted homes that were staged and are now for sale or just sold. (Sold 5 days after staging, need I remind you?) Currently, there are 65,000 single family homes listed in the Dallas market right now - many that have been sitting there for MONTHS ON END and homeowners are getting stressed and frustrated. Yet there are still some homeowners that don't see the benefit in staging a home. Well, let me put it in black and white for you.  Take a look at this:

Vacant homes previously on the market: 

This study from RESA includes vacant homes (not staged) previously on the market an average of 277 days unsold.  Do the math.  277 days = 9 months.  OUCH.

Those homeowners finally had their properties staged. 

Those same homes then sold in 63 days on average after staging.  63 days = 2 months.  HMMMM...


Okay, so I hear you saying "but I don't have a vacant home, I still live in mine", so check this out:

Occupied homes previously on the market:

The same study from RESA includes occupied homes (not staged) previously on the market with an average of 233 days unsold. 233 = 7.75 months.  OY!

Those homeowners had their properties staged. 

Those same homes sold in 53 days on average after staging. 53 days = less than 2 months.  WOW.


Seeing a pattern yet? 

If you are going to sell your home, take the time and effort to have it staged. It will definitely save you money in the long run (...and I haven't even calculated the holding costs for you).  

So, would YOU like to potentially avoid throwing that money away and just get through an already stressful process?  Check THIS out:

Vacant and Occupied Homes 
Staged Before They Went On The Market


Yes, you read that correctly:  40.5 days = just over 1 month.  REALLY.

Yes, these numbers are from 2009, the 2010 research is still being compiled & analyzed but even if it changes + / - by a few percentage points, ask yourself:

 Which group do YOU want to be counted in for our 2011 statistics?

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Got an offer...Big fan of the staging."

The title says it all, right?  It was part of a text I got from my client today...less than a week after we staged his property that had been sitting vacant for 6+ months.  

This was an awkward space to the right as soon as you entered the house.  Was it a family room or a dining room?  It was HUGE and could easily accommodate a sofa, chair, TV and then some...but it was an "out of the way" room.  Buyers didn't know WHAT to make of it.

So we created a fresh entertaining area...complete with a "lounge", dining table...


...a bar.  Of course.
(What a great space to entertain in!)

Here is the view if you walk from what we made the dining area...into the kitchen...and thru to what we were going to designate as the family room.  (Crappy picture on my behalf, I know!)

Another angle...looking back towards the kitchen.  If you go down the hall that you see at the top of the pic, you'll make a left and head back out the front door (past the kitchen & dining) or if you go straight, you're heading to the bedrooms.

Here is the cozy living area.

Here is a little bit of psychology that is applied via proper staging...the oversized keys.

Just a little something on the shelves to show how much space there really is.
That duck on the top shelf quacks me up.

And here is that other angle.
Looking into the kitchen from the living area.

Me getting "artsy" with my photography.

The Master Suite was huge...but dull.

We were aiming for a swanky hotel vibe.

What do you think?

This is the hall bath BEFORE.

And this is the hall bath STAGED.

I think it's all in the details...this little guy in the hall bath evokes the impression that kids do fit into this soft contemporary space.  Obviously somebody else thinks so too, because our client is in negotiations in less than a week after the staging and more than 6 months after the original listing....

I think the offer was extended totally because of this little cutie...don't you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

(((((Calling))))) ALL HOMEBUYERS!!!!

So I recently had the privilege of staging a house here in the Dallas area with my creative, beautiful, and very smart by Michelle Lynne ladies. As we were getting things wrapped up and taking pictures, we all agreed that this house would be a great place to entertain. The kitchen, dining area, and living room are all so open it would be awesome for any party or event. Let's not forget that great deck in the back that would be THE perfect place for an outdoor BBQ. But wait.....there's more!!!! The kitchen has tons of new granite counter tops, the bathrooms have all been updated, and all the floors have recently been redone!!! Take a look at some of the pictures:
Main Living Room

Dining Area

Dining area and kitchen

View from the kitchen into dining area and living room - LOOK AT THAT OPEN AREA!!!

