Archive for the ‘News Items’ Category

Home staging tips: How the 5 senses help you sell

March 17th, 2014

Most homebuyers know that sensation—the moment you walk into a house and just know it’s the home for you. What they may not know is the feeling of “home at first sight” sometimes needs a helping hand.

Home staging is all about creating that emotional connection. To be successful at it, you have to appeal to all five of the buyer’s senses.

Smell

Smell can evoke an emotional response that doesn’t even register in our conscious thoughts. Even the slightest hint of mustiness can conjure impressions of mold and mildew, so make sure each room of your home smells as fresh and clean as possible.

Mother and daughter arranging fresh-cut flowers

  • Weather permitting, open your windows and doors to let in the fresh air. Box and ceiling fans can help you circulate air into rooms with less ventilation.
  • Fresh-cut flowers can brighten any room’s atmosphere. Just make sure you choose varieties with subtle scents and low pollen.See examples »
  • Replace or remove old rugs and bathmats and clean or air out curtains.
  • Have your carpets and upholstery cleaned just before you put your house on the market and remember to vacuum daily. With any luck, your floors will be seeing a lot of extra foot traffic!
  • As much as you can, keep trash—especially kitchen waste—in sealed containers outside or in your garage.
  • Don’t let dishes pile up in the sink or dishwasher. Rinse after each use and take special care to keep your garbage disposal clear. Run the water for at least 30 seconds after you turn off the disposal and clean with vinegar and water as needed. Toss in some citrus peels for a fresh aroma.
  • Choose cleaners that won’t leave a harsh chemical smell in your home. This is a chance to do something nice for yourself, as well as your visitors. Cleaning is a much more pleasant task with a dose of aromatherapy. See examples »

Pet owners: If your furry family members must stay in the house while it’s on the market, try to limit them to areas with hard-surface floors and encourage them to stay off the upholstery. Bathe and brush them as much as possible to keep shedding and odors minimal. Buyers with allergies will thank you!Learn how to “stage” your pets »

Smokers: If you’ve been smoking inside your house, now’s the time to stop.

Touch

Use a variety of cloths and textures in your home. Cover your furniture with new fabric if the original upholstery is starting to look worn. Bed linens should be clean, stain-free and touchable. Run your fingers over some of the surfaces in each room. Dusty? Clean it. Splintering wood? Sand it and refinish.

Sight

While your home is on the market, it needs to be set up in a way that serves your selling goals, not necessarily your lifestyle. That may mean rearranging or redistributing your furniture, putting personal belongings into storage and/or painting and other redecoration.

  • Each room should be shown to its best advantage. Small rooms can appear larger with the proper furniture placement, paint color and lighting. The right window treatment can help compensate for small windows. Take steps to address cracks, stains or other visible signs of disrepair. No matter how minor they may be, you don’t want buyers to start thinking the house needs work.Beautifully set dining room table
  • If you’ve been using the dining room as a home office or your guest room as a storage room, consider borrowing or renting furniture that helps re-establish each room’s original purpose. Buyers should be able to see how they’d live in each space, not how you’ve chosen to use it.
  • The less you showcase your personal tastes, the easier it is for buyers to see their own design possibilities in each room. Pack away mementos like family pictures and trophies and de-clutter as much as you can. Consider adding a fresh coat of paint; it will help create that clean slate you’re going for and freshen up your walls at the same time. Need help choosing an interior paint color? Check out this article »

Hearing

Take a moment to listen to your house. No, this isn’t a zen exercise. Do you hear dripping faucets, squeaky steps or anything else that needs a quick fix? You can’t control things like traffic sounds or noisy neighbors, but you can distract from them by playing soft music throughout the whole house.

Taste

Arguably the most difficult sense to appeal to when selling a home, taste can be addressed by providing refreshments. Visitors might not remember which house had a vase of daisies on the counter, but they’ll remember the one that had just-brewed coffee, ice-cold bottled water or a fresh fruit tray.

Just how important is a first impression? In a 2012 Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey, 62% of women and 61% of men knew within the first visit if a home was the right one. What’s more, 28% of women and 25% of men put greater emphasis on their feelings about a home than they did on the home’s price, square footage or layout.

