Monday, June 22, 2015

3 proven tips to stage your home to sell

Staging a home for sale can pay off big for Realtors and homeowners.

On average, redecorating and remodeling a home can bring three times the return on investment at closing, according to Greg Williams, a new owner of Showhomes Houston.

“(Staging) helps homes sell faster and for more money,” Williams said.

Williams and his partner Steven Cook are the new owners of the local franchise of Showhomes, a Nashville, Tennessee-based company that provides home staging and managing services to help sell residential real estate.

Williams, an interior designer, and Cook, a senior vice president with Space City Credit Union, have more than five years of experience with Showhomes, managing and staging luxury homes for high-end Realtors and clients.

Staging is a science more than an art, and has become an integral part of selling homes, Williams said. Unlike interior design, staging is done not to suit the current homeowners’ tastes, but to make the home appealing to a wide range of prospective buyers.

“Our goal is to bring out the positive features of the property and improve its show quality,” Williams said. “We want to show the buyer the potential that the home has for them. Everything we do is geared toward getting more money at closing.”

Here are five tips to stage a home to sell, according to Williams.

1. Update carpets, wall paint and countertops.
Remodeling is costly, but replacing the carpets, putting a fresh coat of paint and upgrading the countertops can really make a difference in selling a home.

Williams recommends carpets that are low-profile, sleek and don’t take over the space; light, neutral paint colors; and light-colored quartzite or Carerra marble countertops that are more durable and dense than dark granite countertops.

“Buyers have certain expectations,” Williams said. “They don’t want fixer-uppers anymore. They want immediate gratification.”

2. Declutter. Less is more.
Williams recommends using a few focal point pieces — larger-scale art and furniture — to bring buyers’ eyes to the space, but not detract from it.

In particular, buyers pay close attention to the kitchen and master suite, which are often cluttered with knick knacks.

Williams recommends decluttering the kitchen and creating a spa-like atmosphere in the master bedroom and bathroom. That means: removing unused appliances from kitchen countertops, getting rid of decorative pillows from the bed and putting clean white towels in the bathroom, he said.

3. Homes need a lived-in look.
Vacant homes often take longer to sell because buyers think the homeowner is desperate to sell.
Getting a so-called “home manager” to live on the property to give it a lived-in look can help reduce the chance of getting low-ball offers, Williams said. Even when staging homes, the changes should feel organic, he added.

“Homes shouldn’t have that staged look,” Williams said. “They should look like someone lives there.”

To order your copy of Remodeling Hell, CLICK HERE
For more information about Remodeling Hell, CLICK HERE
For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE
Follow me on TWITTER
Friend me on FACEBOOK
Follow me on PINTEREST

Monday, June 15, 2015

Renovation Solutions: 5 tips to avoiding costly remodeling mistakes

Editor's note: This is the second in a series about avoiding common remodeling mistakes. The first is "Avoiding common home remodeling mistakes" and is on in the Family section. Also, portions of this column were previously published

Last week, we started a discussion on common remodeling mistakes. This week we will continue by highlighting some additional common remodeling mistakes that impact a project’s budget and how much a home remodel actually costs.

Remodeling represents a substantial investment of time and energy, so no one wants it to cost more than it has to. Most people experience a major remodel only once or twice in their lifetime, so there isn’t much room for trial and error. Here are some of the more common costly mistakes to try to avoid.

1. Doing projects out of sequence
There is nothing more costly for a remodeling project than doing the same project twice due to poor planning and improper project sequencing. Don’t redo the landscaping and add a deck when you are planning an addition next year. Usually people do projects as they can afford them — maybe windows this year and new deck next year. There is nothing wrong with this idea as long as you have a master plan you are following.

It is frustrating when clients come to us wanting a home remodel only to find out they just replaced all their windows. Windows have a huge impact on the architectural design of a house. Working around the new windows is going to limit the design potential of the home. Often clients end up having to pay to remove and re-install or re-order some of the windows, and some end up having to buy all new windows again to match the style of their dream home.

2. Blowing the budget
The client who stays within a budget is the client who plans ahead. The more detailed the project plans are, the more accurate the bids and the more realistic the budget. Making all the selections of finishes and equipment prior to commencing construction will allow you to get the big picture and consider the complete cost of the project. In addition, we recommend reserving 5 to 10 percent of the proposed budget as a contingency for the unexpected challenges of a remodeling project. Architects and engineers do the best they can to anticipate potential issues, but it is only when you cut into the walls, floors and ceiling that you know the whole story.

3. Gutting too soon
We cringe when we see someone decide they want to remodel and start tearing down walls without a plan. First, the planning stage takes months. It will likely be three to six months from initial project inception before permits are secured and construction can begin. If you are overly excited about beginning the project, you may end up living in a construction zone far longer than you need to or be faced with rebuilding walls you could have saved when you took a sledgehammer to your house without a plan.

4. Overbuilding for the neighborhood
Overbuilding occurs when homeowners sink too much money into a house when either the market or the location (or both) cannot support the extent of the remodeling project. In an attempt to recapture their remodeling costs when selling, homeowners then price themselves out of their market.

While fewer people these days are remodeling for a quick resale, you still need to think about how your remodeling choices will affect the future resale potential of your property.

It is best to consult a real estate agent in the planning stage of your remodel to ask three questions:
• What realistic value would the Realtor place on your house "as is"?
• What is the price range of homes that are selling in your area?
• In the Realtor's opinion, what home improvements will most improve your home's resale value?
5. Not staying involved in the process

The homeowner is the most integral part of a remodeling team. It is important to stay involved throughout the project. If you aren’t living in the house during construction, we recommend visiting your project almost every day. Contractors’ questions need to be answered as quickly as possible, and errors can be nipped in the bud if you are paying attention. Sometimes, interesting design opportunities are revealed, especially during the framing phase. If you don’t feel comfortable managing this aspect of the project, keep your architect involved during the construction phase.

Good luck and remember, the more you plan and prepare for your remodel, the more likely you will be to avoid these costly mistakes.

To order your copy of Remodeling Hell, CLICK HERE
For more information about Remodeling Hell, CLICK HERE
For more information about the Summit Murder Mystery series, CLICK HERE
Follow me on TWITTER
Friend me on FACEBOOK
Follow me on PINTEREST