Kitchen with great new counter tops!

Master Bedroom


WOW! I can hear the anticipation in your voice asking me, "WHERE can I find this house?" Here is the link to the listing:  Click here to see this great party house!  Hurry before it is snatched up!!!!

To Stage or Not to Stage...I've got the ANSWER!

Are you trying to sell a home but haven’t been lucky enough to sell it? Has your real estate agent mentioned using a professional home stager? Do you even know what a home stager does and why they are beneficial to selling your home? Before we get into these answers and specific questions you should ask a potential home staging professional, let us go over what exactly goes into staging a home and why you should enlist the help.

First, staging a home itself is not a new concept, but hiring someone to do it for you is a fairly new phenomenon that is catching on in the real estate world. We all know how to make good first impressions and now there are professionals that know how to do this effectively for your home. These professionals are trained in the art of making your home look brighter, bigger, organized, warm and loving, and best of all, it makes the home more appealing to those wanting to buy it.   A good stager researches the neighborhood and the demographics of the market most likely to purchase your home, and will stage the property targeting this group.

A recent Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) study showed that a group of vacant homes in their study, marketed through traditional methods, sat on the market an average of 120 days without selling. They took these same homes, staged them, used the same marketing techniques, and noticed that they sold on average in 26 days!! They also included occupied homes that were not professionally staged and saw that these homes took an average of 102 days to sell. Once they sent in the professional stagers, it only took on average 45 days to sell.[i]  What a difference staging makes!!!

Take at these before and after pictures and see the difference:

So now that you have an idea of what a professional home stager does, and how the service MAKES YOU MONEY, how do you go about finding the right one? Well, let us dive into a little more detail into the process and give you a good idea of what is provided and the cost associated with staging a home.

What services does a staging professional offer?
  • Consultations: This consists of coming into the home to give recommendations on assisting you stage your home, as well as giving advice on other issues to consider changing or modifying to help with the selling process.
  • Occupied home staging: A professional stager will come into your home, use your current furniture and decor and will redesign the layout of the most commonly used rooms. The stager may also use furniture or décor they have to help enhance the look of each room. There are instances where the homeowner may purchase décor or furniture if they are willing to keep the items after the sale of the home, either from retail stores or the stager themselves.
  • Vacant home staging: Like the title says, this is for vacant, unoccupied homes. The stager will bring in furniture and décor from their own inventory, a rental company’s inventory, or possibly the homeowners furniture brought back into the home. They will then create a design that should be specific to the property and may or may not include all rooms in the house.
  • Organization:  Professional stagers are skillful at making a home more effective and organized to appeal to potential home buyers. They can use these skills to help a homeowner get organized and rid themselves of items not used or needed anymore as well as creating effectively used space within a home.
Some stagers even go above and beyond and offer other services, such as design, to help make any house a home. Ask each professional about every service they offer to see if they will take the time and effort to offer more than just basic staging services.

What does a staging professional usually charge?

It is important to keep in mind that each home is different; therefore, the cost will vary due to staging needs, market, square footage to be staged, and price point of your home.
Here are a few general pricing practices among professional home stagers:

  • Hourly pricing:  Based on number of staging professionals needed and is usually between $50-$150+ an hour.
  • By the job:  Some professional stagers will give you a price based on the price point of the home and is anywhere from .5% - 1.5% of the list price. This usually includes delivery, design of furniture and décor, set up, and possible furniture rental fees for a certain time period (usually 90 days). If furniture is rented, this price usually includes coming back to the home to move out any furniture and décor.
  • By square footage of rooms to be staged:  This can vary from $.50 - $1.50 per square foot.
So now that we have the basics covered, let’s go over some helpful questions that you should ask any home staging professional.

