Posts Tagged ‘vacant home staging’
Marty Barnes from The Entrepreneur Source recently wrote a great blog post about one of our long term franchisees Donna Muelver. Great overview of the fascinating people that are part of the Showhomes family.
“Our Entrepreneur this month wasn’t looking for a franchise and had little interest in owning one. But sometimes the franchise just finds you. Donna Muelver answered the door when opportunity knocked and she is happy she did.
Donna Muelver was a stay at home mom and foster parent and her husband Rick was a firefighter. One day a friend told them about a real estate sign installation company that was for sale. It was a struggling company with potential. Donna could run and market the business and her husband Rick and eldest son Wayne could help out with the installation of the lawn signs. They did this for over 10 years, increasing sales and adding real estate photography to their basket of services. And then, opportunity knocked again.
Not so, says Realtor Joe Finnerty, of Prudential Patt, White Real Estate. Finnerty and his clients encounter homes with dirty dishes in the sink and an overflowing cat litter box.
“A part of you wonders: Did the agent tell them what to do?” said Finnerty, who has an accredited home stager on his team. “I have heard sellers say before, ‘If somebody really wants the house, they will overlook that stuff.’ They won’t.”
Real estate agents and home stagers say the surefire way to sell your home fast is staging, either with the help of a professional or by following the simple, effective rules of the trade.
A house that sells fast is clean, clutter-free and looks well maintained. Staged homes sell for about 8 percent more money since they sell faster, Finnerty said.
Real estate agents and professional stagers alike agree the window to make a good impression is small. An effectively staged home allows potential buyers to envision moving right in.
“Allow the buyer to see the house, not the seller’s belongings,” advises Therese Kelley, president of the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors.
Most buyers will first see your home online, so you want stellar photos that show all aspects of the house, said Nina Evangelista, owner of Staging It. She warns that clutter jumps out in photos.
“If they don’t like the pictures, they won’t call. The better the photos, the more traffic you will attract,” she said. “The more space and the cleaner the home appears, the faster the sale.”
If an online listing piques a potential buyer’s interest, most then hop in the car and drive by the home, Evangelista said. That’s why sellers need to evaluate their entire home with a critical eye starting with the view from the street.
Lawns should be well maintained, and if it’s spring or summer, plant flowers, Kelley said. In fall or winter, make sure leaves are raked and walkways shoveled. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint and put new numbers on the house.
“It makes the prospective buyer think they really took care of this home in other ways,” Evangelista said.
If the target buyer is a family with children, list your home in the spring, said Shoshana Gosselin, an interior designer and stager who owns Love Your Room. Families don’t want to uproot their children mid-school year, so they typically aim for a summer move.
The house should be spotless. Get carpets shampooed and drapes cleaned. Eliminate pet or food odors and send Fido to the neighbors. Ditch the tchotchkes and take down the personal pictures.
“If you go into a living room and the whole wall is covered in family photos, it’s hard to picture yourself there,” Finnerty said
Buyers are nosy
Prospective buyers aren’t like polite house guests, warns Gosselin. They will be looking in closets and storage spaces, so start packing and purging.
“You want them to open a closet and see how big it is, not all your shoes,” she said.
Replace dated light fixtures or draperies. Make sure light bulbs are all working and turn all the lights on before a showing, Kelley said.
“Little updates, details are what sell a home,” Gosselin said.
Has your wife been nagging you about that door that sticks for years? Chances are, Kelley said, buyers will notice that too. Save yourself the trouble and fix it before your home goes on the market.
Paint and carpet are two of the cheapest and biggest updates a seller can make. Slapping a fresh coat of paint on the wall has a 109 percent return on investment, Evangelista said. Stick to neutral colors and bring in pops of color with accessories, said Gosselin, who recommends Benjamin Moore Marble Canyon as a buyer-friendly paint color.
Solutions big and small
Fixes don’t have to be expensive.
Put that dated fire screen in storage and let the fireplace shine with a fresh stack of firewood, Evangelista said. Or swap out the kitchen hardware.
“You want to appeal to a vast amount of people,” Evangelista said. “Not to one small unique set of people.”
The return on investment for major updates like a new furnace or roof is tricky because buyers expect homes to have these things.
