Posts Tagged ‘home staging franchise’

6 Seller Secrets For This Spring’s Real Estate Market (Forbes)

April 9th, 2014

Each year, it seems the housing market takes on a different tone – and whether it’s going to be a sellers’ market with inflated prices and bidding wars, or a buyers’ market with tons of choices and low prices – there’s no denying that the 2014 spring housing season is upon us. So what does it have in store? Well, if you’re thinking of listing your home, that’s an important question.

Here are 6 market insights that will give you a head start!

Right Now = A Great Time To Sell
The winter home selling season was crippled by the polar vortex, especially in the east and northeast, so there’s pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been waiting for better weather to brave the house hunt. Mortgage rates are still at historic lows, so buyers ARE poised to buy and ready to hit the streets.


Know Your Numbers: 60%
Sixty percent of all homes in 2014 will be bought and sold from May to August. Putting your home on the market at the beginning of the selling season will help your chances of snagging a winning offer before buyers turn their attention back to school starting in September.

Price It Right
Many metros in the country have seen double-digit price increases in the past year. But this last quarter, prices started to slow nationally – and pricing is a critical component to getting your house sold. With this fluctuating market, you need to look at comps of similar homes in your area, and recency matters: make sure you’re looking back no more than 60 days. The sale price of homes that sold recently paints a much better picture of what to expect than the price of homes that sold six months ago (or of homes that have yet to sell).

Bidding Wars Aren’t Back (Phew!)
Bidding wars were common in the summer of 2013, but we’re hearing less about them right now. So don’t bank on fielding two or three offers at once. There is, however, a good chance that you’ll still get the one that will be a win/win for both you and the buyer.

Trying to get a jump on the competition? Right now we’re on the cusp of prime selling and buying season, and if you list soon, you’ll have less competition than you would if you put your house on the market in May or June, when more homes will flood the market. Since it’s still early, your home can have its ‘moment in the spotlight’ more than it will when inventory increases – and the buyers who are braving the cold to house shop are clearly motivated.

Make It Pop Off The Computer (Or Smartphone) Screen!
GettyImages_170411281In this new mobile era, a huge percentage of buyers use smart phones (and Trulia’s top-rated apps) to start their home search online. And that percentage is expected to rise this year as more buyers take advantage of easy access to the wealth of information online. Get in on this trend by making sure your home pops on those computer screens. Great homes with mediocre quality photos will be quickly discarded and ultimately get less showings. Sellers should insist that their agent take the time to beef up their online listing so the quality of the home jumps off the screen and gets buyers’ attention.

Stage Your Entryway to Sell Your Home

April 8th, 2014

Here is a great blog on the importance of staging to capture the buyer right away:

“Ask a potential homebuyer what three rooms matter most in a property for sale, and you’ll likely be told the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom. The importance of making these three rooms feel fresh and inviting cannot be emphasized enough. Today however, I’d like to talk about another part of your home that make or break a sale – the entryway.

Sophie Allsopp, who worked as an estate agent and as a relocation agent in London before becoming a presenter for HGTV, says, “Most buyers decide if they want to buy a house within the first 90 seconds.” Take a minute and a half, or 90 seconds, to think about that. It’s not a lot of time, but it is enough time for buyers to assess how your home makes them feel, and if it seems properly cared for.

Staging your entryway communicates the feelings you want potential buyers to have as they walk through your home.

Quick bit of expert real estate advice: Decorating is about creating a home that fits your lifestyle. Staging is about getting potential buyers to see your home for sale as fitting the lifestyle they want to live.

It’s good to take a look at what other people are doing right. Here are the entryways  of two homes listed by Smith & Associates Real Estate agents:

porch-hyde-park-home-for-sale825 South Delaware Avenue, Tampa

The Wall Street Journal chose this remodeled bungalow in Historic Hyde Park as a “Home Run Home” because there is so much to love. For now, let’s talk about that gorgeous front porch! The sellers highlighted this feature with rockers and a porch swing. By adding three pieces of furniture, they’ve made it easy for potential homebuyers to picture catching up with loved ones on balmy evenings.

entryway-bayshore-blvd-home-for-sale6220 Bayshore Boulevard, Tampa

When buyers step inside your home for sale, you want to capture their attention and give them an idea of what to expect from the rest of the house. In this entryway, Todd White’s Someone’s Pretty Baby juxtaposed with an 18th century lowboy immediately speaks of the playful elegance found throughout the rest of this home.