Staging your home may seem like a lot of work, but it will all pay off if it helps sell your home faster. Keep reading our blog for future DIY home staging tips!

TOP 10 HOME STAGING MISTAKES MADE BY REALTORS

March 6th, 2014

Showhomes has staged more homes across the country than any other staging organization.  We have many great long term relationships with Realtors across the country and this has been one of the keys to our success.  There are times when we see mistakes made by Realtors that we interact with that could be avoided.  This is a great blog by Rooms in Bloom Home Staging with some information that you should consider before working with a Realtor and Home Stager.

“It’s always great when realtors and home stagers create strong partnerships. In these types of scenarios, both parties support and rely on each other to handle the important aspects of preparing and selling homes. We have seen these partnerships go wrong however and from our perspective, here are the Top 10 home staging mistakes realtors make:

1. Selecting your Stager based on price only – Selecting a stager simply because they are the cheapest is one of the best ways to sabotage your sale and cost your clients thousands of dollars in lost equity. More important than cost is the experience, talent and resources a staging professional will have – and the results they achieve! When selecting your staging professional, base your final decision on their portfolio, professionalism and expertise.

Free or Low Pricing doesn't ensure QUALITY so buyer beware!

Free or Low Pricing doesn’t ensure QUALITY so buyer beware!

2. Telling your stager what they can – or cannot – address in a home – It’s not always easy to hear what a home stager has to say but their job is about addressing  ALL the factors that buyers will object to. Agents often tell their stagers to go easy on their clients or not to address certain things. This does a disservice to your clients and can potentially cost them in poor buyer interest, price reductions and even the sale of their home. A better plan is allow your staging professional to discuss everything they need to so even if you or your clients decide not to implement the suggestions right away – if the house doesn’t sell then – there is a back up plan.  Finally, trust your staging professional to handle sensitive topics in such a way that you or your clients will understand and appreciate. If your stager can’t do this then maybe it’s time to find a new stager!

 3. Selling your listings vacant – Statistically, vacant properties take 90% longer to sell than staged properties. That can mean sitting on the market up to 7 months longer and going through countless price reductions.  Investing in home staging never costs as much as the first price reduction once a property is on the market. Not recommending your clients invest in staging can cost them on the the final sale price and extra carrying costs, resulting in a long stint on the market.

staging empty rooms

4. Not using professional photography – It’s an online real estate world and buyers are searching for their next dream home on their mobile devices. Buyers are also inherently visual so professional pictures of bright, modern spaces will get their attention and get them in the door for a visit. If your realtor doesn’t offer professional photography, find one who does. It is simply not an option anymore not to use professional photography.

5. Poor planning and time management – This is an important one!Many people fail to plan how much time it will reasonably take to prepare and stage their homes for sale. The sense of urgency prompts them to put the property on the market when it clearly isn’t market ready. Be reasonable and plan for taking anywhere between 1 – 3 weeks to get your home show-worthy. Calling in a home stager and then planning for pictures the next day is unrealistic and unreasonable – for both your clients and for your stager.

6. Staging the home yourself – Well meaning realtors often offer to help clients stage their homes – with mixed and varying results. As most realtors have not been trained on how to effectively showcase focal points or create great flow through key selling areas, these efforts are often ineffective. We recommend working with a professional who can confidently recommend the right colors, finishes and furnishings to add the WOW factor  so that the agent has a property which is a joy to market and sell. Unless a realtor owns their own staging business and inventory (we know of a few successful ones), agents are best to partner with a staging professional who can handle all aspects of a home’s preparation while the realtor does what they do best: sell the home!

7. Disrupting the Staging - Once a home has been staged, it’s important that it be kept in the same condition throughout the time it is up for sale. Most stagers have clauses in their contracts which prevent items from being moved or relocated so it’s important to be aware that the home was staged in a certain way for a reason. Moving furniture around or relocating staging decor can make the staging less effective. Additionally, if someone sits on a bed or a sofa, fix the pillows and straighten the bedding – especially for the pictures.