“If you pay $6,000 for a new roof, we can’t raise the price by $6,000,” Finnerty said. “It definitely makes it more appealing. If the roof is totally falling down, you will get every penny’s worth back.”
If you fear the age of your furnace could be an issue for potential buyers, Kelley suggests having it serviced and finding out the replacement costs since it will impact your bottom line. Savvy buyers check a unit’s service card, she said.
Real estate agents agree vacant homes are the hardest to sell. If the owners have moved out, Kelley and Finnerty strongly advise renting furniture and staging a home.
Stagers offer tiered services ranging from one-time consultations to total home overhauls with new furniture and accessories. One-time consultations typically result in a report with suggested updates.
If you can’t afford to hire a home stager, ask your real estate agent for help.
Know your target buyer and get your home ready for that person.
Eliminate niche and personal items from your home.
Rooms look smaller without furniture, so placing just a bed in a room helps buyers with scale.
Small, inexpensive updates can make a huge difference.
TAMPA, Fl. - The Spring and Summer months are traditionally home selling season, and prospective sellers are hoping to cash in on signs that the market is improving. But how do you separate your home for sale from all the others?
“It’s the art of decorating a home so that it sells at the highest price in the shortest amount of time,” said Ann Alderson of Staging South Tampa.You may want to consider staging your home.
It’s especially helpful with rooms that don’t quite fit the mold. You might turn an unusually small room into a home office, for example. It takes more than adding a desk to an office space. Stagers say adding particular objects can bring an emotional connection. A book, some greenery, or a touch of color can help a buyer fall in love.
“People associate psychologically, cooking in the kitchen, and family, so its warm and inviting,” said Saavedra, as she entered the kitchen of a home that had been recently staged. There are nicely placed kitchen tools, some greenery, even napkins and placemats in the dining area.
Sellers may put up some money to have the home staged, but it can pay off. Home seller David Riley is happy with his choice to stage the home he had for sale. He listed the home at many thousands more than he had planned, once it was staged. Within 48 hours, he said he had an offer that was several thousand dollars higher than his list price.
“It took it from an incredible house, to a very cozy warm home,” said Riley. “It was a total transformation.”
Experts say when staging your home, look for balance. Be careful not to cram too much in, or to put too little in for the right feel. Make sure home repairs are done, so that the home is in ‘move in’ condition. And don’t forget the importance of curb appeal. Add mulch, greenery, and even some color to make the home pleasing to the eye. The right touches can help you move your home more quickly, and often for a better price.
Fred Pierson’s path to entrepreneurship was anything but linear. Before becoming a Showhomes Home Staging franchise owner in Raleigh, N.C., Fred Pierson had two different corporate careers.
In college, Pierson earned a degree in aviation management and went on to manage corporate jet facilities across the United States. Due to the nature of his work, he and his wife, Lorraine, moved frequently. After years of packing and unpacking, Fred, Lorraine and their young children settled in North Carolina and Fred left the aviation industry and his first corporate career.
Fred then joined Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He felt that “hospitality was similar in nature” to his aviation work. For the next decade, Pierson worked his way up the corporate ladder, eventually earning the title of General Manager. As the economy contracted during the Great Recession, Fred returned to work for a competitor at half the compensation of what he had been making.
“After doing corporate work for 25 years, my wife and I felt it was time to start working for ourselves,” says Pierson. “In life, opportunities present themselves occasionally, but what really made Showhomes the right opportunity for us was the timing,” he explains.
As luck would have it, a good friend of Fred’s was starting her own mortgage brokerage firm around the same time as his departure from the hospitality industry. Due to her encouragement, Fred became a national and state licensed mortgage loan officer — passing both tests on his first try.
“Old dogs can learn new tricks!” he says.
Working as a mortgage officer was very interesting to Pierson, though he soon realized it could put a strain on his relationships with friends.
“I refused to sacrifice my relationships with people to originate loans,” Pierson explains, “As such, my wife and I looked at opportunities that would provide me with a pipeline of loans without pushing me to use my personal contacts.”
A good friend led the Pierson’s to Showhomes, a business model they felt they would use as an “ancillary feeder” to his mortgage business that catered to those relocating to the Raleigh area.