Both homes for sale are clean and freshly painted. Yours should share these traits. A house that is cared for is a home worth caring about.


Showhome Featured on CBS Philly

April 7th, 2014


Some Realtors Suggest “Staging” Homes To Appear More Appealing To Prospective Buyers

By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An increasing number of area realtors are discussing the importance of “staging” the homes of their clients to make the surroundings more appealing to prospective buyers and there is a new area business that provides this service for sellers who are not sure how to go about it.

(credit: Showhomes)

Co-owner of Showhomes in the Philadelphia market, Ally Piccolomini, says her inspection of the property begins the minute she pulls up.

“We start at the curb and really look at what the home looks like on the exterior because when the potential buyer first drives up you want to get them out of the car.”

If you are selling your home, there are three key things you can do.

“We want to declutter, depersonalize and deodorize. No one wants to come into a home that smells of pet odor or cigarette smoke. You want to depersonalize because the potential owner needs to come in and visualize themselves in the space. And then just make sure everything is clean. We want it to be military clean.”

Piccolomini says that can be a challenge with children in the home, but if you can pick up each day; you can stay ready for that potential buyer who could show up at any moment.

(credit: Showhomes)

(credit: Showhomes)

Ally’s Additional Tips for those selling their homes now:

  • Curb Appeal: Paint your front door and it can really make a good impression. If you can’t paint, power wash the exterior.
  • Any interior room that features a bright color, consider painting to a neutral to emphasize the architecture of the home, which is what you are selling.

For more information, visit:

How to make your home more appealing to buyers (

April 2nd, 2014

If you’re planning on putting your home on the market, there are things you can do to spice up your property to attract potential buyers.

Spring is the best time to sell a home, says Ally Piccolomini, co-owner of the Philadelphia branch of the home staging company Showhomes.

philly-default-header-logo“Everyone wants a new change,” Piccolomini says. “It’s a lot easier with the [seasonal] transition and before the new school year.”

Showhomes, a national company, opened its first office in the region last month in Radnor. Piccolomini, who has worked on homes in Kennett Square, West Chester, and Glen Mills, says the company’s mission is to assist sellers with sprucing up their homes by focusing on three things: decluttering, depersonalizing, and deodorizing.

Piccolomini recommends removing excess furniture, accessories and personal items, such as family photos.

“Take away family photos so that a new buyer can come in and visualize the home with their family,” she says.

Plus, sellers should make an effort to rid the home of bad odors. Cigarette smell and pet odors can turn potential buyers away.

Other simple things that can be done to make a home more marketable include painting the front door, painting the interior a neutral color, and highlighting architectural features. For example, painting the fireplace mantel white for big impact.

“It gives a calm, peaceful feeling to the room,” Piccolomini says. “It gives it some balance.”

The outside is just as important as the inside, so don’t forget to take a look at your home’s curb appeal.

“When people drive up that’s the first thing they see. You just want to get them in the door.”