This room looks great except for the pillows on the sofa! Someone sat on the sofa and didn't fix them for the pictures!

This room looks great except for the pillows on the sofa! Someone sat on the sofa and didn’t fix them for the pictures!

8. Undermining Your Stager - When we get contacted by a new realtor, we always invite him or her along on a staging consultation so that they can see how we work and understand the reasoning behind our recommendations. This builds trust and confidence in both parties so that they can, in turn, support each other. Nothing is worse however, than having the agent who hired you disagree or dismiss your suggestions in front of the clients. Not only does that create confusion but it also makes the stager you chose, look like they don’t know what they are talking about. Staging is our area of expertise and that is what most realtors want – an expert – so their clients will listen and follow the recommendations. If you disagree with something your stager is saying, it’s fine to ask why they suggested it – your clients are probably wondering too – and listen to the explanation. If the stager is recommending things that you know won’t add value or are confusing, be sure to have a talk with him or her after the appointment.

9. Poor Communication with Your Stager - The best partnerships are built on great communication so we encourage realtors to disclose all necessary information to their stagers. This can be anything from relevant personal details about the client (divorce or a death in the family necessitating the move) to providing feedback on the staging services themselves. We aren’t mind readers and letting us know facts like the home owners have already bought a home and are listing the following day will greatly impact how we prioritize our recommendations. Realtorswill get a client complaint from time to time – stagers are addressing some personal topics and regardless of how good their communication skills are, there will be people who take offense. Discuss it with your stager and do your best to back them up. Remember, they are having the conversations with your clients that you don’t want to have. Some of our best realtor partnerships have come from going through these types of situations together.

10. Telling Your Clients they Don’t Need to Stage their Home - While this echos a bit of #6, this mistake deserves a mention. We often hear agents say that they don’t recommend home staging or that they have never had to use one in their ___ years in business. Great! It’s important to realize however that the way homes are sold these days has been changing and evolving for awhile. Presentation and condition are very important to today’s buyers who value quality over price and who have little time or interest in dated properties. The emerging buyer places considerable value on free time – they eat out more, travel and value time with friends and family over working in their home. They will pay MORE money for a home which is turn key and which reflects the lifestyle they aspire to have for themselves. If you aren’t staging your listings then we can tell you with confidence that you are helping to sell the staged homes in your area. Sellers are aware of these changes and are seeking out realtors who offer home staging as part of their listing services. They know they have to do more to impress this new generation of buyers. Offering staging to your clients will give you more marketable listings, better sales & more referrals plus it will give you an edge when you are competing  against other agents!

A great partnership with your stager will strengthen your business and impress your clients. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure that the relationship you have with your stager is a long and profitable one!”

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Why Barbara Corcoran from ABC’s Shark Tank Loves Home Staging

March 5th, 2014

RESA CEO Shell Brodnax recently interviewed Barbara Corcoran, well known Real Estate Investor, Venture Capitalist, and co-star of ABC’s Shark Tank tv show, about Home Staging.  Here is a summary of some of her insights:

SB: What changes have you seen in Home Staging in the last 10 years?KEVIN O'LEARY, BARBARA CORCORAN, ROBERT HERJAVEC

BC: Well, I think the advent of the Internet set the stage for Home Staging.  Here to fore people would ride by a house and take a peek at the front of the house and decide if they want to see it or not.  Now, EVERYTHING is obvious; inside the house.  Everybody shops online.   9 out of 10 people start their search there.  Without the Home Staging people wouldn’t even come to see the house.  It used to be an extra and now it’s an essential.  Why WOULDN’T someone stage a home if they want to get more money for their house? I don’t get it!

SB: Sometimes we don’t get it either

BC: Well they’re getting it more and more because the proof is in the pudding.  Because people are getting more money for their homes!

SB: Can you speak of the advantages that Home Staging, including consultations, can bring both to the Home Owner and the Listing agent?