“We quickly saw that the opportunities with Showhomes were far greater than within the mortgage business,” says Fred. “In a short period of time we saw impressive results that allowed us to walk away from the mortgage side of things and focus on Showhomes.”
The Pierson’s ultimately chose Showhomes over other franchise opportunities because it played to the couples’ talents. Lorraine enjoyed interior design and, as a byproduct of Fred’s aviation management days, was adept at staging houses and making them feel like homes. Fred, a self-described “turnaround specialist for companies,” easily brought in new business.
“Technically no one does what we do on a national level with the level of support and national branding that Showhomes offers,” Pierson says.
On what to expect when becoming a Showhomes franchisee Fred says, “You’re buying the right to a territory and what you do with that territory and how you manage it effectively is up to you.
As franchisees, Fred and Lorraine have learned a considerable amount about real estate and the effect staging has on the buying and selling process. The number one challenge to Showhomes as a business model, according to Fred, is demonstrating the value of a staged home to both the seller and to the realtor. “Showhomes is here to stage, maintain, manage and protect your home. My job is to make someone fall in love with your home; it’s the Realtor’s job to find a buyer”.
With experiencing close to a 70-percent success rate of having homes sell within 90 days of being staged, the Pierson’s feel that the human elements—leaving slippers by the bed, The Wall Street Journal near the coffee maker– clearly make a difference and bring a human touch.
“To be successful it helps to be well-rounded and most people, because of their corporate careers, are specialists in a particular area, like sales, operations, or administrative. For this reason, it works best with a great team, similar to myself and my wife Lorraine.”
“I take great satisfaction in explaining Showhomes to business principals,” says Fred, “Smart people right away say, ‘That’s an amazing business model!’”
AOL Jobs in a recent article listed the “Best Jobs for 2013 and Beyond”. While there were professions you would expect in industries such as “Health Care” and “Engineering” it also included “Home Staging”. According to AOL :
Home Stager. The real estate market may be beginning to rebound and that means more homes on the market. In recent years, home stagers have become a de rigueur part of preparing a home for sale: Move out the moose head; move in the inoffensive but attractive decor.”
Career experts are predicting fast growth for the home staging industry so consider the leader to help you achieve your dreams. For franchising information please go to www.showhomesfranchise.com or give us a call at 1-888-481-6742.
There are many houses on the market that are currently sitting vacant all across the country. Many are foreclosures, short sales and bank owned properties, but thousands upon thousands that are owned by traditional sellers who are current on their mortgage and are trying to sell the property for one reason or another.
Many property owners are choosing to downsize in this tough resell market. Some owners are choosing to upsize, and take advantage of the favorable interest rates and lower home prices to move up into a bigger home. And there are the people who move and relocate for job, family, health, or retirement purposes. For many reasons, there are countless numbers of property owners in today’s market who own 2 houses, with one sitting vacant and listed for sale.
Vacant homes attract problems. From break ins, to vandalism, to an unkempt yard and bad landscaping, missing AC units, utility costs, broken pipes that go unfounded for a long time, and others, there are many reasons not to want a vacant house sitting for too long.
Not to mention there are certain cities across the country where vacancies are more prevalent:
But there are real options to consider for your sellers with vacant houses. Here are some viable solutions to the vacant house not selling headache faced by many:
Rent the house
You’ll need a standard lease agreement applicable in the State your property is in. Or your seller can hire an experienced real estate agent or leasing agent to help lease up the house as well. It’s important the owner has someone who is experienced in leasing (and licensed in most cases) complete the lease agreement and any other applicable documents. Owners tend to want to save money and do things themselves, only to do them the wrong way and subsequently lose money and time. Plus, if an owner doesn’t follow the landlord-tenant laws in their respective State, the owner could become the defendant in a lawsuit even when the tenant doesn’t do what he or she is supposed to.
Do a lease with option to buy
Similar to the lease agreement, a lease with option to buy includes the lease plus a separate purchase addendum. The purchase addendum gives the tenants the option to buy the house they are living in for an agreed upon price and within a certain time frame, usually running concurrent with the lease agreement. If the tenants don’t exercise their option to purchase the house prior to the end of the agreement, they can either move out, or renew the agreement with the owner.