Home Staging Trends for 2014

April 1st, 2014
Styles are changing and buyers are looking for more color, personality, warmth and life in the next home they hope to inhabit! Interestingly, these staging trends simply mirror the design trends that are prevalent with a few key differences…
by Audra Slinkey
1. Staged Outdoor Spaces - Can you imagine what this space would look like without the staging? Yes, it would be cold and dreary. Karen Hunter of, transforms this yard into an entertainers dream come true! Staging is about creating the vision of what life in the home would look like and including the outdoor living areas is critical! This staging trend is probably one of the most essential and I see so many sellers not have their outdoor areas staged. Remember a photo is worth a thousand words, so have the stager stage the outdoor space, take your gorgeous photos and that is what will sell the buyer online. 95% of buyers are online first trying to find the home of the dreams…what do you think this photo would say to the buyer?
by Audra Slinkey
Don’t forget to stage all of the outdoor space and especially the BBQ/bar area. The husband weighs in on the home decision and I imagine this staged outdoor area would speak louder than the table area.
by Audra Slinkey
2. White Kitchens - Huge trend now for home owners is light, white, bright kitchens! In a recent Houzz survey an overwelming amount of respondents desired a white kitchen in their home. A professional stager can easily offer this solution at a low cost since the right painter, accessories and accents are what is needed. When the kitchen comprises almost 30% of the buyer’s decision (according to NAR) a little more expense in this main area makes a world of difference in price! Elayne Forgie of, works wonders in this space.
by Audra Slinkey
3. Birds On Display - The bird in the pillow is just a taste of what we will see more of in the future. Whereas last year’s trend was the white porcelain deer head on the wall and horses, this year’s trend is sweet, little birds. I also love how Monica of, used a palette of wheat yellow and variations of blues to create this dreamy bedroom. Okay, I know the chevron pattern is a bit overused but in this instance it anchors the palette of yellow and blue nicely.
by Audra Slinkey
4. White Slipper Chairs and Bright Pops of Color on a White Canvas – White slipper chairs have always been popular but now we’ll see more of them in these whimsical settings where pops of bright hues help to modernize the space. This staging and design technique by Jo McLaughlin of, looks great throughout the home as the overall sunny economic outlook reflects the bolder color palettes people desire. I also love the metallic framed art which is also very popular right now whether silver (as in this photo) or gold.
by Audra Slinkey
5. Speaking of gold….the next big trend is warm gold/brass accents – Framed mirrors, art or brass bar carts add warmth and sophistication in any room. Carmen Cuesta of C.C. Loeb Interiors beautifully displays an old wooden table with a touch of vintage and greenery.
by Audra Slinkey
6. Purple Accents in Small Doses - We all know that the Pantone color of the year dictates future color trends (that’s why we’re seeing so much yellow and turquoise now manifested in design (Pantone’s past colors) but this year’s Radiant Orchid I believe will be best seen in small doses in living areas.
by Audra Slinkey
And while you won’t see Radiant Orchid on the walls in the living areas of truly staged homes, you will see it in beautifully redesigned/styled homes. Susan Batka of Aerie Interiors, creates a sensual and inviting space for the bolder client. The zebra print rug really helps to anchor the space and look.
by Audra Slinkey
7. Dual Coffee Tables – placing two coffee tables next to each other to scale a larger space is a much better staging solution than just one.

8. Glass has always been an excellent staging tool because of it’s reflective nature and ability to create more light in what would probably be a dark space. Elayne uses glass tables, glass hurricanes and glass lamps to move the minimal light throughout.
White is Right in Big Doses - While white kitchens is the hottest kitchen trend, white also sells when it’s in an 80% dose as in this living room.

by Audra Slinkey
9. The Navy Comeback - Navy blue is making a come back in a huge way! It snuck in via patterns like chevron, ikat and floral (as in this chair) but now is really making it’s presence known as a new neutral that pairs well with yellow (as shown), turquoise, coral, chartreuse …basically all of the bright ontrend colors that add pop to a space. Navy is one of those versatile colors that can work with bright or earth tone accents (just open your latest Pottery Barn catalog to see it with earth tones).
by Audra Slinkey
10. The Statement Piece Over-sized Chair – There are so many things I love about this staged space but the dramatic, over-sized, wing-back chairs are my favorite. Every space needs that one thing that makes the buyer go “wow”! Kristine Ginsberg of

Wanna get happy? Forget therapy and put your money into staging

March 31st, 2014
Bancroft Place Houston inner loop development in the River Oaks area June 2013 living room dining room
Those who have remodeled or redecorated in the last two years say they are happier (74 percent), more relaxed (51 percent) and tidier (35 percent) at home. 
4321 Travis living room
Big windows and comfortable furniture top the list (74 and 70 percent, respectively) of what makes people happiest about their homes. 
Kitchen at 3801 Normandy in Dallas
The happiest rooms of the home are common areas such as the family/living room (42 percent) and kitchen (15 percent). 
Dallas midcentury redo by Durham Builders
Men prefer comfort overall, whereas women like for a room to be neat. 
We love to flip through shelter magazines and browse design blogs to behold beautiful houses and inspired interiors. Although we may suffer some heartache (only because our abodes often pale in comparison), according to a new study by Houzz, those well-designed homes are the key to their owners’ happiness.