BC: A good home stager goes well beyond pretty furnishings, and light bulbs, and drapes.  They’re recommending all of the improvements that are needed in the home.  I don’t mean large improvements, like rip out your kitchen, but repairs.  It’s very hard for a Real Estate Broker to walk in and say “I want your listing but I also have to tell you that you have to fix these 15 items.”  It’s much easier for the Home Stager.  It’s the proper place for it.  They advise from the repairs to the things that enhance the space, like the light.  I’m still baffled why people still don’t know this!

To see the complete interview go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nl-qsswMyg&feature=youtu.be

Top 20 Home Staging Mistakes

March 4th, 2014

As Spring Cleaning season begins here is a great blog on the keys to staging your home!

Top_20_Home_Staging_Mistakes

Home staging is quickly becoming a necessity and an integral part of selling real estate. Gone are the days when staging was simply an option; in today’s tough real estate market proper staging is the only way to set your house apart from the competitors down the street or in the same neighbourhood. Overall, staging follows some simple and proven techniques to maximize the appeal of your home to the greatest number of buyers. However, despite the theoretical simplicity of the staging concept, there are quite a few common mistakes that undermine the success of staging and a potentially successful sale of your home.

Here are top 20 common mistakes that sellers make when preparing their house for sale. You should keep these in mind if you’re thinking of or getting ready to sell your house:

  1. Don’t neglect the clutter. What might seem like clean and organized to you, might not translate the same to others. Make sure to tour the house top to bottom by enlisting a friend or the help of a professional stager that will give you an honest opinion about what needs to go and what can stay.
  2. Don’t do any major renovations.This is not the time to splurge on expensive renovations and replacing all appliances. Smart investment dollars can go a long way in creating the desired, updated look. Sometimes simple things like adding an attractive backsplash in the kitchen, replacing the faucets, light fixtures, hardware and door handles, and painting the walls a warm but neutral colour can go a long way. To finish of the look, it is important to bring in attractive accessories that will compliment the rest of the space and add warmth.
  3. Don’t block light & views. Natural light is extremely important and blocking it off with heavy curtains or bulky pieces of furniture is false economy. Especially if you’ve got attractive views, instead of hiding them – make them the focal point, and see the positive result it has on the buyers.
    natural light & views
  4. Don’t paint with dark, intense and custom colours. Now is not the time to bring in your personal taste to the table. Choose a nice, neutral and warm colour, such as any of the following families: beige tones, grey tones, or light blue or pale greens. You’ll be surprised at the transformative effect a few coats of fresh paint will have on your space!
  5. Don’t take it personally. When you make the decision to sell your house, you have to realize that now is the time to emotionally detach from your home and think of it as a product. The same way that products in a store are marketed, your house will have to be treated with the same marketing strategies in order to secure a successful sale. It can be a very emotional and difficult time letting go of your beloved home, but you have got to keep the bigger picture in mind, and think that you will create more amazing memories in your new house.
  6. Don’t stay at the house during showings. It can be quite awkward and uncomfortable for buyers to have you around, as they will not feel comfortable to voice their honest opinion in your presence. Make sure to leave the house for all the showings and trust that the realtor will do a proper job at showing your house.
  7. Don’t leave your pets around during showings. This goes along the same lines of not taking it personally. It is important to keep in mind that not everyone loves animals, and some people might either be allergic or afraid of them and therefore, some will even refuse to walk into the house, knowing there is a certain creature in there. So take them away on a mini adventure during showings, and make sure that all the pet odors have been eliminated as well.
  8. Don’t think the house will sell itself. Real Estate is like a game in any market, and especially in today’s market conditions, you have got to implement some preparation strategies if you want to sell quick and for maximum profit. So de-clutter, de-personalize, clean, make all the small repairs, paint if you have to and overall create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Make sure to take some attractive photos for online listings, as that is the first step most buyers take when starting their search. Read this post and learn How To Take Magazine-Style Photos for Online Listings.
  9. Don’t over-stage and over-accessorize. It is easy to get carried away when decorating, but the thing to remember is that there is a huge difference between decorating and staging to sell. A few, well thought out accessories in key places is all you need. No need to fill the tub with bubbling water and sprinkle bath salts in order to create a spa feeling. Instead, a few candles, fresh towels and minimal bath accessories will do the trick!
  10. Don’t buy all new furniture. If you current furniture pieces are not working because they’re outdated and unattractive, there is other ways of going about it. You can always ask to borrow friends’ or relatives’ furniture for the time being, or rent furniture items while you’re selling. The problem sometimes can also be that there is just too much of big and bulky pieces, and a simple rearranging of key pieces and removing the rest will make all the difference.
  11. Don’t add personality. Now is not the time to bring in your unique style into the home. Staging is all about de-personalizing the space, and creating more of a luxury hotel or a Model Home look that will appeal to most everyone.