  • How long have you been a professional home stager?
  • What services do you offer?
  • Are you insured?
  • Do you take credit cards?
  • Do you use your own furniture or do you use a rental company?
  • How long from consultation to set up does it usually take?
  • Do you have a website or a portfolio with sample work that I can look at?
  • Do you require a contract?
  • What are your prices and what is included in the price?
  • Are there delivery fees or any other fees associated to staging a home?
  • What is your availability?
  • Do you have any references?
Staging and selling a home can be an overwhelming thing to tackle.  Asking some, if not all, of these questions will give you a good, overall idea of what a stager can do and if he or she is qualified and trustworthy. And don’t base your decision on price alone…you get what you pay for and by hiring the professional stager who designs the staging plan specifically to the property being discussed (and doesn’t leave your home looking like the other two listings they staged in the same demographic). YOU will get the best offer in the shortest amount of time. Good luck and remember, a house is built with boards and beams but a home is built with love and dreams.

If you aren't fully convinced, look at these before and after pictures:

[i]  Free Press Release:  Home Staging Statistics Released

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Clutter, Clutter Peanut Butter

Do you find yourself spending 5 minutes looking for your keys or sunglasses or, hey, "Where the heck is my wallet?!!" I have been there and I can bet you have too at one point. When this happens it makes me realize that it is high time I organize myself. In the last post we talked about smaller spaces and how to decorate to make it look bigger. Well, how about we talk about organizing those tight quarters!! There are a lot of ideas out there that can help you organize so I will pick through some of my favorite that are easy and inexpensive.

Let's start with one of the most lived in rooms in any house: the kitchen. Quick question, do you have a drawer that houses all your serving spoons, spatulas, random cooking utensils? What about that ever so cluttered mess: the junk drawer?? Look at this idea that I LOVE LOVE LOVE:

You know those over the door shoe organizers? What a great idea to use it in the kitchen over the pantry door! Not only can you keep utensils organized but you can keep the similar ones together in one pocket. Now, if you really wanted to go down that super organized road, you could also label each pocket so that when they are washed and ready to put away, you can make sure they always find their correct home. This is such a great idea for all of you that are looking for great space making ideas in your cramped space. You could also use the pockets to stash those easy to grab snack packs for the kids. 

 Look at this other wonderful idea:

YAY!!!! The floating shelf is back!!! HEY, I can't help that it is soooo helpful in every room. If you have a spare wall in your kitchen or even in your pantry, this is a great place to hang your aprons and store your cookbooks. Find some cute aprons and maybe a couple of matching towels to hang from the hooks, decorate the top of the shelf with your favorite cook books and hold them up with some decorative book ends and VOILA - instant decor with a functional purpose!

So we have looked at a couple of great kitchen organization ideas, let's touch on one other part of the house that ALWAYS needs organizing - kid's play area. All those little toys everywhere on the floor as if some toy tornado hit the house. Every mom can attest to that overwhelming feeling of never being able to give each and every toy a good, organized home. One idea that I love is using baskets or bins to keep similar toys together.  Like this:

You can use plastic bins, baskets, cloth bins, buckets and anything else that you can find. Another helpful idea is to label each bin like they did in this picture so that the kids can easily find the toys they are looking for. If they are too young to read, print out pictures of the toys and tag the bin with the picture. This will also help when it is time to clean up - thus eliminating any reason for the kids to give excuses on why they can't help. "BUT MOOOooooommmmmm!!!"-- Kiss that whiny statement goodbye!!! You can also create your own storage containers from empty coffee cans, jars, and gift boxes. They are great for holding art supplies. Wrap them in colorful paper to match the colors in the room or to give a little artsy flare like they did in this picture:

Well we have seen some great ideas that anyone can do to help organize the house but wait, did you ever find your keys or wallet? CRAP! Hey, you need this:

This helpful organizer can be put on any counter top or ledge and can keep all those easily lost items together. I love how they have printed out name tags for each slot so there REALLY isn't any confusion. AND, this organizer is decorative and cute! This designer chose to use a wicker cutlery tray but you can use any storage container you choose. The key is to make it a habit to put all of your daily needed objects in here as soon as you walk in the door and MAKE SURE this container is near the door you always come in from. And hey, maybe now you won't find your keys in the door on the OUTSIDE of the house...DOH!