In its Home & Happiness Survey, the home remodeling and design site discovered that people who recently remodeled or redecorated are happier and more relaxed. Of the more than 6,000 homeowners surveyed, a whopping nine out of 10 agree with that statement. Nearly one third (31 percent) also entertain more often post-reno.

People who have renovated or remodeled in the last two years say they are happier, more relaxed, tidier and entertain more often.

How long this happiness lasts has yet to be determined; perhaps it’s only until the bills arrive. Still, a happy home is a renovated one, apparently.

The study also shows that most homeowners are happier at home than away (65 percent). These findings were consistent across men and women, and across home locations in urban, suburban and rural areas. That percentage was as high as 71 percent for people in newly built homes, but it dropped to 51 percent for those who describe their home as “in need of work.”

So what is it about these newly remodeled homes that make people jump for joy? Big windows and comfortable furniture top the list (74 and 70 percent respectively). The happiest rooms of the home are common areas such as the family/living room (42 percent) and kitchen (15 percent).

People who responded that their homes need work, however, say that they are happiest in the bedroom (23 percent). At least there is still magic there. Glass half full, people!

If you can’t afford to renovate or redecorate, there are still ways to live a happier lifestyle. According to the study, homeowners are happiest in rooms that are clean and organized (72 percent) and comfortable (68 percent). However, there are gender differences. For men, comfort is king, while women favor rooms that are neat and clean.

Why a Top 10 Remax Realtor Uses Showhomes

March 21st, 2014

Andrew Duncan from Tampa, Florida is one of the top Real Estate agents in the country.  He recently was ranked 10th out of 90,000 Real Estate Agents for Remax nationwide.  He has used Showhomes Tampa for years and recently saw first hand how we can make a major impact by utilizing our services for his personal home.  Check out this testimonial to learn more about how Showhomes can help you with the transformation of your home: Duo



March 20th, 2014



Home staging is all about creating a lifestyle for potential buyers to fall in love with.  It’s about enhancing your homes best features and creating a home that they can see themselves living in.

Our 10 finishing touches are for that all important viewing to ensure you give your home the best possible chance of success.

1. Flowers

Placing fresh flowers in your key rooms, adds beautiful natural aromas, they also look good too.



You don’t have to spend a fortune, seasonal flowers or even use flowers from your garden.





2. Lemons and Limes

Citrus fruits always make a home feel clean and fresh.  Use lemons and limes in your kitchen either in a glass bowl or vase for a perfect touch.





3. Setting the table

Set your dining room table, and if it’s lovely weather, your garden furniture.  You are not looking for a completed table but a couple of place settings and e.g. cake stand or salad bowl.




Sainsbury's Home


4. Shelves

You want your shelves to consist of a small mixture of items such as photos, books, accessories, and maybe even a plant or two.  These images will give you a few ideas.






5. Coffee Table

A coffee table should be simply and elegantly staged with a few simple accessories.





If you only have a side table, place a couple of hard back books neatly in size order for an elegant look.  If possible use coffee table books.



6. Toiletries

Hide, Hide, Hide except for any of your high end products then stage a couple accordingly.





7. Smells

Try and keep the smells in your home natural and not use any overpowering air fresheners.  It is true that fresh coffee and baking are really attractive to a home-buyer; maybe even leave them a cake or two to sample.



8. Cushions

Cushions can really bring a piece of furniture alive; make sure they are placed square on and not at an angle.  Again you do not have to spend a fortune there are some fantastic cushions available on our high streets.

Matalan (Source)


9. Light

Make sure all your curtains and blinds are open as you want to ensure that as much natural light as possible is streaming into your home.



10. Kerb

Let the start of your home be the signature for what is to come.  Remember you want to give your home the best first impression to potential buyers.  Add a hanging basket or tubs with fresh flowers if your budget allows use two Bay or Olive trees at either side of your front door.





Help for Selling Your Home Faster — and Maybe for More

March 19th, 2014

Prep your home properly before you put it on the market.  