    Model-Home
  12. Don’t neglect the outside spaces. With outdoor entertaining becoming more and more popular with each year, the importance of these areas should not be overlooked when selling the property. A neatly groomed front yard and a cozy and comfortable backyard can turn some lookers into buyers instantly. So mow the lawn, plant some blooming flowers, add some outdoor furniture and you’ve created an outdoor oasis that buyers will instantly imagine themselves enjoying for years to come.
  13. Don’t neglect the refrigerator and the pantry. Go through your entire fridge and pantry and get rid of any old and expired items. Thoroughly clean the entire fridge and pantry from the inside out, and then neatly organize only fresh produce and food items back in. Make sure that there aren’t any odors when you open the fridge. A good tip to remember is to leave an opened box of baking soda in the fridge. Baking soda absorbs odors and prevents them from interacting with each other.
  14. Don’t neglect the closets and the storage spaces. According to a recent study, 86% of buyers said storage was one of the most important items on their wish list. When you move, you are going to have to pack anyways, so why not get started a bit earlier and do something that will benefit the sale of your home at the same time? Purge through all the clothes and linen closest and other storage spaces, get rid of anything that hasn’t been used or worn in over a year or two, pack away seasonal items and only keep the essentials. It will make the closets and storage spaces appear a lot more spacious if they are not crammed with clothes and other things. Attract more potential buyers with an organized home by installing closet design organization systems in lieu of cabinets

    neat_organized_closests_pantry
  15. Don’t neglect the laundry room/area. Often the laundry room or area becomes a catch – all place for all the odds and ends that you couldn’t figure out where else to store. It is time to address this issue and de-clutter. Make sure that the only things that are left are laundry related and are neatly organized.
  16. Don’t neglect the garage. People are looking to buy space, so having your garage piled with boxes and other items will make it look smaller. Store all things off premises if possible. If you can’t find a friend or a relative to ask to help out, there are other storage solutions that are affordable these days. The investment will pay off in the long run.
  17. Don’t neglect the basement. Most of the time the basement is a place for all things unfit elsewhere. Excess furniture, clothes, books etc. Pack whatever you’ll be taking with your to your new home away in boxes and arrange the rest in attractive seating or lounging areas. Poorly maintained basements can leave a bad overall impression on an entire house.
  18. Don’t keep your photos and knick-knacks out. Buyers are there to potentially find their dream home, and it would be impossible to try and imagine their own lives, when they’re surrounded by constant reminders that this is someone else’s house. So eliminate anything that will cause buyers to be reminded that it’s not theirs, since you want them to feel at home and envision their own family enjoying the space.
  19. Don’t list your house if you’re not ready. It is truly false economy to rush and list your house if the house is not ready for showings. Instead invest the time and money to prepare your house to be viewed and judged from all angles, and then watch it be snatched up in the first few showings, because people will fall in love with it, when they see how well maintained the house is.

    openhouse
  20. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. It can be an overwhelming and daunting task to know exactly what to do and how. A professional stager will provide you with the knowledge and expertise to transform your home into a Show Home, which will be invaluable to the success of your home’s sale. Depending on the scope of the project the investment in staging can cost you anywhere from $300 to $5000 dollars, and it will certainly be recuperated after your house sells. And remember one last thing, your first price reduction will probably be more than the investment in preparing your house to show at its best!

http://www.nestseller.com/staging-mistakes/

 

 

Staging Should Not be a Last Resort

March 3rd, 2014

By Lorelie Brown, Certified Professional Real Estate Stager (CPRES)