Many people call a lease with option to buy a lease purchase, rent to own, and other misused terms. I specifically use “lease with option to buy” because I want to make it clear the tenants are still tenants, not “property owners”. If the tenant doesn’t pay, the owner would evict just as he or she would on a regular lease agreement.
Contact a staging company such as Showhomes
I’ve professionally used a company called Showhomes on many of my vacant listed properties in the Greater Kansas City area. I know Showhomes (and there are probably some other similar companies) is in many major metropolitan areas across the country. I’ve found the benefits of using a company such as Showhomes are many.
One, there is no upfront fee. Two, the vacant house gets both staged and occupied for the duration of the contract period (usually until the house sells). Three, someone else is paying for utilities and yard care. This is HUGE if your vacant house is in a winter climate! Fourth, there are no long term contracts with tenants; rather Showhomes uses home managers who are independent contractors with very short term agreements. I know from experience a well staged and well cared for house sells quicker and for more money than a vacant one! I have personally had good experiences using Showhomes.
To find out more information about Showhomes go to www.showhomes.com
(And no, I am not affiliated with Showhomes nor a paid spokesperson, just offering personal and professional experiences I’ve had)
Good luck with getting those vacant listings sold!
JJ Pawlowski, Broker / Agent
The Real Estate Investor’s Agentsm
FOX VALLEY FRANCHISE EARNS TOP HONORS
Ambassador Award, President’s Club, Circle of Excellence, Most Homes Sold
Vacant homes are hard to sell! They lack buyer appeal, languish on the market and receive low offers. Showhomes, a national home staging franchise, and their franchise partners have provided successful selling solutions for real estate professionals and homeowners in all economic market cycles for the past 27 years.
At the recent Showhomes Annual Conference, held at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville TN, Showhomes Fox Valley was honored with the Ambassador Award. Owners, Mike & Janine Callahan of the Fox Valley area were presented with this award for unselfishly mentoring and helping others reach their goals.
“It is wonderful for our team to be recognized for our results. Our daily rule is; treat others as we would like to be treated. It works! Being recognized for doing this really affirms the value of that creed”, Mike said.
The Callahan’s have owned Showhomes Fox Valley since 2008.
Along with the Ambassador Award, the Fox Valley team also earned these top honors:
Most Homes Sold
Circle of Excellence, for excellence in Customer Satisfaction.
President’s Club, for highest level of market penetration.
Bert Lyles, Showhomes CEO said, “We are proud of our Showhomes family and especially the Fox Valley team. They operate a quality business based on integrity with outstanding home staging design and customer focus. These awards are well deserved.”
# # #
Since 1986, Showhomes has helped realtors and homeowners sell more than 26,000 homes worth more than $8 billion across the United States. Showhomes provides a turnkey package in home staging that includes whole-house furnishings, professional decorating, a live-in home manager and marketing support services.
If you would like more information about Showhomes Fox Valley, or to schedule an interview with Mike & Janine Callahan, please call Mike at 630/363-1301 or email email@example.com.
Home interiors are going green this year. Pantone has named “Emerald” its color of the year for 2013.
Pantone describes the jewel-like hue as a “lively, radiant, lush green” that can offer sophistication and luxury.
“Green is the most abundant hue in nature – the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.”
Emerald paint, accents, and accessories will likely be decorating more home interiors this year. Pantone says that Emerald can be used to add luxury to an entryway, powder room, dining room, or study, or it can help transform a living room by using it as an accent wall. Emerald-colored bedding, pillows, and bath towels will also likely be making its way into more decors this year, Pantone says.
Emerald replaces last year’s color of the year — the reddish orange color known as “tangerine tango.”
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Question: Is My Vacant Home Covered by Insurance?
Answer: I always warn clients that they shouldn’t wait for a vacant home to be vandalized before checking their insurance policy. A little known fact is that most homeowner insurance policies do not extend coverage on a vacant home for more than 30 days.
This means that if you’ve moved out more than 30 days ago, your home may no longer be insured, even though you may have paid the premium for your insurance policy. The verbiage is often in the fine print.
Short Sale or Foreclosure Vacant Homes and Insurance
In short sale situations, often the bank will send out a representative from a preservation company to determine whether the home is vacant. Even if you just moved down the street, these people will change the locks and notify the bank that the home is vacant. The bank may or may not take out hard-to-find and expensive insurance to insure that vacant home. They send the bill to you.