Houzz Contributor
Selling a house is a major undertaking. Where do you begin? First you’ll need to establish a big-picture view of how to prepare it. This ideabook will help you do that, so you can get your home in shape to sell quickly at the best possible price (without breaking your budget).
farmhouse exterior by Blueline Architects p.c.
The project: Get a home ready to sell.Why: Taking the time to prepare your home before putting it on the market can help it fetch a higher price and increase buyer interest, making for a quicker sale. Taking a big-picture look at what to do to get your home ready to sell will help ensure that you make the best decisions and stay under budget.Things to consider: It makes sense to start with the outside of your home, since that is what potential buyers will notice first. Shoot for nice landscaping, a freshly cleaned exterior, a driveway and walking path in good repair, a well-lit porch and an eye-catching front door.
craftsman entry by Locati Architects
Make a list early on of all of the repairs your home needs, from the tiny (change a lightbulb) to the major (new roof) before deciding what to get done. The fact is that the cost of most repairs and upgrades will not be recouped in the sale price, so focus on taking care of the minor repairs and tackle bigger projects only if you feel you must.
beach style entry by Francesca Owings Interior Design
Remove clutter and organize what’s left. Any real estate agent or home stager will tell you that getting rid of clutter and excess personal items is essential to making your home look its best to potential buyers. Less stuff will make your space look larger, which is almost always a positive thing. Overstuffed closets and drawers signal to buyers that there is not enough storage space in the home, while neat and orderly closets help buyers envision living an organized life in your house.
If you need to get a lot of furniture and accessories out of your home while it’s on the market, think about renting a storage unit. The cost could be worth it if it means your house shows better and sells faster (and hopefully for more money).
farmhouse kitchen by Rafe Churchill: Traditional Houses
Who to hire: The pros you’ll hire to help prep your home for sale will depend on how much work your home needs and on how much work you plan to do yourself. Consider these:

  • Real estate agent: This is the first pro you will want to hire. Your Realtor should be able to give you an honest assessment of what your house needs to position it well on the market.
  • Handyperson: Hiring a handyperson for a single day is often enough to take care of a whole list of small repairs.
  • Electrician: Get that broken doorbell and porch light fixed, and update interior lighting.
  • Cleaning service: Getting your house sparkling clean is a low-cost way to make your home look its best. A professional house cleaning team can make your house shine in a single day.
eclectic bedroom by Hampton Design
  • Painter: A fresh coat of paint indoors and out is a surefire way to make your home stand out.
  • Stager: A professional home stager can help declutter your home, arrange furniture (sometimes bringing in loaner furniture) and accessories, and make paint and landscaping recommendations to get your home in top shape for a quick and profitable sale.
  • Landscape designer or gardener: Landscaping consistently makes the list of things that can influence a home sale. If you do not have a green thumb, it could be worth it to invest in pro services from someone who does.
eclectic family room by thea home inc
Cost breakdown: Sage advice is to spend as little as possible on your home to prepare it for sale. Small changes and upgrades will give it a boost in perceived value without your having to dip too far into your savings.

  • Expect to pay $50 to $85 per hour for a handyman and $60 to $100 per hour and up for an electrician.
  • Home staging consultations (you implement most of the changes) run $150 to $500, but it can cost $2,000 and (way) up for full-service staging and furniture rentals.
  • Should you decide to rent a storage unit, expect to pay about $100 per month for a 10- by 15-foot unit.
  • House painting generally costs about $2 to $4 per square foot.
eclectic kitchen by Lindsay von Hagel
Best time to do this project: The boom time of year for home sales is summer, so it’s a good idea to set late spring or early summer as a goal date to have your home ready to sell. You can start preparing your home to sell anytime, but sooner is always better than later.If you can, begin preparations the year before you plan to sell to give landscaping time to fill in, and to give yourself ample time to get work done. For instance, you could plant spring bulbs in the fall, take care of interior house repairs in winter and finish up the rest of your projects in spring to ready your home for its first open house in early summer.
traditional exterior by Sarah Greenman
First steps: 

  1. Interview and choose a real estate agent.
  2. Assess your property — not just the value but also what could be done to the interior or exterior to appeal to more buyers.
  3. Decide what work you are going to do yourself and what you would like a pro to do.
  4. Hire a home stager. Your stager will have important input on what repairs and changes will be most worth your time and money, and which ones to skip.
  5. Hire additional pros as needed, starting with a landscaper. Remember, the landscape needs time to fill in.