Owner, Showhomes of Charleston

As a professional home stager, I encounter calls daily from agents and homeowners who are considering staging their properties. I applaud their understanding that the property should be properly presented for the best possible viewings by buyers. Too often, however, the calls come only after the home has been on the market for 30 days or longer, and there haven’t been any offers or interest in the home. Sadly, these calls come much too late. The first buyer has already come and gone. A home should be in the best possible condition, including properly staged, before it is listed. This is not to say that I can’t work some miracles in the middle of a listing process (I have and will continue to do so). However, the first 30 days of a listing are critical and sellers need to include staging in their checklist with touch up painting, sprucing up the yard, and getting the home sparkling clean. Staging is no longer an optional part of home selling…it is a crucial element. In fact, HGTV rated not staging a home as the #1 real estate mistake.

0db144430196dbc5_1163-w380-h206-b0-p0--contemporary-rendering

As I stand on my soapbox, I’m sure that there are some who would think that their listing has already been de-cluttered and that their sellers have beautiful furniture. I’ve seen many very nice properties with great furnishings and no clutter that don’t sell. Staging has very little to do with de-cluttering and great furnishings. It’s a professional service that aligns a buyer’s perspective with a visual sense of space and generates an emotional connection with the home. Professional stagers are skilled in ensuring that these components bring about buyers’ experiences that generate offers and help agents and buyers get things SOLD.

So if you are considering listing a property, make a call to a professional, certified stager first. To get the maximum exposure for your property and minimize time on market, staging should not be a last resort! Your first buyer will visit in the first 30 days, and your home should properly presented, including well-staged, from Day 1, if you want the best chance of selling it for top dollar.

Showhomes is America’s Largest home staging provider.

Lorelie Brown, CPRES | Showhomes of Charleston

lbrown@showhomes.com| 843-619-3000 ext. 702

Why We Fall in Love—With Houses

February 12th, 2014

This week the Wall Street Journal wrote an article, in celebration of Valentines Day, about falling in love-with houses!  This is exactly what Showhomes has been doing for almost 3 decades!  We now offer a number of new interior design services to help you fall in love with your home all over again!  Reach out to your local Showhomes franchise at www.showhomes.com to learn more.Falling in Love with Houses

 

“Falling in love can be wonderful—and finding the perfect house can make a house-hunter weak in the knees.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, a survey by Realtor.com shows that falling head-over-heels for a house is fairly common—69% of respondents reported that they have had a home crush. House-hunters with a “home crush,” as defined in the survey, are drawn to the same house again and again. Realtor.com surveyed 1,082 individuals from Jan. 9 to Jan. 20 who reported having had a home crush.

Many people approach house hunting the same way they approach dating, by checking compatibility and fit, but the intangible factors are what tips a house from crush to true love, says Leslie Piper, Realtor.com’s consumer-housing specialist and an agent with Pacific Union in Lafayette, Calif.

“You have to make sure you know what’s really out there. You evaluate what is a turn-on and turn-off, and perhaps you’ll fall in love,” Ms. Piper says.

Also like dating, men and women approach a home crush very differently.

Some key findings from the survey:

Women are more likely to crush on home that is out of their price range: 41% of women said their home crush is out of their price range, compared with 30% of men.

Men tend to move from one home crush to another: 36% of men said they find a new home crush weekly, compared with 29% of women.

Outdoor living spaces are the most attractive home attributes to both men and women: 54% of women and 46% of men said outdoor living spaces like backyards, decks and patios make them fall in real-estate love. In addition, 42% of women preferred open-floor plans, and 40% of men indicated garages.

Nearly 80% of homebuyers first find their home crush on their computer. After that, about one-third then decide to go see the house in person.

About 16 years ago, Brenda Van Fossen of Lynchburg, Va., stumbled on a 2,600-square-foot, contemporary-style house with 10-foot ceilings and an open-floor plan. She called up the agent and was disappointed to hear that the house was already under contract.

But Ms. Van Fossen couldn’t get the house off of her mind. A year later, she found out that the house was back on the market and purchased it for roughly $170,000.

