Monday, June 20, 2016

Tips to Stage Your Home to Sell

Put your best foot forward.

Make a good first impression.

First impressions are the most lasting.

What I’m trying to say is, when it comes to houses, prospective buyers are going to judge your house based on their first, two-second impression of it, whether or not they should.

When others make strong judgments based on first impressions, it’s usually seen as a negative. Instead, look at your home’s first impression as an opportunity for you to get a leg up on your competition by wowing potential homebuyers.

Home staging is setting your home up as a neutral space where buyers can easily imagine the drama of their life unfolding. Home staging doesn’t have to mean dropping 10 or 20 grand on remodeling. A lot of it is doing all the little things right – making your home appear as attractive as possible and then getting out of your own way so buyers can see how they, not you, would live in the home.

I asked Joe Delia with Keller Williams Royal Oak Market Place for tips on how to best stage your home for a quick sell.

The Basics

Listing Photos

Put some effort into the listing photos – maybe even hire a professional photographer. Buyers sort through many, many listings online. If your photos fail to grab their attention, they may not even give your home a chance.

Clean Up

Clean and tidy goes a long way. “When it’s dirty, people focus on that,” explains Delia. Clean isn’t enough – make your home spotless.


The close cousin to clean and tidy is decluttering your home. People have a hard time envisioning their belongings in a home when it’s packed with someone else’s stuff.
The seller should remove as much clutter as possible. Less furniture makes the space look bigger. The furniture you do leave out should be up for entertaining. Make traffic flow obvious to buyers.

Depersonalize the Space

Removing personal items like family photos is another important thing to do. It’s hard for buyers to envision themselves in an empty home and equally as hard to envision themselves in a home full of someone else’s life and mementoes.

Make it Bright and Open

Lots of natural light and storage space are helpful too. Bright, open, refreshing and relaxing are some of the feelings potential buyers want to sense when walking through your home.

Decorating and Updating

Be Consistent

A consistent d├ęcor theme is more important than having all the newest updates/materials. A buyer should be able to come into your home and immediately sense a flow, an order to the home and be able to picture themselves in that flow, Delia states.
If you have some brushed nickel and some brass hardware in your home, for example, replace one or the other so that everything matches. Avoid a combination of styles, like ultra-modern and antique, as much as possible too. Decide on a look for your home and commit to it.
Putting in new cupboard or drawer fronts and hardware and repainting your home in neutral colors are some relatively cheap fixes that will significantly revitalize your home. Setting out fresh fruit or flowers greatly increases the appeal and hominess of your home, without making it feel personal to you.

Remodeling vs. Updating

You can go for more extensive remodeling like a whole kitchen or bathroom overhaul if you want, but just adding some nice furniture, art pieces or stainless steel appliances (that stay with the home) will be more cost effective in increasing your home’s appeal.
Make bedrooms as serene as possible; don’t make bedrooms gender specific. Update bathrooms including tub, shower and vanities, clean grimy walls, change fixtures, clean shower doors. Paint out dated tiles on bathroom walls.

Outdoor Tactics

Remember that first impression? It started with the images the buyer saw online and is largely cemented in their mind when they drive up to your home, so make it look great!
  • Power wash your driveway, deck, outside of home, etc.
  • Cut the grass regularly
  • Keep bushes and shrubs well-trimmed
  • Clear out weeds
  • Add flowers or other colorful accents to improve curb appeal
  • Get rid of any dead plants
The bottom line is that it’s absolutely worth spending some time, effort and a little money to increase the appeal of your home. At the same time, don’t think you need hardwood floors, granite countertops and vaulted ceilings to get people to look at your home.
To order your copy of Remodeling Hell, CLICK HERE
For more information about Remodeling Hell, CLICK HERE
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

7 Remodeling Tips

Julie Laughton Designer and General Contractor 
This is the busiest time of year for remodels. Most homeowners like to start their remodel now so it is completed by the new school year and the holiday season. Summer is a convenient time for a family to travel while their home is being worked on.
The home remodel experience should be fun and rewarding. You are essentially getting a new home to meet your family’s lifestyle and needs without moving. However, you may have heard stories from friends and family whose remodel turned into a nightmare. For example, a job that was supposed to take six months to complete went on for over a year. Not only is your happiness about the remodel squashed, but you also have a bitter taste in your mouth and won’t feel the same about it in the end. The delays and the stress take the joy out of it. If your remodel needs to go on hold in the middle of the job, then the original budget goes out the window.
The keys to not having this happen are to know what to look for, who to hire, and see the warning signs. Here are 7 tips to help avoid a nightmare remodel.
1) Moving Out or Staying in Your Home: Are you prepared to either move out or stay and camp out while your remodel is being done? To move out means additional costs if you don’t have a second home to go to. To stay in your home means living with a temporary kitchen and in a more confined space with inevitable added stress.
2) Hiring the Essential Players: The architect, designer, space planner, kitchen and bath designer, and contractor are the four most essential players to the project. You should also be aware that hiring a professional educated interior designer who does space planning is much different than hiring a decorator who does furniture and drapes. You need the appropriate person to draw the plans because it is not only about the home’s design architecturally, but also how the space is designed and functions along with the overall style. Letting your contractor play designer doesn’t work.
3) Creating Good Plans: You need to have plans that work. This allows you to achieve a budget and stick to it. Sometimes a homeowner will think they hired the right person to draw them. However, the architect or designer who drew the plans has to understand city rules, residential design, and construction in general. They also need to understand space planning and kitchen design or the plans just won’t work. Even if the plans are complete but not everything is reviewed in advance, there will be surprises and added costs.
4) Making Decisions and Selections: For budget and timing reasons, all design decisions and material selections should be made in advance of starting the project. A well-known fact in all remodels is the “unknown” behind the walls. This cannot be avoided. The other unknown to the professionals is how the client will react and how many changes they will make “after” the jobs starts. My best advice to a client is if they have a budget, they want to stick to. Do not under any circumstances make changes or add to the scope of work after the work starts. It’s a nightmare of additional costs on top of delays.
5) Determining Your Style: It’s best to work with a professional designer to help guide you through this process. The professional design process is executed in a way that is supposed to allow you to see all the options and, at same time, fine-tune the options while establishing the style. In the end, it has to not only have style, but it also must function so it will all work for the homeowner. Getting there can be overwhelming and proper guidance is the key.
6) Avoiding the Owner-Builder Route: The biggest nightmare is when a homeowner starts their project without a permit or a plan. They try to hire all of the sub-contractors themselves as an owner-builder without hiring a contractor. They manage the project with no experience and think the process is easy because it’s their house. The risk to the homeowner is very high in this situation. A homeowner will usually spend much more time and money in the end if they choose to go the owner-builder route. Then it will be too late when they realize that they need a professional to take over and finish the job right.
7) Checking References: It’s amazing how many contractors aren’t who they say they are. You want to make sure that your contractor is legitimate: licensed, bonded, and insured. Actually check his license and make sure it’s valid. Check his references. Ask for proof of insurance. It’s illegal to work without it. If they don’t have it, then you stop.

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
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