So hopefully you can use some of these tips to organize your house. Now, if someone can only create something to help organize the rest of my craziness........ :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Small Spaces.... LOTS of Love

Hello again! In my last post I referenced the need to drop making grand resolutions - how is that going for ya?! Well, in an effort to continue the advice on small changes to your house, I want to share this with you. Recently I was asked, "How can you decorate a smaller living space and make it feel bigger?" What a great question! We don't all have "McMansions", unlimited budgets, or the ability to make large changes to our homes. Some of you may live in an apartment or a town home. Heck, people over in Hong Kong live in apartments that are less than 500 square feet!!!! One architect, Gary Chang, designed his 330sq. ft. (yes, that is correct!) apartment to convert into 24 different living spaces!!! Check it out:

Ok, so we all aren't genius architects but there are simple ways to make a room feel bigger. For example:

Built in bench seating can give any small kitchen more seating area. Throw in a cool fabric with accent pillows and you instantly create a fun place to hang out and chow down. Besides, we all know the kitchen is the "it" spot at any party. Speaking of kitchens.....

Have a tiny pantry? Look what this one designer chose to do. Using fun, quirky baskets to keep similar items together can help de-clutter and open up any room. Also, the more light in a room will make it feel more open. See:

HOLY LIGHTS BATMAN! Look at the accent lighting in this room. Doesn't it LOOK like a big room?! Well it isn't - the photographer of this picture is up against the back wall and the side walls are just off camera. This room utilizes several tips on making a room feel bigger. Notice that back wall design and the pattern on the floor? Continuing a pattern from the floor all the way up to the ceiling draws the eye upward making the room feel taller. Taller room = feeling of more space. Also, the minimal furniture not only makes the space feel modern and contemporary but it also leaves the floor fairly open. PAR-TAY!!!!

Another good idea for any room is floating shelves. Placed in the right spot and with the right configuration can help with storage as well as giving you an extra way to display decorative items.

I could go on and on with the floating shelves but I will keep you from floating shelf overload. This last picture  utilizes a couple of space creating ideas:

 YAY - more floating shelves! But, look at the mirrors on either side of the bed. Adding mirrors makes the room feel more open due to it reflecting light. Also notice how tall they are. ANY piece tall furniture will help elongate the wall and bring the eye up. Placing mirrors on opposite walls will also help reflect the light and open up a space. Did you happen to catch those FABULOUS chandeliers?! Yes- they are functional....and  again....the more light the better!

I could go on and on about creating more space but I will leave you with this one last thought: We are all here for only a short while and we can't take stuff, or things, or knick knacks with us. What we can take with us is memories. Use your small space effectively, and with those you love, to create everlasting memories. Besides, wonderful things come in small packages right?!

Monday, January 3, 2011

If You're Not Moving Forward, You're Going BackSPLASH

Happy New Year!!!!  It's back to reality and instead of making grand resolutions promising large changes & improvements, we're going to kick off the new year with a short series about small changes you can make to your house.  These changes will improve the marketability of the home whenever you decide to list it, but just as importantly, it will make it more enjoyable to live in NOW.  

We all know that kitchens & baths are wildly important and have a great return on investment when it comes to putting the "for sale" sign up so if you've got the time and money, I definitely advocate updating your kitchen if you are going to put your house on the market.  But if you just want a quick pick-me-up, and already have decent countertops (read: any type of stone or stone like material...NOT formica), consider this quick weekend project.  Here are some ideas:

I love this.  It's stainless steel-ish, wouldn't you agree?  And these tiles are deceivingly simple to install AND at a very nice price point.  They aren't really tin but look exactly like it AND are eco-friendly because they are made from recycled materials.  You can get a variety of patterns & colors or can even paint your own (although I recommend sticking with their color samples for a more genuine look).  Check out more options and order HERE.

Another relatively simple option that will give you a lot of bang for your buck is glass mosaic.  There are many options, here are a few:

This is a nice, muted and calming mosaic that I found at the fabulous blog

Glass subway tiles can add some color.
 I found this picture HERE - I'm obviously not the only blogger hot on the backsplash!

A local manufacturer:  DalTile

These are just two of my favorite styles...we didn't even touch on porcelain, ceramic, slate, terrazzo, or concrete....  What is your favorite option?