Ms. Van Fossen, who became a real-estate agent in 2006, says she has never felt this way about a house before: “That first night there, it sounds silly, but it was like I was in love.”

But love can have a downside—heartbreak.

“You have to be realistic. When you’re looking at homes outside of your price range, the last thing you want to be is disappointed. It would be like falling in love with someone on the other side of the country,” Ms. Piper says. To move on, she suggests keeping an open mind and perhaps considering several houses at the same time in case the first choice doesn’t work out.

Fortunately, unlike with relationships, picky homebuyers do not need to limit themselves to what’s on the market, she says. Rebuilding, redecorating or building from scratch are an option, too.”

Professional staging of home for sale pays dividends

January 14th, 2014

Here is a great article from Tulsa World on the importance of home staging when selling your listing:

 

“Dear Action Line: Our house is still on the market, and real estate agents keep lowering its price. Friends say “stage it, don’t give it away.” What are they talking about? – N.T., Tulsa

“Appearance is everything,” says Bankrate.com, and “home staging can put its best face forward.” Hiring a professional stager costs up to $150 an hour. Here are the basics.

Personal mementoes: Pack away personal items. De-personalizing your home helps buyers view it as their potential home. They won’t be able to picture themselves in the house if they’re surrounded by photos of your children and grandparents and kids’ paintings.

Cut clutter: Removing clutter gets buyers to focus on home attributes. This is hard as you are emotionally attached and want your stuff to say, “This is me, and these are my things.” Years of living in the home creates clutter you don’t notice. It does affect the way buyers see the home. Clutter collects on shelves and countertops and in drawers, closets, garages, attics and basements.

Remove items from kitchen and bathroom countertops. Get rid of toys around the house. Buyers could be empty nesters who are saddened by your kids’ stuff. Put these things in boxes and stack them in the garage or rent a small storage unit for about $45 a month.

Rearrange and neutralize rooms: Rearrange your rooms to ensure each has a distinct, useful purpose. If your home has been painted recently, consider yourself ahead of the game. If not, take a paintbrush to the rooms that need it most. Sellers who paint home interiors see a large return on their investment. Fresh, neutral paint on the walls, trim and doors is worth its weight in gold — it makes everything appear clean and new. It costs $12 to $50 per gallon and $10 to $50 for other painting supplies.

Scrub and deodorize: No one wants to look at a dirty, smelly home. Make sure your house or condo shines from top to bottom. The goal is to help buyers imagine themselves living in the home. When buyers see unkempt homes or smell something when they first walk in, they are turned off and walk out. They rarely see past it to look at all of the home’s great features.

Pet urine odor in rooms or garages is the worst, and ridding the home of litter boxes is an absolute must.

Have the house professionally cleaned spotless and odorless. Cleaning services charge $100 to $200 to clean a four-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot home. Baking cookies, simmering cinnamon sticks or using air freshener to mask odors before showings can improve the atmosphere.

Curb appeal: Do not overlook the home’s exterior. Curb appeal is just as important as cleaning the inside. It’s the buyer’s first impression of your home. You have only one chance to make a first impression, and there are so few buyers you want your home to stand out. Mow the lawn, clear sidewalks and driveway of clutter and debris, and ensure the house number is clearly visible from the street. Mulch is cheap and covers a multitude of sins. It makes everything look trim and neat.”

What Showhomes Is All About

January 8th, 2014

Mike and Janine Callahan owners of Showhomes Fox Valley in the western suburbs of Chicago just celebrated their 5 year anniversary with Showhomes.  As a former franchise of the year they are regarded as one of the premier staging companies in the U.S..  The Fox Valley team recently created an amazing video which features a number of Realtor and home owner client testimonials.  If you want to get a good idea showhomesfvabout what Showhomes is all about and how our value proposition works then check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YvMB8qSCdc

Thinking of Selling Your House? 5 Reasons to Do it Now

September 10th, 2013

Five Reasons to Sell

Many now realize that it is a great time to buy a home. Today, we want to look at why it might also be an opportune time to sell your house. Here are the Top 5 Reasons we believe now may be a perfect time to put your house on the market.

