Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top 5 Tips for DIY Staging: #5 Minimize the Mass

Minimize the Mass:

This one is tough, but is equally important as any of the other steps. Raise your hand if you are guilty of having furniture that is too big for a space, or too much furniture in one space. (Mine is raised right now!)

You really want your furniture to showcase your home while it is on the market. So while that might mean your favorite recliner that's blocking the fireplace isn't in prime position for the TV, it could mean that a prospective buyer walking in to a house will be bowled over by that beautiful focal point in the living room. So make sure that the way that your furniture is arranged complements the space and shows off the best features of the house. Don't get stuck in a rut of having all your furniture against the walls either. Properly placed, furniture will help define a room and give the home that feeling that everything flows easily within it.

So this lovely property up in North Glendale is listed at $499,000 and this is a family room that you step down in to from the kitchen. The one thing that jumps out at me, at least from the photograph, is how do I get in there to sit down? Do you have to squeeze between the table against the wall and the arm of the sofa? Take a look at the foosball table and the painting on a pedestal and then look at the picture below….
You can't easily walk around this furniture to the family room, and the foosball and wet bar don't exactly appear to have room enough to comfortably entertain for that purpose either. This is an excellent example of how a minimizing a few of these extra pieces and rearranging existing furniture, could really make this house stand out in a GREAT way.

This doesn't mean you have to go buy new furniture. TRUST ME! I am a huge proponent of working with what you have, and simply rearranging artwork and furniture in new and pleasing ways.

If the problem is too much furniture in a space, consider moving a piece to a different room. Can that dresser double as a sofa table in the living room? Or can that highboy be moved to the foyer or dining room? Move furniture around in unexpected ways and dress it up with decor appropriate to the room and nobody will notice a thing but how fabulous the house looks! Otherwise consider minimizing some of the bulky or extra furniture by temporarily placing it in storage until your house sells.

Be sure to read all 5 of the TOP TIPS FOR STAGING YOUR HOME TO SELL!

Happy Selling
Michelle Spalding

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top 5 Tips for DIY Staging: #4 Clean the Closets

#4 Clean the Closets:

I remember my mother's insistence that I put my clothes in my drawer NEATLY. I was impertinent. Who cares what my drawers look like anyway??? Well, I'm sorry mom. You were right, I was wrong.

Did YOU know that prospective buyers will look inside your closets, and drawers and cupboards, and.....you get the idea. But they will look EVERYWHERE. Some may be trying to be nosy, but most just want to get a feel for how their things will fit inside this house. If you have private documents or valuable belongings, put them under lock and key while your house is being listed. Agents have a responsibility to look after a buyer that is perusing a home, but it is crucial, particularly if you wish to hold your house open to protect your privacy and your most prized possessions.

It's an extra step to tidy up closets and things that many of us dread on a good day, but if you can begin to pack off-season wardrobe items, persevere with pruning the junk drawer and perhaps even that wrangle that wild shrub alongside the house, I promise it will make your home show better. As an added plus you will begin to feel and BE more prepared for your move. Ample storage is a huge selling point, and crammed closets and jam-packed drawers can send both conscious and subconscious messages to prospective buyers that your house lacks space. Bottom line is closets and drawers look far more spacious when we minimize the mass, so take the time to complete this step and it will make a noticeable difference.

One valuable organization tip for those unruly cupboards with lots of loose bottles and extraneous items is to take a trip down to your local hardware store and pick up cloth drawers in the closet section, or even use baskets and plastic containers you already have lying around the house. They are perfect for storage inside the cupboards of laundry rooms and bathrooms in particular, they make packing a cinch and they are a relatively inexpensive way to make the house stand out and get you organized in the process! Because really, doesn't it make you feel so much better than this…….