Types of Vandalism for Vacant Homes
It’s not unusual for a thug to cut off a lockbox in the middle of the night and take it home to drill out the key. Then, the thieves can return in the light of day and walk right in the front door. They back up a truck and before you can say “police,” they have loaded the truck with all of the appliances.
A thief does not need to break into a home to cause damage. A thief can swipe, for example, the existing electrical panel and A/C compressor unit fairly easily because these items are generally located on the exterior of the home, in a side yard.
Sometimes kids, just for twisted fun, will throw rocks through plate glass windows to watch the glass break.
In some situations, squatters break in and set up house. These aren’t the kind of people who bring in a table and chairs and use napkins. They typically sleep on the floor and throw empty beer bottles at the walls.
Getting Coverage to Insure a Vacant Home
Since you’re selling as a short sale, I take it you feel that a short sale is better for you than a foreclosure. Perhaps you want to protect your credit rating or make sure that no foreclosure is filed against you in the public records. You sound like a responsible person. To that extent, you may want to start with your insurance agent to find out how much a vacant home insurance policy would cost.
Those fees can vary from 2 to 5 times the amount of your regular insurance policy. Vacant home insurance can often be purchased monthly. You might wonder why a policy that covers an empty house would cost more than a policy that insures its contents but that’s because vandalism is very costly to fix.
Moreover, if your home is vandalized and the bank won’t pay for the repairs — and many banks will not — the buyer might not have enough money to buy your home — especially with an FHA loan — and also fix the damage.
Ways to Discourage Vandalism of a Vacant Home
People who do bad things like break into another person’s home tend to choose the path of least resistance. They want to break into the home that is the easiest to break into and the home that seems to invite them to rob it. Here are some ways to discourage vandalism:
- Put a sign rider on top of the For Sale sign that says “By Appointment Only” or “Do Not Disturb Occupant.”
- Have a friend of relative check on the home daily and pick up mail on the steps.
- Ask a neighbor to park a car in the driveway.
- Install security lights that are activated by motion.
- Set up a lamp on a timer to go on and off at specified times during the day.
- Use a security alarm.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.
Franchise of the Year, Circle of Excellence, President’s Club and More
Vacant homes are hard to sell! They lack buyer appeal, languish on the market and receive low offers. Showhomes, a national home staging franchise, and their franchise partners have provided successful selling solutions for real estate professionals and homeowners in all economic market cycles for the past 26 years.
At the recent Showhomes Annual Conference, held at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville TN, Showhomes, America’s Largest Home Staging Franchise celebrated the achievements of their top franchisees.
- Showhomes Jacksonville – Franchise of the Year, President’s Club, Circle of Excellence & Most Homes Sold.
- Showhomes Raleigh - Rising Star Franchise of the Year, Circle of Excellence & Most Move Ins.
- Showhomes Memphis – President’s Club, Circle of Excellence, Shooting Star & Most Homes Sold
- Showhomes Fox Valley – Ambassador Award, President’s Club, Circle of Excellence & Most Homes Sold.
- Showhomes South Bay – Best in Staging Design, Most Homes Sold, & Fastest Fill Time.
- Showhomes Houston – Rising Star Best in Staging Design & President’s Club.
- Showhomes Coral Gables – President’s Club & Circle of Excellence.
- Showhomes Tulsa – President’s Club, Most Move Ins & Fastest Fill Times
- Showhomes Kansas City – President’s Club, Most Move Ins & Most Homes Sold
Other award recipients were: Denver, East Valley, Little Rock, Mobile, N. Pinellas/Pasco Co., Naperville, Nashville, North Shore-Barrington, San Diego & SE Wisconsin.
Bert Lyles, Showhomes CEO said, “We are very proud of our Showhomes family and all award winners. Each business is built on integrity with a customer centric focus and outstanding staging design & services. Each award is well deserved.
# # #
Since 1986, Showhomes has helped realtors and homeowners sell more than 26,000 homes worth more than $8 billion across the United States. Showhomes provides a turnkey package in home staging that includes whole-house furnishings, professional decorating, staging, a live-in home manager and marketing support services.