Early Spring Thaw in Homes for Sale? Listings Up 10%

March 18th, 2014


Economy Mortgage Rates


Here is a new report from AOL Real Estate.  Call your local Showhomes office today to help you while the market is still hot!


“Brutal winter storms in much of the country didn’t stop home sellers from being optimistic about the housing market, with 10 percent more properties for sale nationwide in February compared to a year ago, according to data released today by The median list price increased 7.6 percent to $199,000 during the same time, according to the National Housing Trend Report.

Along with more homes being put up for sale at higher prices, the median age of the inventory went up 6.5 percent from a year ago to a median of 114 days, or almost four months. Homes being on the market longer can help turn what’s now considered a strong seller’s market into a better situation for buyers.

“We’re still seeing a stronger sellers’ market. We’re slowly, hopefully moving more toward equilibrium,” says Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, Inc., operator of, the official website of the National Association of Realtors.

This good news doesn’t necessarily mean that the normally busy spring buying season is starting earlier, but it could open the door to more spring sales. Sellers are showing that they’re more confident than they were a year ago and are willing to put up homes for sale that they might have previously held back on because they had little or no equity in them, Berkowitz says.

“It could be a sign that more housing is coming on the market,” he says.

Why more listings? Home sellers could be putting their homes on the market well before the spring buying season because they think they’ll beat the competition and get the price they want now. “With the inventory you may get a better price,” Berkowitz says.

“Life events” associated with housing changes — such as births, children entering school, and aging homeowners downsizing — are again causing homeowners to move because they can afford to if they have more equity in their homes as home prices increase. Low interest rates for home loans can also be a reason for more home listings.

The 7.6 percent increase in home price listings is another sign of seller confidence going into the selling season. However, of the 121 markets that posted annual gains in median list price in February, 84 markets rose less than 10 percent, according to the report.

California and Denver are hot: Home inventories in California have bounced back from last spring. Stockton, for example, has twice as many homes listed on as it did a year ago.FresnoBakersfieldRiverside and Oakland all had year-over-year increases of 40 percent or more on the number of homes for sale.

Last year was an anomaly with a low level of inventory, Berkowitz says. Homes have been on the market for a median of almost four months, a 6.5 percent increase from a year ago, but in a healthy market the housing inventory would be six to eight months old and creating more of a buyer’s market, he says.

“It’s a little bit of a healthier market,” he says of the inventory improvement.

Among the 10 largest markets with declining inventories from a year ago, Denver and Chicago are relatively strong markets. Median list prices from a year ago were up 19.6 percent in Denver and 14.3 percent in Chicago. Lower inventory in those areas will likely increase housing prices into the 2014 homebuying season, according to These areas and a handful of other Colorado markets are unlikely to have the same appreciation that California had much of last year, since the deficits aren’t as large.

Weak markets still persist, the report found, with list prices dropping by more than 1 percent in February in 14 markets. These are typically in older, industrialized areas such as Shreveport, La.,Rochester, N.Y., and Omaha, Neb.


The top 10 metropolitan statistical areas with the greatest year-over-year list price increases, followed by percentage increase and median list price for February 2014 are:

  1. Stockton-Lodi, Calif.: 38%, $248,600
  2. Las Vegas: 26%, $177,500
  3. Reno: 26%, $259,900
  4. Detroit: 26%, $119,900
  5. Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.: 24%, $292,800
  6. Orange County, Calif.: 23%, $599,900
  7. Fresno, Calif.: 21%, $229,000
  8. Bakersfield, Calif.: 20%, $179,999
  9. Los Angeles-Long Beach: 20%, $449,999
  10. Denver: 19%, $329,000


Cities with the greatest year-over-year inventory increases, with percentage increase and followed by total listings for February, are:

  1. Stockton-Lodi: 101%, 1,740
  2. Fresno: 53%, 2,933
  3. Bakersfield: 52%, 2,754
  4. Orlando, Fla.: 49%, 13,425
  5. Riverside-San Bernardino: 46%, 21,221
  6. Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.: 45%, 23,654
  7. Oakland, Calif.: 42%, 2,715
  8. Minneapolis-St. Paul: 38%, 15,431
  9. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.: 38%, 4,247″