Messy Closet

Happy Selling!
Michelle Spalding

Up Next…..Tip #5 Minimize the Mass

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Top 5 Tips for DIY Staging: Tip #3 Apply a Coat of Color

#3 Apply a Coat of Color:

Some of us are more brave than others when it comes to color, particularly those that became addicted to TLC's Trading Spaces. Trust me, I had my own affection for crushed violet and a deep eggplant purple in my bedroom. When it came time to sell my house though, my trusted agent was diplomatic but truthful in informing me that not everyone would appreciate my same passion for purple. He's a guy, so I get that the complexity of shade was lost on him, but I understood his advice and was grateful we took it. Because, keep in mind, you ideally want your house for SALE to appeal to 90 out of 100 people to give you the greatest odds of garnering a pleasing proposal. SO…..repainting rooms with courageous chromatism to a more neutral paint color can be a great way to go!

Not everyone has a penchant for pink bedrooms, so even when it has been expertly painted and professionally decorated, it could turn off a buyer in thinking about what they are going to put in that pink bedroom. I ALWAYS advise my buyers that paint is relatively cheap and easy to change, but there are those folks that find things like that impossible to overlook. Plus, you as the seller will often find you can paint in something neutral for far less than a buyer will mentally deduct for having to repaint it themselves.

A little paint touch up to take care of picture nail holes, dirty smudges or dents and dings will really make your house outshine the rest. In the current market, with 60% of the homes for sale being distressed, meaning a short sale or foreclosure, buyers are being educated by real estate agents on purchasing a property "AS-IS." Yet this is precisely why investor flips are so successful. Often times they are purchasing homes that have fantastic "bones" but need a few cosmetic changes and updates to really make it stand out. They have mastered the art of neutralizing a home and making it "move-in" ready for precisely those buyers that cannot look beyond a sellers tenderness for teal.

So take a tip from these technicians of transformation and don't let the gorgeous features and upgrades in your home turn off potential prospects that don't have the same passion for pigmentation that you do!

Michelle Spalding

Up Next…..Tip #4 Trim the Trees and Clear the Closets

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Top 5 Tips for DIY Staging: Tip #2 Pack Away the PERSONAL

#2 Pack Away the Personal:
A buyer really NEEDS to imagine themselves and THEIR things in the house. This means making your home appeal to 90 out of 100 people. It's not that you don't have fabulous taste, it's just that neutral can be better when it comes to selling. Try and keep in mind that your objective is to ultimately move, so the sooner you can begin to emotionally detach, the easier you will find the process of selling. Not everyone will appreciate the same things that you do. So remove yourself from the picture….LITERALLY! 

On a side note, this photo is a personal pet peeve of mine when it comes to pictures in MLS…seeing "photographers" or the sellers themselves in the pic. Yikes!

Try and look at your home from a neutral viewpoint. If this proves impossible, find a trusted friend who will give you an honest opinion of what buyers may notice that you miss. Don't have such a friend? Well then, find a real estate agent or home staging expert that will tell you what will help you sell your home the quickest and for the most $$$$. This is particularly crucial if you've had your house on the market already with little to no interest or offers.

I have nothing against your teddy bear collection, but buyers will notice it and the cork board of personal notes before they notice the beautiful plantation shutters

It relates to curbing the clutter, but like it or not, right or wrong, prospective buyers make judgements about who we are or what was in the house before them when viewing it. Such as, why is that creepy mannequin sitting in your formal living next to the baby grand piano? I wish I was kidding.

Why give them the opportunity to make a negative judgement that could lead to either NO offer or a LOW-BALL offer? Remove some of your personal or religious mementos, knickknacks, or collections and put them in to safe keeping.

This is also true of that beloved antique chandelier hanging over the dining room table, or the hand carved shelf you bought on that fabulous trip you took 10 years ago. If you don't want them to WANT it, you need to REMOVE it. Sure your agent can always list things that don't convey (meaning come included with the house), but if you REALLY insist on taking those $300 ceiling fans with you, it's best just to get them out of sight rather than allow a deal to fall apart over contingencies.

It might go without saying, but keeping your home clean and tidy while it's on the market is a MUST. There is nothing worse than finding dirty laundry on the floor and an unmade bed when you are in a house with a buyer. Particularly one that is listed on a lockbox with a message that says "show anytime."

So remember……...Less is more in staging your home.

LESS of YOU = MORE money from the BUYER!

Up Next….Tip #3 Apply A Coat of Color!