1.) Demand Is High

The most recent Existing Home Sales Report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed a 17.2 percent increase in sales over July 2012; sales have remained above year-ago levels for 25 months. There are buyers out there right now and they are serious about purchasing.

2.) Supply Is Beginning to Increase

Total housing inventory last month rose 5.6% to 2.28 million homes for sale. This represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with 4.3 months in January. Many expect inventory to continue to rise as 3.2 million homeowners escaped the shackles of negative equity in the last 12 months and an additional 1.9 million are expected to enter positive equity in the next 12 months. Selling now while demand is high and before supply increases may garner you your best price.

3.) New Construction Is Coming Back

Over the last several years, most homeowners selling their home did not have to compete with a new construction project around the block. As the market is recovering, more and more builders are jumping back in. These ‘shiny’ new homes will again become competition as they are an attractive alternative for many purchasers.

4.) Interest Rates Are Rising

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have shot up to 4.57% which represents a jump of more than a full point since the beginning of the year. The Mortgage Bankers AssociationFannie Mae,Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will continue to climb.

Whether you are moving up or moving down, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

5.) It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you are thinking about selling and decide whether it is worth waiting. Is the possibility of a few extra dollars more important than being with family; more important than your health; more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

You already know the answers to the questions we just asked. You have the power to take back control of your situation by putting the house on the market today. The time may have come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. That is what is truly important.

Home staging professionals find new business in changing market

September 4th, 2013

Home staging professionals find new business in changing market

Studies show staged homes sell faster than properties without touch-ups

September 3, 2013 2:23PM
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Home staging professionals discovered a unique way of marketing themselves in the fluctuating real estate environment by reminding home sellers that properties sell much faster after undergoing a professional facelift.

The Real Estate Staging Association has the figures to back this up.

In a recent study conducted by the trade association, 89 vacant occupied and un-staged homes were listed. These homes spent an average of 166 days on the market. However, when these exact same homes were professionally staged and relisted, they only spent an average of 32 days on the market — a 73% decrease in time spent on the market.

“Every home can use staging,” said Shell Brodnax, CEO of RESA. “Even investors are coming in. They are buying those properties, they’re fixing the things that need to be fixed and they’re paying for staging,” she added.

According to Brodnax, staging is an effective tool no matter what the housing market looks like. In a slow market, staging can make a house stand out and sell. However, in a hot housing market, where things are more competitive, those properties are getting attention and often bringing in multiple offers, said Brodnax.

Additional research done by the association showed that when 359 homes underwent staging before hitting the market, the homes received a first offer within 26 days after the staging. Of these homes, 69 receivemultiple offers. When a seller invests in staging before they list their home, the home will sell 87% faster, RESA studies proved.

Brodnax noted that staging has gained momentum over the past 10 years as the market has continued to change. “It’s just really becoming more known — staging is a must,” said Brodnax. “Ten years ago, stagers were really struggling to get people to listen to them… staging now is a no brainer.”

Audra Slinkey, president of Home Staging Resource, said homes that aren’t staged may still sell fairly quickly, but they may not sell for as much money as they could were they professionally staged.

“Homes that are not being staged… it’s like leaving money on the table,” said Slinkey.

According to Slinkey, the average cost of staging is approximately 1-3% of the value of the home. However, the return on investment can be as much as 8-10% back. “It’s a small cost and work on the sell side, but it’s a win,” said Slinkey. “You improve upon a product and the demand and price goes up.”

While the need for staging is ever-present, the recent housing crisis did have an impact on stagers. “The worst time for stagers was in 2008, when the only things on the market were foreclosures and short sales in a lot of areas. Banks weren’t going to pay for staging,” said Slinkey.

But even in slow seasons, the staging industry is able to keep busy. One of the things that stagers are good at is redesign work and holiday design during seasonal slowdowns, said Slinkey. “As a business model, they can still catch themselves,” she added. “They stay fairly busy during those months.”

More and more sellers are seeing the benefits behind staging. For most sellers, it’s all about showing buyers the property’s true potential.